Conditions & Diseases We Treat
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
What causes age-related macular degeneration? Macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by deterioration of the retina and can severely impair vision, and is usually age-related.
What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration? Some symptoms of macular degeneration may be that straight lines start to appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted; dark, blurry, or white out areas appear in the center of vision; and color perception may change or diminish.
How is age-related macular degeneration treated? There is no cure for macular degeneration, but it can be treated with vitamins, laser therapy, medications and vision aids.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
What causes amblyopia? Amblyopia usually starts when one eye has much better focus than the other eye. For example, when the child’s brain is confronted with both a blurry image and a clear image, it will begin to ignore the blurry image. If this goes on for months or years, the vision in the eye that sees the blurry image will deteriorate.
How can amblyopia be detected? All children should be screened for amblyopia before they are school age. Your child’s doctor or the vision program at school will check three aspects of your child’s eye health: that your child’s eyes let light all the way through; that both eyes see equally well; and, that the eyes are moving normally.
How is amblyopia treated? The most common treatment for amblyopia is to force the brain to start using the “bad” eye by putting a patch over the “good” eye.
What causes astigmatism? Astigmatism can be hereditary and is often present at birth. It can also result from pressure from the eyelids on the cornea, incorrect posture, or an increased use of the eyes for close work.
What are the symptoms of astigmatism? People with undetected astigmatism often experience headaches, fatigue, eyestrain and blurred vision at all distances. While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more symptoms.
How is astigmatism treated? Almost all degrees of astigmatism can be corrected with properly prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses.
What causes cataracts? A cataract occurs when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy.
What are the symptoms of cataracts? Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably block light. When symptoms of cataracts are present, they can include vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy or filmy; progressive nearsightedness in older people often called “second sight” because they may no longer need glasses; changes in the way you see color because the discolored lens acts as a filter; problems driving at night such as glare from oncoming headlights; problems with glare during the day; double vision; and sudden changes in glasses prescription.
How are cataracts treated? If diagnosed with cataracts, your vision may be able to be corrected to an acceptable level with a change in prescription, eyeglasses – including bifocals or contacts – may be prescribed, eliminating the need for surgery at that time.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
What is conjunctivitis? Also known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva.
What causes conjunctivitis? It is usually caused by allergies, a virus or a bacterial infection.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis? The symptoms of pink eye differ based on the cause of the inflammation, but may include redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid, increased amount of tears, thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep, green or white discharge from the eye, itchy eyes, burning eyes, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light.
How is conjunctivitis treated? Treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis, but you may relieve the symptoms of pink eye by protecting your eyes from dirt and other irritating substances, avoiding the use of makeup, removing contact lenses if you wear them, and using non-prescription “artificial tears,” which may help relieve itching and burning from the irritating substances causing your pink eye.
What causes diabetic retinopathy? Anyone with diabetes – both Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes – is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, the type of diabetes a person has, how often their blood glucose fluctuates, how well controlled the sugars are, and how long a person has had diabetes all affects his or her risk. The better you control your blood sugar levels, the lower your risk.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy? There are often no early signs of diabetic retinopathy and sight may not be affected until the condition is severe. Sometimes loss of central vision when reading or driving, loss of the ability to see color, and blurriness of vision are the only signs of diabetic retinopathy.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated? In most cases, laser surgery can prevent significant vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy. A procedure called laser photocoagulation can be performed to seal or destroy growing or leaking blood vessels in the retina. Although the procedure is not painful, laser surgery may lower a person’s night vision and ability to see color.
What causes dry eye? Dry eye can be caused by medical problems such as lupus, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome.
What are the symptoms of dry eye? When tears do not adequately lubricate the eye due to dry eyes, a person may experience pain, light sensitivity, a gritty sensation, a feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye, itching, redness, or blurring of vision.
How is dry eye treated? Though dry eyes cannot be cured, there are a number of steps that can be taken to treat them. You should discuss treatment options of dry eyes with an ophthalmologist. Treatments for dry eyes may include artificial tear drops and ointments, temporary punctal occlusion, permanent punctal occlusion, restasis, other medications, including topical steroids, or sometimes surgery may be necessary.
What causes glaucoma? Normally, this fluid, called aqueous humor, flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel becomes blocked, fluid builds up, causing glaucoma. The direct cause of this blockage is unknown, but doctors do know that it is most often inherited, meaning it is passed from parents to children.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma? The first sign of glaucoma is often the loss of peripheral or side vision, which can go unnoticed until late in the disease. Detecting glaucoma early is one reason you should have a complete exam with an eye specialist every one to two years.
How is glaucoma treated? Glaucoma treatment may include prescription eye drops, laser treatment or microsurgery.
What causes hyperopia? Farsightedness occurs when light entering the eye is focused behind the retina instead of directly on its camera. This is caused by an eye that is too short, whose cornea camera is not curved enough, or whose lens sits farther back in the eye than normal. Farsightedness often runs in families. In rare cases, some diseases such as retinopathy and eye tumors can cause it.
What are the symptoms of hyperopia? Symptoms of farsightedness can include blurred vision (especially at night), trouble seeing objects up close, aching eyes, eyestrain and headaches.
How is hyperopia treated? Most farsighted people don’t need treatment. Your eyes can usually adjust to make up for the problem. But as you age and your eyes can’t adjust as well, you will probably need eyeglasses or contact lenses. (Glasses or contact lenses can help at any age if farsightedness is more than a mild problem.)
What causes myopia? In nearsighted people, the eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, so the light entering the eye is not focused correctly. Nearsightedness runs in families and usually appears in childhood. Usually the condition plateaus, but it can worsen with age.
What are the symptoms of myopia? People who are nearsighted often complain of headaches, eyestrain, squinting or fatigue when driving, playing sports or looking more than a few feet away. Children commonly complain of not being able to see the chalkboard at school.
How is myopia treated? Glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery can correct nearsightedness.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
What causes strabismus? Some people are born with eyes that do not align in the usual way. This is called congenital strabismus. In many children, there is no clear cause of strabismus. In some cases, strabismus is the result of a problem with the nervous system.
How is strabismus treated? Vision therapy may be recommended to help a person correct their vision or strengthen their eye muscles. This therapy may help train a patient’s brain to align their eyes and focus and visually process images. Vision therapy uses computerized optical devises, including lenses and filters, to develop the eye muscles.
Other Common Eye Problems
Bacteria infect the skin on the edge of the eyelid, creating a tender red bump.
An oil-making gland gets blocked and swells into a bump. Often confused with styes, chalazions are not caused by infections.
Bleeding into the front of the eye, behind the cornea. Hyphema is usually caused by trauma.
Inflammation of the eyelids near the eyelashes. Blepharitis is a common cause of itching or a feeling of grit in the eyes.
A scratch on the clear part of the front of the eye. Pain, light sensitivity or a feeling of grit in the eye are the usual symptoms.
Inflammation or infection of the cornea. Keratitis typically occurs after germs enter a corneal abrasion.
Inflammation or infection of the retina. Retinitis may be a long-term genetic condition or result from a viral infection.
The colored part of the eye becomes inflamed or infected. An overactive immune system, bacteria or viruses can be responsible.
The optic nerve becomes inflamed, usually from an overactive immune system. Painful vision loss in one eye typically results.
Swelling and discoloration around the eye as a result of injury to the face.