What Causes Spotting on the Surface of the Eye?

When it comes to our eyes, an appearance of a red spot against the stark, white background of our sclera can stick out like a sore thumb.  While an affected eye can go completely undetected until a mirror or bystander calls attention to it, reactions usually include panic.  About 90% of the time, this alarming red spot is the result of a broken blood vessel called a  subconjunctival hemorrhage. 

eye hemorrhageThe conjunctiva is the clear, thin membrane covering the white part of the eye—the sclera—and the insides of the eyelids.  Within the conjunctiva’s make up are tiny nerves and blood vessels that are barely visible, yet extremely fragile.  When these blood vessels become disrupted or injured, bleeding will occur between the conjunctiva and the sclera. Blood is then trapped under the conjunctiva due to its slow absorption rate, creating a red mark on the white part of our eye.

Most of the time a  subconjunctival hemorrhage can occur spontaneously from arbitrary actions involving coughing, sneezing, vomiting, bending over, straining from lifting something heavy, or aggressive eye rubbing (it’s paramount that you buy contact lenses are comfortable so you aren’t consistently readjusting with your fingers).

Less spontaneous causes of a  subconjunctival hemorrhage can occur in people with high blood pressure or in those who take blood thinners. This condition can also be a result of a severe eye infection, head trauma, blood-clotting disorder, or eyelid surgery. If  subconjunctival hemorrhages occur frequently, it could be due to a larger health issue.  Often this can mean a serious bleeding disorder, and a doctor should be notified immediately.

5226266509_88b30ea3b7Most of the time there are very little symptoms associated with this condition.  While physically it may look painful, a hemorrhage in the eye is quite benign.  It does not induce any pain, will not cause sensitivity to light, and won’t hinder your vision. Slight discomfort or itchiness may occur, but this could simply be from an over mindfulness of its existence.

A broken blood vessel might look gruesome during the first day or two, but gradually the redness will subside.  There are no specific treatments for a  subconjunctival hemorrhage, just patience.  A broken blood vessel will heal naturally, but a doctor should be informed to make sure there isn’t any threatening health causes. 

The onset of a  subconjunctival hemorrhage can be entirely unpredictable.  Most of the time the condition is completely harmless, with the only symptom being a gruesome red spot on the white of the eye.  It is important to watch the progression of the hemorrhage to make sure it does not get any worse.   As the windows to our health, our eyes’ own health is of upmost importance.

What to know about LASIK surgery

At one point or another, all of us had taken a moment to pause and consider the possibility of “LASIK” (short for “laser in situ keratomileusis”). Before moving forward or dismissing the idea entirely, it’s important to understand both the benefits and downsides of this corrective surgery. Continue reading “What to know about LASIK surgery”

What is a Corneal Abrasion?

As physically active beings, our bodies are prone to an occasional scratch, cut, or bruise every now and again.  While some body parts are more resilient than others, when our eyes are exposed to damage it can set us back significantly.  A scratch, puncture, or any other type of trauma to one’s cornea—the clear covering over the iris—creates a corneal abrasion.   6291271962_d284cb11fe_z

Many different situations that can cause a corneal abrasion, the most common include getting poked in the eye, foreign objects like dust, dirt or sand lodging under the lid, rubbing eyes too hard, or a bacterial infection.  For contact wearers, a corneal abrasion can occur by leaving contacts in for a long period of time or by using ill-fitting or unclean lenses.  Thus, it is crucial for contact wearers to uphold sound contact maintenance, to avoid the chance of an abrasion occurring. If you find that your busy lifestyle does not afford you the time to nightly care for your lenses, consider daily contacts like the Acuvue 1-Day or other Dailies. More and more individuals are turning to this style of lenses in order to guarantee that they receive fresh, clean products every morning that, instead of worrying about storing and cleaning them at night, can simply toss.

3445868159_b1daf1f74e_oIt is rather difficult to ignore the discomfort leading up to an abrasion.  Common symptoms may include feeling like there is sand in your eye, tearing, sensitivity to light, hazy vision, pain when opening and closing your eye, and blurred or loss of vision.

It is always important to refrain from rubbing your eyes if you feel that there is something stuck inside.  This can cause the particle to further scrape and penetrate the cornea, causing an intense abrasion.  Instead, try lifting your eyelid and blinking vigorously for a couple seconds in attempt to let it fall out.  If that doesn’t work, make your way to the nearest faucet and place your eye under the running water to try and flush it out.

The type of treatment required for corneal abrasions depends on the amount of the damage, with most subsiding within 23-72 hours.  Lesser injuries typically do not require any particular treatment, while larger abrasions may require application of a topical antibiotic for a few days.  Deep scratches can cause scarring, which can impair vision and require a corneal transplant down the line.

Sometimes this condition may not be detected until hours after the first contact is made.  It is important to pay close attention if you feel any type of discomfort occurring in your eyes.  If you feel that your physical state is worsening, seek immediate medical care, as ignoring it can produce an unwanted infection.  While corneal abrasions are not life threatening, and usually require a short recovery, it is still important to take action if you feel one initiating.  Practicing eye safety and upholding proper maintenance will decrease the chance of a corneal abrasion, and increase the health and longevity of our eyes. 

How to Keep Contact Lenses Clean

The importance of proper eye care hygiene for contact wearers cannot be stressed enough. On top of the grit and dust our eyes accumulate from the atmosphere throughout the day, there is also the added burden of interaction with fingers. If contact lenses are not properly 4960522015_899e0ae02bcared for, it could result in hazy vision, sensitivity to light, and infection. Our eyes are extremely fragile organs; therefore, anything that that touches them should be completely sterile and nonthreatening. By following a few precautionary steps, your eyes can avoid contamination and continue in their mission of delivering optimal sight.

The first step before handling contacts is to make sure they have a sanitary finger to both transfer contacts onto and remove from eyes. Try to use a mild soap that won’t leave a film of oil or perfume on the lens, which could irritate the eye and impair vision. When drying your hands, use a clean, lint-free cloth towel or a fresh paper towel. It is crucial to make sure your hands are in the cleanest state possible, as they can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that could eventually end up on your eyes. For additional tips on how to put in your contact lenses, check out our instructional video.

Not all solutions are created equal in this product-saturated world. Since different types of lenses require certain solutions, it is important to consult with your doctor before choosing the best type of solution and brand. Additionally, it often it will say on the bottle which kinds of contacts it is compatible with. Also, be aware that not all eye drops are safe for contact wearers; therefore, try to only purchase products that are contact-friendly. Before storing your contacts in their cartridges overnight, place a dab of solution between your index finger and thumb and gently rub each lens to remove any lingering surface buildup. Of course, thoroughly cleaning your contacts is worthless if you just end up storing them in a dirty case. Be sure to clean your cases each time before usage and swap them out for new ones about every three months.

Contact wearers must be extremely conscientious when it comes to their eye health. Due to the added layer resting their eyes for long periods of time, making sure their lenses are continuously disinfected is crucial. Thoroughly cleaning each lens upon removal and before storing, while also making sure you are 0001319_250replacing them as dictated or else you are vulnerable to conditions corneal ulcers. To learn more about what happens if you wear contacts for too long, click here.

A few simple steps and precautionary procedures will ensure that your eyes are avoiding infections and functioning to the best of their ability. However, if you’re someone who has trouble adhering to the above suggestions, there are alternatives. Contacts like the Focus Dailies are meant to be worn for one day and then tossed at night in favor of a new pair the following morning; though it is absolutely crucial that your hands are clean when you pop them in, this kind of lens removes the need for nightly cleaning, solution or cases.