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Common Ear and Eye Health Issues

Eyes and ears are essential to sensing and responding to the world around you. Yet, their positioning leaves them particularly vulnerable to a range of health issues. Contact your physician if you notice any of the problems listed here. ... Read More

Common Ear and Eye Health Issues

Eyes and ears are essential to sensing and responding to the world around you. Yet, their positioning leaves them particularly vulnerable to a range of health issues. Contact your physician if you notice any of the problems listed here.

Ear Health

Ears have three basic parts – the outer, middle, and inner portions. All are integral to hearing – and have potential to get infected or injured.

Ear Infections – The most common – otitis media – occurs in three-quarters of infants and young children. The Eustachian tube’s size is to blame: because they are so small, the tubes can easily become clogged with fluid and mucous, which in turn decreases hearing. Children with ear infections may pull at their ears, cry more often, have fluid draining from the ears, or have difficulty sleeping, hearing or balancing.

This isn’t to say that adults don’t suffer from the occasional ear infection. While the Eustachian tube may be larger in adults, colds, respiratory infections and allergies may inflame the middle ear, which then becomes red and swells. If left untreated, this infection may lead to permanent hearing loss. Whether they affect children or adults, earn infections warrant the attention of a licensed medical professional and may require a prescription to fully heal.

Tinnitus – This condition is regularly referred to as “ringing in the ears.” However, tinnitus can include symptoms like hearing a clicking sound or buzzing at a low or high frequency, and may interfere with daily activities. Although associated with exposure to loud noises, the condition may indicate something far more serious is going on:

  • Early hearing loss
  • An ear or sinus infection
  • Hormonal changes
  • A thyroid problem
  • Tumors
  • Certain medication interactions

Treatment for a long-term issue may involve using a hearing aid or sound-masking device.

Swimmer’s Ear – When water is trapped in the ear canal, bacteria can multiply and cause an infection. You may notice a swollen, itching or burning feeling when you pull at your earlobe. If this condition is recurring, consider applying a solution before going into the pool or taking a shower.

Blocked Eustachian Tube – Stemming from a cold or flu, fluid can build up and create pressure or a stuffy sensation inside the ear. Over-the-counter decongestants may provide relief.

Wax or Fluid Buildup – You won’t see pain or redness, but sounds may seem muffled. Impacted wax or excess accumulation of wax or fluid may require an over-the-counter solution or medical treatment.

Floaters – Characterized by dark specks, lines or blobs swimming in front of your eyes, floaters are a result of tiny fibers moving around in the gel-like fluid in between your eye’s lens and retina called vitreous humor these are tiny fibers that move around in the gel-like fluid, or vitreous humor, between your lens and retina.

Eye Health

Incidence of certain eye conditions increases with age. Yet, particularly when the retina or cornea is affected, you’ll notice decreased vision and redness.

Dry Eyes – When your tear glands don’t produce enough, your eyes start to have an itchy or burning sensation. Certain eye drops help lubricate the area, while more serious progressions may require duct plugs to decrease draining.

Tearing – The eyes may also tear too frequently, including when they’re exposed to wind, lights, and temperature changes. In the case of excess tearing, your eye may be infected, or a tear duct may be blocked.

Conjunctivitis – This condition, better known as pink eye, occurs when the tissue surrounding the eyelid and cornea becomes inflamed. You’ll notice redness around the area, get an itching or burning sensation, and see tearing or discharge. Although an infection is usually responsible, pink eye may be a sign of allergies or a reaction to certain chemicals.

Stye – A stye can occur when an oil gland near the eye’s edge becomes infected, resembling a pimple. Yet, bacteria staphylococcal is often responsible, creating pain, swelling and tenderness around the spot. When left alone, the sore heals within a few days.