Services: Disease/Trauma

Glaucoma

How can I tell if I have glaucoma?
There are several kinds of glaucoma. The most common type, primary open angle glaucoma, is painless and causes no noticeable vision loss in the early stages. Acute angle closure glaucoma is a less prevalent but can lead to blurred vision, the appearance of colored rings around lights, and pain and redness of the eyes. Glaucoma can only be diagnosed by a comprehensive eye examination.

How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is primarily treated with prescription eye drops to lower the pressure inside the eye. These drops are generally taken one to four times a day. In some cases, multiple medications, laser treatment, or surgery is recommended. Unfortunately, any vision loss due to glaucoma is usually permanent and cannot be restored.

For more information:
Glaucoma facts
Glaucoma diagnosis

Cataracts

What is a cataract?
When the normally clear lens which sits behind the pupil of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, it is called a cataract. Cataracts can vary in severity. There may only be small areas of cloudiness or there can be large opaque areas which cause noticeable vision changes.

Many factors can make the lens inside of your eye turn cloudy. Advancing age, hereditary, injury, certain diseases, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are all risk factors for developing cataracts.

Cataracts most often develop in individuals over the age of 55, but they can also be found as early as birth.

How can I tell if I have a cataract?
Cataracts typically develop slowly and are painless. A person with cataracts may experience blurred vision, color distortion, double vision, and increased sensitivity to glare. A comprehensive eye examination by one of our doctors can determine if a cataract may be forming.

How is a cataract treated?
Sometimes, a change in your eyeglass prescription is all that you need to see more clearly. When your eyeglasses no longer allow you to read or see objects comfortably we will refer you to a cataract specialist. The specialist may recommend cataract surgery to improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure where your cloudy lens is replaced with a clear intraocular lens implant. A prescription eye drop is used for a few weeks after surgery. Several follow-up examinations by your surgeon and/or one of the doctors at Professional Eye Care Associates will monitor the healing process.

For more information:
Cataract facts

Diabetic Retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition associated with diabetes. Diabetes often stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in the back of the eye, which ultimately leak and damage the retina. Individuals with high or unstable blood sugar levels are at an increased risk for diabetic retinopathy.

How can I tell if I have diabetic retinopathy?
The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: blurred vision, difficulty reading or seeing things up close, “floaters” or flashes of light, or a sudden loss of vision, but, sometimes there are no symptoms until it becomes an advanced stage. The doctors at Professional Eye Care Associates have the latest technology to detect changes in the back of the eye at an early, more treatable stage.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
If we discover changes in the back of your eye due to diabetes that can be treated, or need further evaluation, we will refer you to a retinal specialist for further testing. The specialist may recommend laser treatments, proven to slow the progression of retinal eye disease for many patients. If you have diabetes, make sure you control your blood sugar level and get an annual comprehensive eye examination, including eye dilation. This reduces your risk of serious vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

For more information:
Diabetic retinopathy facts

Macular Degeneration

What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a disease which affects a small area of the retina called the macula. The macula is a specialized area of the retina which allows us to see fine detail in our central vision. Macular degeneration occurs when this area begins to deteriorate. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the western world in those over the age of 60 years.

Many factors can contribute to macular degeneration including smoking, high blood pressure, exposure to harmful sunlight, diet, and diseases such as COPD.

How can I tell if I have macular degeneration?
There are two types of macular degeneration. “Dry” macular degeneration is difficult to detect in the early stages. The most common symptoms might be a spot of blurred vision or a distortion in your vision when looking straight ahead. If you have “wet” macular degeneration, your symptoms will develop much more rapidly. Both types of macular degeneration can cause blindness.

How is macular degeneration treated?
Presently, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, it has been proven that some treatments can slow the progression. Eating green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, is highly recommended. Some vitamin supplements have these same nutrients (Vitamin A, C, E, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin). “Wet” macular degeneration can sometimes be treated with a laser procedure or medication.

For more information:
Macular degeneration facts

Dry Eye

What is dry eye?
Tears are necessary for good overall eye health and clear vision. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or produce tears which do not have the right chemical composition.

Dry eye can be related to the use of certain medications such as: antihistamines, oral contraceptives, diuretics, hormone replacement therapy, or anti-depressants. Dry eye can also be related to general health problems, especially during peri-menopause, or contact lens wear. Dry eye is more likely to affect the elderly because our tear film degrades as we age. Dry eye affects more females than males.

How can I tell if I have dry eye?
The most common symptoms of dry eye include burning, redness, itching, scratchy feeling, excessive tearing, and uncomfortable eyes. You may experience increased dry eye symptoms upon awakening. If dry eye symptoms are left untreated, the symptoms may intensify.

How is dry eye treated?
Dry eye cannot be cured, but your eye symptoms can be lessened so that your eyes remain healthy. The treatment can be as simple as using specific over-the-counter artificial tears. For more severe dry eye, a simple, in-office procedure is available that provides more long term relief. In these cases, tiny plugs are inserted into the tear drainage canals to slow the tear outflow. If you think you suffer from dry eye, we can help.

For more information:
Dry eye facts

Ocular Trauma

Examination
Eye injuries can occur at any time, and our office is equipped to handle most types of eye injuries. The primary instrument we use is a biomicroscope, sometimes referred to as a slit lamp. The biomicroscope has a high magnification and is particularly designed to aid us in evaluating the extent of an eye injury. Whether it is a laceration, foreign particle embedded, or a burn, the biomicroscope is the primary tool to carefully examination the injury site.

Embedded Foreign Bodies
A common injury is a hot iron metallic foreign body embedded in the cornea. Grinding or drilling in iron or other metals will release particles that are hot, and when they hit the eye they embed themselves in the cornea. If it is iron, as in this example, it will immediately begin to rust due to the salty consistency of our tears. When the metal particle is removed, there is a remaining rust deposit that has infiltrated the surrounding cornea. We have experience at removing these rust spots. With proper medical treatment these injuries resolve well.

If the foreign particle was embedded in the central visual axis of the cornea, there may be a scar remaining which could affect the patient’s ultimate visual acuity. Safety glasses are always recommended to prevent these types of injuries.

Retinal Trauma
Contusions, otherwise referred to as a “black eye,” can result in more than just the obvious bruises on the face. The retina is the nerve tissue which lines the back of the eye and senses light. There is a blood vessel layer under the retina, which is very delicate and sensitive nerve tissue.

Retinal Hemorrhages
A compression type of injury can knock the retina loose and cause bleeding underneath. These examples show both retinal hemorrhage and retinal detachment. Both can result in blindness to the affected eye. Immediate examination and subsequent treatment is needed in these types of injuries.

Emergency Eye Care
If you have symptoms of”flashes of light” in your vision, when there is no light to explain the flashes, this could mean that there is something happening on the back of the eye. The eye does not have any pain sensors so flashes are your best clue that there may be something wrong. In contrast the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) has more nerve pain sensors that any other part of the body. Injury to the cornea can be incredibly painful. However, in both cases, immediate treatment is needed. Our office staff is well trained to know how to expedite the treatment of these types of injuries. Call immediately when an injury occurs. We are available at all hours.