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Common Eye Diseases

Eye diseases all have one thing in common, the deterioration of the quality of your eye sight. Family Focused Eye Care is passionate about helping people maintain great vision! Besides receiving great care for corrective lenses and contacts, we specialize in helping patients with their long term ocular health, including the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases.

At each appointment you’ll receive an comprehensive eye examination, ruling out common eye diseases. In the event that something is found, we have the state of the art equipment to make sure the best treatment is given.

Here is a breakdown of some of the more common eye diseases:

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision.

The optic nerve is a bundle of about one million individual nerve fibers and transmits the visual signals from the eye to the brain. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.

This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers. Vision loss may result. Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness.

Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and many people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma. When the pressure inside an eye is too high for that particular optic nerve, whatever that pressure measurement may be, glaucoma will develop.

Glaucoma cannot currently be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early it can usually be controlled. Medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss.

However, vision already lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. That is why the American Optometric Association recommends an annual dilated eye examination for people at risk for glaucoma as a preventive eye care measure. Depending on your specific condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent examinations.

Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD.

Caucasians are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races. Women also develop AMD at an earlier age than men. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye.

AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative. Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures if diagnosed and treated early.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. It is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the result of damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. They leak blood and other fluids that cause swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.

Cataracts

Cataracts develop when the proteins in the lens of the eye are damaged, causing them to become translucent or opaque. There are three types of major cataracts, depending on the location in the lens: nuclear, cortical and posterior subcapsular.

Research also shows that there are several risk factors for cataracts that we can control by changing certain behaviors. These preventive actions include: not smoking, reducing exposure to sunlight by wearing UVA/UVB protective eyewear and wide brimmed hats, controlling other diseases such as diabetes and eating a healthy diet.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.

With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose.

Without adequate tears to protect the surface of the eye, it can be vulnerable to infection, more likely to be scratched by something in your eye, or other damage.

The good news is that there are successful medications and treatments for dry eye.

Keratoconus

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 entering 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.

What Can I Do?

Remember that prevention is the best method. Along with the American Optometric Association, we recommend an annual dilated eye examination, especially for those who are at high risk for disease, including those over 40, those with diabetes and patients who have a family history of eye disease.

Do you have questions about any of these conditions, their preventions or treatments? Concerned about your vision or the vision of a loved one? Please don’t hesitate to call our office at 801-302-3080; we are happy to answer your questions.

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