Eye Health

This information is not to be used for self-diagnosis and is for informational purposes only. If you notice something abnormal with your eyes or your vision, contact our office immediately!

People often tend to think that an eye examination is just about checking their vision; or, if their vision is fine, why have their eyes checked? You take care in maintaining the health of your body, and your eyes should be no different.

New medications, or changes in dosage or frequency of old medications, can affect your eyes' health and vision and cause dryness issues. Make sure you keep us up-to-date on any medication changes!

Listed below is information on common eye conditions.

Allergies
Eye allergies occur when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva (the membrane lining the inside of the eyelid and the outside of the eye). The most common causes are seasonal allergens, such as pollen and mold spores, and indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander. Symptoms may include itchy or watery eyes, light sensitivity, redness, and/or eyelid swelling.

Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye. Cataracts typically progress slowly, causing compromised vision, glare, and distortion in shadows and colors, and can lead to blindness if not treated. Fortunately, they can easily be treated with cataract surgery.

Conjunctivitis
Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is inflammation of the membrane lining the eyelids (the conjunctiva). It can be caused by numerous things, such as infection from a virus, bacteria, fungi, alleriges, or certain diseases. While most cases are easily treated, some can be very dangerous and can potentially develop into a sight-threatening situation. Even if it looks mild, have it checked immediately! Symptoms include redness, swelling, discharge, pain, itchiness, and/or light sensitivity.

Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. Due to poor circulation that can occur with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, new blood vessel growth often develops in the back of the eye (the retina). These vessels are fragile and often leak or break, which can lead to scarring, hemorrhages, retinal detachment, and eventually blindness.

Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome is a common disorder of the tear film that results from either decreased tear production, excessive tear evaporation, or an abnormality in the production of mucus or lipids normally found in the tear layer. Symptoms may include a sandy/gritty or uncomfortable feeling when blinking, burning or itchiness, redness, blurred vision, a feeling of something in the eye, and/or light sensitivity.

Flashes and Floaters
Flashes are caused by mechanical stimulation of the nerves in the retina (such as rubbing your eyes with moderate pressure). Flashes that occur without stuch stimulus, however, may indicate a condition inside the eye that causes tugging on the retina. Sometimes this force may cause the retina to tear or detach.

Floaters are caused by debris in the fluid inside the eye. Most people notice benign floaters to a degree, especially when looking at a light-colored background. A change in the appearance of floaters may indicate an inflammation or a retinal detachment.

Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged, caused by increased ocular pressure. There are several different types and causes of glaucoma. Most cases (called primary open angle glaucoma) are painless, have no known reason, and present with a higher-than-normal intraocular pressure. There is an inadequate blood flow to the retina, which leads to permanent vision loss. In some cases (called normal tension glaucoma) the same damage occurs, even though the intraocular pressure is not high. A less common form of the disease is called acute angle closure glacoma. It may have a dramatic presentation with a painful "hot" red eye, accompanied by blurry vision, nausea, and vomiting.

Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a condition which usually affects older adults. With advancing age, the macula breaks down, which results in a loss of central vision due to damage to the retina. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for sharp, clear central vision. Macular degeneration occurs in "dry" and "wet" forms. In the dry form, cellular debris called drusen accumulates between the retina and the choroid (area that contains the eye's blood supply), and the retina can become detached. In the wet form, which is more severe, blood vessels grow up from the choroid behind the retina, and the retina can also become detached.

Retinal Detachment
A retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina pulls away from the rest of the eyeball. This is a medical emergency situation and surgical intervention is necessary to reattach the retina and preserve vision. Without surgery, permanent vision loss and possible blindness will occur. Risk factors include severe myopia, retinal tears, trauma, and family history. Symptoms may include the impression that a curtain or veil has been drawn over the field of vision, a dense shadow that starts in the peripheral vision and makes its way towards the central vision, central vision loss, and/or straight lines that suddenly appear curved.

Styes
Technically known as a hordeolum, a stye occurs when pores in the eyelid become blocked and inflamed. It appears as a red, swollen bump that looks similar to a pimple, and is tender to the touch. Never attempt to squeeze a stye - always let it drain on its own.