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Glad You Asked

"Really? I didn't know that." S. Welch

CATARACT

  • Clouding of the normally clear human lens.
  • Symptoms inlude foggy, hazy vision, glare and faded colors.
  • Treatment is surgery when vision becomes impaired to affect driving, reading, etc.
    • This type of surgery requires face to face discussion to share risk, alternative treatment, and complications.

MACULAR DEGENERATION

  • Deterioration of the macula, central area of the retina, resulting in progressive blur and distortion especially for reading and driving.
  • Two types:
    • Dry type is gradually progressive and often controlled with large doses of special vitamins such as Ocuvite, Icaps, or AREDS.
    • Wet type sometimes requires laser treatment and/or medication including injection into the vitreous of the eye.

GLAUCOMA

  • OPEN ANGLE glaucoma is a chronic disease of the eye nerve, which is diagnosed by characteristic changes in the nerve and often associated with high eye pressure.
    • Symptoms are often none until advanced and is known as the “thief of vision”.
    • Treatment in the early stages is quite successful and usually includes eye drops, sometimes laser and occasionally even incisional surgery to lower the eye pressure - requires comprehensive discussion.
  • ANGLE CLOSURE glaucoma is a structural alteration of the angle, which is a channel to circulate fluid in the eye. When time passes the angle narrows and closes resulting in pressure, redness and poor vision within hours or days.
    • Treatment is laser or incisional surgery.

DRY EYE

  • Condition where there is an inadequate quality or quantity of tears which is common and occurs increasingly with age and aggravated by medications, environment & work, e.g. computers.
  • Symptoms include dryness, burning, itching, scratchiness and watering.
  • Treatment is a supplement of artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. If this is inadequate, then a prescription medication may be helpful.
    • Sometimes includes tear duct plugs, omega 3 fish oil, etc.

CONJUCTIVITIS (PINK EYE)

  • Redness of white “skin” of the eyeball due to infection and/or inflammation.
  • Symptoms include redness, discomfort, tearing, light sensitivity and occasional discharge including pus.
  • Treatment depends upon the cause and may require antibiotics, anti-viral medications and sometimes anti-allergy medications. This condition can be highly contagious!

STRABISMUS (EYE MISALIGNMENT)

  • Condition where the eyes are not parallel. This misalignment can be horizontal, vertical or combination resulting in double vision, visual confusion or even loss of vision called lazy vision (Amblyopia).
  • Treatment can be observation in the early mild stage, prism glasses, exercises and sometimes eye muscle surgery.

FLOATERS

  • This condition results in seeing spots floating in front of the eye described as dots, threads, or bugs. This is related to microscopic protein filaments deep inside the eye floating in the vitreous, but in front of the retina projected into space as a floater.
  • Concern is this may be an early sign of bleeding in the eye, a tear in the retina, or detachment of the retina. Therefore, any change in floaters or light flashes is a semi-urgent problem.

DROOPING EYELIDS (BROW PTOSIS, DERMATOCHALASIS, BLEPHAROPTOSIS)

  • Condition where the eyelid structure is dropping. This may be due to drooping of the eyebrow, drooping of the eyelid skin, or drooping of the eyelid structure because of weakness of the levator muscle.
  • Symptoms include blockage of vision, heavy sensation and fatigue because of constant effort to raise the lids.
  • Treatment consists of surgery at the appropriate site depending upon the problem. Is it brow, lid, eyelid muscle or a combination?
    • Requires special diagnostic tests and photos

GLASSES (REFRACTIVE ERROR)

  • Refractive error means the natural focusing system is not falling appropriately on the retina. With glasses or contact lenses, this can be brought into focus correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, or any combination of these.

DIABETES

  • Disease of endocrine dysfunction resulting in high blood sugar involving microvessels in the eye.
  • Symptoms initially are negligible in the eye, but with progression can lead to loss of central vision, macular edema, and progressive bleeding in the eye and loss of sight.
  • Treatment is primarily the control of diabetes by awareness of diet, exercise and medication. In addition, frequent examinations determine any silent progression that may be helped by laser treatment.
    • Best advice is excellent control of blood sugar and periodic eye evaluation.

HEADACHE

  • Pain in and around the head, face and around the eyes. The cause of headaches is multiple, including stress, tension, brain tumor, stroke, inflammation, migraine, sinus, and injury.
  • Symptoms are pain, general or localized, throbbing, stabbing intermittent or constant. It may be associated with nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, etc.
  • Treatment is appropriate for the cause and may require medical, neurological workup along with ophthalmic evaluation.
  • Special: If headaches are different than your usual frequency or pattern, this requires an urgent visit as it could be serious.

BLEPHARITIS (GRANULATED LID MARGIN)

  • Redness and swelling of the eyelids margins along with debris.
  • Treatment may require topical antibiotics.
  • Chronic lid hygiene with warm compresses and lid scrubs.
    • Requires office discussion.

CHALAZION/STYE

  • Localized lid gland obstruction/inflammation.
  • Treatment is warm compresses and topical antibiotics and sometimes office surgery.
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