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Cataract (Eye Conditions)

Overview
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age. Most people do not even realize they have a cataract, as cataracts grow very slowly and may not impede vision early on. After a number of years vision will likely be affected. When the cataract has become so dense that it compromises the patient’s quality of life, the patient and ophthalmologist will discuss the appropriate time to remove it. Surgery is the only treatment.

What Causes a Cataract?
The human lens is transparent so that light can travel through it easily. It has no blood supply. It is 65% water. Although new cells are being made for the lens continuously throughout our lifetime, many factors combine as we age to cause areas in the lens to become cloudy, hard, and dense. The lens can then no longer transmit a clear picture to the retina where it can be processed and sent through the optic nerve to the brain.

Blepharitis (Eyelid Inflammation)

Blepharitis is identified as inflammed eyelids which may arise from a number of causes such as irritations and allergies, infections, insect bites, and so forth. It can range from a mild, chronic condition due to allergies, or to a severe form with ulcerated eyelids and even damage to the eyes or eyelids.

Dysfunctioning of the meibomian gland may cause or contribute to blepharitis in the front or back of the eye. Anterior blepharitis causes inflammation at the front of the eye - the eyelids and eyelashes - and may be accompanied by bacterial growth or increased meibomian gland activity. Posterior blepharitis is not usually caused by infection, but rather, is due to a poorly functioning meibomian gland.

Symptoms
Symptoms are redness, itching, scaling, swelling crusting of the eyelashes. It may be accompanied by styes and chalazia. Posterier blepharitis causes dry eyes. Blepharitis is also linked to acne rosacea.

Conventional Treatment
Conventional treatment depends on the specific type and severity of blepharitis. Mild symptoms may only require warm soaking and daily lid hygiene. Diluted baby shampoo may be used for cleansing of the lids. Other varieties may require antibiotics and/or cortisone cream, or even oral antibiotics, any of which should only be used under medical supervision.