What Causes Chronic Eye Irritation?

ANTERIOR BLEPHARITIS

Patients have crusting irritation at the base of lashes without variation throughout the days onset is insidious.

MEDICAMENTOSA

Patients complain of burning and irritation without variation throughout the day. Symptoms are equivalent throughout the day because overuse of topical medications promotes damage. You should suspect this condition in all those who use traditional artificial tears more than four times a day. People generally have a history of escalating tear use.

LACRIMAL DRAINAGE OBSTRUCTION

Patients often have symptoms of tearing with actual and demonstrable tear overflow. Patients with meibomian gland dysfunction may feel like their eyes are tearing, but these patients have frank epiphora (overtearing).

ALLERGIC CONJUNCTIVITIS

The primary symptom for this condition is itchy eyes. Patientsí eyes may also exhibit increased mucus production. Onset of this condition is commonly seasonal, and it may be associated with hay fever, asthma and eczema.

NOCTURNAL LAGOPHTHALMOS

Patientsí eyes may burn upon awakening. Patients frequently have a history of lid surgery or thyroid eye disease.

SUPERIOR LIMBIC KERATOCONJUNCTIVITIS

Symptoms include burning and irritation without daily variation. Abrupt onset and remissions characterize this condition. Patients often have a history of thyroid dysfunction.

SUPERFICIAL PUNCTATE KERATITIS (THYGESONíS)

Patients with this condition experience insidious onset of photophobia, eye irritation and decreased vision. The condition is episodic and recurring.

DRY EYELID SKIN

Patients complain of ìdry eyes.î This condition underscores the importance of accurate localization of symptoms.

TARSAL FOREIGN BODY

Patients experience a chronic sensation of having a foreign body in their eye. This sensation results from exogenous material or an exposed meibomian-gland derived conjunctival concretion (calcium deposit just beneath the conjunctiva that acts as a foreign body)

MUCOUS FISHING SYNDROME

Symptoms include chronic eye irritation, redness (particularly inferior) and increased mucus production. Patients who reach into their eye to remove mucus strands caused by conjunctival trauma (eye rubbing) initiate the condition. A vicious cycle can develop.

BLEPHAROSPASM

Patients may complain that their eyes feel ìtired.î Careful questioning reveals that patients are experiencing an involuntary closure of the eyes, rather than eye irritation. Driving, reading and exposure to sunlight worsen symptoms.

NON-SPECIFIC OCULAR IRRITATION

Normal eyes, abnormal environment. Eye irritation in response to smoke would be a typical example.

NORMAL EYES WITH HYPOCHONDRIASIS

This condition is uncommon. A careful history that fails to mesh with the examination can provide the first clue to its presence.

DEMODICOSIS

An inflammation of the lids attributed to a common mite that inhabits the follicle of the lash, especially in the elderly. It has the potential to destroy the glandular cells, produce granulomas and plug meibomian glands. Symptoms include itching and burning, possible lid margin crusting and loss of lashes, along with the classic lash cuffing.
Reprinted from Optometric Management Magazine, February, 2002

Contact lens wearers may experience irritation, redness and other physical symptoms from contact lenses or contact solution that are unrelated to the aforementioned conditions. For more information on contact lens–related issues visit our contact lens info page.

 

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