Archive for the ‘eye disorders’ Category

Nearsighted: Causes and Treatments

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Has your child begun to have trouble seeing the board at school or squints at the TV or movie screen?  Do street signs and people’s faces seem out-of-focus or blurry until they get a bit closer?  If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from a medical eye disorder known as myopia – also known as nearsightedness. Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Let’s examine this prevalent eye disorder including: symptoms, causes and treatments.

Nearsightedness –

This disorder allows for clear vision for objects that are near but blurry vision for items that are further away – thus the name nearsighted.  People who are afflicted with this may notice blurred vision or fuzzy vision, and possibly experience eye strain headaches.

Causes- 

The main cause of nearsightedness is the excessive curve or shape or the cornea directing the image not squarely on the retina.  As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred. Some research finds that nearsightedness is inherited from relatives who also experienced this eye disorder.  Other research shows evidence that eye strain and too much close work is to blame for this disorder.

Treatments –

  • Corrective Lenses – After a comprehensive optometrist examination glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed for patients experiencing this blurriness. Depending on the amount of nearsightedness, you may only need to wear glasses or contact lenses for certain activities, like watching a movie or driving a car. Or, if you are very nearsighted, they may need to be worn all the time.
  • Surgery – Laser Surgery – Reshaping the curve of the cornea is possible in some cases of nearsightedness and will result in no corrective lenses being needed. Refractive surgery procedures are also now available. These procedures involve implanting a small lens with the desired optical correction directly inside the eye.

Presbyopia

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

You start to notice it slowly.  The fine wrinkles at the corner of your eyes.  The hairs that look like they might be gray.  And the reading material that looks blurry.  Growing older has it’s downside for sure.  While we can’t help you with the wrinkles or the hair we can tell you what might be going on with your vision.

If you find that the morning newspaper needs to be held further and further away to be clear or the text in your book looks blurry then you may have Presbyopia.  Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural, often annoying part of aging. Many people become aware of presbyopia when they start holding books and newspapers at arm’s length to be able to read them. A basic eye exam with your eye doctor can confirm presbyopia.

What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

The American Optometric Association explains the main signs that you may be developing presbyopia. . .

  • Holding reading materials at arm’s length
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches when doing close work (sewing, handwork, reading, computer work)

What Causes Presbyopia?

As we age, the crystalline lens in the eye that bends the light in order to hit the retina loses elasticity. As your lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images. As a result, these images appear out of focus.  Its effects can begin suddenly, usually around age 40, and can worsen over time.

How common is this and what are the risk factors involved in developing Presbyopia? 

This eye disorder is extremely common.  Millions of Americans report having Presbyopia.  The largest grouping are people over the age of 40.  Age is, in fact the greatest risk factor in developing presbyopia.  Almost everyone experiences some degree of presbyopia after age 40. Having other medical conditions can also be a factor leading to this.  For example, being farsighted or having certain diseases — such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases — can increase your risk of premature presbyopia, which is presbyopia in people younger than 40. Finally, certain medications are also associated with presbyopia.  For instance antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics can be factors in premature presbyopia.

 

What are the Treatments for Presbyopia?

Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest means of correcting presbyopia. Eyeglasses for presbyopia have higher focusing power in the lower portion of the lens. This allows you to read through the lower portion of the lens and see properly at distant through the upper portion of the lens. It is also possible to purchase reading eyeglasses.For people who already wear eyeglasses bifocals may be an option.  Talk to your eye doctor about what options may be available for your unique eyes.

 

What is a Retinal Detachment?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

The National Institute for Heath and the Mayo Clinic both describe a retinal detachment as an emergency situation in which a critical layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nourishment. This lack of oxygen leaves the cells at risk and possible vision loss in the affected eye.  For this reason, if you suspect that the symptoms listed below are happening to you please contact your doctor immediately.

Warning Signs of a Retinal Detachment –

  • Appearance of floaters (bits of floating debris through your field of vision). They may look like string, dots or webs.
  • Flashes of light in the affected eye.
  • Shadow or dark area in field of vision. (Think of it as a curtain coming down.)

Types of Retinal Detachments –

  • Rhegmatogenous – This most common type of tear or detachment and happens when liquid gets under the retina and separates it from the retinal layer.
  • Tractional – This type is caused by scar tissue on the retina.  As it retracts and causes the detachment.
  • Exudative – Often caused by retinal disease, this type of detachment is often caused by an injury or trauma to the eye.

Causes of Retinal detachment can be a number of things including:  a trauma to the eye, advanced diabetes, an inflammatory disease or shrinkage of vitreous. People who are at a higher risk for this event are: over 40 years old, have extreme myopia, have a history of retinal detachment, previous cataract surgery and/or an eye trauma.

Treatment Methods – Most tears and detachment can be treated with laser surgery or a freeze treatment called cryopexy. These procedures are usually performed in the doctor’s office. During laser surgery tiny burns are made around the hole to “weld” the retina back into place. Cryopexy freezes the area around the hole and helps reattach the retina.

If any of these symptoms are happening seek immediate medical help.

 

What is a Corneal Abrasion?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Ever been at the beach gotten sand in your eyes?  Or had a grandchild poke you in the eye inadvertently?  Or possibly, have you had a piece of debris get caught in your eyelash only to hurt your eye when you try to rub it out?  Any of these things, although they may seem minor, could lead to a corneal abrasion.  Let’s look at corneal abrasion causes, symptoms and treatment methods.

To understand what a corneal abrasion is first you must understand a little about the parts of the human eye.  The cornea is the clear, protective covering over the iris, which is the colored part of the eye, and the pupil — the black circle in the middle of the eye. The cornea is important for both vision and protection of the eye.  A corneal abrasion  then, is a scratch on that outermost covering of the eye.  Common causes include: being poked in the eye (makeup or finger), getting debris in the eye, aggressively rubbing the eye, bad hygiene with contacts, or potentially chemical burns.  If any of these events or circumstances have happened and you are experiencing pain and discomfort then you may have a corneal abrasion.  Symptoms that may also give evidence to this include:  tearing of the eye, feeling like something is in your eye, redness, eye pain, stinging or even blurred vision.

No one likes having something in their eye or even the feeling like something is in the eye.  One of the most important things to remember, should this happen to you, is NOT to rub the eye.  This could lead to the abrasion or cause more damage.  instead let the eye water to flush debris out, pull the top eyelid over the bottom eyelid and allow for watering or gently wash the eye with warm water.  If this does not rid your eye of the symptoms and pain see your doctor.

If your eye doctor believes you have suffered a corneal abrasion he/she may give you eye drops or ointment to prevent infection and to stop the pain.  In the case of a minor corneal abrasion the scratch will most likely heal on its own.  Larger or deeper scratches make take longer to heal and will require a patch, discontinued use of contacts and shaded glasses to shield the eye.

 

Eye Floaters

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Do you experience small moving spots that appear in your field of vision?  Do you notice these “floaters”  more when there is bright light or the background is a solid color like a blue sky or a solid white wall?  Then you may be experiencing eye floaters.  While these shadows or spots may be annoying at times they rarely interfere with good vision.  Lets look at what these floaters are and what may be causing them.

What are Floaters?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Floaters are  spots in your vision. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Symptoms may include: spots of black or grayish blobs, spots that drift through your field of vision, spots that move when your eyes move, or possibly squiggly lines that are fairly transparent.

Causes of Floaters

Eye Floaters are usually caused by small flecks of a protein called collagen. The most common causes of these flecks of protein include:

  • Age-related eye changes- As we age the vitreous jelly that fills our eyeballs begins to liquify.  As the vitreous shrinks and sags, it clumps and gets stringy. Bits of this debris block some of the light passing through the eye, casting tiny shadows on your retina.
  • Inflammation – This swelling at the back of the eye called the uvea  may be causing the floaters to appear.
  • Bleeding in the eye. Bleeding into the vitreous can have many causes, including injury and blood vessel problems. Seek immediate medical attention of floaters appear after a blunt injury to the eye.
  • Torn Retina – Retinal tears can occur when a sagging vitreous tugs on the retina. Without treatment, retinal tear may lead to retinal detachment. Due to this more serious cause it is imperative to see a doctor if you are suddenly getting many more floaters than usual.  It is also important to immediately seek medical help if these floaters not only increase in numbers and frequency but also are accompanied by flashes of light.  Retinal tears are sight threatening conditions that should be treated immediately by an eye doctor.

What causes Strabismus and how can it be treated?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

While holding or playing with your child, you notice that something is not quite right with the movement of his/her eyes.  Maybe one is looking in one direction and the other is off by a bit.  Or maybe you notice that when your child looks back and forth the eyes are not moving in coordination with each other.  What is this crossing of the eyes and how serious is it?  The first thing you should do is set up an appointment with your child’s pediatrician who will most likely do an eye exam and (depending upon the age of the child) recommend a visit to an ophthalmologist.  In the end the diagnosis could be strabismus.

What is strabismus?

Crossing of the eyes, or strabismus as it is medically termed, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It occurs when an eye turns in, out, up or down and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness. The disorder is very common in children, affecting four percent of children age 6 and younger. It does tend to run in families.  It is normal for children under 6 months of age to experience occasional crossed eyes because their brains are still developing the ability to see normally.  They will likely grow out of it. However in the case your child is being monitored for this and the symptoms do not disappear there are treatments available.

Treatment for Strabismus

Common treatments for these and other kinds of strabismus include special eye drops, eye patches, appropriate eyewear, vision therapy, and—in extreme cases—surgery. Most of the time, strabismus can be fixed if caught early enough and treated appropriately.

  • Eyewear – his method may help people who have crossed eyes due to an uncorrected farsightedness
  • Eye patches are commonly used to cover the stronger eye to build up the muscles in the weaker eye.  Eye drops to blur the vision of the stronger eye can also be used to get the same results.
  • Surgery – Eye muscle surgery may be needed if the eyes still do not move correctly. Different muscles in the eye will be made stronger or weaker.

Eye Emergencies

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Eye emergencies can happen anywhere.

  • While spring cleaning, cleaning solution gets accidentally sprayed in your eye.
  • Your son is pitching the game of his life until the batter hits a ball directly at his face and his eye is completely swollen shut.
  • A day at the beach turns painful when the wind picks up and the sand gets lodged in your eye causing pain and blurred vision.

Eye emergencies can include: cuts, scratches, objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid. An eye emergency, therefore could be any event where a person’s eyesight is at risk.  It is extremely important to seek medical attention for any eye/eyelid injury or problem.  Seek IMMEDIATE emergency care if you believe your eyesight is in jeopardy, if you are in severe pain, or if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden vision loss
  • Pain in or around the eye redness accompanied by pain in the eye.  This could be from an unknown cause or from a blunt injury to the eye area.
  • Halos (colored circles around lights)
  • New floaters (spots, strings, cobwebs, or shadows before the eyes)
  • Bulging of the eye or swelling of eye tissues.
  • Flashes or streaks of light
  • Double vision
  • Sudden crossed, turned or “wandering” eye
  • Bleeding of the eye. discharge, crusting or excessive tearing
  • Eyelids stuck together, especially upon awakening
  • Stinging or burning in the eye
  • Sensation of something in the eye
  • Pupils of unequal size
  • Headache

After calling the doctor or ambulance, depending upon the severity of the problem, you may want to consider the following tips from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Small object in the eye – Try not to itch or rub the eye.  Try gently rinsing the object out with water. Seek medical attention to remove the object whether it is large or small.

Chemical exposure – Flush with cool tap water right away. Turn the person’s head so the injured eye is down and to the side. Holding the eyelid open, allow running water from the faucet to flush the eye for 15 minutes. If the person is wearing contact lenses have them remove them after the water rinse.  Seek medical help right away. Do not delay.

Blunt force injury to eye – Apply cold compress or eye pack to the area to bring down the swelling.  Seek medical attention to be sure the eye is not injured.

What is a sty in the eye?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

If you have ever had a small, painful lump along the edge of your eyelid then you have probably had a sty (also spelled stye). While styes are fairly common and are usually visible on the outer eyelid, they have formed deeper inside the eyelid in some cases as well.  Let’s look at the causes, types and treatments of styes to keep you informed in case you suspect that you may be suffering from one of these painful blockages.

What is a sty and what causes it?

A sty is an external bump on the eyelid that swells and then eventually bursts then heals.  The sty originally forms due to a blocked gland that needs to become cleared.  There are two main types of sty lumps.  These include: hordeolum and chalazion. Each has different causes and treatments. A hordeolum is a blockage of one of the sweat glands found in the skin of the lid and base of the eyelashes, or one of the small sebaceous glands found at the base of the eyelashes. A chalazion is a blockage of a meibomian gland, which is a special sebaceous gland unique to the eyelids. The sty can occur due to a gland becoming blocked with its own secretion or possibly from makeup, dust or other foreign substances.  It can also be caused by a sluggish gland that was infected or had some sort of trauma.

What are the treatments for a sty on the eyelid?

A non-infected hordeolum will resolve on its own. Warm compresses may help soften the material in the gland, easing the drainage of the gland’s contents. A non-infected chalazion similarly will resolve on its own, though over a much longer period of time. A small chalazion may resolve within weeks, while larger ones may resolve over the course of a year. The most conservative treatment is application of frequent warm compresses. Steroids can be injected into the lesion, often resulting in a speedier resolution. However this carries a small risk of bleeding/bruising, depigmentation/thinning of the skin, scar, pain, and in very rare cases, loss of vision. Finally, the chalazion can be incised and drained. This is the most invasive method and is reserved as a last resort by most eye doctors.

What is Conjunctivitis?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

If you have ever woken up with itchy eyes accompanied by a thick, crusty discharge or green or yellow mucus coming from your eye then you may have the dreaded
“pink eye” or conjunctivitis.  Other symptoms that are experienced with conjunctivitis include:  redness in the whites of the eyes or the inner eyelid, blurriness, burning or even sensitivity to light.  If you are suffering from any of these symptoms then consult your primary care physician for a swab of the effected area.  While this disease is not a serious health risk it should be dealt with quickly through your doctors office.

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.

What causes pink eye?

This eye disease has several possible causes such as: a virus, a bacterial infection such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and pool chlorine
or possibly allergies, like dust, pollen, or a special type of allergy that affects some contact lens wearers.

What treatments are available for pink eye?

The treatment proscribed by your doctor will depend mostly upon the cause of the disease.  If bacteria was the root cause then antibiotics, in the form of eye drops, ointments, or pills will be the treatment.  If a virus is the cause (such as the virus that causes the common cold) then it must run its course over the next 7-10 days.  Warm compresses can help with the discharge.  Throw away all contacts and makeup that you used during the period before being diagnosed.  If irritants or allergies are the cause of the discharge then washing out eyes and removing irritants from laundry, home or other areas that will affect your eyes.

 

 

What is atisgmatism?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Are you or a loved one suffering from the following sytoms- distortion or blurring of images at all distances, headaches and fatigue or even squinting and eye discomfort or irritation? These symptoms may not necessarily mean a diagnosis of astigmatism, however, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your ophthalmologist for a complete exam. Let’s look at the causes and treatment for astigmatism.

What is astigmatism?  Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of your cornea — the clear, round dome covering the eye’s iris and pupil — or in the shape of the eye’s lens. Astigmatism is very common. In most cases, people with astigmatism are born with this condition. The reason why corneal shape differs from person to person is unknown, but the likelihood of developing astigmatism is inherited.

Treatment for astigmatism – Depending upon the degree of the astigmatism will determine the treatment needed. If the degree of astigmatism is slight and there are no other problems of refraction, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, corrective lenses may not be needed. If the degree of astigmatism is great enough to cause eye strain, headache, or distortion of vision, corrective lenses will be needed for clear and comfortable vision. Your ophthalmologist will perform precise tests during your exam to determine the ideal lens prescription. Refractive surgery also may be an option for correcting some forms of astigmatism.