Conjunctivochalase, also known as mechanical dry eye, is a common eye problem primarily seen in primary eye care. The symptoms of this disease are very similar to those of dry eyes and are often confused with it. A large number of people over the age of 60 suffer from conjunctivochalasia. So, if you are over that age, it is very important to understand the symptoms, causes and treatment for this condition so that you can take the necessary steps to seek treatment if you think you have it.
What is conjunctivochalasia?
Conjunctivochalasia is a common eye condition characterized by excessive folding of the conjunctival skin. Folds accumulate between the edge of the eyelids and the globe. Fortunately, the disease can easily be treated after diagnosis, and a patient can then lead a normal life.
When the mechanical dry eye has no symptoms, ophthalmologists may classify it as a normal eye variant caused by the aging process. It can also cause symptoms that can start like dry eyes and get worse over time.
Although it is common in older people, conjunctivochalasia has also been seen in younger people. However, its severity increases with age. Patients with this disease also experience pain that worsens when they blink or move their eyes.
What are the causes of conjunctivochalase?
Conjunctivochalasia is caused by the progressive stretching and thinning of the conjunctiva. Some cases can also be caused by inflammation of the eyes caused by conditions such as a deficiency of watery tears and blepharitis. Blepharitis is not always harmful but can cause conjunctivochalasis.
Certain eye surgeries can also increase your chances of developing conjunctivochalasis. Another cause of conjunctivochalase is the prolonged use of contact lenses. This happens when you wear contact lenses for a very long time without taking a break. It can also happen if a person misuses daily disposable contacts and does not remove them while sleeping.
Thyroid dysfunction can also cause the disease. People with an overactive or underactive thyroid are at high risk of developing conjunctivochalasis. Some medications, such as antibiotics, antiretrovirals, and antimalarials, can also cause conjunctivochalasia.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivochalasis?
Sometimes you may not even realize that you have conjunctivochalasis because it may not have any symptoms. In such a case, it can only be detected with the help of an eye exam. Some of the symptoms that can help you experience mechanical dry eye include:
- eye pain
- Dry eye
- Eye discharge
- Blurred vision
- Stiff eyes after waking up
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- A stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- Tired eyes even after sufficient rest
How is conjunctivochalasia treated?
If you have symptoms of conjunctivochalasis, it is important that you seek treatment quickly, as the symptoms will not go away without the intervention of an ophthalmologist. Although conjunctivochalasia can be treated easily, sometimes it becomes difficult due to misdiagnosis. This is because it is often mistaken for dry eyes, and differentiating the two can only be done by an eye exam.
After diagnosis, treatment methods vary depending on whether the disease is symptomatic or asymptomatic. If it is asymptomatic, an ophthalmologist may prescribe lubricating eye drops to relieve patient discomfort. They can also rule out the causes of conjunctivochalase by recommending testing. These include dry eye syndrome, allergies, and cancerous tumors around the eye. If there is inflammation, an eye doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroids to reduce it. Antihistamines can also be used in cases where there is a component of allergic conjunctivitis.
If a person is showing symptoms, surgery may be used for treatment. This is mainly done when the drugs are not effective in relieving the symptoms. An ophthalmologist takes into account a variety of factors such as the age of the patient, whether they have been wearing contact lenses and for how long, and their medical history.
The surgical process involves the removal of excess conjunctival tissue. It is then replaced by an amniotic membrane such as the cryopreserved amniotic membrane Prokera with natural anti-scarring and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties promote the healing process and also reduce discomfort after surgery.
What are the complications of conjunctivochalase?
If left untreated, conjunctivochalase can cause corneal ulcers and pain, which get worse over time. People with high blood pressure and diabetes need to be more careful, as their symptoms can get worse when not treated in time.
Difference between conjunctivochalase and dry eye
Conjunctivochalasis and dry eye are often confused because they usually have similar symptoms. However, the two are different. Conjunctivochalasia is caused by thinning and stretching of the conjunctiva, while dry eyes are caused by poor quality tears or inadequate tears.
However, the two conditions also have some similarities, as they are common in older people. They also have similar symptoms, such as blurred vision and a burning sensation in the eyes.
Can we prevent conjunctivochalasia?
You cannot prevent conjunctivochalasia because it is mainly caused by old age. The only thing you can do is have frequent eye exams for this condition if you are 60 or older. Early detection ensures that the condition does not get worse over time.
Knowing more about conjunctivochalasia will help you know whether or not you have the condition. It also prepares you for what to expect during treatment. Since its symptoms can mimic those of other eye conditions, it is a good idea to see an ophthalmologist so that they can perform the necessary tests and recommend an appropriate treatment method. Most eye conditions are easily treatable and manageable when caught early. Some of them can cause permanent visual damage when not detected in time. That is why it is advisable to seek treatment whenever there are any changes in your eyes. Regular eye exams are also important, even when there are no symptoms of an illness. For more information on conjunctivochalasis, visit https://discovermde.com/.