How to Care for Your Eyes

Temporary Eye Condtions

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. An allergy to eye makeup may cause blepharitis.

Sometimes even the best prevention efforts can't stop a problem from cropping up. The following are some of the most common eye problems, how to recognize them, how to deal with them, and how to keep them from coming back.


Blepharitis is an inflammation of the edges of the eyelids, causing redness and thickening. Scales and crusts or shallow ulcers (eroded areas) may also appear. The disease is common, especially in children, and often affects the upper and lower eyelids of both eyes. There are two types: ulcerous and nonulcerous. Infection of eyelash follicles and oil glands cause ulcerous blepharitis. The nonulcerous variety, which is more common, can be caused by an allergy or seborrheic dermatitis, which is an inflammatory scaling of the scalp, eyebrows, or ears. Lice can also sometimes cause the nonulcerous type.

Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • itching, burning, red-rimmed eyes
  • swelling of the lids
  • loss of eyelashes
  • irritation of the underside of the lid (as if dirt or sand were underneath)

ConjunctivitisConjunctivitis, also called pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a delicate membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the exposed surface of the eye. Children are more commonly affected than adults.Bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of conjunctivitis. Allergies, chemicals, dust, smoke, exposure to chlorine in swimming pools, and foreign objects that irritate the conjunctiva may also lead to this condition. Occasionally, a sexually transmitted disease can cause pinkeye.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • edness of the eye
  • a grating sensation
  • burning
  • itching
  • light sensitivity

Detached RetinaNormally, the retina is firmly attached to the choroid, an underlying layer of tissue that is rich in blood vessels. If sufficient blood or other fluid collects between the retina and the choroid, the retina can become partially or totally detached. Initial symptoms of a detached retina include seeing floating dark spots or streaks of light and experiencing blurring of vision. This can occur suddenly or gradually. As the condition progresses, a curtain or veil seems to fall over part or all of the field of vision. To safeguard your sight, you should seek medical attention immediately if these symptoms develop.

Cataract surgery, severe nearsightedness, and injury can cause retinal detachment. Conditions that heighten susceptibility to this condition are inflammation or tumors of the eye, high blood pressure, and hemorrhaging (bleeding) inside the eye.

Treatment procedures include, among others, laser fusion and surgery. Left untreated, detachment may worsen and eventually lead to blindness.