Eye Health Central

What Are The Most Common Eye Issues

Common Eye Issues Explained

As with all other organs, the eyes are prone to numerous disorders and illnesses. These diseases are often common and benign, but there’s always a chance they could be sight-threatening. In this article, Our optometrist highlights a few prevalent eye issues that optometrists see regularly. This article should help you have a better understanding of the basic eye conditions and understand a few things you could do to reduce symptom severity.

Of course, this list should not be used as a substitute for proper care from a trained optometrist. If you have any questions about your particular symptoms, schedule an appointment with an optometrist.

Dry Eye Syndrome: A Modern Epidemic

close up eye

Thanks in large part to the prevalence of electronic screens, dry eye syndrome has become increasingly common in the UK, recent data published in the British Medical Journal found that at least 6.4 million prescriptions for dry eye treatment are filled every year in England alone.

There are many potential reasons a person could develop dry eye syndrome, but it is usually related to the Meibomian glands. Situated on the eyelids, these glands are primarily responsible for producing an oily substance called meibum, which keeps your tears from evaporating. Although it’s not always the case, many people who have dry eye syndromes have issues with both meibum production and secretion.

Usually people with dry eye syndrome experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes, and temporarily blurred vision. In more severe cases, patients might feel eye burning, photophobia, or even eye pain.

Unfortunately, there currently is no cure for dry eye syndrome, but there are many therapies patients can try to reduce the severity of their symptoms. For instance, if you are experiencing uncomfortable eye symptoms place a warm compress or a damp cloth over your eyes for a few seconds. Doctors might recommend taking omega-3 supplements, getting more natural sunlight, and limiting electronic screen exposure.

Because contact lenses cut off the oxygen supply to the cornea, contact lens wearers are more prone to developing dry eyes. To minimize this risk, optometrist strongly recommend patients use daily disposable contact lenses. Not only will these lenses reduce your risk of eye infections, but they have also been shown to be the most comfortable form of contact lenses on the market. Following good contact lens hygiene is also a must to help avoid eye issues like dry eyes.

If you are suffering from dry eyes, for quick symptom relief it’s OK to use over-the-counter artificial tears or re-wetting drops from time to time. Just keep in mind that the more frequently you use these artificial tears, the more difficult it will be for your eyes to produce tears on their own.

Do Not purchase decongestant eye drops for dry eye syndrome. Decongestant drops are developed to reduce the appearance of eye redness. To achieve this goal, these eye drops use special chemicals that constrict your eyes’ blood vessels. So, your dry eye symptoms may get worse if you use decongestant drops.

Computer Vision Strain

Somewhat related to dry eye syndrome is a relatively new disorder called computer vision strain (CVS). As you can guess from the name, this disorder is related to prolonged electronic screen exposure. The symptoms of CVS are very similar to dry eye syndrome, the main difference being that CVS sufferers tend to have healthier Meibomian glands.

The best way to avoid CVS is to avoid computer screens, as much as possible. If you cant reduce your screen time then you can try giving your eyes a break periodically.it's recommended that a screen user should look 20 feet away from screens for about 20 seconds after 20 minutes of usage. This simple habit, known as the 20-20-20 rule, will help your eyes naturally re-moisturize, which will reduce your chances of developing full-blown dry eye syndrome.

Conjunctivitis -The Most Common Eye Infection


Better known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an eye infection that could be caused by an allergic reaction, bacteria, or virus. The formal name of this disease means “inflammation of the conjunctiva,” which refers to a clear tissue that wraps around the outer eye.

A major warning sign of “pink eye” is…well, pink eyes! Other standard conjunctivitis symptoms include eye itchiness, eye pain, and, in more serious cases, eye discharge.

Thankfully, conjunctivitis is one of the easiest eye infections for doctors to treat. People with the allergic form of this disorder usually get over conjunctivitis after a week with plenty of rest and hydration. Bacterial and viral forms of conjunctivitis, however, might require prescription medications.

Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, but there are some steps you can take to help stop the spread

  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Don't let anyone else use your towel, pillow, makeup, contact lenses etc
  • Bathe the discharge away from your eyes twice daily, use fresh swabs each time, and wash and dry your hands thoroughly afterward
  • If using eyedrops or ointment always wash your hands thoroughly after application

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage - Eye Redness

The name subconjunctival haemorrhage might sound serious, but almost everyone has experienced this issue from time to time. Subconjunctival haemorrhages are ruptured blood vessels in the conjunctiva that cause unsightly eye redness. Although they’re not pleasant to look at, these haemorrhages usually fade away within a few days.

Please note, you shouldn’t feel pain if you have a subconjunctival haemorrhage. If you do feel eye pain, then visit your optometrist or hospital as soon as you can.

A few potential causes of subconjunctival haemorrhages include lifting heavy weights, constipation, frequently rubbing your eyes, and intense sneezing. People with certain conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are at a greater risk of developing subconjunctival haemorrhages.

Avoid using over the counter decongestant drops, although they are marketed to reduce red eyes, they are not designed to treat subconjunctival haemorrhages. The vasoconstrictors used in decongestant drops might temporarily reduce eye redness, but it comes at the cost of damaging your blood vessels. Instead, it’s best to simply wait for these subconjunctival haemorrhages to clear away on their own.

Eye Twitching

Like subconjunctival haemorrhages, eye twitching is a symptom that causes many patients unwarranted distress. These “eye twitches” are usually caused by some kind of involuntary muscle contraction within the eyelids. Typically they cannot be seen, and last just a few moments and could recur over a few days or even weeks.

People who suffer from anxiety and/or have heightened stress levels tend to experience more of these eye twitches. Other reasons you could be experiencing this symptom include too much caffeine, insomnia, or an allergic reaction.

There is no cure for eye twitches, but to reduce the likelihood of experiencing them it helps to identify the cause of your disorder. It’s only recommended you see an optometrist or doctor about these twitches if they cause you serious distress and/or pain.

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters refer to those tiny specks and strings that may cross your field of vision on occasion. Those tiny string-like images are actually tiny fibers that break away from a structure known as the vitreous humor and are usually harmless. Located right behind the lens, the vitreous humor’s main job is to protect important tissues like the retina from traumatic blows.

People who have conditions that involve heightened eye pressure (e.g. glaucoma) tend to have more eye floaters than people with healthy eyes. It’s also more common for patients over the age of 50 to develop eye floaters, but there are cases of children and teens experiencing these symptoms.

Ophthalmologists rarely recommend surgical interventions for eye floaters. The best way to deal with eye floaters is to practice basic eye hygiene, including avoiding rubbing your eyes, wearing UV-blocking eyeglasses, and reducing electronic blue light exposure.

While these eye floaters are usually harmless, it’s a good idea to visit an optometrist just to be sure these floaters aren’t signaling a more serious eye disease.

See An Optometrist For Eye Health Concerns

Most of the eye disorders listed here are harmless, but they could be a precursor to something more serious.

Although it is good to know about what is happening to your eyes, and what you can do about it, the disorders listed here are only a small selection of eye disorders and do not represent a substitution for visiting an optometrist or doctor.

If you experience any of the conditions above or others not listed associated with eye pain, always seek medical attention

The best way to preserve your eye health is to visit an optometrist at least once every two years. At your vision exam, don’t be afraid to mention any symptoms you have concerns about. For more information on how to find an optometrist in the UK, please visit this NHS-sponsored webpage

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 19 Feb 2024, Last modified: 20 May 2024