What's a cataract?
It’s a clouding of the lens of the eye that occurs frequently in patients over the age of 60. The clouding blocks light to the eye and results in blurred or distorted vision. This blurring happens gradually and may go unnoticed, so see your eye doctor regularly to check for possible cataracts. If you do have a cataract(s), the surgeons at ophthalmic associates will use state-of-the-art cataract care to help you regain clear vision.
Using just a topical anesthetic to numb the eye, the surgeon creates a small incision and uses high-energy sound waves to break the cataract into microscopic particles, which are then removed. To compensate for the removal of the eye’s natural lens, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is implanted. The natural outward pressure from your eye provides a seal at the incision, and stitches are not normally required.
This procedure is preferred to traditional methods because of the increased comfort level for the patient, and rapid visual improvement. The need for shots, stitches and an after surgery eye-patch are eliminated, and most patients will notice marked visual improvement quickly. If you or someone you know shows signs of cataracts, schedule a vision screening today.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the nerves that carry signals from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is a gradual loss of vision that usually has no symptoms until the disease eventually takes your sight. It’s the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, and, once diagnosed, it’s a chronic disease that must be treated for life. If diagnosed in the early stages, treatment can slow its progress.
It’s estimated that there are nearly 65 million suspected case of glaucoma worldwide. The disease is more common in people over 60, diabetics, those who are severely nearsighted and family members of people already diagnosed with glaucoma. The disease is 6 to 8 times more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, and is the second leading cause of blindness among all Americans. (source: glaucoma research foundation)
Most new cases are treated with medications in topical or oral form. Most topical medications reduce the eye pressure by helping the fluid to drain from the eye, or by decreasing the amount of fluid that is produced by the eye.
If the medications aren’t working, or in certain initial treatment suggestions, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery, either by laser or by conventional surgical methods.
Laser surgery for glaucoma can be done on an outpatient basis. The eye is numbed with drops, or may be numbed with an injection of local anesthetic. A special lens is attached to the eye using the laser and the laser then is used to remove tissue. The patient usually feels little or no discomfort, although after treatment, the eye may be irritated and vision may be blurred. Normal activities usually can be resumed a day or two after the procedure.
Corneal Diseases and Injury
Corneal problems can happen to anyone at any age. If the cornea is damaged from disease, injury or infection, it can become cloudy or warped. The damaged cornea distorts light as it travels into the eye, affecting your vision. It may even cause pain.
The damaged and diseased tissue can be replaced by corneal transplant, one of the oldest, most common and most successful transplant surgeries in all of medicine. During the procedure, part of a cloudy or warped cornea is replaced with a graft from a healthy cornea procured from an eye bank. If the surgery is successful and with proper healing, vision can be greatly improved.
Corneal surgery is performed by a surgeon using delicate instruments and an operating microscope. The healthy corneal fragment is attached to the patients existing cornea with micro thin nylon sutures. The stitches don’t cause pain, but may result in some scratchiness or irritation for about a week after surgery.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
It’s damage to the blood vessels of the light sensitive tissue at the retina in the back of the eye due to complications of diabetes. At first diabetic retinopathy may show no symptoms, but unchecked it can eventually lead to blindness—in fact, it’s a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic Retinopathy can happen to anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop the condition. Early detection is best diagnosed with a dilated eye exam, so if you’re diabetic, contact one of our eye doctors.
Diabetic Retinopathy treatment
Depending on the severity of the condition, and how well it may respond to specific measures, treatment options vary. You may not need immediate treatment, or you could require surgery.
There are laser surgeries that can be performed to stop the progress of diabetic retinopathy. These can be performed in your eye doctor’s office and involve sealing off blood vessel leaks or shrinking abnormal vessels with a series of laser burns. Your vision will be blurry for about a day after the procedure.
For more serious cases of Diabetic Retinopathy, the patient may require a vitrectomy which is a more complex traditional surgery usually performed in a hospital under anesthesia. Recovery time is longer with this procedure as well.
The doctors at Ophthalmic Associates are imminently qualified to perform any of the procedures listed above, and can treat any of numerous eye diseases and injuries including those listed below.
Other eye diseases/conditions
- Dry eyes
- Strabismus (cross-eyes)
For more information on these eye diseases or conditions, call Ophthalmic Associates of Southern Tier, P.C. to schedule an eye exam at (607) 729-5016.