EXAMPLES OF EYE DISEASES WE TREAT & MONITOR
CONJUNCTIVITIS ("PINK EYE"): Conjunctivitis is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids. Caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, and other irritants like smoke and dust, it is sometimes highly contagious and is usually accompanied by redness in the white of the eye and increased tearing and/or discharge. While many minor cases improve within two weeks, some can develop into serious corneal inflammation and threaten sight, for which early treatment is crucial.
BLEPHARITIS: Blepharitis is a general term for an inflammation of the eyelid and eyelashes. It is among the most common and stubborn eye conditions usually resulting from poor eyelid hygiene, a low-grade bacterial infection (usually staphylococcal), an allergic reaction, and/or abnormalities in oil gland function. Like some other skin conditions, blepharitis can be controlled but not cured. The main goals in treating it are to reduce the amount of bacteria along the lid margin and open plugged glands.
DRY EYE SYNDROME: Dry eye syndrome refers to a breakdown in the quantity or quality of tears to moisten, cleanse, and protect the eyes. This is significant because, with each blink, tears protect the surface of the eye, washing away dust and microorganisms. Symptoms include scratchy eyes, burning, mild redness, gritty-feeling eyes, and even blurred vision. Oral medications, reading, computer tasks, and dry environments may aggravate marginally dry eyes. Dry eyes can be diagnosed by using dyes to observe tear patterns, evaluation of the amount of tears on the front of the eye, and from review of your symptoms. Treatment may include artificial tears, omega-3 fish oils, prescription eye drops, and/or punctal plugs inserted in the tear drainage canals.
CATARACTS: The natural lens in the eye gradually becomes less clear as we get older. When opacities develop in the lens, vision will be impaired. Our doctors can diagnose and manage cataract care. When the cataract affects the vision to the extent that you cannot read or see distant objects comfortably, we will recommend cataract surgery. We co-manage with cataract specialists who are proven experts in cataract surgery. Cataract surgery can provide you with a bright new world of vision.
DIABETIC EYE DISEASE: Diabetic patients should have a dilated retinal examination each year. Certain laser treatments and eye injections have proven to slow the progression of some diabetic retinal disease for many patients. Diabetes often stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in the back of the eye, which ultimately leak and damage the retina. If this condition is discovered early, certain eye injections can stop the growth of these vessels, and laser treatment can destroy them. We have the latest instruments used to detect changes in the back of the eye. If we discover advancing diabetic eye disease that can be treated or needs further evaluation, we will refer you for consultation and further testing to a Board-Certified retinal specialist.
GLAUCOMA: Glaucoma gradually destroys the optic nerve tissue in the back of the eye. The greatest danger of glaucoma stems from the fact that the disease is painless and without obvious symptoms, until significant damage has occurred. It is oftentimes, but not always, associated with high pressures inside the eye, which cause mechanical stress on the optic nerve, but vascular and other diseases can also cause glaucoma. We always monitor for glaucoma during routine eye examinations. Tests include checking the pressure of the eye, screening for peripheral vision defects, and analyzing the appearance of the optic nerve. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, we typically prescribe medications that lower the eye pressure. Most forms of glaucoma are successfully treated with eye drops, but laser treatments and eye surgery are secondary treatments that offer alternative ways to treat more advanced glaucoma.
AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): This eye disease, which we monitor and manage, occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is responsible for central, detailed, and color vision. It can occur in two forms, “dry” (atrophic) and “wet” (exudative). Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, which does not involve any bleeding or leakage. The less common wet form may respond to certain eye injections and laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early. Some common symptoms are a gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or empty area appearing in the central vision. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. Low vision devices, however, such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can be prescribed to maximize existing vision. Researchers have linked nutrients, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc, to reduced progression of macular degeneration.