Common Optometric Issues Resulting from Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatment can range depending on the situation. However, chemotherapy, immunotherapy drugs, steroids, and radiation treatment continue to be some of the most commonly used forms of treatment. While effective, these types of cancer treatment can lead to a long list of other health concerns, including problems with your eyes. Here is a look at some of the eye health issues you may experience during cancer treatment.

Dry Eyes or Lacking Tear Production

Dry eyes can be the result of certain medications taken during cancer treatment. For example, steroids and certain chemotherapy drugs may block tear production and lead to your eyes feeling dry and irritated. The eye doctor may be able to help by giving you eye drops that help keep your eye lubricated throughout treatment. As an adage, some patients experience the opposite problem; they deal with excessive tearing.

Sensitivity to Sunlight

Some cancer treatment drugs can actually make you more sensitive to sunlight or UV rays. You may notice that your ordinary sunglasses no longer offer enough protection. You may also notice your eyes seem to burn or get irritated easily when you are outdoors.

Changes in Eye Color

While not as common, some cancer patients do experience changes in eye color during the more intensive forms of treatment like radiation or treatment with chemotherapy drugs. Even though changes in eye color are usually just a cosmetic change, it is important that you have an eye doctor assessing the situation carefully to ensure nothing further is taking place.

Changes in Vision

Blurry vision is perhaps the most common complaint patients have during cancer treatment. Numerous types of treatment can cause changes in your vision. You may notice blurriness, but you may also notice things like:

  • Dark spots in your field of vision
  • Eye floaters
  • Changes in peripheral vision
  • Issues with depth perception

Work with an Optometrist in Grand Forks to Protect Your Eyes During Cancer Treatment

When you find out what your treatment will look like after a cancer diagnosis, it is a good idea to get your eye doctor on board to protect your vision through the process. Reach out to us at Lifetime Vision Center in Grand Forks, ND to schedule an appointment.

 

woman using eye drops

What to do if You Get Something in Your Eye

In most cases, if something gets in your eyes, you can easily remove it. Foreign objects are dangerous as they can scratch the cornea. It may take several days for a scratched cornea to heal, and you may also need to visit your doctor. This part of the eye is a protective covering for the front of your eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea and focuses it on the retina. Foreign items refer to things that get into the eyes from outside the body. This can be any object that doesn’t naturally belong in your eyes, from dust particles to metal shards.

Flush With Water

You may be able to flush out foreign objects in your eyes using a gentle stream of clean, warm water. Place an eyecup or small drinking glass on the bone below your eye socket. Another easy way of doing this is opening the eyelid and aiming a gentle stream of water on the forehead. If you’re wearing contact lenses, ensure you remove them before or when applying the water. Some objects may be stuck under the lens. Avoid rubbing the eyes or using sharp objects when touching the eyeball.

How Do You Look at Your Eye?

It’s not always easy to tell where a foreign item is located inside your eye. Therefore, ensure you have enough light while trying to remove it. First, open your eyes wide. Secondly, pull the lower lid down and look into a mirror. Lastly, lift the upper lid and look into the mirror again.

How to Remove Makeup in the Eyes

If some makeup gets into your eyes, you may be easily able to remove it. The ideal method will depend on where the items are located. If they are in the lower eyelid, pull the eyelid out and press on the skin below it. If you see the particles, use a damp Q-tip to remove it. Take caution to avoid damaging the eyeball. If anything more substantial gets in your eyes, contact your eye doctor for assistance.

When Should You Get Medical Help?

If you cannot easily remove the foreign objects in your eye, or need emergency treatment, contact your eyecare professional as soon as possible.

 

Why is There Pain Behind My Eye?

Aches and pains around your body may be fairly common, but your eyes should never be painful. If you’re experiencing eye pain—especially behind your eyes—you should seek professional help as soon as possible. There are many possible reasons for pain behind your eye, and a professional diagnosis is always the safest choice.

What Are The Possible Causes of Eye Pain?

There are some common causes of eye pain that are less serious as far as health consequences. These include:

Sinus infection – The sinuses are located very near the eyes. In fact, the sinuses are so close to the eyes that what you believe is eye pain may in fact be sinus pain. When sinuses are infected, they become inflamed and affect a radius around the sinuses, including the eyes.

Migraine – Migraine headaches can cause a variety of side effects like nausea, vertigo and yes, even eye pain. If you know that you suffer from migraines, you may tend to disregard eye pain. However, if you have eye pain without a migraine, make an appointment with your eye doctor for a checkup.

Dry Eyes – Dry eyes is a condition where the eye is not sufficiently lubricated from the tear glands. If your eye pain feels more like discomfort and scratchiness, it’s possible that dry eyes is the culprit. Try drinking more water for a day or two. If that doesn’t help, consult with your eye doctor.

Serious Causes of Pain Behind the Eyes

There are more serious causes of pain behind the eyes, which need to be addressed by your eye doctor as soon as possible. These include:

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. It presents as fluid buildup and pressure behind the eyes, which causes pain.

Macular Degeneration – This is another common cause of blindness. It’s most common in older people with underlying health problems. It can cause pain behind the eyes as well as vision loss.

Both of these conditions are dangerous. The earlier you seek treatment, the better the outcome.

Pain behind the eye is not normal and should always be attended to. Call your eye doctor in Grand Forks today for a consultation about your eye pain.

 

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is a condition that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lives. While pink eye is not life-threatening, it pays to understand what pink eye is so that you can have it treated right away. If pink eye is allowed to progress untreated, this condition could last longer than necessary, keeping you from getting on with your work and personal life. Following is some important information about what is pink eye.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is characterized by an inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the whites of your eye. This membrane is called the conjunctiva, and it also covers the interior of your eyelids. The official name for pink eye is conjunctivitis. The colloquial name for conjunctivitis is pink eye because it makes the whites of the eye appear pink or red.

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

There are a few different possible causes for pink eye. One of them is a bacterial infection, one is a viral infection, one is an allergic reaction and one is due to a clogged tear duct. If the pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction or a clogged tear duct, then it’s not contagious. Cases, where pink eye is due to bacterial or viral infection, can be contagious. Since there is no way to know the exact cause of the pink eye without a doctor’s help, it’s safer to assume that all cases of pink are contagious in order to avoid spreading it to others.

What Are The Symptoms of Pink Eye?

Pink eye symptoms are relatively common in everyone who experiences this condition. Symptoms include:

  • pink or reddish tint to the whites of the eye
  • very dry feeling in the eye
  • sand or grit feeling when blinking
  • heavy discharge
  • watery eyes
  • blurred vision

If you experience the symptoms of pink eye contact, your eye doctor right away. Don’t try to wait it out or treat pink eye with online recommended remedies. In addition, avoid rubbing your eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose the cause and treat your pink eye accordingly. Pink eye can lead to permanent eye damage if not treated correctly. Contact your eye doctor for more information.

treatment-for-droopy-eyes

Is There Treatment for Droopy Eyelids?

It happens to the best of us. One day, we’re looking in the mirror, and we notice sagging skin on the upper eyelid that’s drooping down toward the eye. It’s just one of the exciting skin changes we can look forward to with aging, yet it may become more of a problem to some people based on your skin and facial structure. If you notice this problem and are concerned about it, let’s talk about your options.

Treatment for Droopy Eyelids

If your eyelids have been drooping or you have bags under your eyes, there is a treatment available to you. Your eye doctor is able to use a cutting-edge device that is normally used for glaucoma, known as a Humphrey 850 visual field, to check whether your drooping eyelids are a problem. This machine can measure how much the eyelid is in the way of your field of vision. If your vision is compromised, a plastic surgeon can fix the drooping eyelid, giving great results for both the way you see the world and the way you see yourself in the mirror. This is a safe, reliable technique performed by qualified medical professionals. The main potential risk is that the doctor could remove too much skin, preventing the eyes from closing fully, but that is a very low risk.

Does Insurance Cover This Treatment?

While you have to pay for most treatments that improve your looks with your own money, this one can be covered by insurance in many cases. That’s because the drooping eyelid skin can interfere with your line of sight. An eye doctor is able to test whether your vision is restricted and whether pulling the lid away would improve the visual field. If so, medical insurance should cover the procedure to the extent indicated by your plan. If by chance you’re not covered by medical insurance and want to have the procedure done for cosmetic purposes, it would cost you about $3,000 to $4,000 for the upper lids. You also have the option to improve your look by having the doctor fix undereye bags, which costs about the same as fixing the drooping eyelids.

If your drooping eyelids are bothering you, ask your eye doctor to test whether they’re blocking your field of vision during your next routine eye exam.