Frequently Asked Questions
Why are eye exams important?
All people should have periodic and thorough eye examinations as part of routine primary care, especially since many eye diseases are silent or asymptomatic. Our ophthalmologists are highly skilled at detecting potentially treatable eye diseases.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is "fogged" with steam.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease characterized by increased pressure within the eyeball. If untreated, it could cause vision loss or blindness. This is why it is extremely important to monitor your intraocular pressure (IOP) and seek prompt glaucoma treatment. If there is a family history of glaucoma you should make an appointment for evaluation.
What are floaters?
Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye. Floaters can appear as different shapes such as little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.
What causes flashing lights?
When the vitreous gel rubs or pulls on the retina, you may see what look like flashing lights or lightning streaks. The flashes of light can appear off and on for several weeks or months. As we grow older, it is more common to experience flashes.
What is refractive surgery?
Refractive surgery is a procedure that corrects vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. Refractive surgery restores the eye's normal curvature and its ability to bring images into focus.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving. When the macula does not function correctly, your central vision can be affected by blurriness, dark areas or distortion. Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it usually does not affect the eye's side, or peripheral vision. Macular degeneration alone does not result in total blindness.
What causes macular degeneration?
Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body's natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration
(AMD). Exactly why it develops is not known, and no treatment has been uniformly effective. The two most common types of AMD are "dry" (atrophic) and "wet"
"DRY" Macular Degeneration - Most people have the "dry" form of AMD. It is caused by aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula. Vision loss is usually gradual.
"WET" Macular Degeneration - The "wet" form of macular degeneration accounts for about 10% of all AMD cases. It results when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the retina at the back of the eye. These new blood vessels leak fluid or blood and blur central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as
diabetic retinopathy. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy, nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).
NPDR, commonly known as background retinopathy, is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. In this stage, tiny blood vessels within the retina leak blood or fluid. The leaking fluid causes the retina to swell or to form deposits called exudates.
PDR is present when abnormal new vessels (neovascularization) begin growing on the surface of the retina or optic nerve. The main cause of PDR is widespread closure of the retinal blood vessels, preventing adequate blood flow. The retina responds by growing new blood vessels in an attempt to supply blood to the area where the original vessels closed. Unfortunately, the new abnormal blood vessels do not resupply the retina with normal blood flow. The new vessels are often accompanied by scar tissue that may cause wrinkling or detachment of the retina. PDR may cause more severe vision loss than NPDR because it can affect both central and peripheral vision.