At Oak Hill Eye Care we are able to detect, monitor and treat many eye diseases including cataracts, diabetes and glaucoma. Due to the fact that we have to most advanced equipment available, much of the necessary testing is able to be done in-office. Treatment may also involve prescribing medications, making surgical arrangements, providing pre-operative and post-operative care and co-managing with other physicians. What do you know about cataracts, diabetes and glaucoma? We’re here to explain these diseases a little further.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the part of the eye that helps to focus light or an image on the retina, in your eye and as a result, affects your vision. Often times, cataracts develop as a sign of aging. In fact, by age 80 more than half of American either have cataracts or have had cataract surgery. Though a cataract can occur in one or both eyes, it cannot spread from one eye to the other. Some various types of cataracts include congenital which is seen in infants when they did not properly develop, injury or infection. Secondary, which is when cataracts develop as a result of other medical conditions (such as diabetes, exposure to certain drugs or radiation). Lastly, traumatic cataracts which occur on account of an injury to the eye. Cataracts usually form quite slowly and are not detectable until they actually block light. Initially strong lighting and glasses can help you deal with cataracts. As they continue to develop, there is safe and effective cataract surgery available (Note: there are no medications or eye-drops known to be effective in reducing, preventing or curing cataracts.) The surgery in question involves removing the damaged, cloudy eye lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens implant.
Diabetes indicates that your blood sugar levels or your blood glucose levels are too high. Over time this can be damaging to your eyes. A scary fact is that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is estimated that retinopathy affects 23% of people with Type 1 diabetes and 14% of people with Type 2 diabetes. How diabetic retinopathy damages your eye by damaging the small blood vessels inside your retina. Your retina is the light sensitive tissue situated in the back of your eye. Diabetic retinopathy can occur in several stages of severity including; mild, moderate, severe and proliferative (the most advanced stage). Two other eye health problems that can occur in people with diabetes is cataracts and glaucoma. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is laser eye surgery. In order to prevent the progression of retinopathy, people with diabetes should try their best to manage their blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Additionally, regular check-ups are incredibly important to catch retinopathy in its earliest stages.
Glaucoma, often called the silent thief, is actually a group of diseases that progressively causes damage your eye’s optic nerve (which sends pictures to the brain) and is more often than not associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. There do exist forms of glaucoma that develop without increased eye pressure. These forms are called low-tension and normal-tension glaucoma. There two main types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and narrow angle glaucoma. The angle in question refers to the drainage angle inside the eye that controls the outflow of the fluid continually being produced inside ones eye. Progressive symptoms include halos around light, eye pain and even nausea and vomiting. If the fluid can access the drainage angle, the glaucoma is open angle. If the drainage angle is blocked, it is narrow angle glaucoma. It is important to see your doctor regularly because there are often no symptoms while glaucoma develops inside the eye. Once glaucoma fully starts to develop you will notice a loss peripheral vision until it fully deteriorates and seems as though you’re looking through a tunnel. Early treatment is incredibly important with glaucoma because there is no treatment and damage incurred is irreversible. Although there is no cure, there are a variety of treatments that include surgery and numerous medications.
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