Are you at risk for glaucoma? Fortunately, glaucoma does not have any symptoms. Unfortunately, this is a sight-threatening disease. New technology has evolved to predict damage caused by glaucoma years in advance of prior technology, and best of all, it only requires 20 minutes and no dilation.
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision. The optic nerve is a bundle of about one million individual nerve fibers and transmits the visual signals from the eye to the brain. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers. Vision loss may result. Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness. Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and many people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma. When the pressure inside an eye is too high for that particular optic nerve, whatever that pressure measurement may be, glaucoma will develop.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40, although a congenital or infantile form of glaucoma exists. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation, and using medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.
The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms. Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred. It initially affects peripheral or side vision, but can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant loss of vision in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness.
A less common type of glaucoma, acute angle closure glaucoma, usually occurs abruptly due to a rapid increase of pressure in the eye. Its symptoms may include severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye, seeing colored rings around lights, and blurred vision. This condition is an ocular emergency, and medical attention should be sought immediately, as severe vision loss can occur quickly.
Glaucoma cannot currently be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early it can usually be controlled. Medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. However, vision already lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. That is why the American Optometric Association recommends an annual dilated eye examination for people at risk for glaucoma as a preventive eye care measure. Depending on your specific condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent examinations.
Digital Retinal Camera
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the eye’s retina that occurs with long-term diabetes. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Blurred vision
- Shadows or missing areas of vision
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive inner layer of the eye. There are two types: non-proliferative or proliferative.
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the early stage of the disease and is less severe. Blood vessels in the eye start to leak fluid into the retina, which leads to blurred vision.
- Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced form of the disease, and more severe. New blood vessels start to grow in the eye. These new vessels are fragile and can bleed (hemorrhage), which may cause vision loss and scarring of the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition. Having more severe diabetes for a longer period of time increases the chance of getting retinopathy. Retinopathy is also more likely to occur earlier and be more severe if your diabetes is poorly controlled. Almost everyone who has had diabetes for more than 30 years will show signs of diabetic retinopathy.
Tight control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol is very important for preventing diabetic retinopathy. People with diabetes should begin having eye examinations as follows:
- Children older than 10 years who have had diabetes for 3 – 5 years or more
- Adults with type 2 diabetes soon after diagnosis
- Adolescents and adults with type 1 diabetes within 5 years of diagnosis
After the first exam, most patients should have a yearly eye exam. If you are beginning a new exercise program or are planning to get pregnant, have your eyes examined. Avoid resistance or high-impact exercises, which can strain already weakened blood vessels in the eyes.
Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that makes it difficult to see fine details. The condition affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. At first you may not have symptoms. As the disease progresses, your central vision can be affected.
The most common symptom in dry AMD is blurred vision. As the disease progresses, you may need more light to read or perform everyday tasks. The blurred spot in the center of vision gradually gets larger and darker. In the later stages, you may not be able to recognize faces until people are close to you.
AMD typically does not affect side (peripheral) vision. This is very important, because it means you will never have complete vision loss from this disease.
The most common early symptom of wet macular degeneration is that straight lines appear distorted and wavy. You may also notice a small dark spot in the center of your vision that gradually gets larger.
No treatment exists for dry macular degeneration. However, a combination of antioxidants and zinc may slow the progression of the disease. Smokers should not use this treatment. The recommended supplements contain:
- 500 milligrams of vitamin C
- 400 International Units of beta-carotene
- 80 milligrams of zinc
- 2 milligrams of copper
Although there is no cure for wet AMD, treatments may include:
- Laser surgery (laser photocoagulation) — a small beam of light destroys the abnormal blood vessels.
- Photodynamic therapy — a light activates a drug that is injected into your body to destroy leaking blood vessels.
- Special medications that slow the formation of new blood vessels in the eye (anti-angiogenesis (anti-VEGF) therapy) — drugs such as bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) are injected into the eye to stabilize or improve vision.
Low-vision aids (such as special lenses) and therapy can help improve your vision and quality.
New Smart Centration
Did you realize that 1/3 of all eye glass wearers cannot view themselves without their eyewear? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know exactly what you would look like before you purchase your new eyewear? Even e-mail your friends or loved ones a LIFE-LINE to assist in the final decision.
As the old saying goes… A picture is worth a 1000 words.Come in to let us demonstrate all the features and benefits of our new Magic Mirror:
- View exactly what you will look like in your new frame at all angles- front and side views
- See the cosmetic benefits of anti-reflective treatment
- Provide accurate measurements for your new eyewear
- Demonstrate 6 different colored contacts Lens over your own eye color
- By entering your customized prescription, we can provide accurate lens thickness and weight comparisons
- Eliminate the glare off the water with a polarized Lens
- View the benefits of a self adjusting Transitions Lens
Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Spots are often caused by small flecks of protein or other matter trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth. They can also result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries.
Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems, and you should see your optometrist for a comprehensive examination when you notice sudden changes or see increases in them. By looking in your eyes with special instruments, your optometrist can examine the health of your eyes and determine if what you are seeing is harmless or the symptom of a more serious problem that requires treatment.
Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and usually given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).
- The top number is your systolic pressure, the pressure created when your heart beats. It is considered high if it is consistently over 140.
- The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is at rest. It is considered high if it is consistently over 90.
Either or both of these numbers may be too high.
Pre-hypertension is when your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139 or your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 on multiple readings. If you have pre-hypertension, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure.
Digital Slit Lamp Camera
Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears.
Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose.
Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage.
- Inadequate amount of tears – Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age, with various medical conditions, or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions such as wind and dry climates can also affect tear volume by increasing tear evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop.
- Poor quality of tears – Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water, and mucus. Each component serves a function in protecting and nourishing the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps to prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucin layer functions in spreading the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop.
Treatments for dry eyes aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain eye health.
The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the offending agent. There are three main categories of conjunctivitis: allergic, infectious and chemical:
- Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. At some point they come into contact with a
- substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes.
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is a type of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the chronic presence of a foreign body in the eye. This condition occurs predominantly with people who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, wear soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently, have an exposed suture on the surface or the eye, or have a glass eye.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis is an infection most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from your own skin or respiratory system. Infection can also occur by transmittal from insects, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene (touching the eye with unclean hands), or by use of contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions.
- Viral Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by contagious viruses associated with the common cold. The primary means of contracting this is through exposure to coughing or sneezing by persons with upper respiratory tract infections. It can also occur as the virus spreads along the body’s own mucous membranes connecting lungs, throat, nose, tear ducts, and conjunctiva.
- Ophthalmia Neonatorum is a severe form of bacterial conjunctivitis that occurs in newborn babies. This is a serious condition that could lead to permanent eye damage unless it is treated immediately. Ophthalmia neonatorum occurs when an infant is exposed to Chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal.
Chemical Conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants like air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to noxious chemicals.
How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on evaluation of the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues, may include:
- Patient history to determine the symptoms the patient is experiencing, when the symptoms began, and the presence of any general health or environmental conditions that may be contributing to the problem.
- Visual acuity measurements to determine the extent to which vision may be affected.
- Evaluation of the conjunctiva and external eye tissue using bright light and magnification.
- Evaluation of the inner structures of the eye to ensure that no other tissues are affected by the condition.
- Supplemental testing may include taking cultures or smears of conjunctival tissue, particularly in cases of chronic conjunctivitis or when the condition is not responding to treatment.
Using the information obtained from these tests, your optometrist can determine if you have conjunctivitis and advise you on treatment options.
How is conjunctivitis treated?
Treatment of conjunctivitis is directed at three main goals:
- To increase patient comfort.
- To reduce or lessen the course of the infection or inflammation.
- To prevent the spread of the infection in contagious forms of conjunctivitis.
The appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause:
- Allergic conjunctivitis – The first step should be to remove or avoid the irritant, if possible. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Cases of persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid eye drops.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis – This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Improvement can occur after three or four days of treatment, but the entire course of antibiotics needs to be used to prevent recurrence.
- Viral Conjunctivitis – There are no available drops or ointments to eradicate the virus for this type of conjunctivitis. Antibiotics will not cure a viral infection. Like a common cold, the virus just has to run its course, which may take up to two or three weeks in some cases. The symptoms can often be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tear solutions. For the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation, but do not shorten the course of the infection. Some doctors may perform an ophthalmic iodine eye wash in the office in hopes of shortening the course of the infection. This newer treatment has not been well studied yet, therefore no conclusive evidence of the success exists.
- Chemical Conjunctivitis – Treatment for chemical conjunctivitis requires careful flushing of the eyes with saline and may require topical steroids. The more acute chemical injuries are medical emergencies, particularly alkali burns, which can lead to severe scarring, intraocular damage or even loss of the eye.
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other.
The lens is located inside the eye behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. The lens focuses light on the back of the eye, the retina. The lens is made of mostly proteins and water. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers.
The lens is composed of layers like an onion. The outermost is the capsule. The layer inside the capsule is the cortex, and the innermost layer is the nucleus. A cataract may develop in any of these areas and is described based on its location in the lens:
- A nuclear cataract is located in the center of the lens. The nucleus tends to darken changing from clear to yellow and sometimes brown.
- A cortical cataract affects the layer of the lens surrounding the nucleus. It is identified by its unique wedge or spoke appearance.
- A posterior capsular cataract is found in the back outer layer of the lens. This type often develops more rapidly.
Just as your medical doctor checks your blood pressure at every visit, we evaluate your eye pressure yearly to detect for glaucoma. Now there is ample evidence that corneal thickness a risk factor for development of glaucoma. Our Sonogram Pachometer measures the corneal thickness, and therefore produces a more accurate eye pressure reading.
Sure Shot Autorefractor
Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Some research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work.
Generally, nearsightedness first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. However, nearsightedness may also develop in adults due to visual stress or health conditions such as diabetes.
A common sign of nearsightedness is difficulty with the clarity of distant objects like a movie or TV screen or the chalkboard in school. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for nearsightedness. An optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct nearsightedness by bending the visual images that enter the eyes, focusing the images correctly at the back of the eye. Depending on the amount of nearsightedness, you may only need to wear glasses or contact lenses for certain activities, like watching a movie or driving a car. Or, if you are very nearsighted, they may need to be worn all the time.
Another option for treating nearsightedness is orthokeratology (ortho-k), also known as corneal refractive therapy. It is a non-surgical procedure that involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to gradually reshape the curvature of your cornea. The lenses place pressure on the cornea to flatten it. This changes how light entering the eye is focused.Laser procedures are also a possible treatment for nearsightedness in adults. They involve reshaping the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue. This is accomplished by using a highly focused laser beam on the surface of the eye.
For people with higher levels of nearsightedness, other refractive surgery procedures are now available. These procedures involve implanting a small lens with the desired optical correction directly inside the eye, either just in front of the natural lens (phakic intraocular lens implant) or replacing the natural lens (clear lens extraction with intraocular lens implantation). These procedures are similar to one used for cataract surgery patients, who also have lenses implanted in their eyes (intraocular lens implants).
Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.
Astigmatism is a very common vision condition. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don’t affect vision and don’t require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches.
Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light.
The specific cause of astigmatism is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can change as a child grows and may decrease or worsen over time.
A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for astigmatism. Depending on the amount present, your optometrist can provide eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct the astigmatism by altering the way light enters your eyes.
Another option for treating astigmatism uses a corneal modification procedure called orthokeratology (ortho-k). It is a painless, non-invasive procedure that involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to gradually reshape the curvature of the cornea.
Laser surgery is also a possible treatment option for some types of astigmatism. It changes the shape of the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue. This is done using a highly focused laser beam on the surface of the eye.
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision.
Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side. Symptoms are not always obvious.
Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision therapy and eye patching. Vision therapy teaches the two eyes how to work together, which helps prevent lazy eye from reoccurring.
Early diagnosis increases the chance for a complete recovery. This is one reason why the American Optometric Association recommends that children have a comprehensive optometric examination by the age of 6 months and again at age 3. Lazy eye will not go away on its own. If not diagnosed until the pre-teen, teen or adult years, treatment takes longer and is often less effective.
Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects.
Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.
Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia.
To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs.
Because the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eyewear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision.