COMMON OCULAR DISEASES
Dry Eye Syndrome
Up to 49 million Americans have Dry Eye Syndrome. It nearly doubled in the past decade.
Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when there is insufficient tear production or poor tear quality present. Patients experience itching, burning, tearing, foreign body sensation, discomfort with CL, visual fatigue, and even headaches.
Also known as “pink eye”. It is when a thin, clear film that covers the write structure of the eye gets inflamed. Conjunctivitis could be allergic, viral or bacterial in nature, hence treated differently based on specific diagnosis.
A cataract is the opacity of the natural crystalline lens inside of the eye. Maturing of cataracts commonly occurs around the age of 50s-60s but it can also be induced by trauma, specific medication, or could even appear at birth. Cataracts are painless but could be bothersome and if left untreated can lead to blindness. Fast cataract surgery can correct this diagnosis. We usually refer to an eye surgeon ( Ophthalmologist) and pre and post-operative care is managed by an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.
Glaucoma is the disease of the optic nerve. In some instances elevated intraocular pressure can permanently change the optic nerve which causes peripheral visual defects. Glaucoma patients experience tunnel vision and eventually total blindness. Usually, Glaucoma presents later in life but can also be seen in newborns. It can also be caused by trauma, eye disease, or certain medications. It is crucial to diagnose Glaucoma as early as possible so progressive damage can be slowed down. For this reason, we screen every patient every time we see them. Depending on the glaucoma stage, it can be treated with eye drops, laser procedures, and in advanced cases eye surgery.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a serious vision-threatening ocular complication from Diabetes. When blood glucose is elevated in the system it causes damage to blood vessel walls on the retina and the rest of the body. This causes retinal tissue to swell resulting in cloudy vision. Additionally, a natural can swell from chronically elevated blood glucose levels, which also causes blurry vision. This change is reversible as long as glucose goes down to normal level. Research shows, that the longer a patient has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy may not have any symptoms or effect on vision initially, but discovering the damage early can protect the vision in the future. Diabetic Retinopathy can be diagnosed through Diabetic Comprehensive Eye Exam where Dr. Mikitchenko pays close attention to the lens, eye pressure, retina, macula, and optic nerve.
Hypertensive retinopathy is a complication of chronic high blood pressure that affects the blood vessels in the retina. When blood pressure is too high for a long time, retinal blood vessel walls may thicken which leads to narrowing and restricting blood from reaching the retina. Over time, high blood pressure limits the retinal function, and puts pressure on the optic nerve, causing permanent visual damage. Most patients do not experience any symptoms, but some may report cloudy or dim vision, double vision, and/or headaches. Hypertensive retinopathy can be minimized by controlling blood pressure, reducing salt intake, getting comprehensive eye exams, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.
Retinal Detachment is when the separation between specific retinal layers occurs. This condition is considered to be an ocular emergency. Usually, patients don’t even experience any visual symptoms if the detachment is small and far from central vision but some report flashing lights, floaters, and/or shadow or curtain over the vision. Chances of having Retinal Detachment increase if a patient has a history of ocular trauma, high degree of nearsightedness, Lattice Degeneration, personal or family history of retinal breaks. Possible treatment options can include laser photocoagulation, scleral buckle surgery, or intravitreal silicone oil placement. It is important not to ignore signs and symptoms of Retinal Detachment and get dilated eye exams with your Optometrist.
Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina-macula. The effect area of the retina is responsible for color vision and central vision in the eye. It gives us the ability to see objects in fine detail and perform activities such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces and colors. In the early stages, macular degeneration may not affect vision. In a moderate stage, patients experience wavy, distorted, or blurred vision, and, if the condition continues to worsen and progresses to an advanced stage- central vision may be completely lost. The risk factors for Macular Degeneration are age, race, family history of MD, UV exposure, and smoking. The treatment may include sun protection, quitting smoking, taking dietary supplements, and having comprehensive eye exams. If it is an advanced stage of ARM, laser or intravitreal injections may be indicated. It is crucial to diagnose Macular Degeneration early and slow down the progression of permanent vision loss.