During your normal examination our Doctors and staff will look for any signs of cataract. What is a cataract? As you may know the eye focuses light. Right behind the colored part of your eye (iris) is the lens of the eye. This lens is like a small grape with a tough skin on the outside and a soft moist middle. When we are born and through much of our life it is clear and allows light to pass through it with no problem. As we age this gel in the middle can become discolored and even opaque. When this occurs the lens is called a cataract. When the cataract interferes with our ability to see correctly we may remove it. Our office is affiliated with several excellent cataract surgeons that have years of experience in removing the lens and replacing it with a new synthetic lens that allows you to see properly once again
All of us have heard this word, but what is it? The eye itself is like a basketball, but instead of being filled with air it is filled with fluid. If too much fluid is produced in the eye or if the drain gets blocked, the pressure builds. This pressure can damage the delicate tissue that allows us to see. This tissue is known as the retina. If the retina is severely damaged blindness can occur.
We do several tests that can detect early signs of glaucoma. If we find any of those signs we can usually treat the glaucoma with a drop that will control the pressure and reduce the likelihood of retinal damage. When you arrive at the office make sure you ask us about these tests and be sure to tell us if your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with
Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance.
People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are of a poor quality:
- Inadequate amount of tears. Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age, with various medical conditions or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions, such as wind and dry climates, can also decrease tear volume due to increased tear evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop.
- Poor quality of tears.Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. Each component protects and nourishes the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucin layer spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop.
The most common form of dry eyes occurs when the water layer of tears is inadequate. This condition, called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is also referred to as dry eye syndrome. People with dry eyes may experience irritated, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes; a feeling of something in their eyes; excess watering; and blurred vision. Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision. Treatments for dry eyes aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain eye health.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes can develop for many reasons, including:
- Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over age 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes.
- Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and menopause.
- Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.
- Medical conditions.People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.
- Environmental conditions.Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying of the eyes.
- Other factors.Long-term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development of dry eyes. Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can decrease tear production and contribute to dry eyes.
How are dry eyes diagnosed?
Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes, may include:
- Patient history to determine the patient’s symptoms and to note any general health problems, medications or environmental factors that may be contributing to the dry eye problem.
- External examination of the eye, including lid structure and blink dynamics.
- Evaluation of the eyelids and cornea using bright light and magnification.
- Measurement of the quantity and quality of tears for any abnormalities. Special dyes may be put in the eyes to better observe tear flow and to highlight any changes to the outer surface of the eye caused by insufficient tears.
With the information obtained from testing, your optometrist can determine if you have dry eyes and advise you on treatment options.
How are dry eyes treated?
Dry eyes can be a chronic condition, but your optometrist can prescribe treatment to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable and to prevent your vision from being affected.
The primary approaches used to manage and treat dry eyes include adding tears using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions, conserving tears, increasing tear production, and treating the inflammation of the eyelids or eye surface that contributes to the dry eyes.
- Adding tears.Mild cases of dry eyes can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. These can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes.People with dry eyes that don’t respond to artificial tears alone will need to take additional steps to treat their dry eyes.
- Conserving tears.Keeping natural tears in the eyes longer can reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. This can be done by blocking the tear ducts through which the tears normally drain. The tear ducts can be blocked with tiny silicone or gel-like plugs that can be removed, if needed. Or a surgical procedure can permanently close the tear ducts. In either case, the goal is to keep the available tears in the eye longer to reduce problems related to dry eyes.
- Increasing tear production.Your optometrist can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement may also help.
- Treating the contributing eyelid or ocular surface inflammation.Your optometrist might recommend prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses and lid massage, or eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes.
Contact Optic One Family Eye Care to learn more about treatment of Dry Eyes.
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program prescribed to eliminate or improve conditions such as “lazy” eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), focusing problems, eye teaming issues, eye tracking problems, and visual processing disorders. Specific lenses, prisms and filters are used along with specialized instruments and advanced computer software.
When is vision therapy necessary?
Although most vision problems can be corrected using eyeglasses or contact lenses, some rarer problems require more sophisticated treatment.
Problems such as eye teaming, focusing and tracking disorders are unrelated to how clearly you see and cannot be corrected with eyeglasses. Rather, they are muscular problems that can only be treated by “training” the eyes with vision therapy.
Visual processing problems that interfere with a child’s ability to analyze and interpret visual information also require vision therapy.
Adults can benefit from vision therapy if they are experiencing eyestrain, headaches and inability to perform well at work, due to eye teaming and focusing problems. These problems commonly affect adults working with computers.
Is there research support for vision therapy?
There has been significant research supporting the effectiveness of vision therapy for treatment of eye teaming, focusing, tracking and visual processing problems. In recent years, randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that office-based vision therapy should be the first line of treatment for these disorders.
How long does vision therapy take?
The average program for focusing, eye teaming and tracking problems involves one or two office visits per week, lasting 45 minutes each, and about 15-20 minutes of supportive home therapy three times per week using computer software. Many of these problems can be eliminated fairly quickly, often in four to six months, though some more complicated problems may require additional time.
Visual processing problems are generally more complicated and often require longer periods of therapy. A typical vision therapy program for a visual processing problem might require 30-40 visits of therapy, over a period of seven months or longer.