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. Some medications as well can advance the development of a cataract.
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, night blindness, rings around lights, 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 for surgery to improve your vision. In many cases, eye glasses are no longer needed after a cataract is removed.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure where your cloudy lens is replaced with a clear lens implant. A prescription eye drop is used for a few weeks after surgery. Several follow-up examinations by one of the doctors at Professional Eye Care Associates will monitor the healing process.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetes often stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in the retina, which eventually may leak and damage the retina. Individuals with high or unstable blood sugar levels are at an increased risk for diabetic retinopathy. This blood in the eye can cause temporary vision problems and sometimes permanent vision damage. The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are blurred vision, or a sudden loss of vision. Sometimes there are no symptoms until it becomes an advanced stage. The doctors at Professional Eye Care Associates have the latest technology and experience 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.
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 duct canals to slow the tear outflow. If you think you suffer from dry eye, we can help.
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 change in the early stages. Acute angle closure glaucoma is a less prevalent but can lead to blurred vision, the appearance of rings around lights, and pain and redness of the eyes and sometimes pain in the cheek and jaw area. Other types of glaucoma can be present without any symptoms or vision changes. These are only detected through a thourgh comprehensive eye examination.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is primarily treated with prescription eye drops to lower the pressure inside the eye. 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. Therefore, early detection and treatment is paramount.
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 central blindness if not diagnosed early and treated appropriately.
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 an injection into the eye.