Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Red eyes are a sign of ocular inflammation. There are many different diseases that can cause red eye, including conjunctivitis, blepharitis, foreign body, scratches, allergies, and much more. Eyes are red and sometimes itchy and painful. You may notice discharge and trouble with your vision.
It is important to have a thorough examination with a history to help determine what is causing your red eye. There are times when primary physicians can handle red eye, though there are cases which need to be seen by an eye doctor.
We are here for you when your primary care physician is unable to help. We should be seen if you are having vision loss with your red eye. If regular eye drops are not helping, you may need to see us to prescribe topical steroids. It is also important to come to an eye doctor when you are having an eye injury or a possible sore on your eye. We also need to be seen if you have recently had eye surgery.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes comes with a lot of other problems that affect your whole body. Even your eyes can be affected by the disease. In fact, this is so common that it actually has a name: diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the retina. Your retina is necessary to transfer everything that your eyes see to your brain.
Diabetic retinopathy usually continues to get worse, especially if your diabetes is not under control. Still though, it can get worse even with controlled diabetes. For this reason, we recommend having regular checkups so that we can monitor your eyes. During the progression of the disease, you may not even notice any symptoms, which makes coming in regularly even more important.
The first stage of the disease involves the blood vessels in your eyes. They get really weak and leak blood into your eyes. If the leaking continues and leaks into the center of your eye, you will have blurry vision. Your body will try to compensate by making new blood vessels, but they will also be weak and leak more blood into your eye. Your body might also try to form scar tissue, which causes the retina to move away from your eyes and can lead to legal blindness.
Glaucoma describes eye disorders that involve damage to the optic nerve, which sends visual signals from your eye to your brain. This loss of nerve tissue can result in loss of vision.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is one of the most common disorders. It results from an increased pressure inside the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve. A damaged nerve can lead to vision loss or even blindness. This pressure can build slowly and be difficult to detect in everyday life. It may start by affecting only your peripheral vision.
Pressure is not the only indicator of glaucoma, as high pressure does not always lead to glaucoma and glaucoma can develop in spite of normal eye pressure. Anyone can develop glaucoma, although it is most common in people over 40.
Acute angle closure glaucoma is not as common, but can develop much more quickly. If you are experiencing intense eye pain, redness in your eye, blurred vision, or nausea, you may need immediate medical attention. This form of glaucoma is an emergency and needs to be treated right away.
There is no way to completely prevent glaucoma, but early diagnosis and treatment can help control the condition and limit its effects. Often times medication or surgery can help reduce the damage, but glaucoma cannot be reversed. For this reason, at South River Eye Care we regularly test for glaucoma and recommend frequent eye exams. Factors such as age, race, family history, and previous medical conditions can all contribute to developing glaucoma.
At South River Eye Care, we use tonometry to measure the pressure inside your eye and pachymetry to measure corneal thickness. We also examine your field of vision and the retina of your eye.
Treatment for glaucoma may start with prescription eye drops that help manage the pressure in your eyes. Other treatments may include medication, surgery, or implants. Because treatment is ongoing, it is important that your optometrist detect any changes in your eye health. Regular eye exams are essential to managing glaucoma, which is a lifelong issue.
Macular Degeneration is the loss of central vision due to damage to the retina. The macula is a part of the retina located on the back layer of the eye that affects the center of the visual field.
Macular degeneration is often related to age and can be atrophic (dry) or exudative (wet).
The dry form of macular degeneration is most common, and there is no medical or surgical treatment. It occurs when debris, which can cause scarring, collects between the retina and the choroid.
The wet form is less common, but more dangerous. It occurs when blood vessels that grow from behind the choroid leak into the eye. If it is diagnosed early, this form of macular degeneration can be treated with laser coagulation and medication.
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in adults over 50. Common signs include gradually blurred vision, decreased perception of vivid colors, and an obstruction in the center of vision. While your peripheral vision may remain intact, macular degeneration can still make daily activities, such as reading or recognizing people’s faces, difficult.
As always, the sooner the disease is detected, the easier it is to treat. You are also less likely to lose your vision if you treat it promptly.