Medical Eye Disorders
Glaucoma is a common eye disorder that is, in fact, not one, but an entire group of disorders. It is a disorder that damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve serves to send the images from the eye to the brain.
It was once believed that glaucoma was caused by high fluid pressure inside the eye (called intraocular pressure). Experts now know that, which high introcular pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma, it is not the only cause.
The early stages for glaucoma are undetectable, and experts estimate that only half of the people who currently have glaucoma even realize that they are affected. While there is no cure flaucoma, many medications and procedures exist that can help to slow the disease or stop it altogether. However, like so many eye-related disorders, early diagnosis is essential. Because the early stages of glaucoma have no noticeable symptoms, regular eye exams are recommedned for everyone, even those who have no observable concerns.
According to the American Academy of Opthalmology, more than half of all Americans will develop cataracts by the age of 80. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can cause one's vision to become blurry. They are common with age and can occur in one, or both eyes.
The clouding usually occurs slowly, over time, but can also happen quickly, especially after trauma to the eye. While cataracts are not painful, they do cause many symptoms, such as blurry vision, glare while driving or reading, double vision in one eye, or even just changes to your eyeglass prescription.
New advances and techniques have made cataract surgery one of the most successful and life-improving surgical procedures performed. Following diagnosis, your doctor will refer you to a specilaist who will remove your cataracts and place intraocular lenses to restore your vision. Most cataract surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis and more than 95% of surgeries improve vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease where the macula—the part of the eye responsible for central (straight-ahead) vision—deteriorates. Although AMD does not cause total blindness, it does cause vision problems and impact your quality of life.
There are two types of AMD—wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration, the far less common form, progresses rapidly. FOr some patients, laser therapy can stablize vision loss. Other treatments are also available.
Dry macular degeneration advances slowly and, in most cases, can allow patients relatively normal lives. There is no treatment to reverse the effects of dry macular degeneration, however, high doses of certain antioxidant vitamins may decrease the effects of the disease. A dietary supplement of vitamins C and E, Beta Carotene, Zinc, and Lutein may reduce the risk of progression, though vision loss cannot be restored.
Laser Refractive Surgery
A refractive error occurs when the shape of the eye does not bend light correctly, causing blurred vision. The common refractive disorders are:
Myopia causes distant objects to appear blurry. The condition is inherited and usually discovered in childhood. As a person ages, myopia can progress, requiring a stronger prescription to correct vision.
Hyperopia is when close objects appear blurry. It is most common in children and can improve as a person ages.
Presbyopia is the ages of the lens in the eye, which can make reading more difficult. It usually occurs in people over the age of 40.
Astigmatism is an irregular curvature on the cornea (front surface of the eye). It causes a person's vision to be blurred at all distances.
Refractive errors are commonly treated with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. Some patients may benefit from laser refractive surgery procedures, such as LASIK, which are designed to reduce, or eliminate, the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
During the LASIK procedure, a predetermined amount of corneal tissue is removed and the cornea is reshaped to improve the focusing power of the eye and visual acuity.
Following diagnosis, the doctor can refer you to an eye care professional who specializes in laser refractive surgeries.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Tears are very important for the eyes for a number of reasons. They not only act as a natural lubricant, but also as a cleanser, keeping away and washing out dust, debris, and foreign objects. It also functions as an antibacterial, neutralizing any microorganisms that take residence on the eye's surface.
When tear production is insufficient, it can create many problems for the eyes. Not only are dry eyes uncomfortable, they are also more prone to injury and infection.
In incidental cases of dry eyes, other-the-counter eye lubricants are all that are required to ease the discomfort. When the body cannot produce enough tears, or when tears are drained or evaporated too quickly, this condition is known as Dry-Eye Syndrome.
Symptoms of dry-eye syndrome include:
Burning, gritty, stinging sensation
Fatigue after reading for a minimal amount of time
Increased irritation from wind or smoke
Any person can suffer from dry-eye syndrome. Women are more prone to the condition than men, however, as are the elderly. Dry-eye syndrome can develop as a result of environmental conditions, systemic diseases, and contact lens wear. In addition, some over-the-counter and prescribed medications can cause dry-eye syndrome, including anti-depressants, antihistimines, and birth control pills.
To treat dry-eye syndrome, our doctors can prescribe Restasis, an artificial tear formula that contains special materials that not only lubricate and comfort the eye, but also encourage the eye to produce more tears.