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What are the Different Types of Ocular Disease?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Ocular disease is any condition that affects the eyes. Some examples of ocular disease are macular degeneration, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcers. Eye pain, redness, vision problems, or excessive tearing can be signs of serious eye problems, and require medical attention. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors trained in treating ocular disease.

Macular degeneration is a disease that affects the center of the retina, known as the macula. Macular degeneration affects the part of the eye that notices fine details. It develops when the blood vessels that supply the macula become damaged. Most cases of macula degeneration are dry, meaning the blood vessels become brittle and thin. Small crusty yellow deposits form under the macula, creating dark spots and blurry vision.

About 10 percent of macular degeneration cases develop into wet macular degeneration. In cases of wet macular degeneration, tiny blood vessels grown beneath the macula. They are very fragile and leak fluid and blood underneath the macula. Most cases of vision loss from macular degeneration occur from the wet variety.

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Another type of ocular disease is glaucoma, a disease that progresses slowly, and causes damage to the optic nerve. Eventually, glaucoma can lead to blindness. With early treatment, vision loss can be minimized, however, glaucoma does not have symptoms in the early stages, and must be caught through diagnostic tests. Glaucoma develops when the fluid responsible for lubricating the eye remains in the eye for too long, either from draining slowly or not draining at all. The fluid increases the pressure inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve.

Symptoms of glaucoma include loss of peripheral, and eventually, forward vision. Glaucoma can be diagnosed in the early stages through an eye examination that measures the pressure inside the eye. Eye drops and pills that slow the production of fluid and encourage fluid drainage can slow the progression of the disease. People with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, people on blood pressure medications, and those with hypothyroidism have an increased risk of developing the disease.

Conjunctivitis is an acute ocular disease that is the result of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, or exposure to allergens. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include burning, itching eyes, eye pain, blurry vision, gritty feeling and redness in the eye, and sensitivity to light. The treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the cause, and may include antibiotic eye drops. Some cases clear up on their own. Applying a warm wash cloth to the eye can relieve discomfort.

Corneal ulcers develop as a result of injury, infection, severe allergy, or wearing contact lens for an extended period of time. A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the outer layer of the cornea. People with a compromised immune system are at an increased risk of developing corneal ulcers, as well as people with dry eyes and allergies. The treatment for this ocular disease depends on the cause, and may include antiviral or antifungal eye drops, as well as antibiotic eye drops to clear up a primary or secondary infection. Corticosteroid eye drops can relieve pain caused by swelling.

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