Our ophthalmology services include ophthalmology exams and management of a range of eye problems, including…
Dry Eyes is a common ocular condition that has significant impact on quality of life for those afflicted. Dry eye can cause visual impairment as well as mild to severe discomfort. The diagnosis is made based on patients’ symptoms and ocular exam findings. Dry eyes may manifest because of decrease tear production or excessive aqueous evaporation and treatment is based on what type of dry eye is present. 10% of the dry eye patients can have Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that results in extremely low tear production. Most common symptoms of dry eyes are:
- ocular irritation
- foreign body sensation
- ocular redness
- sensitivity to light
- mucus discharge
- fluctuating vision
Diagnosis of dry eye is done by your ophthalmologist and is important to check before considering procedures like Lasik or cataract surgery. It is also important to check for dry eyes before cosmetic procedures on eyelids or eyebrows. Undiagnosed dry eye can affect the outcomes of these procedures and can lead to decreased healing and increased discomfort. To diagnose dry eye a thorough eye examination should be performed. Often an ocular dye drop is given to highlight any dry spots on the cornea. The amount of tears the eye makes can also be measured in the office.
Treatment for dry eyes can improve patients’ symptoms and clinical signs but will not cure the disease. First line treatment is usually artificial tears and should be used regularly by patients with dry eyes. For patients that are more sensitive or need to use drops very frequently, preservative free drops are available. Other treatments like punctal plugs, cyclosporine drops and ointment can be used in more severe cases.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve in which permanent visual loss can occur if left untreated. The optic nerve carries the visual information from the eye to the brain and glaucoma can cause a slow atrophy of the optic nerve fibers. This manifests for patients as a decrease in peripheral vision.
Usually glaucoma is asymptomatic and progression is very slow so that many patients with the disease aren’t aware that they are losing vision. Glaucoma is related to the intraocular pressure of the eye and is more likely in those that have family members who have been diagnoses. Different types of glaucoma are:
- Open angle glaucoma
- Closed angle glaucoma
- Congenital glaucoma
Regular check ups with an ophthalmologist will catch early disease. Diagnosis is made by checking eye pressure, checking peripheral vision of the eyes and taking photos of the optic nerve.
Treatment for glaucoma can vary depending on severity. Some cases are managed with eye drops and others may require laser treatment or surgery.
Diabetics need to get their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist regularly to ensure diabetic changes are caught early. Diabetes affects the blood vessels of the eye and when affected, the blood vessel changes can cause blurry vision or even vision loss. Diabetics can have macular edema that leads to reduced vision, bleeding that can affect vision and even scarring and retinal detachments that can cause permanent vision loss.
It is always best to catch changes from diabetes early to prevent severe disease and permanent vision loss. Examining the eyes also gives the doctor an idea of how other blood vessels of the body are affected by diabetes, like the kidney.
Age related macular degeneration is the breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is the region of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly. With age, this part of the eye is subject to deposits, drusen, that can lead to atrophy of the retina and new blood vessel growth. When atrophy or blood vessel growth occurs, light that enters the eye can’t be processed to generate a visual response and what patients see is distorted or blurry vision.
Age related macular degeneration can occur in one eye or both eyes, and can occur as a dry type or wet type.
Dry macular degeneration occurs when deposits in the macula lead to atrophy of the retina. This is the more common type and vision gradually diminishes and is less severe. People with dry ARMD should be instructed to contact their doctor if they experience changes in vision or distorted vision because their macular degeneration can progress to the wet type.
In wet ARMD, blood and fluid can accumulate beneath the retina and causes vision loss. This is the more severe form of macular degeneration and should be evaluated promptly to preserve any remaining vision.