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Eye problems need prompt treatment.

Common eye problems if left untreated can result in serious complications, say consultants at Muscat Eye Laser Center (MELC), a leading eye care facility in the country. The risks are particularly pronounced in a country like Oman where a combination of environmental, hereditary and lifestyle-related factors is found to contribute to eye diseases.

Of particular concern is a trio of eye disorders with above-average incidence levels among the local population. The most serious among these is keratoconus, a degenerative disorder in which structural changes wit-hin the cornea cause it to thin and change into a more conical shape from its normal gradual curve.

Keratoconus typically afflicts one in a thousand people worldwide, but hereditary and cultural factors contribute to a higher incidence of the disorder in Oman. Dr Maria Clara Arbelaez, medical director of MELC, said, AoKeratoconus is a condition that generally manifests itself during oneAAEs adolescent years, reaching severity in the 20s and 30s. It can be problematic for those suffering from keratoconus in both eyes.

Consequently, sufferers will experience significant difficulty when driving or reading. But with early diagnosis and corrective treatment, it is possible to remedy the disorder altogether, if not at least to manage it successfully.Ao MELC provides advanced technology options such as cross linking, corneal rings and Lasek, depending on the stage, to rectify this disorder.

Another eye disorder is the dry eye syndrome, a condition caused by inadequate lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Symptoms vary from irritation and burning to ocular inflammation of the frontal tissues of the eyes. Often, the lachrymal ducts fail to produce enough tears to keep the eye surface suitably moistened, thereby leading to constant discomfort.

A host of factors can contribute to dry eye syndrome, the most significant among these being age, menopause, prolonged use of contact lenses and side effects associated with certain medications. In Oman, however, environmental conditions can also play a role. Dry conditions or constant exposure to air-conditioned office and home environments can also lead to eye dryness.

Depending on the severity of the syndrome, ophthalmologists can choose from an array of remedies to address the condition. Treatments can include artificial tears, punctal plugs, special sunglasses and other prescriptions to alleviate the problem. The key is to diagnose the condition as quickly as possible and to provide an effective remedy suited to the peculiar characteristics of the condition.

But it is cataract thatAAEs giving ophthalmologists significant cause for concern. A common ailment associated with age, cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye. Sufferers generally complain of blurry vision, dull colours, glare, double vision and poor vision at night.

In Oman, however, an increasing number of cases encountered by eye care providers involve hard cataract and near opaque lens Au a condition signalling the acute onset of cataract. AoClearly, these are cases involving people who have just discovered they have cataract. At this point, the cataract would be in an advanced state, making it much more difficult to remove through surgery,Ao said Dr Jose Ricardo Lievano S, ophthalmologist and cataract surgery consultant at MELC.

Apex Press and Publishing

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Jul 13, 2010
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