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Eye Diseases and Conditions

Symptoms and Treatments

Many eye diseases and conditions offer no early warning signs. The technology we use at Eye Medical Clinic enables early detection of vision problems such as macular degeneration, retinopathy, keratoconus and much more. We are also equipped to deal with smaller concerns including scratches, infections, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and even pterygiums.

Routine eye examinations by your Eye Medical Clinic eye doctor is the best safeguard for maintaining good vision at any stage of life.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

What is Conjunctivitis?

 

Conjunctivitis – commonly called pink eye – is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, translucent membrane that covers the surface of the inner eyelid and the front of the eye.

 

Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common type causing swelling of the eyelid and a yellowish discharge. It can also cause itching and matting of the eyelids. This type of pink eye is very contagious and can be easily transmitted by rubbing the eye and then infecting household items such as towels.

 

How is it Treated?

 

Your Eye Medical Clinic doctor can easily diagnose conjunctivitis at an exam and can provide you with antibiotic drops and compresses to ease discomfort and clear up the infection, normally within just a few days. When a severe infection is present, oral antibiotics may be necessary. If left untreated, conjunctivitis can create serious complications, including infections in the cornea, eyelids and tear ducts.

Pterygiums

What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a non-cancerous dense, fibrous growth on top of the clear, thin membrane over the white part of the eye, called the sclera. They are caused by overexposure to the earth’s natural elements (dust and wind) and cannot be cured with glasses or contacts. Pterygiums cannot be eliminated with medication or other methods; they must be surgically removed.

 

What are the Symptoms?

 

  • A gritty feeling (like dust or sand in the eye)
  • Burning or itching eye(s)
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Visual disturbances

 

How are they Treated?

 

Pterygium surgery is an in-office procedure. You will be prescribed an antibiotic ointment and eye drops to use and will return for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything went as planned. At Eye Medical Clinic, we have the experience and expertise to take care of your pterygium removal.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years old in the United States, making it a health concern worth looking at.

 

What is Macular Degeneration?

 

Macular degeneration is a genetically determined age-related eye disease that causes individuals who have it to lose their central vision – what you see when you look straight ahead – usually in both eyes. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates.

 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people age 65 and older. The condition can negatively impact activities such as reading, working on the computer, doing household chores or favorite hobbies and even driving.

 

While there is cause for concern, early detection of AMD can help slow progression of this disease as the early stages usually begin without noticeable symptoms. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect AMD, and for all these reasons, it is a good idea to see a qualified ophthalmologist at Eye Medical Clinic for diagnosis.

 

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry macular degeneration (by far, the most common type) and wet macular degeneration. While only about 10% of AMD cases are the wet form, it is possible that the dry form can develop into the wet form.

 

How is it Treated?

 

Dry macular degeneration treatment actually begins with routine eye exams, especially after age 60. The goal here is to catch the development of AMD early. If detected, you may be prescribed a specific mix of zinc and antioxidants that have shown an ability to slow the progression of the disease.

 

Wet macular degeneration treatment can include a number of options including medications injected directly into the eye that inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels that cause the wet form of the disease.

Retinopathy

Between 80 to 85 percent of individuals with diabetes will develop some level of retinopathy, according to a study at Yale School of Medicine. Individuals with Type I diabetes are more likely to develop the condition than those with Type II diabetes. If patients with diabetic retinopathy are treated properly before the retina is severely damaged, they will have an excellent chance of stabilizing the disease and stopping its progress.

 

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

 

If you have diabetes, you need to understand the visual problems that increase in likelihood as a result of the disease. Eye Medical Clinic is here to help.

 

According to the National Institute of Health, diabetic retinopathy is the most common microvascular complication among people with diabetes and results in more than 10,000 new cases of blindness per year.

 

Retinopathy is an impairment of the retina — the nerve-rich, light-sensing area in the back of the eye that is crucial for sight. It is the leading cause of blindness among Americans between the ages of 25 and 70. The condition typically develops without early warning signs. The damage to the eye can occur slowly and is hard to detect without regular and accurate monitoring. Detecting and treating this disease early can save your vision.

 

How is it Treated?

 

Each Eye Medical Clinic patient’s treatment plan is highly individualized and is based on the patient’s medical history, age, lifestyle and degree of damage to the retina.

 

In its earliest stages, no treatment may be required for diabetic retinopathy except regular monitoring by your Eye Medical Clinic doctor. Recent clinical trials also suggest that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy in many patients.

Keratoconus

What is Keratoconus?

 

Keratoconus is a condition that causes progressive thinning of the cornea (the clear membrane at the front of the eye). The resulting irregular shape is often described as a bulge or a cone.

 

Keratoconus causes blurry vision which is not correctable by glasses or normal contact lenses. It typically involves both eyes, although it can progress at different rates in each eye, and usually manifests in early adulthood.

 

How is it Treated?

 

Eye Medical Clinic offers several options for treating keratoconus. Traditionally, treatment has involved the use of scleral contact lenses, a lens that is a little larger than a typical contact lens and rests on the sclera of the eye.

 

Eye Medical Clinic also offers an advanced option that is seeing great success called Corneal Crosslinking. The aim of this minimally-invasive, in-office treatment is to stop the progression of keratoconus, preventing further deterioration in vision.

 

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, it is important that you have regular comprehensive eye exams. Be sure and consult Eye Medical Clinic, pioneers of research, development and future solutions in all things vision related.

Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

 

Glaucoma is a condition characterized by damage to the delicate fibers that make up the optic nerve of the eye. Left untreated, it can result in permanent loss of vision. Eye pressure plays a major role in damaging the delicate nerve fibers of the optic nerve. In addition to the normal age-related loss of fibers, there is accelerated fiber damage when glaucoma is present. When a significant number of nerve fibers are damaged, blind spots develop in the field of vision. Most people don’t notice these blind areas until much of the damage has already occurred and some vision has been permanently lost. This is the reason why glaucoma is often called “the silent thief of sight”.

 

How is it treated?

 

While there is no cure for glaucoma at this time, it can be controlled and stabilized by maintaining the eye pressure in a safe range. Contrary to previous assumptions, there is no magic or standard cutoff value for safe eye pressure. Instead, it is an individualized number or range, which depends on the severity of glaucoma damage, age and corneal thickness as well as a host of other factors. All current glaucoma treatments are directed toward lowering the eye pressure.

 

At Eye Medical Clinic, each glaucoma patient’s treatment plan will vary depending on the type of glaucoma diagnosed, the degree to which the glaucoma has progressed, underlying risk factors and many other variables.

Retinal Tears

What is a retinal tear?

 

The inside of the back of the eye is filled with a jelly-like substance—the vitreous—which is attached to the retina. As we all age, the vitreous liquifies and contracts. Rarely, this can precipitate a tear in the retina – especially in patients with a genetic predisposition, positive family history or personal history of trauma or injury to the eye. Symptoms typically include a sudden increase in floaters in one eye or the other, accompanied by flashing lights, and a veil or shadow covering part of the vision in that eye.

 

Tears can be a cause for concern because they allow fluid to separate the retina from the underlying tissue or wall of the eye. In such areas of retinal detachment, the vision goes dark – and if tears are not repaired in a timely fashion, vision loss may become permanent.

 

How is it treated?

 

Depending on the severity of your retinal tear or detachment, treatment can range from office-based procedures to surgical solutions. These include: laser retinopexy or cryotherapy to seal tears with or without pneumatic retinopexy in which an expansile gas is injected into the eye to flatten the retina in the clinic, as well as surgical procedures such as scleral buckling or pars plana vitrectomy to repair detachments in the operating room. Our experienced vitreoretinal surgeon, Dr. Hadi, works one-on-one with patients to form the best treatment plan for these sight-threatening conditions.

Fuch's Dystrophy

What is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?

 

Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a condition where the inner lining of the cornea (endothelium) contains abnormal cells. The function of these cells is to keep the cornea clear. In Fuch’s, fluid can build up in the cornea, causing it to swell and thicken. This can lead to glare, blurred or cloudy vision and eye discomfort. Fuchs’ dystrophy often affects both eyes and can cause vision to gradually worsen over time.

 

What are the treatment options?

 

Some nonsurgical treatments, such as eye drops, might help relieve the symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy. But for people with advanced stages of the disease, a corneal transplant surgery offers the best chance of restored vision and improvement of symptoms.

 

Dr. Paik is trained in the latest procedures for treating advanced Fuchs’ Dystrophy, including:

 

Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). This procedure involves replacing the back layer of the cornea with healthy endothelial cells from a donor. The procedure is performed with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

 

Ultra-thin Descemet-stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK). This is a partial-thickness cornea transplant.

Bullous Keratopathy

What is Bullous Keratopathy?

 

Bullous Keratopathy is a condition in which the cornea becomes permanently swollen. This occurs because the inner layer of the cornea, the endothelium, has been damaged and is not pumping fluid properly. This can be caused by a number of things, including trauma to the eye and prior surgery.

 

Treatments for Bullous Keratopathy

 

Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). This procedure involves replacing the back layer of the cornea with healthy endothelial cells from a donor. The procedure is performed with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

 

Ultra-thin Descemet-stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK). This is a partial-thickness cornea transplant.

Corneal Abrasions

What is a corneal abrasion?

 

Corneal abrasions (corneal scratches) are the most common type of eye injury. But because your cornea is the protective layer at the front of your eye, an abrasion leaves you at risk for infection and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

 

Treatments for corneal abrasions

 

Treatment for a corneal abrasion depends on the severity and cause. Minor abrasions sometimes can be treated with topical antibiotics and non-preserved lubricating drops to keep the eye moist and comfortable while the natural healing process takes place.

 

In more serious cases, scratched corneas are treated with a bandage contact lens. When corneal abrasions become recurrent corneal erosions, more advanced treatment with a superficial keratectomy may be necessary. Dr. Paik is also trained in the placement of Prokera® and AmnioGraft®. These special lenses provide pain relief, reduce scarring and can even speed up healing.

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