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Eye Disease Diagnosis & Management Hero

Eye Disease Diagnosis & Management

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If left untreated eye diseases can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. Regular, comprehensive eye exams are crucial to detecting eye diseases early and allow your optometrist to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Most eye diseases do not exhibit symptoms in their early stages, which makes them particularly dangerous. You may not even know something is wrong until you have already suffered significant and irreversible vision loss.

The only way to detect eye diseases is by having comprehensive eye exams. Regular eye exams allow your optometrist to identify and track subtle changes in your eye health and vision that may be indicators of eye problems. We offer Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) testing, this is a non-invasive diagnostic instrument that is used to detect problems in the eye prior to any symptoms being present. Once your optometrist has detected an eye disease, they can begin treatment right away, minimizing and even preventing permanent vision loss.

Your vision is one of your most valuable assets. Don’t put it at risk.

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Common Eye Diseases

Spots, Floaters, and Flashes

Most spots and floaters are normal and are caused by bits of protein and other tissue moving in the clear, gel-like material (vitreous) that fills the inside of our eyes. As we age, the vitreous becomes more fluid, allowing floaters to move around more easily and making them more noticeable.

However, some floaters may indicate that something is wrong, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of lights. If you suddenly experience a new onset of floaters, or flashes of light followed by a shower of floaters, it may indicate a retinal tear or detachment. Retinal detachment is a serious condition and requires immediate treatment to prevent permanent vision loss or blindness.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” occurs when the thin, transparent layer (called the conjunctiva) that covers the white of our eye becomes irritated and inflamed. The inflammation causes the delicate blood vessels in our eyes to dilate and become bloodshot, giving “pink eye” its name.

There are three main forms of conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection and must be treated with antibiotics. The primary symptom of bacterial conjunctivitis is copious green or yellow discharge. This condition is highly contagious, so it is important that you stay home from work or school until your symptoms have cleared up.
  • Viral conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, and is extremely contagious. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include significant discharge and itchy or watery eyes. Like a viral cold, the treatment for viral conjunctivitis does not typically involve antibiotics. However, because viral conjunctivitis is so contagious, you should stay home from work or school until your symptoms have cleared. You should also practice good hygiene – washing hands frequently, and laundering pillowcases and towels.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Allergic conjunctivitis is triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, and pet dander. Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include itchy, watery eyes and white stringy discharge. Other symptoms may include a stuffy or runny nose. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and may arise in response to either seasonal allergens (such as pollen) or year-round allergens (such as dust or pet dander). You may be able to ease your symptoms using oral or ocular antihistamines.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) occurs when the macula, the part of our retina responsible for detailed vision and color perception, degenerates over time. As AMD progresses, your central vision may slowly be lost.

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over 50 in the United States, and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention AMD will affect nearly 88 million Americans by 2050.

There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet.

  • Dry AMD: Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD, and occurs when lipid deposits (called drusen) accumulate under the macula. This accumulation hinders the macula’s performance, and can result in permanent vision loss. There is no cure for dry AMD, but an extensive nutritional study suggests that dry AMD can be slowed by consuming antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.
  • Wet AMD: Wet AMD is less common than dry AMD and may be more devastating, but it can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Some treatments, if started immediately, may actually allow you to recover some of the vision you have lost. Wet AMD is treated using intraocular injections.

Early-stage AMD, both wet and dry, can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam.

Cataracts occur when the proteins in our crystalline lenses become opaque over time, clouding our vision. Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process and something that most Americans will experience. Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Reduced color vision
  • Increased sensitivity to glare, particularly during nighttime driving

Though most of us will develop cataracts at some point during our golden years, factors such as UV exposure, smoking, and alcohol consumption may increase your risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age.

Treatment options for cataracts depend on their severity. If your cataracts cause minimal visual disruption, then your optometrist may suggest workarounds such as using magnifying aids when reading small print, wearing eyeglasses treated with an anti-glare coating, or using more light while reading. These and other minor changes can reduce the impact cataracts have on your daily life.

However, if your cataracts begin to severely impair your vision or interfere with your day to day activities, you may require cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing your cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens.

Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when our optic nerve becomes progressively damaged, resulting in the loss of peripheral vision. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain. Though glaucoma is typically caused by high intraocular pressure, it can occur even if your eye’s intraocular pressure is within the normal range.

Glaucoma does not exhibit symptoms during its early stages, which makes it a particularly dangerous eye disease. There is no way to know that you have glaucoma without an eye exam. By the time you begin to experience symptoms, you may have already suffered irreversible vision loss.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States, and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam.

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing glaucoma. These include:

  • Your age: Individuals over the age of 60 are more likely to develop glaucoma
  • Your family history: If there is a history of glaucoma in your family, your chances of developing the condition increase.
  • Having thin corneas or a sensitive optic nerve: Your ocular anatomy and physiology may increase your chances of developing glaucoma.
  • Previous eye injuries: Severe ocular trauma, such as being hit in the eye, can cause your eye’s intraocular pressure to spike. This significant increase in pressure can occur immediately after your injury, or even weeks or months later. Even once your injury has healed there is a chance that your intraocular pressure may rise to dangerous levels, so your optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams after you experience an eye injury.
  • Corticosteroid use: Individuals that use systemic or ocular corticosteroids, such as cortisone, hydrocortisone, or prednisone for extended periods of time have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Certain medical conditions: Medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes may increase your risk of developing glaucoma.

Glaucoma is treatable, but early detection is critical, which is why every comprehensive eye exam includes glaucoma testing. To help us detect glaucoma, Style Optique uses applanation tonometry. This glaucoma test uses a tiny, flat tipped cone to gently apply pressure to your cornea and measure the amount of resistance. The amount of resistance indicates your intraocular pressure.

Americans spend a lot of time on our computers, smartphones, and tablets, and it has lead to an increase in digital eye strain. According to a 2015 survey conducted by The Vision Council 59% of all American adults report experiencing at least some symptoms of digital eye strain.

Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Red eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Frequent headaches
  • Trouble focusing
  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Eyelid twitching
  • Neck and shoulder pain

To avoid digital eye strain, you should take frequent breaks from your digital devices. A short walk around your home or the office can help prevent neck, shoulder, and back pain. You should also be following the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes you should take a 20 second break and shift your gaze away from your screen to an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. Because digital eye strain is partially caused by prolonged near focus, looking at something far away gives our eye muscles a chance to relax.

You may also want to consider investing in a pair of computer glasses. These glasses are available in most prescriptions and are treated with a special coating to filter out harmful blue light. This, in turn, reduces glare and protects our eyes. You should also position your monitor slightly down from your line of sight, an arms length away, and adjust your lighting to reduce glare.

For more information about eye diseases, or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our office.

Our
Location

Style Optique is located in the fashion district at the Arboretum of South Barrington.

Optique Hours

  • Monday9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • SundayClosed

Our
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