An estimated 40 percent of our recorded information is conveyed through colors and through our eyes. On its retina, 120 million black and white rods and six million pins sensitive to red, green and blue allow humans to distinguish hundreds of thousands of shades of color. But in about half of the population, vision is impaired.
Visual disturbances, itching and redness: When to the ophthalmologist?
A number of ailments can lead a patient to the ophthalmologist. Often it is acute symptoms such as tears and redness, photophobia, itching or pain, but also dryness and sudden or insidious visual disturbances occur frequently. Squinting is one of the main causes of ophthalmologist visits in children.
The diseases of the eye include inflammation and infection, changes in the vessels or the retina, tumors, injuries and involvement of the eyes in other diseases such as hypertension. In many cases, the causes can already be limited by targeted questioning.
It is important if one or both eyes are affected, when and how often the symptoms occur, if they have started suddenly and if there are other symptoms. Other illnesses such as allergies or diabetes, as well as medications taken, can also be important, as well as illnesses in the family.
The basic diagnosis
The physical examination is usually done on a seated patient. Externally visible signs of disease (inspection) are, for example, redness, increased tear fluid and corneal injuries. Foreign bodies or changes under the eyelid can be assessed by the physician by folding the eyelid using a spatula or cotton wool. If there is a suspicion of an infection, he can with a cotton swab a swab (from conjunctiva, cornea or vitreous) removed and examined in the laboratory for pathogens.
In rare cases, a blood test may also be necessary. With palpation, the doctor presses his fingertips lightly on the closed eyeballs and can roughly check the intraocular pressure (which can be increased, for example, in the case of a cataract or through a bruise).