Patient Education Center: Common Eye Conditions
Use the links below to see patient education videos that can help explain some common eye conditions. Please Contact Us to schedule an eye exam today. Para mirar estos vídeos en español, haga clic aquí.
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Glaucoma is a disease that is complicated and results in optic nerve damage that causes progressive and irreversible loss of vision. It is second to cataracts as a disease that causes blindness.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that steals vision gradually. Typically, there aren’t any early signs to warn you nor do people feel pain as a result of glaucoma. This disease slowly develops and you may not notice loss of sight for several years. Of the people who have glaucoma, most feel normal and initially do not realize any vision changes. This is because the vision loss starts with a loss of peripheral or side vision. The sharpness or visual acuity is still present until the disease is much further along. The disease is quite advanced when a patient notices vision loss. If glaucoma is not treated, it can cause blindness. There is good news! You can maintain your vision through detecting and treating glaucoma early by having eye exams regularly.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases.
- Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma
- Normal-Tension Glaucoma
- Other Types of Glaucoma
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
About three million Americans are affected by this form of glaucoma. It is the most common form of glaucoma. The disease occurs over time when the eye’s drainage canals are clogged.
The correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye and causes the eye’s inner pressure (intraocular pressure [IOP]) to rise.
This form of glaucoma occurs even though the entry to the eye’s drainage canal is clear and appears to be correctly working. However the clogging of the canal is happening further inside. This is very similar to a sink’s drain pipe clogging up under the sink.
Open-Angle Glaucoma does not present symptoms or warning signs to the patient. If it is not diagnosed and treated, you can expect gradual vision loss. This disease slowly develops and you may not notice loss of sight for several years. When discovered and treated early, this disease generally responds well to medication. If your vision loss progresses, you may need to have Dr. Parikh perform a trabeculectomy to lower the IOP.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma and is also called acute glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma. It differs from open-angle glaucoma because the eye pressure rises very rapidly. The eye pressure rises quickly because the drainage canals become blocked or are covered over. This is similar to something covering your sink’s drain. When you have angle-closure glaucoma your iris is not as wide and therefore not as open. For example if you have angle-closure glaucoma and if you walk into a dark room, your pupil may enlarge too much or may enlarge too fast. This causes the outer edge of the iris to bunch up and block the drainage canals. Dr. Parikh can perform a quick test, called gonioscopy, to see if your angle is normal (wide) or not normal (narrow).
People who have angle-closure glaucoma may have very blurred vision, headaches, experience nausea, eye pain, and may see rainbows around lights at night. To treat this condition, Dr. Parikh may need perform an iridotomy with either a laser surgery or conventional surgery to remove the small portion of the outer edge of the iris that has bunched up and caused your drainage canals to be blocked.
Cataract and Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are the biggest disease causing blindness across the world. 20 million people are blind due to cataracts and 80 million people only have partial sight because of cataracts. Of all the people who have cataracts, 80% live in the developing world. While cataracts are cured easily with surgery, in the developing world the disease is a significant burden on its socio-economic makeup.
Cataract is a disease of the eye indicated by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. The lens focuses an image on to your retina and is located behind the pupil. Cataract results in decreased vision since the lens is cloudy. If the lens clouds to a great textend, this may result in total blindness over time. It is general related to aging but there are other causes of cataract formation, i.e., diabetes, trauma, steroids, radiation, uveitis, etc.
Surgery is the only method to treat cataracts. The surgery performed removes the cataractous lens which is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL. Dr. Chirag Parikh will use local (topical) anesthetic and performs the procedure in an outpatient surgery center so you will not need to go to or stay overnight in a hospital. Over 95% of operations succeed and useful vision is restored. After the day of surgery, the complication rate is very low. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and cost effective procedure performed in the U.S.
The development of a cataract is usually very slow. Therefore, you can have a cataract that initially only clouds a small part of your vision. Over time, cataracts usually grows more dense, and makes it harder for you to drive, read and do work or home activities.
When you feel you are ready for cataract surgery Dr. Chirag Parikh will do the appropriate measurements and determine the correct IOL (intraocular lens) that needs to be inserted into your eye so that you can see better.
Tears keep your eyes healthy and moist. When your eyes do not produce enough tears, seeing the world through itchy, dry and irritated eyes is an agonizing experience. Dryness can be the result of either lack of tear production or excessive tear evaporation because of an unstable tear film. If your eyes stop producing enough tears, Dr. Parikh will most likely start you on a regimen of over the counter artificial tears and offer you the option punctal plugs or Restasis to help increase your natural tear production. These plugs stop your tears from running out of the lower or upper eyelid puncta allowing them stay on your ocular surface and keep your eyes feeling comfortable.
Many patients have dry or irritated eye because of conditions called blepharitis or meibomitis. These diseases lead to tear instability and greater evaporative loss of tears, in addition to direct ocular irritation. If you have these conditions, Dr. Parikh may need to treat you with topical antibiotics or steroids.
This is a very common reason to see an eye care specialist. A red eye can be something as benign as a subconjunctival hemorrhage (something that looks dangerous but is not) to something as dangerous as acute angle closure glaucoma, uveitis, conjunctivitis, or one of many diseases. If your eye is red and feel you have a problem that is not correctable by over the counter treatments, have Dr. Parikh evaluate your eyes and start a treatment plan that works for you.
Retina damage which is caused by uncontrolled diabetes is called Diabetic Retinopathy. It can result in blindness. Diabetes is a systemic disease. For those who have been diabetic for 10+ years, 80% may find that their diabetes is manifesting in their eyes. Research shows that 90% of the time, new cases of diabetic retinopathy could be minimized through regular monitoring and attentive treatment of the eyes. The chances of developing diabetic retinopathy increase based on how long a person has had diabetes. This disease is a very common cause of blindness in the United States.
If diabetic retinopathy progresses to the proliferative stages, Dr. Parikh may need to proceed to laser surgery or refer you to a retinal specialist in order to prevent extensive loss of vision.
ARMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration)
ARMD is an eye condition of people older than 50. Risk factors for this disease include smoking, Caucasian ancestry, and a family history of ARMD. It is one of the five leading causes of vision loss in the aging population. It affects the macula which is responsible for your central vision.
For some people, ARMD, slowly progresses such that the person does not perceive vision loss until years later. ARMD has two varieties: a dry form and a wet form. The dry form progresses slowly over years and may lead to atrophy, scarring and progressive loss of central vision. Others may abruptly develop the wet form which is a growth of vessels into the macula which may cause hemorrhaging and loss of central vision. The loss of vision due to ARMD increases the difficulty of doing tasks of daily living such as driving a car, recognizing faces, reading, sewing, or working around your house.
Even though your central vision is limited, ARMD does not result in complete blindness. You may still use your side vision (peripheral vision) to see some of the world around you.
The ‘dry” form of ARMD is diagnosed when Dr. Chirag Parikh observes drusen deposits in the macula. The “wet” for is diagnosed when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow behind your macula. In either case, Dr. Parikh can discuss your options with you and help you find the appropriate treatment for your disease.
Although many vision problems arise from problems within your eye, some external disease related to your eyelid can also cause visual disturbances. Commonly, dermatochalasis, which is droopy eyelid skin, can hang over your visual axis and require surgical excision. Another common condition is blepharoptosis, which is a drooping your eyelid over your visual axis, can cause a visual disturbance and require surgical corrections.
Less common eyelid problems like an entropion, an inward turning of the eyelid, or ectropion, an outward turning of the eyelid, which can lead to vision problems through mechanical irritation or ocular surface drying. These conditions may initially require medical treatment, but ultimately, will require surgical correction of the eyelids to help you feel and see better.
A retinal detachment is a medical emergency is when the retina is partially or fully removed from its layer of support tissue. While the first detachment might be localized the whole retina might detach if it is not treated rapidly. Not treating a detachment may result in loss of vision and blindness. The damage becomes permanent if it is not repaired within 1-3 days.
On the back wall of the eyes, the retina is a thin, light sensitive layer of issue. Similar to a camera, light is focused by the optical system on the retina just like light is focused by a camera’s optical system on film or a sensor. The focused images is translated by the retina into neural impluses which is sent to the brain through the optic nerve. Sometimes trauma or injury to the eye or head, or a posterior vitreous detachment, may result in a tiny tear in the retina. A tear in the retina allows fluid to flow underneath the retina, and peel the retina away – similar to what a bubble or air pocket does in wallpaper.
Refractive surgery is the general term for any eye surgery performed to improve your vision and eliminate your need to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses. The most common refractive surgeries use specialized lasers to restore your 20/20 vision. However, these types of eye surgeries can also include cataract surgeries with the implantation of specialty lenses. Refractive surgery is successfully used to alleviate disorders such as hyperopia, astigmatism and myopia.