3 Eye Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

As I often say, your eyesight is one of your most precious resources. It’s imperative to be vigilant about protecting your eyes and getting regular checkups. In between checkups, you still want to keep an eye on your eyes. Today.com published a useful roundup of “5 eye symptoms you should never ignore.” Here are the three of the symptoms that were mentioned and why they’re important to pay attention to.

    1. When You See Floaters Accompanied by Flashes of Light Generally speaking, eye floaters aren’t indicative of anything wrong with your eyes. You know eye floaters when you see them, WebMD describes them as “small moving spots that appear in your field of vision…[that are] especially noticeable when you look at something bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.” But if you see floaters while also seeing what appears to be a lightning streak in your peripheral vision, then see your ophthalmologist. It might be that you’re experiencing posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which is typically a benign condition. The National Eye Institute says, “Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in awhile some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole to or lead to aretinal detachment. Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.” The good news is that your eye doctor can diagnose the cause of the problem–and, if necessary, begin early treatment–with a comprehensive dilated eye examination.
    2. When Contact Wearers Have Red, Teary Eyes An eye infection of the cornea known as keratitis can cause redness, pain, inflammation and discharge in the eye. This condition is common with contact wearers who sleep in their contacts–which you should never do, even if they’re labeled extended wear.
    3. When One of Your Pupils Looks Larger Than the Other The condition of having unequal pupils, which is called anisocoria, can be purely physiological or it can be a sign of a neurological issue (i.e. aneurysm, tumor, a brain infection or a sign of a stroke). If the difference in pupil size is something you’ve never noticed before, and you haven’t recently used eye drops which could be causing your pupils to react, then call your doctor.

 

 

 

 

Corneal Transplant Surgery: What You Should Know

hargrave eye centerYou may need a cornea transplant if your cornea no longer lets light enter your eye properly because of scarring or disease.  The first cornea transplant was performed in 1905 by Eduard Zirm (Olomouc Eye Clinic, now Czech Republic), making it one of the first types of transplant surgery successfully performed.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, a cornea transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Your cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye that accounts for a large part of your eye’s focusing power.  A cornea transplant can restore vision, reduce pain and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea.  Most cornea transplant procedures are successful. But cornea transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor cornea.

Types of cornea transplants include:

  • Penetrating (full thickness) cornea transplant. This involves transplanting all the layers of the cornea from the donor.
  • Lamellar cornea transplant. During this procedure, the surgeon only replaces some of the layers of the cornea with the transplant.

ocular healthExperts know more about the long-term success rates of penetrating cornea transplants, which use all the layers of the cornea.  Success rates are also affected by the problem that needed to be fixed with the transplant. For example, research from WebMD has found that the new cornea lasts for at least 10 years in:

  • 89% of people with keratoconus
  • 73% of people with Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • 60% to 70% of people with corneal scarring

The cornea tends to heal slowly. To help protect your eye in the days after the surgery, your doctor may ask you to wear a protective shield over it.  You will need to use eyedrops for several months after the transplant which can then be reduced to one drop a day or discontinued. The stitches may remain in your eye for months or years. Your eye doctor can remove them in a simple procedure during an office visit.  Your vision may improve slowly after the surgery. It’s important to avoid any possible trauma to your eye, such as from sports. This can damage your new cornea. You should report new irritation or any decrease in vision to your corneal surgeon. These may be signs that your body is rejecting the donor cornea. Most transplant rejections are fully reversible with steroid eyedrops if detected early enough.  Rejection may even occur years after the surgery. If you notice any of these signs that last for more than six hours, call your eye doctor promptly. The doctor can give you medicine that can help prevent as well as treat rejection.

Eye donors are screened to eliminate those with diseases that may be transferred to you via the donor cornea. The donor’s general and eye medical history are reviewed, and blood tests are performed for hepatitis and AIDS. AIDS has never been transmitted via corneal transplant, but it is tested as a precaution. While none of these tests are infallible, there is only a remote chance of transmitting disease via corneal transplantation.

 

The Dress, The Eye and Color Blindness

the-dress

The eyes are a fascinatingly unique organ whose complexities require years of specialization to understand. Recently there was a highly publicized argument on the internet on the color of a dress. Many saw the dress as blue and black, others as white and gold. It gave everyone the opportunity to learn things about the eye that are normally reserved for those that study it.

First, it’s important to understand that the eye does not see, the brain does. The lens of the eye focuses light entering the eye onto the retina. The retina then sends this information through neural pathways to the visual cortex in the brain. 

When the visual cortex is trying to ascertain the color of certain objects it is essentially making important calculations. The brain takes into account the amount of light and, in this case, the background of the photo to make these calculations.

Though it may cause some online arguments periodically, this is a highly important feature of the eye. Humans can see best during the day, but the color at 7am is different from the color at 7pm, and in relative darkness you can still discern colors of various items.

Color blind people who weighed in on the dress reported seeing a dark color and a pinkish color, which they often see instead of the color blue. Most of the color blind people also reported being happy that normal-sight people got to experience being color blindness for a short period of time.

Color blindness occurs more often in men and is a result of a lack of pigment in the cone cells of the retina that is color sensitive.

For those that remain curious, the dress is actually blue. Those that were adamant about it being white and gold were likely making calculations with a lighter background.