National Eye Health Week: common reasons for eye pain

Sep 25, 2019 in Eye Care

National Eye Health Week runs from 23rd - 29th September 2019, aiming to help each and every one of us gain a little more knowledge about our eyes and eye health.

Did you know that two million people in the UK are living with sight loss? That’s more than the combined populations of Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff.

But what’s really shocking is that half of this sight loss is avoidable. To make a difference to this number we all need to know how to look after our eyes and understand why it’s so important to get them regularly checked.

We usually recommend you have an eye test every few years, as does the NHS. This enables an optometrist to keep a check on your eye health and pick up on the first signs of serious conditions, such as glaucoma, which can be treated if detected early.

It’s also a chance for your optometrist to dispense some tailored eye care advice, including handy tips and tricks for keeping your eyes in tip-top condition.

Keeping your eyes looking and feeling good

There are three main ways to keep our eyes healthy: eat well, don’t smoke and wear eye protection when out and about.

Diet definitely has an impact on our eyes, studies show antioxidants can help to prevent retinal damage, so leafy greens such as kale and spinach, brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, and oily fish are hugely beneficial to our eyesight.

Unsurprisingly, smoking does our eyes no favours. It’s the biggest modifiable risk factor for developing macular degeneration, and also increases the likelihood of cataracts.

Swap your cigarettes for sunglasses as the power of UV light should never be underestimated. Remember to look for the CE mark to ensure they’re giving you the correct level of UV protection, and if you can opt for larger lenses, which will help protect the sensitive skin around your eyes too.

Which conditions can cause eye pain?

At some point in our lives, we may experience eye problems, but it’s important to understand which conditions can cause eye pain and, more importantly, how serious they are.

Blepharitis This term covers inflammation of the eyelids. It’s associated with burning, sore and stinging eyes and itchy eyelids and dry eyes.

Conjunctivitis There are many causes of conjunctivitis, but the condition itself causes eyes to become red, itchy and sore. A viral case will often cause eyes to become red and watery, while a bacterial cause will be accompanied by a sticky, yellow discharge.

eye pain

And conditions which do not cause eye pain?

Glaucoma Glaucoma covers a whole group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage to the nerves in the eye. There are many types of glaucoma, with the most common type being completely asymptomatic – so it’s almost impossible to detect without an eye test. You can find out more about glaucoma in this useful Leightons blog post.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) AMD involves damage to the macular, affecting central vision. It can cause blurred vision, sensitivity to glare and make it difficult to see fine details.

Cataracts A cataract is the name given to the clouding of the lens inside the eye. Typically, they form slowly causing a gradual blurring of the vision. They can also cause sensitivity to light and difficulty with night vision.

Flashes and floaters Flashes of light and floating objects that appear in your vision may be the result of changes in the vitreous (the substance that fills the inside of your eyeball), a tear or detachment of the retina, or specific types of migraine. Any new flashes or floaters need to be reported to your optometrist urgently so the cause can be found.

Book your eye test today

If you’re worried about your eye health or you’re overdue an eye examination, call us to book an eye test on 0800 40 20 20, book online or pop into your local Leightons branch.

References

For information on a range of eye issues: https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/listing/conditions