Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system.
One of the five senses, the vision, is made possible by the complex structure of our body known as the eye. It is made up of different structures like cornea, lens, retina, etc. that serve different purposes ultimately making vision possible. Problem in any of these structures can lead to various problems in vision or can lead to pain. An ophthalmologist is a specialist who specializes in diagnosing and treating the diseases of the eye. The most common problems that occur are congenital that is present from birth, infections and problems due to advanced age. Cataract is a condition where the lens through which the light passes becomes opaque. This usually occurs in advanced age and is not a medical emergency. But cataract in a child is a medical emergency because it interferes with the development of connections from the eye to the brain. 

The eye, its surrounding structures and the visual system can be affected by a number of clinical conditions. Ophthalmology involves diagnosis and therapy of such conditions, along with microsurgery. Since there are so many structures involved in the process of perception of vision, so many problems occur that involve different structures. The structural changes can be congenital that is present at birth or can be caused due to advanced age. Some problems also occur due to trauma to the eye. Depending on the structure involved and other disease conditions present, different problems that occur in the eye can be classified as follows:

Problems in the cornea: The transparent part of the front of the eye, which helps in admitting light inside the eye, is called cornea. A healthy cornea, along with the overlying tear film, is necessary to provide a proper surface and to protect the eye from infection and structural damage to the deeper components of the eye. The cornea’s horizontal diameter is normally 9.5-10 mm at birth and 10-12.5 mm in adulthood. Changes in the shape and size can occur and accordingly classified as:

  • Microcornea: cornea that is less than 10 mm in horizontal diameter is called microcornea and can be present with other abnormalities. The treatment involves vision correction with the use of spectacles resulting from flat cornea. Other problems like cataract or glaucoma that may be present together with microcornea may require different treatment.
  • Megalocornea: it is characterized the enlargement of the front of both the eyes with cornea of diameter of 12 mm or greater at birth and 13 mm or greater at 2 years of age. Treatment is usually not necessary except for spectacle correction because the patient cannot see distant objects clearly.
  • Blepharitis: it is characterized by a close relationship between the microorganisms that live in the eye and meibomian gland (it produces meibum, an oily substance that prevents evaporation of the eye’e tear film) dysfunction leading to lid inflammation, corneal and conjunctival changes and symptoms of ocular discomfort.
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Frequently asked questions about Ophthalmology

What is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system.

How often and when should I get my eyes checked?

By getting your eyes checked on a regular basis, or when you may think you are having troubles with your vision, you can keep your eyes healthy and stay clear of further complications. Many sight-threatening diseases, if detected early, can be cured or treated to prevent, or slow, the progression of any vision loss.

What is Lasik?

Lasik is a laser eye surgery used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. This kind of surgery uses a laser to treat vision problems caused by refractive errors. You have a refractive error when your eye does not refract (bend) light properly.

What is the role of an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating the diseases of the eye. The different ophthalmologists then may have expertise in different areas like those treating diseases related to the lens or the cornea or the retina. Depending on the severity and the structure involved, ophthalmologist with the relevant expertise can be consulted.

What are the early signs of eye cancer?

The most common sign of eye cancer is problems in vision. The vision may either be blurry or there might be flashes or spots in the vision.

What are the most common eye surgeries?
Cataract surgery is the most common surgery not only in the category of eye surgeries but when compared to all the surgical procedures performed in the world. The other surgeries include retinal detachment surgeries, corneal transplants, LASIK procedure, glaucoma surgery, surgery to correct squint, etc.
Can too much sugar affect your eyes?

The sugar directly doesn’t affect the eyes but it can lead to diabetes which can cause problems in the retina known as diabetic retinopathy. Too much sugar should always be avoided as it can cause problems in all the major organ systems of the body.

What is low vision?
Low vision is a term describing a level of vision below normal (20/70 or worse) that cannot be corrected with conventional glasses. Low vision is not the same as blindness. People with low vision can use their sight. However, low vision may interfere with the performance of daily activities, such as reading or driving.

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Usual symptoms of diseases of the cornea:

  • Severe pain in the eye
  • Watering 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches (occasionally)

Problems in the conjunctiva: Conjunctiva is a tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white part of the eye. Infections of the conjunctiva by bacteria, viruses and fungi can lead to problem called conjunctivitis. It is one infection that usually every individual contracts once in lifetime. The symptoms include redness, itching, burning and problems in opening the eyes in the morning because of heavy discharge. The ophthalmologist diagnoses and accordingly treats. The platform of MediFlam provides some of the best doctors providing online ophthalmology consultation and guiding patients to get the treatment to cure the issues. The treatment may include antibiotic, antiviral or antifungal eye drops or ointment depending on the causative factor.

Usual symptoms of diseases of the conjunctiva:

  • Increased tear production
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Foreign body feeling in the eyes
  • Itching and irritation or burning
  • Heavy discharge that makes it difficult to open the eyes in the morning

Problems in the lens: The lens is a transparent structure evolved to alter the refraction of light entering the eye. In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that lens pathology (cataract) was the most common cause of blindness worldwide, affecting over 17 million people across the globe. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the developed world.

Lens is avascular (lacks blood vessels) and also lacks nerves and connective tissues. It grows throughout life but the rate decreases as the age increases. When the lens starts becoming opaque interfering in vision leading to blurred vision, it is called cataract and accounts for most of the eye surgeries. This is the most common problem that occurs in the lens. 

Cataracts in childhood reduce vision and also interfere with the normal visual development. Cataracts in adults are quite easily manageable when compared to pediatric adults. The problems that come up are those related to the small size of children’s eyes and also because the tissues are softer. Certain modifications and adaptations in surgical technique are required to achieve results similar to those achieved in adults. 

Usual symptoms of the diseases affecting the lens:

The most usual problem that affects the lens of the eye is cataract. Symptoms of cataract are:

  • Difficulty in vision at night or dim light
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing ‘halos’ around lights
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision
  • Fading or yellowing of colors

Problems in the retina: Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder and leads to loss of vision. It can cause problems in the vision at night and can also lead to loss of vision in the sides that is peripheral vision. Macula is the centre part of the retina and is critically unique to our visual function. It degenerates at advanced age. The condition is quite common and is called age related macular degeneration. This disease is usually uncommon before 55 years of age and quite common after 75 years of age. The symptoms of this disease include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision that is wavy vision
  • Usually there is no pain and it doesn’t change the appearance of eyes
  • Loss of central vision with appearance darks spots in the centre
  • Things appearing smaller than normal
  • Change in the perception of colour
  • Trouble in recognising faces

The other most common problem that affects the retina is caused due to diabetes and is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects all the major organs and organ systems of the body. In eyes, it causes problems in the retina leading to condition called retinopathy. The usual symptoms include:

    • Blurred vision
    • Floaters in the vision
    • Loss of central vision
    • Difficulty in color perception
    • Black spots in the area of vision
    • Causes blindness eventually

    One of the other problems that occurs is called macular holes.This usually happens in persons over 60 years of age.The chief complaint of this disease is painless development of central visual distortion. This sometimes develop acutely. If loss of vision occurs only in one eye, then it is common that the problem goes undetected. There are different stages of macular hole depending on the severity of the disease. The usual symptoms include:

    • Distorted vision
    • Reading and other routine tasks become difficult with the affected eye

    The other common problem that occurs is inflammation of the uvea known as uveitis. Uvea is the pigmented layer of the eye that lies beneath the cornea and sclera (white part of the eye). This condition can develop by the use of contact lenses. The usual symptoms in the affected eye include:

    • Pain
    • Redness
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Blurred vision
    • Floaters in the vision

    The other disease that is quite common and can cause serious complications including loss of vision is glaucoma. The two main types of glaucoma that occur are:

    • Open-angle glaucoma
    • Acute-angle closure glaucoma

    The symptoms vary according to the type of glaucoma and also its severity. The hallmark symptom is the loss of peripheral vision. To understand it better get in touch with Ophthalmologist online. The other symptoms of the affected eye are:

    Open-angle glaucoma:

    • Blind spots like patches in the peripheral vision and sometimes in central vision
    • Tunnel vision which means that the things are only clear if near to the center of the field of view occur in advanced stages
    Acute-angle closure glaucoma:

    • Severe headache and eye pain
    • Blurred vision
    • Appearance of halos around lights
    • Redness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    If any of these symptoms occur and doesn’t resolve on its own, one should consult an ophthalmologist at the earliest.
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