Did you know there are hundreds of systemic health conditions that can be detected in the eyes? And hundreds more that affect the eyes alone? The eye doctors at Highlands Optometry are here to help. Keep reading to find out more information about the some of the types of medical eye conditions we treat in our offices.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is traditionally associated with increased eye pressure but can occur even with eye pressure that is considered normal. Glaucoma causes slow, progressive vision loss and ultimately blindness if not treated properly.
Cataracts are the clouding of the lenses inside the eyes. They are a normal aging process of the eyes, but can also be caused by several medications, systemic conditions like diabetes, trauma, and can even be congenital. They require cataract surgery to remove them.
Fully named Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), this condition involves the part of the eyes responsible for central, clear vision called the macula becoming unable to filter away waste products. It is often hereditary and occurs after decades on sunlight UV damage to the eyes. Close monitoring of this condition is necessary because it can lead to blindness.
Most people diagnosed with diabetes are aware of the importance of annual eye exams to monitor diabetic changes. Since the eyes are the only place on the body where blood vessels can be visualized in their natural state, eye doctors are able to evaluate diabetic patients then coordinate with primary care physicians to provide the best possible care for patients. Changes occurring in the eyes can indicate changes in the heart and kidneys. Patients with diabetic retinopathy may need to be followed closely due to the possibility of macular edema, macular ischemia and retinal detachments, all of which can cause blindness.
Most people are aware of the need for eye exams with diabetes, but less aware that high blood pressure can also affect the eyes. In fact, they can cause a lot of similar effects including vein and artery occlusions, bleeds, edema of the macula or optic nerves, overall changes to blood vessel appearance, and more many. An eye exam could even potentially lead to a diagnosis of hypertension!
Dry eye can make the eyes burn, feel gritty or sandy, feel like something is in the eyes, and even cause them to water excessively. It can be caused by unstable tears (evaporative), insufficient production of tears (aqueous deficient), and inflammation. There are many treatment options ranging from over-the-counter remedies to prescription medications to minor procedures. Proper diagnosis of what is causing the dryness results in the best treatment plan for making your eyes more comfortable.
Most people will experience floaters in their life. They are caused by the gel inside the eye condensing down throughout life forming clumps of collagen that drift around inside the eyes. As the gel pulls away from the retina over time, it can tear or detach the retina. The pulling of the retina may cause flashes of light. Any new floaters and/or flashes should be evaluated by an eye doctor ASAP to ensure the retina is fully attached.
Red eye is a generic term used when people’s eyes are, well, red. They can be caused by a number of things including infection, inflammation, allergies, dryness, abrasions, foreign bodies, and hemorrhages. An eye doctor is best suited with training and equipment to diagnose the cause of the redness and prescribe the proper treatment to set you on the road to recovery.
Keratoconus is a condition that causes progressive thinning of the cornea. It can cause irregular astigmatism that is difficult to correct with glasses. Fortunately, there are specialty contact lenses that can better correct reduced vision associated with keratoconus. Corneal cross-linking is a procedure that has shown to help slow the progression of keratoconus.
High Risk Medications
There are a number of medications prescribed that are considered high risk for changes or damages to the eyes, the most known example being Plaquenil. These medications have great benefits but should be monitored closely with coordinated care among healthcare providers to ensure no harmful side effects occur. Comprehensive eye exams combined with additional testing such as retinal photography, visual fields and OCT are often imperative to catch the earliest possible onset of these unwanted side effects.
Make sure your eyes are as healthy as possible by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with any of our doctors at either the Wise or Bristol locations!
The number of our Bristol office is 276-466-4227 and the number to our Wise office is 276-679-5612.