~~Our doctors recommend yearly eye exams as early detection and treatment is often the best way to retain vision if a disease process occurs. In some cases, eye diseases can be detected from a simple dilated eye exam before symptoms are recognized by the patient.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens just behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. Cataracts can cause blurred or cloudy vision, glare, and halos. One or all of these symptoms may be present, especially reading or driving at night. Some medications, diseases, or injuries can cause specific types of cataracts but most simply develop gradually with age. Once a cataract reaches a certain level of cloudiness new glasses or contacts will no longer improve the vision. If the vision from the cataracts start to affect your daily activities then surgery becomes the only way to improve vision. Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures with a low risk of complications. Surgery is only performed one eye at a time with as little as 1-4 weeks between surgeries, if both eyes require surgery. Once the cloudy cataract is removed the lens is replaced with a clear implant lens, similar to a contact lens. In many cases patients may only need reading glasses after cataract surgery in each eye. Patients may choose a premium, bifocal implant lens as well, reducing their need for ANY glasses after surgery. Our doctors will help detect cataracts and discuss your treatment options, including the right implant lens for you.
Glaucoma is a condition that causes the optic nerve (a delicate cable that connects the eye to the brain) to deteriorate. In the early stages the patient is unaware of any symptoms and may not notice any changes. If the optic nerve continues to deteriorate the patient starts to lose their side, or peripheral vision. However, if glaucoma is detected early enough, a trained eye doctor can detect these changes and recommend treatment to prevent the loss of the peripheral vision. In many cases, glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma may develop in eyes with normal pressure, due to certain diseases, or in cases of injury as well. Treatments may include eye drops, laser procedures, or surgery to reduce the eye pressure. Our Manhattan office is equipped with advanced diagnostic equipment including automated visual field testing and scanning lasers that help detect glaucoma at the earliest stages, often before vision loss occurs.
Macular degeneration is a condition that causes the patient to lose their central vision. It is caused by a breakdown of the central tissue of the retina (the thin wall paper that lines the back of the eye). There are two main types of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration involves atrophy of the tissue and small deposits known as drusen that accumulate in the macula. Wet macular degeneration is due to bleeding directly under the macula. The visual prognosis is usually worse with wet macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration can be managed with observation, testing, and specific concentrations of vitamins that can help reduce the risk of progression. Treatment for wet macular degeneration may involve injections, laser treatment, or a combination of both to prevent further vision loss. Using highly sensitive scanning lasers and dilated exams our staff and doctors can detect the disease in the early stages and help decrease the chance of losing vision.
Flashes and Floaters
A few isolated floaters may occur as the eye ages. Flashes may also occur as the eye ages and the jelly that fills the middle of the eye begins to shrink. However, they can also be a signal that the patient has a retinal hole, tear, or detachment. If left undetected or untreated these could progress and lead to permanent loss of vision. A dilated eye exam will help our doctors determine if your symptoms are age related or due a hole or detachment of the retina.
Dry Eye and Allergies
Many patients suffer from dry eye, allergies, or both. Dry eye causes the eyes to feel scratchy, gritty, or sandy and often causes them to water in response to the severe dryness. There are several treatments available including eye drops, punctal plugs, oral supplements, and simple environmental changes. Allergies make the eyes itch and can be treated with eye drops or oral medications.
Computer Related Issues
Extended computer use can cause several conditions including dry eyes and computer vision syndrome. The stress and strain put on our eye muscles from computers can be alleviated with the correct prescription. This may involve an updated prescription, a separate pair of computer glasses, or an adjustment to the reading/near portion of your glasses.