Common Eye Conditions - Definitions and Information
If a person’s eyes are exposed to something of which they are allergic, then they become irritated, which results in allergic dermatitis. Frequent allergens are pollen, makeup, eye-drops, poison oak in the spring, and over-the-counter ointments. Both eyes generally react similarly, but sometimes, only one eye reacts. Allergic dermatitis can cause symptoms such as redness, lid swelling, and eyes that water and crust.
People’s eyes can also become irritated by materials even when they don’t cause an allergic reaction. Materials such as soaps, detergents, acids, and solvents can cause people to experience identical symptoms as with true allergens.
A few common treatments for allergic dermatitis are soothing ointments, oral antihistamines, and cool compresses. Finding and avoiding the material that caused the eyes to react is the only certain cure. An allergist may be able to help find a long-term solution to allergic dermatitis.
Astigmatism happens when an eye has an irregular shape. Imagine a normal eyeball being shaped like an orange. With astigmatism, the eye may be shaped more like an egg. This irregularity usually happens on the surface of the eye, called the cornea. Though generally considered normal, astigmatism can blur a person’s vision. If someone has only a slight astigmatism, then that person still may be able to see normally. If the astigmatism is significant enough to blur vision, then the person’s vision can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Conjunctivitis happens when the clear, protective coating around the eyeball, called the conjunctiva, becomes infected. The disease is highly contagious, and it can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, or chemicals, as well as other agents. Bacterial Conjunctivitis is generally not diagnosed through laboratory cultures, as the tests are expensive and lengthy. Symptoms of the disease include swollen and itchy lids, a yellow-colored discharge, and scratchy, reddened eyes.
Antibiotic drops and compresses generally give relief from symptoms and resolve the infection in a few days, though more advanced care may be necessary. If bacterial conjunctivitis is left untreated, serious complications can arise, such as infections in the cornea, lids, and tear ducts. Some ways to help prevent the disease are washing hands well, using clean tissues, and staying away from people who are infected with the disease.
Basal Cell Carcinoma of the Eyelid:
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer on the eyelid, and the tumors are often confused with benign tumors. Basal cell carcinoma appears as a white tumor with a central, ulcered area that does not heal. Excessive exposure to the sun can play a major role in the development of basal cell carcinomas. These tumors generally do not spread far in the body, but they can be locally invasive and should be removed as soon as a diagnosis is made. Many patients with basal cell carcinoma will develop another tumor within a year or two of the diagnosis, so they should be monitored regularly both at the original site and at other sun-exposed areas.
Blepharitis happens when the tiny oil glands near the base of a person’s eyelashes become blocked, which leads to continually irritated, red eyes. Though the condition can be painful, it generally does not cause permanent vision damage. Symptoms of blepharitis include watery, red eyes, red eyelids, a gritty or burning feeling in your eyes, greasy, itchy, or sticky eyelids, flaking skin around your eyes, and crusted eyelashes when waking up. Other symptoms are excessive blinking, sensitivity to light, eyelashes that grow in an abnormal direction, and loss of eyelashes.
Increased eye hygiene is often used to treat blepharitis, which can include eye washing and using warm compresses. If hygiene does not help the symptoms, then a medication prescribed by a doctor can fight the infection and limit inflammation.
Blepharoplasty is a procedure that can be performed on the upper and lower eyelids to remove excess skin or strengthen the muscles and tendons that surround the eyelid. When the upper eyelid sags, the lid can cover the eye and impair a patient’s vision. When the lower lid sags, the patient may desire blepharoplasty for cosmetic reasons. During blepharoplasty, the surgeon removes the excess eyelid so the lid does not impair vision, in the case of the more common upper lid procedure. The procedure can result in improved vision as well as the appearance of more open and bright eyes
Botox Cosmetic can be used to temporarily improve frown lines and wrinkles in adults under 65 years old. In Botox treatment, botulinum toxin A, a purified protein, is injected into the facial muscles. Botox then blocks nerve impulses into specific muscles and areas that lead to wrinkling. Botox works best on the upper third of facial muscles, particularly the forehead, the area between the eyebrows, and the area around the eye. It can improve the look of lines and wrinkles, and after treatment, the outer layer of skin remains smooth. The procedure only takes a few minutes, and patients see improvements within a few days. Repeat treatments over three to five months can maintain the resulting skin.
Branch Vein Occlusions:
Branch Vein Occlusions is a disease where the small blood vessels in the back of the eye, called the retina, become blocked. When a clot occurs in a small branch vein of the retina, it can cause swelling, hemorrhages, and a loss of function in that area of the retina. Branch vein occlusions can also cause blurriness of vision. While some patients recover from branch vein occlusions with normal vision and little sign of the disease, many patients have visual problems that persist. Other diseases, such as macular edema and neovascularization can result from branch vein occlusions, so it is important to see an eye doctor for treatment options. Branch vein occlusions often resolve themselves over time, but others require more doctor intervention.
Broadband Light Therapy:
Broadband Light (BBL) Therapy uses light energy to treat sun damage, broken capillaries, freckles, rosacea, and other unwanted pigment. The heat from light energy heats the outer layers of skin, which causes the skin to regenerate collagen, restoring smoothness and vibrance in the skin. BBL can treat hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin, and unwanted hair. The treatment can be used alone or with the ProFractional, MicroLaser Peel, or SkinTyte.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts develop as people age, and the cloudiness of the lens affects the amount of light able to enter the eye. Cataracts are painless, and eyes with cataracts continue to function normally. As the cataracts develop, however, they can significantly hinder vision. Other symptoms of cataracts other than hazy vision include unusual glare, poor night vision, and a change in how you see colors. When a person’s ability to read, drive, and function normally are compromised, the best option is generally traditional cataract surgery or ReLACS, or Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery.
Central Vein Occlusion:
Central Vein Occlusion describes the condition when a central vein in the retina, the back of the eye, develops a clot. One primary vein drains all the blood from the retina, and this vein shares a common wall with a central retinal artery, so the vein can become blocked because of diseases in the artery next to it. Hardening of the arteries, called arteriosclerosis, is the most common cause of central vein occlusion, though other diseases can also lead to the disease.
When the central vein closes, a sudden loss of vision often results. With time, the vision may improve. Though no effective treatment for this condition has been found, an ophthalmologist can determine the cause and monitor the patient. Early detection is key for treating the symptoms of central vein occlusions, and effective treatment may be able to maintain a patient’s vision and prevent further vision loss.
Chalazion describes a blockage that can occur in a person’s tear gland. Chalazia can vary in size, up to about the size of a small fingernail. Though often tender when in the early stages, they can become firm and painless over time. Without treatment, a distorted eyeball and blurred vision can result. Chalazia can sometimes disappear on their own over time. If someone has been diagnosed with a chalazion, that person is more likely to develop another in the future. Treatments for chalazia may include hot packs, eye drops, oral medications, and an in-office surgical procedure.
Collagen Induction Therapy:
Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) is a treatment for reversing the signs of aging by naturally helping a person’s body replace old collagen with new collagen. CIT induces micro-injuries in a controlled way to cause the body to naturally repair itself by making new skin, collagen, and elastin. A specialized pen with tiny needles, .5 mm to 1.5 mm in length and very small width, glides across the skin and create small wounds that are invisible to the eye. As the body fills in these small wounds, it promotes growth of collagen and elastin, stimulating the growth of a new layer of healthy, radiant skin. The skin will appear smoother, tighter, and more evenly toned gradually over six to eight weeks, and the skin will continue to improve over time.
Corneal Abrasions and Recurrent Erosions:
Corneal abrasions describe the removal of the surface layer of the eye, called the epithelium. Caused by any number of objects, such as a tree branch or a fingernail, corneal abrasions can be painful, and they can cause temporary blurriness, redness, and tearing. They often heal quickly and without complication. An eye doctor may give treatments such as a patch, antibiotics, or pain relievers. It is important for patients to not rub their eyes when recovering from an abrasion, as it takes time for the new cells to connect with the tissue under them.
In some cases, an abrasion will recur, which is called a recurrent erosion. This happens with cells that are not yet well connected with the eye tissue, many times upon waking in the morning. Treatment of a recurrent erosion is similar to that of a corneal abrasion.
Dermal Fillers are injected into the skin to fill areas of the face that need extra volume. As skin ages, it can lose volume in the cheeks and other areas. Different fillers can be injected into the face according to a patient’s specific needs. Fillers are made of substances already present in the body, so the body breaks them down over time. They generally need to be replaced after four to 12 months.
Dermatochalasis describes bagging of the eyelid that occurs most commonly in patients over the age of 50. As the fibers around the eye age, they stretch and thin, which can result in bagging of the lids. If the upper lid droops, then patients can have difficulty opening their eyes to see. Raising their eyebrows to lift the lids and see becomes tiresome and can cause headaches. If a patient’s lower lids develop dermatochalasis, the concerns become cosmetic rather than functional.
Eyelid surgery can improve dermatochalasis by removing excess skin and sometimes muscle, as well. Eyelid tissues are forgiving, and they tend to heal well with minimal scarring.
When the blood sugar in a person’s eyes gets too high, it can cause damage to the eye’s blood vessels. These damaged vessels can leak fluid or blood, causing the retina to swell and form deposits called exudates. Diabetic Retinopathy can take a couple of forms. Non-proliferative or background retinopathy describes an early form of the disease, and it may not produce any change in vision.
In proliferative retinopathy, other diseases of the eye can develop, such as macular edema, neovascularization, and retinal detachment. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include gradually blurred, spotty, or hazy vision or no vision, but many times, patients do not experience any symptoms. Regular dilated eye exams with an ophthalmologist can diagnose diabetic retinopathy, and the doctor can provide care to treat and possibly prevent vision loss if caught early enough.
Dry Eyes (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction):
When a person’s eyes do not produce enough tears to fully cover their surface, the eyes can become irritated, which means the person has “dry eyes.” Eyes produce two types of tears, reflex tears, which people make when crying, and lubricating tears, which coat the eye when people blink. A normal eye produces enough lubricating tears to cover the eye. However, if someone has dry eyes, the eyes do not produce enough lubricating tears, so the person’s eyes may burn, sting, or feel scratchy. The eyes may also water, but because eyes water with reflex tears, they do not lubricate the eye.
Two conditions may develop when an eyelid goes through a loss of tone. Ectropion, which generally occurs in elderly people, describes when the lower lid droops away from the eye, exposing and irritating the inner surface of the eyelid. Entropion describes a condition where the eyelid turns in toward the eye’s surface. The lid can turn in because of an imbalance in the eye’s muscles that happens as a person ages, scarring from other diseases or injuries, and other factors. Treatment generally consists of surgery to resolve both conditions, and the specific procedure depends on the patient.
Flashes describe an occasional flash of light in the eye, and it is normal for people to see them from time to time. Flashes are caused by the vitreous, jelly-like fluid in the eye pulling on the retina at the back of the eye. When this pulling occurs, the person sees a flash. People who are aging or who have nearsightedness are more likely to see flashes than others. Flashes can also be signs of other conditions within the eye that need further care.
Floaters occur when people see dark pieces or threads floating in their eye. Floaters are generally harmless, and most people see them occasionally. Floaters are more common in older people. They can also be caused by eye surgery, or they can be a sign of other eye conditions that need treatment.
People should get an exam with an eye doctor if: they suddenly begin seeing many flashes or floaters, the flashes or floaters look different than they used to look, or flashes or floaters make the person’s normal activities difficult. Regular eye exams can help people monitor flashes and floaters and keep their eyesight strong.
Fuchs’ dystrophy is a disease in which the thin cell layer, called the endothelium, that lines the inside of the cornea, begins to die. When these cells die, they leave spots called guttata on the inside of the cornea. The loss of these cells does not significantly affect vision, but when the disease progresses, endothelial cells are less able to perform their job, which is to remove fluid from the inside of the cornea, called the stroma. When fluid builds up, a person’s vision can become significantly clouded. Corneal transplants, called penetrating keratoplasty, can be performed to restore a person’s vision. If people with Fuch’s dystrophy do not get a transplant, then they could develop epithelial edema, which leads to painful blisters on the cornea that can cause recurrent erosions on the eye.
Glaucoma, the primary cause of blindness in the United States, damages fibers of the optic nerve. Glaucoma can cause blind spots to develop, and if the entire nerve is destroyed, then full blindness can result. Diagnosing and treating the disease early can limit the optic nerve damage and and stop blindness from resulting. Glaucoma is caused by a fluid buildup in the drainage area of the eye, which increases eye pressure and causes damage to the optic nerve.
Two types of glaucoma include chronic open-angle glaucoma, which happens over time as the drainage system of the eye ages and becomes weaker. Another form of glaucoma, called angle-closure glaucoma, happens when the drainage system becomes completely blocked, causing blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, and nausea. Though glaucoma cannot be reversed, its effects can be slowed by decreasing eye pressure through medicines, laser surgery, and operative surgery. Visit our Glaucoma page for more information.
When type I herpes virus manifests itself on the surface of the eye, it can affect vision and cause corneal ulceration, eyelid blisters, and inflammation in the eye. If a person experiences herpes on the eye, the virus has a high likelihood of returning. Called recurrent ocular herpes, the disease can cause the eye to turn red, teary, light-sensitive, and scratchy. The disease can also cause permanent inflammation and scarring of the eye. Treatment to kill the virus is vital for preventing scars and significant vision damage.
Hyperopia or farsighted vision occurs when the eyeball is shorter than a perfect sphere. Because of the shorter distance between the front of the eye, called the cornea, and the retina at the back of the eye, light rays focus behind the retina. Farsightedness causes far objects to appear clear but near objects to appear blurry.
Iritis describes inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. Iritis does not have a single cause, and it usually appears on its own, but it can be linked to a number of diseases or infections. Iritis can cause symptoms such as red eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tearing, pain, and floaters. Iritis is often a recurring problem, and it can be treated with medication and drops to decrease inflammation. Complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, and changes in the cornea can occur from iritis and its treatments, so careful monitoring by an eye doctor is important for effective treatment.
The iStent is a small device inserted during cataract surgery for patients with glaucoma. It has been shown to decrease the pressure within their eye, called intraocular pressure. The iStent is a tiny device that is inserted into the trabecular meshwork of the eye. No extra incisions are needed other than those used for cataract surgery. When inserted into the eye, the small tube has been shown to increase the aqueous flow in the eye, which decreases the pressure within the eye and can decrease a patient’s reliance on glaucoma medication.
The Acufocus Kamra inlay is a small device that can be placed in the eye to help patients with presbyopia, or aging eyes, see clearly without reading glasses. Kamra is a thin, tiny device shaped like a ring that is placed on the cornea. Because of the opening in the center of the inlay, light can move straight from the front of the eye to the back of the eye, and this increases the eye’s range of sight. The inlay is porous and has thousands of microscopic pores that allow nutrients to continue moving naturally through the eye. The Kamra inlay is placed on the patient’s non-dominant eye, and it has been shown to decrease or eliminate patients’ need for reading glasses.
Keratoconus describes an abnormality wherein the cornea of a person’s eye thins and bulges forward like a cone. Females are often affected by keratoconus in both eyes. Keratoconus forms an abnormal astigmatism, and it cannot be corrected with contact lenses, though hard contact lenses have been shown to help correct the visual quality. If hard contact lenses are not able to correct a person’s vision, then one option for treatment is corneal cross-linking, a procedure in which the cornea is saturated with a certain wavelength of light that can strengthen the fibers of the cornea and slow the progression of the disease. Another option for vision restoration is keratoplasty, a corneal transplant, where the person’s cornea is replaced with a donor cornea.
Laser iridotomy is a surgical procedure used to control eye pressure. When medications are ineffective, a laser beam can be used to make a hole in the colored part of the eye, called the iris. This outpatient procedure can stimulate fluid drainage without the risk of infection. In some cases, another laser procedure, the Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty, is applied to the drain meshwork in order to lower the eye pressure further.
LASIK is a common refractive procedure that uses a laser to reshape a person’s cornea, which has been shown to improve a person’s vision. LASIK can be used to correct the vision for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. In the procedure, a flap is created on the surface of the eye, either with laser or a blade. The surgeon folds the flap to reveal the cornea, and then a laser is used to reshape the surface of the cornea to a more proper rounded shape. Then, the surgeon places the flap back over the cornea. The procedure has little recovery associated with it, and patients are generally able to return to work within a day. By having a properly shaped cornea, the eye is better able to reflect light, resulting in clearer vision without the need for glasses or contacts.
The LensAR is a laser approved to perform cataract surgeries. The LensAR laser can create an incision in the cornea. It is also used for capsulotomies, which remove the front part of the capsule where the natural lens sits. The laser also performs fragmentation of the natural lens with the cataract, softening and breaking up the lens before it is removed.
The LenSx laser by Alcon is a femtosecond laser used in ReLACS, or laser-assisted cataract surgery. It was the first laser to receive approval in the U.S. for use in cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the laser is used to create incisions. It also performs capsulotomies, which removes the front part of the capsule where the natural lens sits. The laser also performs lens fragmentation, softening and breaking up the natural lens for removal.
Patients can develop small lumps and bumps around their eyes, called lesions, and these lesions can be either benign or malignant. The more common benign lesions are not dangerous to a person’s health, and they can appear as a number of skin conditions, such as epidermoid cysts, hidrocystoma, papilloma, and seborrheic keratosis. An eye surgeon can generally remove these lesions if a patient desires.
Malignant lesions can include keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, sebaceous cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms of malignant lesions near the eye are misdirection of lashes, ulcers, bleeding, fast growth of lesions, multiple colors, changing of colors, borders that are irregular, and the breaking down of the lid margin. If our doctors suspect a malignant lesion, we will likely recommend biopsy and removal, determination, and/or referral to a specialist if further removal is needed.
Lower Lid Rejuvenation (ULP):
For patients with concerns of lower lid appearance, a laser can be used to remove a layer of skin as determined by a physician, which can reduce or eliminate wrinkling and irregularities in the skin. This procedure, commonly known as a laser peel or laser resurfacing, can treat a variety of skin conditions. It can provide centralized treatment on just a portion of the skin, or it can treat a larger surface area. The Sciton laser is used to precisely treat skin irregularities with predictable results and shorter recovery times than previous treatments.
Macular degeneration is a disease that damages the macula, which controls detailed vision. The disease mostly affects adults over the age of 50, and early detection is the key to treating macular degeneration. Macular degeneration can be classified as either “wet” or “dry.” In the more common dry macular degeneration, vision changes may be difficult to notice in the disease’s early stages. Central vision worsens, wavy lines and black spots may appear in the middle of a person’s vision, and colors may look dimmer than normal. If someone loses vision from dry macular degeneration, that vision will not be able to be restored. Monitoring macular degeneration can help stop the disease from progressing to the more serious but less common wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration can cause rapid vision loss, and patients may see dark or blank spots, wavy lines, and dim colors centrally in their vision. If diagnosed early enough, laser treatment can be used to slow further loss of vision. Macular degeneration does not cause complete vision loss. Regular appointments with an eye doctor are important for diagnosing and monitoring the disease. People can also monitor their vision using an Amsler grid, as directed by their eye doctor.
Microdermabrasion helps repair aged skin or skin that has been weathered from being exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. For treatment, a hand piece is moved over the skin to exfoliate it, and then more passes over the skin can further exfoliate areas with more sun damage. Microdermabrasion can be used to treat wrinkles, lines, age spots, sun damage, acne, dull skin, hormonal pigmentation, and large pores. A full facial treatment of microdermabrasion is recommended.
MicroLaser Peel is a skin resurfacing peel that can improve the texture and appearance of a person’s skin. A laser applied to the skin gently removes a thin layer of damaged skin. MicroLaser Peel allows for a high level of precision and depth. This treatment can improve the skin in areas of mild wrinkles, scars, keratoses (red bumps on the skin), sun-damaged skin, and other irregularities in skin pigment. This treatment is often combined with other procedures to obtain the best cosmetic results.
If blood vessels in the brain quickly constrict and limit the blood supply to the brain, migraine headaches and migraine visual disorders can result. Symptoms can include tingling, numbness, and loss of strength in one or more extremities. Losing vision in a part of the visual field or seeing shimmering lights may be a person’s only symptoms. The headache and nausea that accompany migraines are largely caused by a reflex widening of the blood vessels. This stretching of the vessels allows fluid to build up, which can cause localized swelling, called an edema. Some patients are able to detect the early signs of migraine disorders, and while some patients receive relief from over-the-counter and at-home methods, others need prescription treatment.
Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is a type of surgical treatment for glaucoma that has become a common form of glaucoma management. Earlier glaucoma surgeries were highly invasive with significant recovery times and chances of complication. However, the MIGS approach uses a small device, called an iStent, which is inserted during cataract surgery to decrease the pressure within the eye. The iStent is an small tube that can increase the flow of fluid within the eye.
When the eye has an oblong shape from front to back, as if it was stretched to be longer, the eye is said to have myopia, or nearsighted vision. Because of the longer distance between the surface of the eye and the retina at the back of the eye, light rays focus in front of the retina. When this occurs, near objects appear clear, but far objects appear blurry.
When someone has normal vision, the surface of that person’s eye is rounded and shaped like a sphere. When light rays hit the outside of the eye, those rays bend and focus in the center of the eyeball. Because of the eye’s precise spherical shape, the image focuses directly on the retina, which means the person sees the image clearly.
The use of lasers has become frequent in ophthalmology. A common laser called a YAG laser can be used for a posterior capsulotomy, in which any new clouding of a previous cataract patient’s vision can be painlessly removed. Argon lasers can be used to treat glaucoma, vein occlusions, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal holes and detachments, as well as other conditions. To treat some retinal diseases, a krypton laser can be used. Laser technology continues to be researched to develop more effective treatments for patients.
Pinguecula describes a small, yellow-colored lump that can form on the white part of the eye, called the sclera. These lumps generally appear to the right or left of the iris, the colored part of the eye. Usually caused by dryness and environmental exposure, a pinguecula can cause slight burning or irritation. Pinguecula are more commonly developed in warm, dry environments, but they can form in a variety of climates. Treatments include eye drops, avoidance of irritants, and sometimes surgery.
After Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), the results can be furthered by adding Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) to the treatment. With PRP, the patient’s own plasma is used to accelerate skin repair. Applying PRP encourages growth of new tissues, cellular regeneration, and the production of collagen and elastin. Skin conditions such as wrinkles, scarring, hyper-pigmentation, large pores, thinning skin, and broken capillaries can be improved with this treatment.
Presbyopia describes a natural aging process of the eye. The meaning of presbyopia comes from presby, which means old, and opia, which means vision. Inside a healthy eye, the lens changes shape depending on a person’s distance from the object he or she is trying to see. When an object is near to the person, the eye’s lens widens, and when an object is far away, the lens thins.
Over time, the eye loses some of its ability to focus, resulting in presbyopia. When people reach their forties or shortly after, they may notice blurriness when trying to see objects close to them. Their eyes also may become slower at transitioning between focusing on near and far objects.
When patients are nearsighted and also presbyopic, they are able to see clearly at near distances, which is an advantage to myopia (nearsightedness).
The ProFractional XC uses a laser to repair skin damage from sun exposure, scarring, or aging. When a tiny laser beam pinpoints thousands of areas on the skin, the areas around those pinpoints experience improvements. The tissue creates new collagen, which adds firmness and resilience to the skin.
A pterygium is a fleshy growth that can appear on the surface of the cornea, particularly if a person is exposed to sun, wind, dust, and otherwise harsh climates. Pterygia are more common in men than women, and they generally affect people who live in the tropics or spend a significant amount of time outdoors. Pterygia can be progressive or stabilize and remain unproblematic. Symptoms include blurriness, dry eyes, and irritation, as well as redness during growth. Protecting oneself from ultraviolet rays can help prevent pterygium. Drops can help with the dry eye symptoms. Surgical removal of the growth can be performed for visual or cosmetic reasons.
Ptosis describes a droopiness of the upper eyelid, caused by factors such as age, birth, injury, or neurological diseases. People who are experiencing ptosis may have difficulty seeing, reading, and driving. Ptosis can cause people to need to raise their eyebrows in order to see, which can cause headaches and eyestrain. Treatments are focused on raising the lid through surgery. Occasionally, a surgery can result in too much lid removal, in which case the patient may have difficulty closing the lid completely, which leads to dry eye problems.
ReLACS, or Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery, is the most advanced form of cataract surgery. With ReLACS, a laser is used to create an incision in the eye, and from that incision, the natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). With ReLACS, the surgeon is able to create a precise plan for the incision that increases the accuracy of the procedure while decreasing the risk of infection from an incision not self-sealing correctly. The procedure also uses a laser to remove the front part of the capsule that holds the existing lens, allowing for a better positioning of the IOL. A laser also is used in ReLACS to soften the cataract while breaking it up to remove it. This allows for the surgeon to use less energy to break up the lens, and therefore decreases the chance of negatively affecting the patient’s vision. With the ReLACS cataract surgery, surgeons are able to specify the surgery to the patient’s eye while maintaining a high level of accuracy, which increases the opportunity for clear vision following the surgery.
Retinal detachment occurs when the inner lining of the eye, called the retina, begins to peel away from its wall. Detachment can occur when the jelly-like substance inside the eye begins to liquify at the top, which can then cause debris to collect at the place where the solid and liquid join.
When this occurs, people see cobweb-like floaters in their eyes. The liquid can also begin to pull on the retina, which can cause you to see flashes of light. This fluid sometimes causes a hole to develop in the retina, which allows the liquid to seep through and peel the retina away from the wall. If holes in the retina are found early, they can be closed with laser treatment. If detachment has begun, more serious treatments may be necessary.
SMILE ReLEx from Zeiss is an advanced laser vision correction that has been shown to correct the vision of a person who has myopia, or near-sightedness. In the SMILE procedure, a specialized laser makes a small incision on the cornea while at the same time creating a lenticule, or a small piece of the cornea that, when removed, normalizes the shape of the cornea. With up to an 80% smaller incision size than LASIK, the procedure allows for a more predictable and stable visual outcome than with other versions of refractive surgery. In the bladeless procedure, lasers make the incision and the lenticule. The doctor then removes the lenticule through the tiny incision. By creating a properly rounded cornea, patients have been shown to have significantly improved vision. This procedure is the latest development in refractive surgery, and it has been shown to help patients see clearly without glasses or contacts.
Strabismus occurs when a person’s eyes are misaligned, and the eyes focus in different directions. Children with the condition often ignore the vision of the misaligned eye, whereas adults who develop strabismus tend to see double vision, as their brain continues to use both eyes. While true strabismus does not disappear completely, treatment can be given to preserve vision, straighten the eyes, and then restore two-eyed vision. The condition is seen most commonly in children, who are often able to be treated successfully if caught early enough. Three types of strabismus are esotropia, in which the eye looks inward, exotropia, in which the eyes turn outward, and accommodative esotropia, in which occurs in farsighted children over the age of two. A variety of treatments are used depending on the type of strabismus and the individual patient.
A stye, or a hordeolum, describes a minor infection of a hair follicle or gland on the edge of the eyelid. Swelling and redness are symptoms of a stye, and they can be painful. Styes are very contagious, and they generally come from the staphylococcus germ. Treatments include hot packs, antibiotic drops, and plucking the lash from the center of the stye to promote drainage. People can help prevent the spread of styes by being aware of their personal hygiene if they are experiencing the disease.
A subconjunctival hemorrhage appears as a bright red spot in the conjunctiva, which is the clear coating over the white part of the eye. A subconjunctival hemorrhage happens when a small, delicate blood vessel in the conjunctiva ruptures. It generally does not cause pain, though some patients experience pain when the vessel initially breaks. Subconjunctival hemorrhages are not usually associated with any diseases that endanger a person’s vision, and they do not usually have a direct, known cause. Treatment is unnecessary, as subconjunctival hemorrhages will clear on their own.
If you have trichiasis, your eyelashes point toward your eyeball. This causes discomfort and inflammation when the eyelashes scratch the cornea, the surface of the eye. Trichiasis often occurs when the lower lid undergoes chronic inflammation and scarring caused by infections, diseases, or trauma. A temporary treatment is removal of the eyelashes, but killing the lash follicles with either electrolysis or an Argon laser is used to prevent future problems.
Uveitis is inflammation that happens in the uvea, the middle layer that covers the eyeball. The uvea is bordered by the sclera on the outside and the retina on the inside, and it contains blood vessels to sustain the eye. If inflammation occurs in your uvea, it can threaten your sight. Its symptoms include blurred vision, pain and redness in the eye, and sensitivity to light. Uveitis can occur in three different area of the uvea. Iritis describes uveitis in the front of the eye, called the iris. Cyclitis describes inflammation in middle area of the uvea, called the ciliary body, and choroiditis affects the back of the uvea, called the choroids. The cause of uveitis is generally not known, and it can be linked to any number of causes. To minimize vision loss, quick treatment by an ophthalmologist is important. Depending on the patient’s individual case, treatments can vary.
Viral conjunctivitis is a common infection that happens in the conjunctiva, the clear lining that covers the surface of the eye. This infection can be caused by a number of viruses, and it can either stand alone in the eye or be a part of a larger virus, such as a cold or flu. The virus is very contagious, so it is important to take measures to not spread it, particularly in the first 2 days after infected.
Symptoms vary and are generally mild, though patients occasionally experience complications and more serious symptoms. Treatments for viral conjunctivitis aim to comfort patients, and the primary treatments are time and rest. In most patients, the infection leaves in a couple days, and no permanent symptoms persist.
Vitamins and Your Eyes:
For most American adults, a regular diet provides the eyes with sufficient vitamins for their health. Though cataracts do have a higher rate of formation in underdeveloped countries with poor diets, cataract formation due to a lack of essential vitamins is not considered to be a problem in the United States.
For older people, taking a multivitamin supplement with vitamins E, C and Beta Carotene and the minerals Zinc and Selenium may help decrease a person’s likelihood of getting macular degeneration.
Ophthalmologists use the versatile visual field test to diagnose glaucoma, detached retina, brain tumors, and strokes, among others. The test is most often used for glaucoma diagnosis and monitoring. With glaucoma treatment, the test will measure the intraocular pressure, the pressure inside the eye, and then the doctor can prescribe treatments depending on the patient.