The Dry Facts About Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye is a term used to describe a group of conditions that result from inadequate wetting and lubrication of the eye. While millions of people worldwide experience dry eye, it is not always easy to diagnose and can easily be mistaken for other conditions such as infections and allergies.
Symptoms of dry eye can include dryness, scratchiness, burning or stinging, foreign body sensation, fluctuating or blurring of vision, tired eyes, general discomfort, contact lens intolerance and tear debris.
Individuals who suffer from dry eye should be excited to know that in recent years there has been a great deal of new research and technology that help doctors manage dry eye more effectively. There are numerous new treatment options that are currently available and many more in development.
Don’t Let Cataracts Continue to Cloud Your Vision
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, which diminishes the quality of vision. Typically, the lens has a yellowish hue to it; vision becomes hazy, and clarity of night vision weakens. Many people describe this sensation as looking through a foggy car window or a piece of wax paper.
A cataract can develop in one or both of your eyes and surgery is usually required to remove the cataract. If you think you may have cataracts, it is important to talk to your family eye care provider, and schedule an appointment so he or she can evaluate your vision. If surgery is necessary, DeKalb Optometric can help you find the right surgical facility for your needs.
Macular Degeneration – Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention
Macular Degeneration robs a person of all but the outermost peripheral vision leaving only dim images at the center of vision. AMD is the number one cause of vision loss and legal blindness in adults over age 60 in the United States. As our population ages and the baby boomers advance into their 50’s and 60’s, we will see a virtual epidemic of AMD.
Many of the causes of AMD we have no control over, and can include age, genetics, race, and gender. However, there are also risk factors that we do have control over.
Dry vs. Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration
Over 90% of the cases of AMD are what is known as the “dry form”. In this condition, the photoreceptors of the macula slowly break down over time causing blurring of central vision. The “wet form” of AMD is less common, but much more aggressive. In this condition, abnormal blood vessels behind the macula start to leak blood or fluid. Loss of central vision can happen rather quickly. There are effective treatments for wet AMD, but early detection is critical.
Understanding & Testing for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly and painlessly steals away your sight. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States, and half of the people who have glaucoma don’t know that they have the disease and are not aware that they are going blind.
The cause of glaucoma is unknown, but there are several risk factors that increase your risk of developing glaucoma. These include high eye pressure (called intraocular pressure, or IOP), older age, being African-American or Hispanic, and having a family history of glaucoma.
Anyone with any of these risk factors should get regular eye examinations to assess for glaucoma.
Glaucoma damages vision by destroying the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain, and carries visual information to your brain for processing. When the optic nerve is damaged from glaucoma, you lose your vision. Your peripheral vision—or side vision—is typically lost first. If the glaucoma remains untreated, the vision loss creeps in toward the center, first causing tunnel vision, and then, eventually, blindness.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, treatment is available to you at DeKalb Optometric to preserve your vision. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower IOP and stop the optic nerve damage and there are several kinds of treatments to do this. These include eye drops, laser therapy, and surgery.
Flashes & Floaters
Floaters consist of small gel particles that are caused when part of the vitreous (gel-like substance in the back of the eye) breaks free. As we age, the gel tends to liquefy which typically causes an increase in the number of floaters a person may see. The whole vitreous may detach from the retina which is a common occurrence in that half of the population will have this occur by age 80. Associated eye flashes that are noticed when new floaters appear could be an indication of a more serious condition. This could mean the vitreous has pulled part of the retina away resulting in a retinal break, tear, or detachment. Should you notice a sudden increase in floaters that may or may not be associated with flashing lights, we recommend you be seen promptly by one of our doctors at DeKalb Optometric to rule out a retinal complication.
Diabetic Eye Health and Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition associated with diabetes. High levels of blood sugar may damage tiny blood vessels in your eye. New vessels may form to replace the damaged vessels. The new vessels can burst, resulting in blurred vision or even blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- "Floaters” – small specks that pass across your field of vision
- Difficulty reading or seeing things close-up
- Blurred or darkened vision
Risk Factors and Treatment
If you have diabetes, make sure you control your blood sugar level. This will reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, give us a call. If diagnosed properly, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with a laser process and/or ocular medications.
Blepharitis & Meibomianitis
Blepharitis and meibomianitis are common eyelid conditions that can cause redness, dry eye, eye and/or eyelid infections and may also be associated with skin conditions such as rosacea. There are two forms of blepharitis: 1) anterior, which affects the outer lid and typically involves excessive crusting build up around the eyelashes 2) posterior, which is commonly referred to as meibomianitis. This is where the meibomian glands that reside anterior to the eyelashes become plugged and inflamed. It is not uncommon for a person to have both anterior and posterior blepharitis. Symptoms of these conditions include burning, flaking, crusting, irritation, and redness. Treatment options your doctor may choose to treat these conditions include: topical antibiotic, topical anti-inflammatory, oral antibiotic, omega 3 supplements, eyelid wash, and warm compresses.