Eye Health

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye, which is located behind the iris, or colored part, of the eye. They are a normal part of the aging process, and will effect everyone, if they live long enough. Cataracts can effect people from age 40 and up, but most people are in their 60's when they notice them. With cataracts, people experience a gradual dimming of their vision, a loss of visual acuity and occasional glare, especially at night. It then becomes difficult to see small print when reading and to see distance objects clearly. Many people with cataracts are referred to us by the Department of Motor Vehicles because their corrected vision is worse than 20/40. When cataracts are diagnosed, we make every effort to keep the vision up to the best acuity possible, based on the amount of cataract present. If the vision gets to the point where it interferes with a person's daily activity, we consider having the cataracts surgically removed. We work with the finest surgeons in the area, and generally co-manage the procedure with the surgeon. We prescribe the post-op glasses or contact lenses to insure that you have the best possible vision after surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the Optic Nerve of the eye. It is not precisely known what causes it, but there are many risk factors associated with Glaucoma. Several of these are: Age, Family History of Glaucoma, Diabetes, Intraocular Pressure, Race, Nearsightedness, and Associations with other types of Eye Diseases. Glaucoma can be a very serious eye disease, and if not treated, can cause Blindness. In the past, glaucoma was thought to be primarily associated with eye pressure being high, but in recent years, it has been found that it is more complicated than that. Some people with high eye pressures do have Glaucoma, but some people with normal or low eye pressures also have Glaucoma. The emphasis is now toward earlier detection of glaucoma in order to treat and minimize damage to the eye. In other words, the earlier it is detected the better the long term prognosis is, and the less chance of blindness. There are many excellent treatments to control (not cure) Glaucoma, ranging from eye drops to surgery. We are able to treat Glaucoma with prescription eye drops, and work closely with local Ophthalmologists on Glaucoma cases.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a deterioration of the central part of the Retina, called the Macula, which does the fine, detailed seeing. It is generally associated with aging, although not everyone develops it as they age. There are two broad types of Macular Degeneration - Wet and Dry. The Dry is much more common and causes less problems with vision. There is not any treatment for this type of Macular Degeneration, so prevention is key. It is currently thought that taking nutrient supplements, specifically Lutein, and the Anti-oxidant vitamins A, C, E, and Zinc is helpful in strengthening the macula to prevent degeneration, or to keep degeneration from progressing. The Wet type of Macular Degeneration is much more serious as far as vision loss, and can lead to Blindness. Is is currently treated by drugs injected into the eye to prevent progression of the disease, and possibly improvement of the deterioration. When Macular Degeneration occurs, we work closely with local Retinal Specialists who are very good at managing these conditions.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is one of the most common complaints we have in our office. It can be very irritating and the main thing people notice is Burning of their eyes. It can also cause decreased vision even when it is mild. There are many treatments available, depending on the specific cause of the dryness. Lubricating eye drops are the first line of defense for most types of dryness. Eyelid problems, hormone problems, aging, and systemic diseases can cause dry eyes. Contact lens wearers can have more problems with dryness than non-wearers, so special kinds of contacts can be prescribed for people with dry eyes. Oral antibiotics and antibiotic eye drops can be helpful with eyelid problems. Special plugs that block the tear drainage ducts, called Punctal Plugs, are sometimes used. Many people just suffer with this condition, but effective treatments are available.

Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the major causes of Blindness in the United States. People that have had diabetes for a long time, especially if it is not well controlled, are at risk for damage to their eyes from Diabetic Retinopathy. Many people don't know they have Diabetes, and retinal problems are the first sign that is noticed. Regular eye exams are very helpful in detecting diabetic changes. It is very important to closely control Diabetes to prevent or slow damage to the retina. Most Doctors recommend that their Diabetic Patients have their eyes checked at least twice a year, sometimes more often depending on the severity of the Diabetes. Vision can change rapidly if the blood sugar gets too high (over 300), so new glasses are not usually prescribed until it is back in control. Damage caused by Diabetes can range from small balloons in the blood vessels in the back of the eye to bleeding into the eye causing tears in the retina and loss of vision. We work very closely with local Retinal Specialists when people have Diabetic Retinopathy to keep any damage to a minimum, and to treat any retinal problems, if necessary.