DISORDER – Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a vision condition in which nearby objects are clear and distant objects appear blurry. This may be caused by excess corneal curvature or an oblong rather than a spherical shape to the eye, both of which affect the way light is bent upon entering the eye and whether it focuses properly on the retina.
TREATMENT – Eyeglasses and contact lenses are common methods of correcting nearsightedness. Eyewear may be used for certain activities, like watching television or driving, or for all activities. Alternately, vision correction procedures such as refractive and laser surgery may rectify the problem.
DISORDER – Patients with farsightedness, also called hyperopia, can see distant objects clearly, while others are unable to see objects clearly at any distance without correction, such as glasses.
In most cases, farsightedness is an inherited condition caused by an eye that is too short front to back. This reduces the distance between the cornea (the clear film that covers the front of the eye) and the retina (the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye). Because this distance is shorter, images tend to focus behind the retina, rather than on the retina. Sometimes, the eye is able to compensate, partially or totally, for this focusing problem through a process called accommodation. In accommodation, tiny muscles within the eye contract, altering the shape of the lens and bringing the viewed object into focus.
TREATMENT – If you are farsighted, your doctor probably will prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your problem. The lenses used in both of these treatments are thick in the center and thinner around the edges, which brings the viewed image forward into proper focus on the retina. Some cases of farsightedness also can be corrected with laser eye surgery, such as LASIK.
DISORDER – Astigmatism occurs when light does not focus properly in your eye, causing blurred vision. The clear covering on the surface of the eye, the cornea, refracts (bends) light so it focuses on the retina in the back of the eye. With astigmatism some of that light focuses in front of or behind the retina, so your vision may be blurry for nearby (hyperopia), far-away (myopia) or all objects.
Indications of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and blurred or distorted vision. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of astigmatism in your eyes.
TREATMENT – Routine eye exams include testing for astigmatism, which affects many people. Once diagnosed, astigmatism can usually be corrected with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Corneal modification techniques such as LASIK (laser vision correction) are also useful treatment options.
DISORDER – Presbyopia is a natural change in our eyes’ ability to focus. It occurs when the crystalline lens of the eye loses its flexibility, causing objects to appear blurry. Symptoms take years to develop and typically begin to show in the early- to mid-40s.
TREATMENT– The effects of presbyopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, including multifocal and progressive lenses; monovision; and conventional or laser surgery, such as CK, PRK, monovision LASIK, and intraocular lenses (IOLs).
DISORDER – A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens in the front of the eye. Cataracts are caused by a chemical change of unknown origin in the eye, and cause blurred or distorted vision. They cannot be prevented from forming, but early detection through regular eye exams can help maintain the clearest vision possible.
Blurred/hazy visionPeople at risk for developing cataracts are over 55 years old, have had eye injuries or disease, have a family history of cataracts, smoke cigarettes or use certain medications. There is no pain associated with the condition, but there are several symptoms that indicate failing vision due to cataracts. These include:
- Spots in front of the eye(s)
- Sensitivity to glare
- A feeling of “film” over the eye(s)
- A temporary improvement in near vision
TREATMENT – Vision loss from cataracts can sometimes be corrected with prescription glasses and contact lenses. For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, replacement surgery may be the preferred method of treatment. During cataract replacement, the most common surgical procedure in the country, the lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens or IOL.
DISORDER – Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises, damaging the optic nerve and causing vision loss. The condition often develops over many years without causing pain or other noticeable symptoms – so you may not experience vision loss until the disease has progressed.
To detect glaucoma, your physician will test your visual acuity and visual field as well as the pressure in your eye. Regular eye exams help to monitor the changes in your eyesight and to determine whether you may develop glaucoma.Symptoms that you could be developing glaucoma include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, halo effects around lights, and painful or reddened eyes. People at high risk include those who are over the age of 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or who have a family history of glaucoma.
TREATMENT – Once diagnosed, glaucoma can be controlled. Treatments to lower pressure in the eye include non-surgical methods such as prescription eye drops and medications, laser therapy, and surgery.
DISORDER – Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. These and other serious conditions often develop without vision loss or pain, so significant damage may be done to the eyes by the time the patient notices any symptoms. For this reason it is very important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined once a year.
TREATMENT – Diagnosing and treating eye disease early can prevent vision loss. It is also important to maintain a steady blood-sugar level, take prescribed medications, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking.
DISORDER – Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). These weak vessels can leak, swell or develop thin branches, causing a loss of vision. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters and blind spots – and, eventually, blindness. This damage can be irreversible.
Fortunately, diabetic retinopathy is preventable. People with diabetes are most susceptible to developing it, but your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Regular eye exams are an integral part of making sure your eyes are healthy.
TREATMENT – Although damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be corrected, patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.
DISORDER – Retinal tears commonly lead to retinal detachment if liquid seeps through the tear and collects behind the retina or between its nerve layers. Retinal detachment can cause significant, permanent vision loss and requires immediate medical treatment.
There are three kinds of retinal detachment. The most common form, described above, occurs when fluid leaks into the retina; people who are nearsighted or who have had an injury or eye surgery are most susceptible. Less frequently, friction between the retina and vitreous or scar tissue pulls the retina loose, something that occurs most often in patients with diabetes. Third, disease-related swelling or bleeding under the retina can push it away from the eye wall.
Signs of retinal tear or detachment include flashes of light, a group or web of floaters, wavy or watery vision, a sense that there is a veil or curtain obstructing vision, or a sudden drop in vision quality.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR – If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Early treatment is essential to preserve your vision.
DISORDER – The macula is a part of the retina in the back of the eye that ensures that our central vision is clear and sharp. Macular degeneration causes a progressive loss of vision. It is a major cause of blindness in the U.S.
There are two kinds of macular degeneration: “wet” and “dry.” The “wet” form can be treated in its early stages. Many patients do notice any symptoms for several years or longer. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.
Symptoms often associated with macular degeneration include:
- A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- A gradual loss of color vision
- Distorted vision
- A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
SEE YOUR DOCTOR – Patients with macular degeneration should monitor their vision daily with an “Amsler Grid.” If the lines of the grid do not look straight or areas appear to be missing and/or distorted, you should contact us to schedule an appointment.
DISORDER – Although most flashes and floaters occur in people with healthy or merely nearsighted eyes, they can be symptoms of serious problems including injury and retinal and posterior vitreous detachments. Flashes in vision are caused by pressure on the retina, the bundle of nerves in the back of the eye where images are detected and transmitted to the brain. Floaters are often seen when fibers move within the vitreous humor, the gelatinous substance made of water and protein fibers that fills the eye. Serious vision loss can occur if the retina or vitreous detach from the eye wall.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR – Patients experiencing flashes and floaters should contact their doctor immediately so an examination can be performed.
DISORDER – Dry eye can make a person’s eyes dry, red, or irritated. In addition to being uncomfortable, it can damage the eye’s tissues and impair vision.
People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don’t produce enough tears, or because the tears themselves have a chemical imbalance.
TREATMENT – Dry eye is not preventable, but it can be controlled before harm is done to your eyes. Primary treatments include use of artificial tears or moisturizing ointment. If these methods fail, small punctal plugs may be inserted in the corners of the eyes to limit tear drainage, or prescription dry eye drops may be used.
DISORDER – Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation – a long-term swelling – of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. It may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, acne, bacterial infection, allergic reaction or poor eyelid hygiene. The eyelids crust, flake, scale or redden, and the smooth inside lining of the lids may become rough. In more serious cases, sores can form when the crusting skin is removed, the eyelashes may fall out, the eyelids can deform, the infection can spread to the cornea, and patients often suffer from excessive tearing.
Meibomitis, a type of blepharitis refers to dysfunction and inflammation of meibomian glands. Oil production by the glands decreases and the oils that are produced become thicker (looking like toothpaste). The reduction in the quantity and quality of the oily layer causes the tears to evaporate more rapidly and this leads to symptoms of dryness, burning and irritation, especially upon awakening
TREATMENT – Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. This may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the problems.
DISORDER – Droopy eyelids (eyelids ptosis) occur when the edge of the upper eyelid, that contains the lashes, falls too low. When the edge of the eyelid falls and covers part of the pupil, it blocks the upper part of the vision. In severe cases, it is necessary to tilt the head back or lift the eyelid with a finger in order to see out from under the drooping eyelid. A droopy eyelid can occur as a congenital defect in which the muscle that lifts the eyelid fails to develop properly. A rigid contact lens wearer can experience eyelid lifting muscle stretching, resulting in ptosis. In most cases, a drooping upper eyelid results from aging of previously normal structures. Typically, the tendon that attaches the lifting muscle of the eyelid stretches and the eyelid falls too low. Since the muscle that lifts the eyelid has normal strength, surgical correction of a drooping upper eyelid which was once normal, involves repair of the stretched tendon.
TREATMENT – Drooping eyelids are corrected through a blepharoplasty (eyelid crease) incision. At the same time, the tendon and muscle are strengthened to raise the eyelid, extra skin may be removed to give a better appearance and also to improve function if there is a great deal of extra tissue.