Common Eye Conditions
A cataract is clouding of the natural lens inside of the eye. If this lens becomes cloudy then light cannot be focused properly in the eye and the vision becomes blurry. The treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery. If you are scheduling an appointment for evaluation of cataracts please complete the Visual Impairment Survey prior to your exam.
Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries images from the eye to the brain. Screening for glaucoma is important because patients may not be aware of damage to the optic nerve during early stages of this disease. Glaucoma is treated initially with medications or sometimes laser. If these treatments are not effective then a surgical procedure may be needed to treat this condition.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Flashes and Floaters
Many people experience flashes or floaters in the vision. This may look like a shadow or cobweb in your vision or like a shooting star. These symptoms can be caused by several different underlying conditions. If you experience new flashes or floaters in your vision it is important to have an eye exam immediately to determine whether or not these symptoms are due to a potentially blinding condition such as a retinal tear or detachment.
Ptosis (Droopy Eyelids)
Eyelid ptosis is a condition in which your upper eyelids are too low and do not open fully; this may occur on one or both sides. It may begin in early childhood or more commonly develops in adulthood as the muscles that lift your eyelids become stretched and weakened. It is sometimes associated with allergies, previous eye surgery, contact lens wear, and other factors.
Surgery to correct ptosis is designed to strengthen the weakened muscle that elevates your upper eyelid. In adults the surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia with sedation so that you can open and close your eyelids during the procedure. This allows us to estimate the proper eyelid height. Ptosis surgery in children is usually performed with the child under general anesthesia.
Dermatochalasis (Droopy Eyelid Skin)
Your eyelids are often the first thing people notice about your face and are an important component of facial attractiveness.
The tendency to develop excessive wrinkling and bagginess of the eyelids can run in families and may occur at any age. Sun exposure, allergies, swelling, etc. can aggravate this stretching of the eyelid skin. This condition called dermatochalasis. Aesthetically, this may detract from the overall attractiveness of one’s eyes and cause a “tired” or “older” appearance. The excess skin in the upper eyelid may become so severe that it droops over the eyelashes, causing a partial obstruction of your vision. This becomes more of a functional problem than a cosmetic problem and is usually covered by most insurance companies. Eyelid surgery to remove excess skin, muscle and possibly fat is termed blepharoplasty.
Surgical correction involves carefully marking the excess skin, so that the resulting incisions are “hidden” in the natural crease and contours of your eyelids. We are careful not to remove too much skin, which could cause difficulty in eyelid closure. After the skin is marked, the anesthetist, if involved, will administer a relaxing medicine intravenously. After you are fully relaxed with the “relaxing” medicine, your eyelids are anesthetized by a very small, almost painless, injection of local anesthetic. Some healthy patients elect to have their procedure performed under straight local anesthetic without intravenous sedation. The marked excess skin and muscle is then removed. If there are also prominent “bags” (fat pads) present they are carefully exposed and removed. The skin edges are then sutured together, using very fine stitches. This helps make the scar less visible. Ointment and ice packs are then applied to your eye.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid. This is often related to bacteria that are found on the skin and eyelashes. Symptoms of blepharitis include itching, redness and discomfort of the eyes.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” is a condition that occurs when normal sight is not developed in an eye during childhood. This can be caused by misalignment of the eyes or by the eye not receiving a clear image for a long period of time. This condition can be treated with glasses, patching of the stronger eye, or with medications. Surgery may even be needed in some cases. Amblyopia is more responsive to treatment in younger patients so early exams and treatment are important to improve the vision.