Glaucoma is a group of progressive, painless eye diseases that can cause blindness. With all types of glaucoma, the nerve connecting the eye to the brain is damaged, often due to high eye pressure, family history, high spectacle prescriptions, trauma, and/or poor systemic health.
At this time glaucoma has no cure, however, treatment can slow vision loss and help preserve the vision we have. Regular eye examinations are very important, as early detection of the disease results in the best chance for preserving vision.
Treatment of this condition includes topical therapy (eye drops), laser therapy, and surgery which may be combined with cataract surgery. The main goal of this treatment is to reduce the pressure inside of the eye to preserve the life of the optic nerve.
Cataracts are the clouding of the lens inside the eye from sunlight, age, medications, and trauma, though diabetes and other health conditions can also cause cataracts. Cloudy vision, reduced color vision, or vision that appears to be like looking through a frosted window are all common symptoms. We excel in the diagnosis and co-management of cataracts and will be your advocate for proper treatment, which includes surgery to remove the old lens and implanting a new clear lens to help light reach the retina, all of which will optimize vision. There are a variety of new lenses to choose from to help clear up distance, computer, and reading vision.
This group of conditions spans a wide array of issues from dry eye disease to Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy, herpetic keratitis, corneal ectasia (to include keratoconus), and other corneal conditions that may arise from contact lens overwear or trauma (corneal abrasion or ulcer).
Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye. Natural human 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 into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage are not in balance.
People with dry eyes may experience irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, foreign body sensation, light sensitivity, or excessive watering. These symptoms can often lead to blurry vision. Dry Eye disease is a chronic condition that has no cure and can be triggered by numerous factors. Our comprehensive examination checks on the tear quality, examine eyelid function and detect ocular surface abnormalities. From here we have the ability to come up with a long-term treatment plan to reduce signs and symptoms of dry eye.
The cornea has five layers. The innermost layer (endothelium) is responsible for keeping the cornea clear so light may pass through to the retina. In Fuch’s, the endothelium develops breaks and gaps over time which cause fluid to accumulate. This can lead to blurry, cloudy vision. Treatment is based on severity and designed to help preserve corneal structure and function.
Herpes Simplex has two main types of infections. Type 1, above the waist, commonly presents as cold sores. Type 2, below the waist, is a sexually transmitted disease. Both types can cause recurring infections in the eye, and because they are contagious, need to be treated appropriately.
A group of progressive eye disorders characterized by a bulging and thinning of the cornea can result in moderate to severe vision loss. Keratoconus is the most common form, though others may arise from genetics or previous ocular surgery. These degenerative conditions can cause blurry vision that may be uncorrectable with just spectacles. We at Towne Lake Eye Associates have the ability to fit our patients with scleral lenses, a special form of contact lens that allows for enhanced quality of vision through irregular corneas. We take pride in our ability to help people regain vision with this special process, and have helped many people see better than they thought possible.
Corneal abrasions and ulcers are other common conditions causing breaks in the cornea that may lead to progressive infections if not properly managed. To treat the damaged corneal tissue, we use a combination of drop therapy, possible amniotic membranes, or bandage contact lenses depending on the severity of each condition. Careful follow-up visits are set to ensure proper healing and a reduction of scar formation.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD.
This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” (atrophic, nonexudative) and “wet” (exudative). Most people with macular degeneration have the “dry” form. While there is no specific treatment for dry AMD, studies have shown a potential benefit from vitamin supplements, a healthy diet, protection from the ultraviolet light of the sun, and cessation of smoking. The less common wet form may respond to intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications if detected and treated early.
In diabetics, the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye may become strained, leaky, or bleed, all of which are signs of retinopathy. Sometimes, this disease appears in eye tissues even before someone has been diagnosed with diabetes. Early detection can help people avoid vision loss and other serious complications. If warranted, our advanced technology will scan the retina and help us monitor and treat possible vision-threatening damage that diabetes can cause.
Your doctor may notice signs of high blood pressure during your eye exam. Treating the underlying cause is the best solution, though ocular signs of hypertension may cause vision loss and need to be addressed immediately. High blood pressure can cause unusual bends in retina vessels, or bleeding which affects one-in-three American adults. Yearly dilated exams, fundus photography, and proper health control are ways to ensure your eyes remain healthy.
The small blood vessels of the retina can sometimes contain blockages or clots, occurring from poor health control, untreated glaucoma, or drug use. These blockages can cause sudden blind spots or a loss of vision and can point to an increased risk for stroke. While some may occur without any visual significance, some occlusions can cause severe to permanent vision loss along with several other complications and need to be treated early and monitored often.
If you’re curious about your eye health and how often you should have an exam, please give us a call at 770-926-2858 so we can answer any questions you may have.