Below are some of the most frequently asked questions by patients about vision problems, eyewear, and optometry services. If you have any other questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.
My eyes don't hurt and my vision is clear. Why should I have an eye exam?
Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining your eyes' health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss - so you may not notice anything wrong until significant and irreversible damage has already happened. Early detection of an eye problem allows for a choice of treatment options and the prevention of further harm.
What is glaucoma? Am I at risk?
- Blurred vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Halo effects around lights
- Painful or reddened eyes
The diagnosis of glaucoma is determined after a comprehensive medical examination of the eye and a review of the patient's medical history. Testing by an ophthalmologist or optometrist can detect the symptoms of glaucoma before symptoms appear so that treatment can begin.
People at risk for developing glaucoma include those who are:
- Older than 40
- A family history of glaucoma
- Low blood pressure
- Thin corneas
- Sustained an eye injury
What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?
- A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- A gradual loss of color vision
- Distorted or blurry vision
- A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
- Wavy lines in the vision
There are two kinds of macular degeneration: "wet" and "dry." Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.
What is a cataract? Who is at risk for developing them?
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Double vision
- Colors that appear to be faded
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Poor night time vision
- Yellowish tinged vision
- A feeling of "film" over the eye
People at risk for developing cataracts include some of the following:
- People older than 55
- People who have sustained an eye injury or disease
- A family history of cataracts
- Certain medications
- Alcohol users
- Those with a prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
How are cataracts treated?
Vision loss from cataracts can often be addressed with prescription glasses or contact lenses. For those people who are significantly affected by cataracts, lens replacement surgery may be the preferred method of treatment. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the United States. Approximately 90 percent of the people who have had cataract surgery have improved vision after the procedure.
What is diabetic retinopathy and how is it treated?
In its advanced stages, diabetic retinopathy can cause the following symptoms:
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Blind spots
- Flashing lights
- Pain or pressure in either or both eyes
This damage is irreversible. Treatment can slow the progression of the disease and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.
Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?
The risks of developing diabetic eye disease can be minimized by:
- Monitoring changes in vision
- Keeping A1C levels under 7%
- Monitoring and managing blood pressure levels
- Eating a healthy diet
- Participating in a regular exercise routine
- Monitoring and managing cholesterol levels
What are the symptoms of dry eye and how is it treated?
- Stinging or burning sensation
- Irritation from smoke or wind
- Eyes that feel scratchy
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Excessive tearing
- Blurry vision
Left untreated, dry eye can lead to the following complications:
- Ulcers or scars on the cornea
- Loss of vision
Dry eye is not preventable, but it can be controlled before harm is done to your eyes.
Treatment for dry eye depends on the cause and severity of the condition, as well as the patient's overall health and personal preference. Non-surgical treatments are often effective, and may include the following:
- Blinking on purpose
- Increasing humidity levels at home or work
- Use artificial tears or a moisturizing ointment
- Stop smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Avoiding air conditioning or windy conditions outdoors
- Stop the use of allergy and cold medicines
- Adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet as food or supplements
If non-surgical methods are unsuccessful, surgical treatments may be an option. Treatment options may include:
- Small punctal plugs may be inserted in the corners of the eyes to limit tear drainage
- Punctal cautery, a procedure to permanently close the drainage holes may be another option
- Eyelid surgery is also a solution if an eyelid condition is causing your dry eyes
Treating the underlying cause of dry eyes can also help relieve the symptoms of this condition.