Common Eye Problems: Sty, Pink Eye, Eye Strain, Conjunctivitis

Common Eye Problems: Sty, Pink Eye, Eye Strain, Conjunctivitis. Most people will experience some eye trouble at one time or another. Eyes can...

ost people will experience some eye trouble at one time or another. Eyes can be tired, dry, bloodshot, infected or itchy to name a few conditions. Call or see an eye care professional for any of these problems that last more than a day or two.

Conjunctivitis (Sometimes Called “Pinkeye”)

pinkeyeConjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid and wraps around to cover most of the white of the eye. The eyes will appear bloodshot and tearing, sometimes swollen. They often itch and are irritated. The infected membrane is filled with pus so the eyelids may stick together after being closed for a while (like while you are sleeping). Carefully splash them with some cool water to loosen any "gunk" so you can open them.

This condition can be caused by allergies, bacterial infection, viral infection, makeup, contact lens solutions or another physical irritant. Conjunctivitis is VERY contagious if it is caused by a viral infection. It may start in one eye and then spread to the other. Be careful after washing and drying your face -- don't let anyone else use that towel, as it is contagious. It often spreads from one family member to another. Make sure you wash your hands after touching or rubbing your eyes.

Conjunctivitis that is associated with hay fever (allergies) may be treated with prescription eye drops. It is not contagious and is often worse in the morning. Let your health care provider know you are having this problem, there are OTC and prescription eye drops that may lessen your symptoms. If you think you have viral or bacterial conjunctivitis call your eye doctor or health care provider. Sometimes with viral conjunctivitis no prescription is given, as it has to just run its course. But if it is very uncomfortable your health care provider may prescribe eye drops to make you more comfortable. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with prescription eye drops.

Corneal Ulcer

If the cornea (the membrane that covers the front of the eye) is damaged, the eye becomes inflamed and often very sensitive to light. Damage may occur as a result of an injury, often you get a scratch on your eye from a foreign object or from something else like if you walk through some tall bushes and get scratched in the eye by a branch. Or, if you fall in some dirt while rollerblading or cycling and your eye gets scratched by a pebble. Call your health care provider right away if you do get a scratch like this on the surface of the eyeball. An infection can occur from the ulceration. You will be given prescription eye drops and sometimes oral medication to prevent infection. The eye can heal very quickly, but you must seek attention quickly with this kind of injury.


Eyestrain causes a dull, aching sensation around and behind the eyes that can progress into a generalized headache. It may feel painful or fatiguing to focus the eyes. Eyestrain is commonly a result of overuse of the eyes for activities requiring close and precise focus, such as reading, embroidering, sewing or using the computer! This has become a common problem for people who work or surf the net often. Its important to look away from the screen from time to time and buy one of those UVA filters for you computer, it really helped my eye strain!

What to do?

Lie down, close your eyes, place a cold compress (cold, clean, wash cloth is fine) over your eyes. Relax your eyes for at least ten minutes. Try to avoid eyestrain by taking periodic "focus breaks". About every twenty minutes try to look away from your work and focus on something in the distance for a minute or two.

ALSO... get enough sleep, your eyes will get eyestrain easier if you are very tired. If you have severe pain with blurred vision, call an eye care professional or other professional help at once.


A sty is a bacterial infection within an oil gland on the edge of the eyelid. The sty takes on the appearance of a small pimple from being inflamed. This pimple will gradually come to a head, open and drain. Early treatment helps the sty to heal faster and prevents any complications. They are very common in children and teens who often rub their eyes with dirty hands.

What to do?

eye dropsApply a hot compress to the area for about ten minutes to help relieve discomfort and bring the sty to a head so that it can drain and then healing can begin.

In stubborn cases you may need to be treated with antibiotics, call your health care provider for further instructions or to see if he or she wants to prescribe an antibiotic for you.

Serious Eye Problems

Detachment Of The Retina -- Serious Stuff

eyesDetachment of the retina usually occurs from trauma to the head. This means trauma is usually a blow to the head, or if you fall off you bike and bump your head, or even bump your head hard enough on something at home. If you experience ANY distorted vision, see flashes of light or any vision loss after a blow to the head, get medical attention as soon as possible! There is no pain with a detached retina; just light flashes, vision loss or distortion. A detached retina usually requires surgical reattachment, otherwise you can have permanent blindness! This is often why professional boxers have to retire. After the many blows they take to the face and the head, they often have detached retinas and risk blindness if they continue to fight after surgery.

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