Diabetic Eye Exam
Diabetic eye disease pertains to several eye problems that people with diabetes are at risk for as a complication of this disease. All of these problems can cause severe loss of vision and even blindness due to high blood sugar.The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy. This causes damage in the blood vessels in the retina, and causes them to leak blood (hemorrhage) and leak fatty deposits. This is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. If caught early, diabetic retinopathy can be slowed down or even resolved.
The National Eye Institute, a subsidiary of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends that all people with diabetes get a routine comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve in the eye. The optic nerve carries the images that we see to the brain. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness.It is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.Side vision is affected first. As the disease gets worse, the visual field narrows to the point where objects straight ahead can no longer be seen.
Clear fluid constantly forms, circulates, and drains out of the eye to maintain a healthy level of pressure within the eye. Pressure can build up in the eye if this fluid drains too slowly.
This increase in fluid pressure inside the eye, can affect the optic nerve tissue differently from person to person. Many people get optic nerve damage with high pressures. However, some people can get optic nerve damage with low pressure, while others tolerate high pressures.
Close monitoring is important forall of these people who are at higher risk for glaucoma. Eye pressure is not the only risk factor for glaucoma. Anyone can get glaucoma, but some people are more likely to get it than others: African Americans over the age of 40, Hispanics over the age of 60, people who have diabetes, and people with a family history of glaucoma.
Early detection is needed during annual routine comprehensive eye exams in order to prevent damage and loss of vision that can occur due to glaucoma. Even though there may not be any symptoms during the early stages of the disease, if signs of glaucoma is detected during the initial exam, patients may be asked to come back for further testing.
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the pupil and iris. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss over the age of 40. It affects 60% of all Americans over the age of 60.Smokers are at higher risk of cataracts. Symptoms of cataracts may include blurred vision, glare, fading or yellowing of colors, double vision, and difficulty seeing at night.
Early cataracts usually will not be symptomatic or have little effect on vision. They are usually discovered during a routine annual comprehensive eye exam. In most cases cataracts are not treated until the symptoms start affecting daily activities like reading and driving. Cataracts are monitored until it is determined that surgery is indicated. Cataract surgery is very successful. The success rate is 95%, with over one and a half million people having it every year. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful medical procedures in the world. In most cases, vision, and the quality of life improves.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is an eye disease that affects an area in the center of the retina called the macula. It is a condition associated with aging that causes a loss of central vision as the macula degenerates. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 55-affecting more than 10 million people in the U.S. Smokers are at higher risk for AMD.
Some patients with AMD have perceived distortions of straight lines. Central blurred vision and the inability to see color and fine detail in these patients, affect daily tasks like reading, driving, and watching TV. In some cases, AMD causes vision loss that is very slow over several years. In other cases of AMD, blindness can occur more rapidly, over days. AMD can be detected during a routine comprehensive eye exam.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Syndrome is usually a chronic condition where there is reduction in the quality and/or quantity of the natural tears produced by the tear glands. Over 10 million Americans suffer from moderate to severe dry eye. This condition is one of the main reasons people visit an optometrist. It can cause discomfort by dryness, scratchiness, sandy/gritty sensations, burning sensations, feeling like something is in the eyes, contact lens intolerance, redness, and itchiness.
Ironically, the irritation from dry eyes can trigger reflex tears, which can suddenly flood the eyes orcause constant watery eyes. Because the reflex tears do not have the proper lubricating composition, the symptoms persist. Thus, “watery eyes” can actually be a symptom of Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry eyes can be caused by systemic diseases, the natural aging process, hormonal changes, medications, Lasik surgery, computer use, excessive TV watching or reading, and longterm contact lens wear in some patients. Please ask about treatment options, if you have any of these symptoms.
Eye floaters are tiny spots or lines in your vision that move as you move your eyes. Without any other symptoms, they usually aren’t dangerous, but an eye exam is recommended to make sure.
Retinal detachment occurs when the back lining of the eye (retina) separates. Symptoms include seeing flashes of light or floaters and the darkening of peripheral vision. A dilated exam is indicated when eye drops are used to open the pupil wider, so that the doctor can get a better look inside the eyes. This will cause you to be light sensitive. So bring your sunglasses if you have some. This is a medical emergency and needs to be addressed immediately.
Computer Eye Strain
Computer eye strain is one of the most common complaints of the workplace. Prolonged computer use can cause eye discomfort, blurred vision, and headaches. Many studies have been done on this issue, but there is no current evidence that proves long-term damage to your eye health. If this is a concern of yours, ask about options available to help provide you with comfort.
Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism
These are three common eye conditions that cause blurred vision that are usually due to the eye’s size and shape. Genetics, age, trauma, eye strain, eye diseases, and systemic diseases can also affect the cause and change in these conditions. They can all usually be corrected with eyeglasses and contacts. A consultation for refractive surgery can be scheduled to see if that is also a viable option.