A quick look at some of the most common eye diseases diagnosed and often treated at Hanover Family Eyecare in Mechanicsville
“Eye diseases” is a blanket term that refers to a host of diseases relating to the function of the eye. Below we describe some of the more common types of eye diseases and how they are generally treated. For more in-depth information, please speak with your eye care provider at Hanover Family Eyecare.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a general term for a group of eye problems that can result from having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease, so it is important that you don’t wait for symptoms to appear before having a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining permanent vision loss.
Retinal Imaging- The Optomap Daytona Ultra-widefield
The optomap ultra-widefield retinal image is a unique technology that captures more than 80% of your retina in one panoramic image while traditional imaging methods typically only show 15% of your retina at one time. This is a useful tool we use in order to detect any signs of eye disease in patients.
Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. In addition, inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur along with dry eye. If left untreated, this condition can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. However, permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon.
Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane. Other names for dry eye include dry eye syndrome, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), dysfunctional tear syndrome, lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis, evaporative tear deficiency, aqueous tear deficiency, and LASIK-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy (LNE).
Dry eye disease can also be caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction which causes disruption to the lipid layer of the tears. A scanner called the Lipiscan is used to photograph these glands so that the doctor can better determine the cause of the dry eye, and thus more effectively treat it. If these glands are blocked, the doctor may suggest a treatment called the Lipiflow that applies heat and pressure to the glands to remove the blockages. You can read more about these new pieces of technology in our blog post.
The OCULUS Keratograph® 5M
The OCULUS Keratograph® 5M is an advanced corneal topographer with a built-in real keratometer and a color camera optimized for external imaging. Unique features include examining the meibomian glands, non-invasive tear film break-up time and the tear meniscus height measurement, and evaluating the lipid layer.
Keratoconus is a vision disorder that occurs when the normally round cornea (the front part of the eye) becomes thin and irregular (cone) shaped. This abnormal shape prevents the light fromentering the eye from being focused correctly on the retina and causes distortion of vision. In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. These symptoms usually appear in the late teens or late 20s. Keratoconus may progress for 10-20 years and then slow in its progression. Each eye may be affected differently.
As keratoconus progresses, the cornea bulges more and vision may become more distorted. In a small number of cases, the cornea will swell and cause a sudden and significant decrease in vision. The swelling occurs when the strain of the cornea’s protruding cone-like shape causes a tiny crack to develop. The swelling may last for weeks or months as the crack heals and is gradually replaced by scar tissue. If this sudden swelling does occur, your doctor can prescribe eyedrops for temporary relief, but there are no medicines that can prevent the disorder from progressing.
Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct the mild nearsightedness and astigmatism that is caused by the early stages for keratoconus. As the disorder progresses and cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be prescribed to correct vision adequately. In most cases, this is adequate. The contact lenses must be carefully fitted and frequent checkups and lens changes may be needed to achieve and maintain good vision.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral contacts are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses specially designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” of the eye (sclera). In doing so, scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other corneal irregularities. Also, the space between the cornea and the back surface of a scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir to provide comfort for people with severe dry eyes who otherwise could not tolerate contact lens wear.
Often called “the silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is an increase in the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which causes damage to the optic nerve with no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and eventually blindness.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medications and surgery available that can help halt further vision loss. Early detection and regular eye exams are vital to slowing the progress of the disease.
Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision due to a deterioration of the macula, a tiny spot in the central portion of your retina comprised of millions of light-sensing cells. Because it is so commonly associated with aging, it is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD called “dry,” most common and with no known treatment, and “wet,” less common and treated with laser procedures. Genetic testing is now available to help identify those most likely to develop “wet” macular degeneration.
In most cases, reversing damage caused by AMD is not possible, but supplements, protection from sunlight, eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking can reduce the risk and progression of macular degeneration. For suggestions, speak with your eye care provider at Hanover Family Eyecare.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
The OCT has dramatically changed the way eye care professionals visualize the retina, the optic nerve, and anterior segment structures. Not surprisingly the way diseases associated with these anatomical structures are diagnosed and managed has transformed as well.
Hanover Family Eyecare has the experience and equipment necessary to diagnose and often treat the eye diseases detailed above, as well as many other eye diseases, at our office in Mechanicsville. For more information please request an appointment with your optometrist, and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.