Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the United States. A simple, painless eye exam can detect the disease. With early detection and treatment, glaucoma can usually be controlled and blindness prevented.
Glaucoma can affect anyone from newborn infants to the elderly. It has been estimated that up to 3 million Americans have glaucoma. At least half of those people do not know they have it because glaucoma usually has no symptoms. People who are at a greater risk for glaucoma usually have the following conditions:
- At least 45 years old without regular eye exams
- A family history of glaucoma
- Abnormally high eye pressure
- African descent
- Previous eye injury
- Regular, long-term use of cortisone/steroid products
To detect glaucoma, your physician will test your visual acuity and visual field and test the pressure in your eye. Regular and complete eye exams help to monitor the changes in your eyesight and to determine whether you may develop glaucoma.
Treatments to control glaucoma include medications in the form of eye drops or pills, laser surgery and conventional surgery.
Diabetic Eye Diseases
Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing eye conditions because a high blood sugar level can damage blood vessels in the eye. Over 40 percent of patients diagnosed with diabetes develop some form of eye disease as a result. These conditions can cause blood or fluid to leak from the retina or new blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina which can lead to significant damages to your vision and overall quality of life.
It is important for patients with diabetes to have dilated eye exams once a year to detect any signs of diabetic eye disease as soon as possible. You can also minimize your risk of developing diabetic eye disease by keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure under control, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina inside the eye. These weak vessels can leak, causing a loss of vision. Changes to your vision may not be noticeable at first. But in its advanced stages, the disease can cause significant and irreversible vision loss. Fortunately, diabetic retinopathy is preventable by controlling blood sugar. Prevention is the best medicine with this disease. Regular eye exams are very important to detect diabetic retinopathy. Although damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be corrected, patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated to slow its progression and minimize further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.
The macula is a part of the retina in the back of the eye that ensures that our central vision is clear and sharp. When Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs, loss of this sharp vision occurs. Patients may experience anything from a blurry, gray or distorted area to a blind spot in the center of vision. AMD is the number-one cause of vision loss in the U.S. Macular degeneration doesn’t cause total blindness because it doesn’t affect the peripheral vision. Possible risk factors include genetics, age, diet, smoking and sunlight exposure. There are two kinds of AMD: wet (neovascular/exudative) and dry (non-neovascular). About 10-15% of people with AMD have the wet form. Vision loss with dry AMD is slower and often less severe than with wet AMD. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss. There are treatments for many patients with macular degeneration.
Dry eye occurs when the eyes aren’t sufficiently moisturized, leading to burning, redness and irritation. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear glands don’t produce enough tears, or because the tears themselves are of a poor quality. Your eyes may actually start to tear because they are irritated and your vision may fluctuate. People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries. Fortunately, many treatment options are available.
To learn more about these and any other Eye Conditions, please call 732-607-0555 today to schedule a consultation.