A cataract is an opacity or clouding of the natural lens of the eye. It causes a decrease in vision, but early symptoms may be a change in your eyeglass prescription, glare on sunny days, halos, or even double vision. Cataracts develop normally as we age, but occasionally cataracts occur in younger individuals in association with diabetes, trauma, certain medications, or for other reasons.
The cloudiness and pattern of a cataract can vary. If the cloudiness is to the side of your field of vision, you may not be aware that you have a cataract.
There are many misconceptions about cataract. Cataract is not a film over the eye. A cataract does not spread from one eye to the other, nor is it a cause of irreversible blindness.
How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.
Treatment: Non-Stitch Cataract Procedure
Dr. Sanders removes cataracts using the latest technique available. This outpatient procedure is performed using phacoemulsification, which is an ultrasonic probe which dissolves the cataract through very tiny incisions which seal without stitches. Patients are given mild sedation through an IV and eye drops to numb the eye. Most patients experience no pain.
For more information on cataracts Click Here.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Experts estimate that half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve.
This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
What causes Glaucoma?
High pressure within the eye, also known as intraocular pressure or IOP, is the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with “normal” levels of pressure can experience vision loss from glaucoma.
Treatments For Glaucoma
There is no cure for glaucoma yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection through a yearly eye exam is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving.
When the macula does not function correctly, your central vision can be affected by blurriness, dark areas or distortion. Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities—like threading a needle or reading—difficult or impossible. Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it usually does not affect the eye’s side, or peripheral, vision.
For example, you could see the outline of a clock but not be able to tell what time it is.
Macular degeneration alone does not result in total blindness. Even in more advanced cases, people continue to have some useful vision and are often able to take care of themselves.
Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body’s natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Exactly why it develops is not known, and no treatment has been uniformly effective. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in Caucasians over 65. The two most common types of AMD are “dry” (atrophic) and “wet” (exudative):
Most people have the “dry” form of AMD. It is caused by aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula. Vision loss is usually gradual.
The “wet” form of macular degeneration accounts for about 10% of all AMD cases.
It results when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the retina at the back of the eye.
These new blood vessels leak fluid or blood and blur central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe. Deposits under the retina called drusen are a common feature of macular degeneration. Drusen alone usually do not cause vision loss, but when they increase in size or number, this generally indicates an increased risk of developing advanced AMD. People at risk for developing advanced AMD have significant drusen, prominent dry AMD, or abnormal blood vessels under the macula in one eye (“wet” form.)
Treatments: Nutritional Supplements
Although the exact causes of macular degeneration are not fully understood, antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of ARMD in some people.
Laser Surgery, PDT And Anti-VEGF Treatments
Certain types of “wet” macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery, a brief outpatient procedure that uses a focused beam of light to slow or stop leaking blood vessels that damage the macula. A treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a combination of a special drug and laser treatment to slow or stop leaking blood vessels.
Yearly Eye Exam
Early detection through a yearly eye exam is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
For information on ARMD or our Low Vision Clinic Click Here
If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly.
High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). NPDR, commonly known as background retinopathy, is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. In this stage, tiny blood vessels within the retina leak blood or fluid. The leaking fluid causes the retina to swell or to form deposits called exudates.
How is it diagnosed?
A medical eye examination is the only way to detect changes inside your eye.
An ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) can often diagnose and treat serious retinopathy before you are aware of any vision problems. The ophthalmologist dilates your pupil and looks inside of the eye with an ophthalmoscope.
How is it treated?
The best treatment is to prevent the development of retinopathy as much as possible. Strict control of your blood sugar will significantly reduce the long-term risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. If high blood pressure and kidney problems are present, they need to be treated.
Laser surgery: Laser surgery is often recommended for people with macular edema, PDR, and neovascular glaucoma. Multiple laser treatments over time are sometimes necessary. Laser surgery does not cure diabetic retinopathy and does not always prevent further loss of vision.
Vitrectomy: In advanced PDR, your ophthalmologist may recommend a vitrectomy. During this microsurgical procedure, which is performed in the operating room, the blood-filled vitreous is removed and replaced with a clear solution.
For information on Diabetic Retinopathy Click Here
What is Dry eyes ?
Normally, the eye constantly bathes itself in tears. By producing tears at a slow and steady rate, the eye stays moist and comfortable. Sometimes people do not produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye. The eye uses two different methods to produce tears. It can make tears at a slow, steady rate to maintain normal eye lubrication. It can also produce large quantities of tears in response to eye irritation or emotion. When a foreign body or dryness irritates the eye, or when a person cries, excessive tearing occurs.
Tear production usually decreases as we age. Although dry eye can occur in both men and women at any age, women are most often affected. This is especially true after menopause.
Dry eye can also be associated with other problems. For example, people with dry eyes, dry mouth, and arthritis are said to have Sjögren’s syndrome.
How is dry eye diagnosed?
An ophthalmologist is usually able to diagnose dry eye by examining the eyes. Sometimes tests that measure tear production are necessary. One test, called the Schirmer tear test, involves placing filter-paper strips under the lower eyelids to measure the rate of tear production under various conditions. Another test uses a diagnostic drop (called fluorescein or rose bengal) to look for certain patterns of dryness on the surface of the eye.
How is dry eye treated?
Eyedrops called artificial tears are similar to your own tears. They lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture. Artificial tears are available without a prescription. There are many brands on the market, so you may want to try several to find the one you like best.
Preservative-free eyedrops are available for people who are sensitive to the preservatives in artificial tears. If you need to use artificial tears more than every two hours, preservative free brands may be better for you. You can use the artificial tears as often as necessary—once or twice a day or as often as several times an hour.
For information on Dry Eyes Click Here
You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision.
These are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye.
While these objects look like they are in front of your eye, they are actually floating inside it. What you see are the shadows they cast on the retina, the layer of cells lining the back of the eye that senses light and allows you to see.
Floaters can appear as different shapes such as little dots, circles, lines, clouds, or cobwebs.
What causes floaters?
When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. This is a common cause of floaters.
Posterior vitreous detachment is more common in people who:
The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop very suddenly. You should contact your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) right away if you develop new floaters, especially if you are over 45 years of age, or you see sudden flashes of light.
If you notice other symptoms, like the loss of side vision, you should see Dr. Sanders immediately.
Can floaters be removed?
Floaters may be a symptom of a tear in the retina, which is a serious problem. If a retinal tear is not treated, the retina may detach from the back of the eye. The only treatment for a detached retina is surgery.
Other floaters are harmless and fade overtime or become less bothersome, requiring no treatment.
For information on Floaters Click Here
Chalazion(Pronounced kuh-LAY-zee-un) comes from a Greek word meaning small lump.
A chalazion is an enlargement of an oil-producing gland in the eyelid called the meibomian gland. It forms when the gland opening becomes clogged with oil secretions. It is not caused by an infection from bacteria, and it is not cancerous.
What Is The Difference Between A Chalazion And a Stye?
A chalazion is sometimes confused with a stye, which also appears as a lump on the eyelid. A stye is a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid caused by an infected eyelash follicle. Initially, a chalazion may resemble a stye, but it usually grows larger, sometimes as large as a pea. Chalazia also tend to develop farther from the edge of the eyelid than styes.
How Is A Chalazion Treated?
About 25% of chalazia have no symptoms and will disappear without any treatment. Sometimes, however, a chalazion may become red, swollen and tender. A larger chalazion may also cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye. Occasionally, a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly. Symptoms are treated with one or more of the following methods:
Warm compresses help to clear the clogged gland. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and apply the cloth to the lid for 10 – 15 minutes, three or four times a day until the chalazion is gone. You should repeatedly soak the cloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat.
An antibiotic ointment may be prescribed if bacteria infect the chalazion.
A steroid (cortisone) injection is sometimes used to reduce inflammation of a chalazion.
If a large chalazion does not respond to other treatments and/or affects vision, your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) may drain it surgically. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia in your ophthalmologist’s office.
A chalazion usually responds well to treatment, although some people are prone to recurrences. If a chalazion recurs in the same place, your ophthalmologist may suggest a biopsy to rule out more serious problems.
For information on Chalazion Click Here
(American Academy of Ophthamology)
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