Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Does his eye look red to you?
Does he have any medical problems or take any medication?
let me check
not at the moment
It sounds like he is suffering from an anterior segment/tear film problem. This is very common.
is it an emergency?
No. Not at all. There are some simple things that he can do at home that should take care of the issues.
Many times, for all sorts of reasons, the anterior surface of the eye starts to have difficulties. What can cause this? Well, there are a number of conditions but the most common are dry eyes, allergies and blepharitis....many times all three conditions act together to make you miserable. In order to solve your problem you need to address all of these issues at the same time.
When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production.
Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.
The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.
Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.
Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.
I understand that this treatment seems a bit "too low tech" to be of value, but after 2 decades of clinical practice, I can assure you (even from personal experience :) that it, does indeed, work.
this is common in a 15 yr. old?
I would have him do this home treatment and, if he hasn't noticed a marked improvement in 3 weeks or so, have an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) have a look at him.
Dry eyes? Not so much. Allergies and blepharitis? Very common.
But the therapy is the same no matter what the age.
okay, thank you.
His symptoms are very, very consistent with this problem
can video gaming exacerbate this?
I would like to blame it on video games (as a father of 5 myself) but it didn't cause it. It can, however, make the symptoms more frequent because when concentrating on video games you tend to blink less...does this make sense?
yes, should I be worried that he has this then?
He most likely does have blepharitis and some tear film problems, but, truthfully, it will not cause him any long-term harm. Just use the natural tears and do the lid scrubs and he will be fine. No need to put off the plans for becoming a fighter pilot :)
no antibiotics are indicated....
THank you, XXXXX XXXXX my mind at ease. Have a great weekend.
although many doctors hand them out for this.
I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles. Thanks in advance, Dr. Rick MD FACS