Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of your eye called the optic nerve. This nerve is the pathway by which images are sent to your brain. Often early stages of glaucoma have no symptoms, but in late stage side vision is irreversibly lost. Comprehensive eye exams are essential for early diagnosis.
People with type 1 or 2 diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when blood sugar levels are high which damages the blood vessels in the eye. When the strength of the walls in the blood vessels are weakened, this can cause them to swell, leak, or close entirely. This can also result in new blood vessels to grow in the retina.
Macular degeneration (AMD) is very common and is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older. Typically AMD affects central vision, leaving your side vision intact. Some of the risk factors include eating a high in saturated fat diet, smoking cigarettes, over the age of 50 years old, having hypertension, or having a family history of AMD.
Normally your cornea, the clear outer lens, has a dome shape like a ball. Sometimes the structure isn’t strong enough to hold its round shape and bulges outward, like a cone. This is called keratoconus. Tiny fibers of protein in your eye called collagen help hold your cornea in place. When these fibers get weak, they can’t hold their shape. Your cornea gets more and more cone-like. Treatment called cornea collagen cross linking strengthens the collagen bonds and may stop the condition from getting progressively worse. Depending on the stage of keratoconus, vision can be corrected by glasses, soft contacts, or specialty scleral contacts.
Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens. It may be helpful to think of the normal eye as being shaped perfectly spherically round like a basketball. With astigmatism, it's shaped more irregular like an American football. This distorted shape can be from either the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye, or the lens, window inside your eye. In either case, your vision for both near and far objects can appear blurry or distorted. Other symptoms may include eyestrain, headaches, glare and halos, and having to squint to see. These symptoms are often worse at night or dim lighting conditions. Treatment includes correcting vision with either glasses or contacts.
An epiretinal membrane is a thin sheet of fibrous tissue that can develop on the surface of the macular area of the retina and cause a disturbance in vision. An epiretinal membrane is also sometimes called a macular pucker, macular fibrosis, surface wrinkling retinopathy or cellophane maculopathy.
An adequate and consistent layer of tears on the surface of the eye is essential to keep your eyes healthy, comfortable and seeing well. Tears bathe the eye's surface to keep it moist and wash away dust, debris and microorganisms that could damage the cornea and lead to an eye infection. A normal tear film consists of three important components: an oily (lipid) component, a watery (aqueous) component, and a mucous-like (mucin) component. A problem with any of these sources of tear film components can result in tear instability and dry eyes.
The intricate pathway from the eye to the brain can often reveal conditions affecting the nervous system. Many neuro-ophthalmic conditions present similar symptoms, so a thorough analysis and diagnosis is the vital first step before moving forward with any treatment. Visual acuity tests, MRIs, and analysis of other clinical symptoms are all important diagnostic methods. Often, treating the underlying cause of a near-ophthalmic condition is the best way to restore and maintain vision.
Angle closure Glaucoma
Angle closure glaucoma, also called narrow-angle glaucoma, is a medical emergency. In this type of glaucoma, the outer edge of the iris (the colored part of your eye) blocks fluid from draining out of the front of the eye. The fluid builds up quickly, causing a sudden increase in eye pressure. If it’s not treated, angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness in just a few days. Sudden symptoms may include intense pain in your eye, nausea, red eyes, and blurred vision. Standard treatment is typically a laser procedure, LPI, where a small opening is created in the iris that creates an alternative path for fluid to flow and decreasing intraocular pressure. This can be an acute or slow chronic closure that might not have any symptoms. We monitor and grade the opening of this angle at each comprehensive eye exam.
Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine sulfate) was originally used to treat malaria. Now the drug is used to treat inflammatory diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and sjogrens. A rare side effect of Plaquenil, particularly with higher doses and using plaquenil for long periods of time, is damage to the eye’s retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It’s important that we routinely check the health of your maculas, monitor your side vision, and perform OCT imaging in order to clearly see the layers of your macula.
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