What is glaucoma?
One of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises high enough to damage the optic nerve. It cannot be prevented, and vision lost to it cannot be restored. The high eye pressure associated with glaucoma is caused by blockages in the eye’s fluid drains. No one knows yet why the blockages form. People at the greatest risk include those who are over the age of 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or who have a family history of glaucoma.
Does glaucoma have any symptoms?
Glaucoma often develops over many years without causing pain – so you may not experience vision loss until the disease has progressed. Symptoms are occasionally present and should be taken as warning signs that glaucoma may be developing; these include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, halo effects around lights and painful or reddened eyes.
Is glaucoma treatable?
Once diagnosed, glaucoma can be controlled. Treatments to lower pressure in the eye include non-surgical methods such as prescription eye drops and medications, laser therapy, and surgery.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma where the fluid in the eye drains too slowly through the network of tiny drainage channels, known as the trabecula. The pressure in the eye increases as the fluid in the eye continues to build. Loss of vision occurs gradually and the vision loss is not always noticed until it becomes irreversible. About 95 percent of glaucoma cases are due to open-angle glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the tiny drainage channels, known as the trabecula, become blocked which then causes a sudden rise in pressure in the eye. This condition is not common but when it occurs it requires immediate medical attention.
What is a cataract? Who is at risk for developing them?
A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens in the front of the eye. Cataracts are caused by a chemical change of unknown origin in the eye, and cause blurred or distorted vision. People at risk for developing cataracts are over 55 years old, have had eye injuries or disease, have a family history of cataracts, smoke cigarettes or use certain medications.
Can cataracts be prevented?
They cannot be prevented from forming, but early detection through regular eye exams can help maintain the clearest vision possible.
Are there symptoms associated with cataracts?
There is no pain associated with the condition, but there are several symptoms that indicate failing vision due to cataracts. These include:
- Blurred/hazy vision
- Spots in front of the eye(s)
- Sensitivity to glare
- A feeling of “film” over the eye(s)
- A temporary improvement in near vision
How are cataracts treated?
Vision loss from cataracts can often be corrected with prescription glasses and contact lenses. For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, replacement surgery may be the preferred method of treatment. During cataract replacement (the most common surgical procedure in the country), the lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens or IOL.
Premium Lens Implants
A wide range of replacement lenses are available to cataract patients, each offering different advantages for post-surgery vision. The most effective lens to use depends on the patient's individual preferences and goals for their vision. The lenses eliminate the need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery, providing most patients with convenient, effective results for their specific vision conditions.
Crystalens is the only FDA-approved presbyopia correcting intraocular lens (IOL) that corrects vision through accommodation. The Crystalens IOL is made with flexible silicone that has hinges on each side allowing it to move with the eye muscle, flexing and accommodating seamlessly so you can focus on the objects around you at any distance. In other words, it dynamically adjusts to your visual needs.
Accommodation is the ability to shift focus between nearby and distant objects, providing sharper vision at multiple distances in order to minimize the use of glasses. Other IOLs are unable to accommodate and those patients may require additional vision correction with glasses or contact lenses.
The AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL is an intraocular lens that provides good near, intermediate and distance vision for patients who want to significantly decrease their dependence on glasses or contacts after undergoing cataract surgery.
Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Multifocal IOLs allow for full vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances, completely eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses for most patients. Some IOLs can also correct astigmatism. The procedure to implant a multifocal IOL is performed at the conclusion of cataract surgery.
These choices were not always available for cataract patients. In the past, cataract surgery only involved monofocal lenses, which could only focus on objects near or far, but could not adjust to accommodate varying distances. These patients still had to rely on glasses or contact lenses after surgery in order to see clearly at all distances, especially for those older patients suffering from presbyopia.
Multifocal IOLs such as ReSTOR®, ReZoom® and Tecnis® preserve distance vision and correct presbyopia so cataract surgery patients -- and patients seeking treatment for presbyopia alone -- can enjoy clear sight without relying on glasses.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). When these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches, vision loss occurs. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters and blind spots – and, eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible.
Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?
Yes. People with diabetes are most susceptible to developing it, but your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Regular eye exams are an integral part of making sure your eyes are healthy.
Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?
Although damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be corrected, patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.
Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye conditions as a complication of their disease. These conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness and include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy is actually the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable loss of vision or pain, so significant damage may have occurred by the time patients notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined at least once a year. Early detection of eye disease can help prevent permanent damage.
A pterygium is a raised growth in the conjunctiva (the surface of the eye) made mostly of collagen and tiny red capillaries. Pterygiums are usually caused by extended exposure to sunlight. They may remain stable after appearing, or they may grow and affect vision. Treatments include eye drops for irritation and redness, protection from sunlight and dust to prevent the pterygium from worsening, and occasionally steroids to lessen inflammation. If the pterygium grows into the central cornea, surgical removal is recommended. This prevents the pterygium from altering the cornea's shape and affecting vision.