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Category Archives: education

Macular Degeneration

In the U.S., macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability. There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration: Dry form. The "dry" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, in the macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and…

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve . The optic nerve, which carries information from the eye to the brain, is in the back of the eye. When the nerve is damaged, you can lose your vision. Your risk for glaucoma rises after age 40. Race is also a factor. Blacks are more likely than whites to get the disease. You are also at if a close family member has had glaucoma At first, people with glaucoma lose side (peripheral) vision. But if the disease is not treated, vision loss may get worse. This can lead to total blindness over time. There are three types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form in the United States. In this type of…

Diabetic Retinopathy and Eye Health

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that affects people with diabetes who have high blood glucose, or sugar, over a prolonged period of time, which untreated leads to blindness. Too much blood sugar can destroy the blood vessels in the back of the eye, preventing the retina from receiving the proper amount of nutrients it needs to maintain vision. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, these blood vessels leak fluid and distort sight. In the more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, fragile new blood vessels grow around the retina and in the vitreous humor (a clear substance that fills the eye). If left untreated, these blood vessels may bleed, clouding vision or detaching the retina. Anyone…

High Blood Pressure and Eye Disease

Along with causing heart and kidney problems, untreated high blood pressure can also affect your eyesight and lead to eye disease. Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the area at the back of the eye where images focus. This eye disease is known as hypertensive retinopathy. The damage can be serious if hypertension is not treated. A person typically won't experience symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy; it is usually discovered during a routine eye exam. However, symptoms might include headaches and vision problems. An optometrist can diagnose hypertensive retinopathy. Using an ophthalmoscope, an instrument that projects light to examine the back of the eyeball, the doctor will look for signs of retinopathy that include: Narrowing of blood vessels Fluid oozing from the blood vessels Spots on…

Floaters and Flashes

What are floaters? Floaters, also referred to as spots, are small, cloudy particles within the vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as small specs, clouds or thread-like strands in your field of vision and are frequently visible when you look at a bright, even background like white paper or blue sky. They usually move as your eyes move and dart away when you try to look directly at them. What causes them? Sometimes small flecks of protein or other matter become trapped in the vitreous as the eye is developing. They remain in the vitreous after birth, resulting in floaters in your line of sight. Floaters can also be related to aging. As you get older, the vitreous may start to thicken or…

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. Often called "pink eye," it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white of the eyeball, and helps keep the eyelid and eyeball moist. Symptoms of pink eye include: Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid Increased amount of tears and/or mucous Itchy eyes Discomfort Blurred vision Swelling of the eyelid In allergic conjunctivitis these symptoms are usually present in both eyes (not always equally). Viruses, bacteria, irritating substances (shampoo, dirt, smoke, pool chlorine), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or allergens (substances that cause allergies) can all cause conjunctivitis. Pink eye caused by bacteria, viruses, or STDs can spread easily from person to…