A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This clouding decreases the amount of light that reaches the retina causing blurred or distorted vision. Patients who have cataracts can also be very sensitive to glare. In most cases cataracts affect people 50 years of age or older.
When glasses no longer improve a patient’s vision cataract surgery may be indicated. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performred operation in the United States and is usually done on an outpatient basis. Taking less than 30 minutes to complete, patients can be back at work with clear, comfortable vision as soon as the next day. During the operation, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced by an Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) that restores clear vision. Many different IOL’s are available and your doctor will help you decide which one is right for you.
Allergies affect over 20% of the population. Living in a large city there are a lot of environmental pollutants, pollen, and dust that can irritate a person’s eyes. The typical signs and symptoms of ocular allergies are itching, redness, watery eyes, and swelling of the eyes and eyelids. These symptoms are often accompanied by allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies).
With specific testing and new advances in therapies our doctors can give you the relief you have been searching for.
Have you ever had a sandy, gritty feeling in your eyes and wondered what could be causing this? It may be the sign of a chronic condition known as dry eye syndrome. Excessive tearing, yes tearing, burning, and a foreign body sensation may also be signs of this condition.
Dry eye affects 1 in 5 people and if not properly treated can lead to decreased vision and damage to the cornea. Dryness can mean that your eyes are not producing enough tears or that your tears do not have the proper chemical composition. This dryness can irritate eyes, blur vision, and exacerbate contact lens intolerance.
Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. It can also be caused by eyelid problems, medications (ex. anti-histamines, oral contraceptives, anti-depressants), a dryer climate, wind and dust, and systemic health problems like arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Our doctors will perform specific tests which help determine the cause of the dryness and identify treatment strategies to finally give you relief.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of adult blindness in the United States. Elevated and uncontrolled blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels in the retina causing temporary and sometimes permanent vision loss. These tiny blood vessels weaken, bulge, and leak fluid onto surrounding tissue, causing swelling know as macular edema. Abnormal new blood vessels begin growing on the retina where they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision. As the disease progresses scar tissue can form causing a retinal detachment and permanent vision loss.
This damage may happen slowly over time and not affect vision for years. This is just one of the reasons it is so important to have your eyes checked on a regular basis. In addition to testing your vision, we will look for any symptoms of eye disease.
Known as the “Silent Killer“, high blood pressure can cause death without any warning signs. Elevated blood pressure weakens vessels causing them to leak blood and fluid onto surrounding retinal tissue. This can cause temporary or permanent vision loss.
A thorough eye exam can detect high blood pressure and high cholesterol, preventing vision loss and possibly death.
Floaters and Flashes
Many people notice floaters in their vision but they tend to ignore them. In most cases, these floaters are no more than a normal age related change to the vitreous of the eye. However, around 5% of the time these floaters are actually a small symptom of a larger potential problem. Along with flashes, floaters can be an indicator of a retinal tear. This tear can then lead to a retinal detachment, which may cause permanent vision loss.
Floaters are more common in people with:
1) high near sighted (myopic) prescriptions
2) Have undergone Cataract surgery
3) Have had certain types of Laser surgery
4) Have had inflammation of the eye
Because Floaters and Flashes may be an indication of a serious problem, you should contact our doctors when you experience:
1) Any new onset of Floaters
2) Any increase in the size or number of your current floaters
3) Any Flashes
4) Any decrease in your field of vision
Do not hesitate to call our office if you experience any of these signs. You can never be too careful with your vision.
There are 2 different types of Macular Degeneration:
1) Dry Macular Degeneration - Dry macular degeneration occurs when cells beneath the macula begin to break down. Small yellow deposits, called drusen, form under the macula between the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) and Bruch’s membrane, which is a protective layer that supports the retina. Drusen deposits are “debris” associated with compromised cell metabolism in the RPE and are often the first sign of macular degeneration. As these drusen increase in size and number, they create a blurred and distorted spot in the central vision of the eye. Almost all people with macular degeneration start with the dry form.
2) Wet Macular Degeneration - Occurs in 10% of people with macular degeneration. Blood vessels beneath the macula begin to break down and new, abnormal vessels form that are very fragile. These vessels begin to grow upward through the sensitive retinal tissue. This is called choroidal neovascularization. These vessels begin to leak blood and fluid, causing damage to the macula. Although only 10% of people with macular degeneration have this form, it causes most of the vision loss associated with the condition.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration:
1) Smoking. #1 risk factor
2) Heredity. If others in your family have the disorder
3) Those with lighter complexions, hair color, and eye color
4) High fat diets and obesity
5) Exposure to UV light without proper eye protection, especially as a child
Signs and symptoms of Macular Degeneration
1) Loss of central vision
2) Distortion of central vision especially when reading
3) May only affect one eye or both eyes
What can you or your loved ones do if macular degeneration is suspected?
1) Immediately contact our doctors for a thorough comprehensive eye exam
2) Stop Smoking
3) Wear UV protection eyewear
4) Eat green leafy vegetables
5) Begin vitamin supplements (contact our doctors for specific formulas)
6) Eat a low fat, low cholesterol diet and begin exercising
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. It leads to damage of the optic nerve and nerve fibers of the eye. In many cases, damage to the optic nerve is due to increased pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP).
The 2 most common types of glaucoma are:
1) Open-Angle Glaucoma – This is the most prevalent form and its cause is unknown. An increase in eye pressure occurs slowly over time. This pressure pushes on the optic nerve and the retina causing damage. Open-angle glaucoma tends to run in families. Your risk is higher if you have a sibling, parent, or grandparent with the disease, especially on your mother’s side. People of African descent are at particularly high risk for this disease. Open angle glaucoma is slowly progressive and those affected are not in immediate danger of blindness. However, if the disease is not treated, over time it can cause vision loss and eventually blindness. There are no signs or symptoms of open angle glaucoma until permanent damage has already occurred.
2) Angle-Closure Glaucoma – Occurs when the exit of the aqueous humor fluid in the eye is suddenly blocked. This causes a quick, severe spike in eye pressure. Symptoms may include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and seeing halos around lights. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately or blindness could result in one or two days.
Currently, there is no “cure” for glaucoma; however, early diagnosis and treatment can control glaucoma before vision loss or blindness occurs. Specialized testing is needed to diagnose and treat the disease.
In addition to testing your vision our doctors will look for any signs of this disease.