Q. Why should I have my eyes examined regularly?
A. Having your eyes checked regularly is the best way to ensure healthy vision. A consultation or comprehensive eye exam will allow for the physician to treat and diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma which shows no symptoms in its early stages. Several eye conditions, such as cataract, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy need to be monitored on a regular basis.
Q. What is a Cataract?
A. A cataract is the clouding or opacification of the natural lens of the eye. A normal lens is clear and lets light pass through the retina. As a cataract develops, it becomes harder for a person to see. Vision may become cloudy or blurry and colors may fade.
Q. What is Glaucoma?
A. Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, impairs vision, and sometimes leads to permanent blindness. It affects over three million Americans.
Q. What is Macular Degeneration?
A. Macular degeneration is a retinal eye disease that gradually deteriorates the central vision causing blurred vision. It can cause blindness.
Q. Why do diabetics need regular eye exams?
A. Whether or not you are newly diagnosed or a veteran of diabetes, you need to get your eyes checked at least once a year. Recommendations by the ADA and the AAO are that every diabetic get a complete eye exam, including a dilated exam (pupils get dilated) to allow proper examination of the retina. If you are newly diagnosed, you may have noticed blurry vision recently. Large fluctuations of your serum glucose (blood sugar) can change the water content of your lens and cause transient blurry vision. Most likely, since diagnosis, your blood glucose is now lower than it has been in a long time; changing the water content of your natural lens. The refractive power of the eye is now changed and it changes the power of the glasses or contact lenses that you may need. We are most concerned about diabetic changes in the retina. Most diabetics (over 80%) will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy in their lifetime. The most common stage of diabetic retinopathy is the so-called “background” or “non-proliferative” phase. Doctors are looking for signs of swelling near the macula, the functional center of the retina. The goal is to prevent swelling in the macula and thus preserve vision. It is better not to wait for changes in the vision before seeking medical attention. The chances of preserving the perfect vision are better than trying to regain lost vision.
Q. Why does my eye twitch?
A. Mild twitching of the eyelid is a common phenomenon. Although these involuntary contractions of muscles are annoying, they are almost always temporary and completely harmless. The medical name for this kind of twitching is ocular myokymia. It is quite common and most often associated with fatigue. When your eye is twitching, it is not visible to anyone else. How can I make it stop? Ophthalmologists often are asked what causes the twitching and what can be done to stop it. Lack of sleep, too much caffeine or increased stress seem to be root causes. Often, gently massaging your eye will relieve the symptoms. Usually, the twitch will disappear after catching up on your sleep.
Q. What is dry eye?
A. Dry eye is a complex, progressive disease that results from chronic damage to the parts of the eye that produce and support tears. The tears are responsible for providing protection, comfort, vision and maintenance for the eye surface. Typically, there is more than one initiating factor contributing to dryness of the eye. Dry eye is a chronic, progressive disease that affects the surface of the eye. Without treatments, the symptoms may ebb and flow, but there is likely progressive damage occurring to the front surface of your eye. If left untreated, dry eyes can become dangerous. Excessive dryness can scar the cornea, impairing vision and damaging the tissues. Significant dryness can lead to greater chance of infection, breakdown of the corneal barriers and perforation of the cornea.