About 120 million people in the United States wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. These vision disorders–called refractive errors– are the most common of all vision problems in the US. Refractive errors occur when the curve of the cornea is either too steep or too flat, or when the eye is either too short of too long. When the cornea is of normal shape and curvature, it bends or refracts light on the retina with precision. However, when the curve of the cornea is irregularly shaped, the cornea bends light imperfectly on the retina. This blurs vision. There are many other conditions that affect or can potentially affect the clarity and or quality of vision. Some Americans are inflicted with these conditions and do not even know that they have them. Cataracts, Glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes are some of the common conditions. Many of these are easily treated and some are curable.
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition in which a person can see near objects more clearly than distant objects. Myopia is usually the result of a longer than normal eye or a steeper than normal cornea. In the myopic eye, light rays from distant objects focus before they reach the retina. The result is blurred vision. A tendency for myopia may be inherited. Frequent or prolonged near work may also influence the progression of Myopia. Myopia is typically detected in school-age children, may worsen during adolescence as kids grow, and generally stabilizes between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age. Myopia may worsen again in the early phases of cataract formation. Ask us about treatment options for Myopia.
Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a condition in which a person can generally see distant objects more clearly than near objects. Hyperopia usually occurs when an eyeball is shorter than normal or when the cornea is flatter than normal. When an eyeball is short, light rays from distant objects focuses on a virtual point that is beyond the retina. In young individuals the lens of the eye may adjust or accommodate for this and the vision can be quite good for both near and distance. As one ages, the lens’ ability to accommodate decreases and the vision quality decreases as well. The result is blurred vision. Hyperopia may be inherited. Babies and young children tend to be slightly hyperopic. As the eye grows and becomes longer, hyperopia decreases. Please ask us regarding the treatment options of hyperopia or press on the links below to find out more information.
Astigmatism is a condition in which objects, both near and distant, appear blurred and distorted. Astigmatism results when the lens and or cornea of the eye are not spherical in shape. When one or both are unevenly, the optics take on an oblong or toric shape (like a football). This uneven curvature prevents light rays entering the eye from focusing to a single point on the retina; instead there are two focal points. The resultant vision is blurred much like the visual image in a funhouse mirror at an amusement park. Astigmatism often occurs in combination with myopia and hyperopia.
After 40 years of age, most people find it increasingly difficult to read or see clearly at close range. This condition known as presbyopia and is a normal part of aging process. It develops very slowly and progresses until age 65 when it tends to stabilize. Prespbypia develops as the lens of the eye becomes less flexible and loses its ability to focus on near objects. Presbyopia should not be confused with hyperopia or farsightedness, which relates to the eyeball being too short, a feature that is present from birth. We now have exciting treatment options for Presbyopia. Please ask us about the LTK, Lasik for presbyopia or the new RESTOR intraocular lens.
A cataract is a clouding in the eye’s lens that can cause various vision problems. The most common type is related to aging however many younger patients have cataracts from a variety of causes. More than half of all Americans age 65 and older have a cataract. The most common symptoms of a cataract are cloudy or blurry vision, problems with light sensitivity and color desaturation are common. Symptoms such as such headlights that seem too bright at night, glare from lamps or the sun, or haze around lights. Colors may seem faded, double or multiple images and frequent changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses may all indicate the presence of a cataract. Cataracts are not painful. Not all cataracts require surgical intervention. Many times a change in eye glasses and or more lighting may be all that is required for better vision. At times surgical intervention is necessary. Cataract surgery is very safe and easy for patients with minimal recovery. It is the most successful surgery performed in the US and yield excellent visual results. Please contact us if you think you have any of these symptoms for a consultation so that we could evaluate the health of your eye.
Dry eyes are caused by either a lack of tear volume or a problem with tear consistency. Tears are necessary for the normal lubrication of your eyes and to wash away particles and foreign bodies. In addition, a smooth tear surface are responsible for precise bending the light rays and in providing good vision. If you have dry eyes, you may feel a burning, scratching, or stinging sensation. You may also have strained or tired eyes after reading even for short periods of time. Vision may be blurred with a dry ocular surface. If you wear contacts, they will likely feel uncomfortable. Although having dry eyes is common and often only produces unpleasant symptoms, sometimes dry eyes may lead to tiny abrasions on the surface of your eyes. Although most people equate dry eye disease with uncomfortable eyes, serious vision complications are a distinct possibility. If untreated, severe dry eye disease may lead to a breakdown of the corneal surface, ulceration and perforation of the cornea, an increased incidence of infectious disease, and, potentially, serious visual impairment and blindness. Dry eye is a fairly easy syndrome to treat. Please let us know if you are bothered by any of the above symptoms.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can lead to damage to the eye’s optic nerve and result in blindness. There are several types of glaucoma. The most common is Chronic Open-angle glaucoma and affects about 3 million Americans, half of whom don’t know they have it. The cause of glaucoma is largely unknown. In many people, increased intraocular pressure leads to glaucoma. The fluid in the eye is manufactured behind the iris in a structure called the cilliary body. The fluid is used to nourish the ocular structures. It is then drained in front of the iris into the trabecular meshwork. If there is an impediment of fluid outflow from the eye for any number of different reasons, the result is an elevation in pressure. This elevation in pressure leads to optic nerve deterioration and may lead to blindness unless treated. Treatment for glaucoma is usually medical and aims to lower the pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is a disease that is very slowly progressive and largely asymptomatic. It is essential that the eyes are evaluated for glaucoma by an ophthalmologist on each eye care visit. Please see us if you have glaucoma to discuss the nature of the treatment.
DIABETIC EYE DISEASE
Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the eye’s retina. It affects half of the 14 million Americans with diabetes. The eye disease is usually seen in later stages of diabetes and can be avoided by strict sugar control. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. At this point, most people do not notice any changes in their vision. As the blood vessel injury progresses, the vessels start to bleed and exude fluid. Also, the very small capillaries shut down and the retina becomes hungry for oxygen. As a response, the body creates new blood vessels to supply the needed oxygen but these can bleed easily. Treatment of diabetic retinopathy is needed to prevent and lessen the effects that diabetes has over the vision. The National Eye Institute urges all people with diabetes to have an eye examination through dilated pupils at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease is one of the leading causes of blindness in the US. Having a routine eye examination can prevent this. Also an eye examination can predict vessel disease in other parts of the body. Many times, we could predict renal disease and cardiac disease.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the central vision. It is a common cause of vision loss among people over age of 60. The cause of AMD is not known. It is believed that cumulative exposure of the eye to UV and blue light early in life may contribute to the formation and progress of the disease. It is therefore our strongest recommendation that or patients wear good UV protective sunglasses when they are exposed to the sun. Because only the center of your vision is usually affected, people rarely go blind from the disease. However, AMD can sometimes make it difficult to read, drive, or perform other daily activities that require fine, central vision. In AMD, there is a breach in one of the layers of the retina allowing new blood vessels to grow into the retina. There are two types of AMD, a dry type and a wet type. In dry AMD, the retina is scarred. There are some treatments for dry AMD but they are limited. In wet AMD, there is retinal bleeding and fluid exudation into the tissue. In the case of wet AMD, there are some very effective treatments that may be applied to stop the process and savor some vision. Please check with our doctors to see if you have AMD and if you are a candidate for some treatment.
Vitreous floater and posterior vitreous detachment.
Floaters in ones vision are a common occurrence. Floaters are usually due to a change in the consistency of the vitreous gel over time. The vitreous gel is made of protein and water. With time, the proteins can kink and produce clumps in the vitreous. As the light rays come into the eye, they hit these protein clumps and cast a shadow on the retina. This forms sensation of a floater. Floaters are very characteristic as they as usually best identified in a high contrast situation (ie blue sky, computer screen or book). They are not well delineated in a dimly lit room. Floaters may also be seen in cases where the vitreous gel separates from the retina leaving a clump of connective tissue from its strong adhesion to the eye.
In general, floaters are not serious and require no treatment. However, it is important for you to be checked by an ophthalmologist as floaters may lead to retinal traction and retinal tears. Signs and symptoms that should lead to prompt examination are lots of floaters and or flashing lights in the peripheral vision. These are symptoms of retinal traction. They may be benign but a good dilated retinal examination is needed to rule out a retinal tear