Astigmatism is an uneven or irregular curvature of the cornea or lens, which results in blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism include the need to squint, eye strain from squinting, headaches, and eye fatigue. In reality, most people have some degree of astigmatism, which is usually present at birth and is believed to be hereditary. In minor cases, treatment may not be required but is certainly beneficial. Moderate to severe astigmatism can be treated with corrective eyewear or LASIK surgery.
Farsightedness, medically known as hyperopia, refers to vision that is good at a distance but not at close range. Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is shorter than normal, as measured from front to back, or when the cornea has too little curvature. This reduces the distance between the cornea and retina, causing light to converge behind the retina, rather than on it. If you are mildly farsighted, your eye care provider may not recommend corrective treatment at all. However, if you are moderately or severely hyperopic, you may have several treatment options available, including eyeglasses, contacts, LASIK, and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Nearsightedness, medically known as myopia, refers to vision that is good at close range but not at a distance. It generally occurs because the eyeball is too “long” as measured from front to back. Nearsightedness is diagnosed during routine eye exams and possible treatments include eyeglasses, contacts, acrylic corneal implants, LASIK, radial keratotomy (RK), and photorefractive keratotomy (PRK).
Presbyopia (Aging Eyes)
Aging eyes, medically known as presbyopia, is a condition in which the lens of the eye gradually loses its flexibility, making it harder to focus clearly on close objects such as printed words. Distance vision, on the other hand, is usually not affected. Unfortunately, presbyopia is an inevitable part of aging and cannot be prevented by diet, lifestyle or visual habits. However, it is treatable with several types of corrective lenses, including progressives, bifocals and trifocals, single-vision reading glasses, multifocal contact lenses, and monovision therapy.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids. Caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, and other irritants like smoke and dust, pink eye is highly contagious and is usually accompanied by redness in the white of the eye and increased tearing and/or discharge. While many minor cases improve within two weeks, some can develop into serious corneal inflammation and threaten sight. If you suspect conjunctivitis, visit your eye care provider at Dr. Melman’s Eyeland for an examination and treatment.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a general term for a group of eye problems that can result from having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease, so it is important that you don’t wait for symptoms to appear before having a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining permanent vision loss.
Often called “the silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is an increase in the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which causes damage to the optic nerve with no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and eventually blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medications and surgery available that can help halt further vision loss. Early detection and regular eye exams are vital to slowing the progress of the disease.
Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision due to a deterioration of the macula, a tiny spot in the central portion of your retina comprised of millions of light-sensing cells. Because it is so commonly associated with aging, it is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD called “dry,” most common and with no known treatment, and “wet,” less common and treated with laser procedures. Genetic testing is now available to help identify those most likely to develop “wet” macular degeneration.
In most cases, reversing damage caused by AMD is not possible, but supplements, protection from sunlight, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking can reduce the risk and progression of macular degeneration. For suggestions, speak with your eye care provider at Dr. Melman’s Eyeland.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure that uses a laser beam to reshape the cornea. Patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic may benefit from this type of procedure. While millions of patients have seen successful results from LASIK, the procedure is not right for everyone. Your optometrist will need to thoroughly examine your eyes to determine which type of vision correction best fits your needs.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia, is a loss or lack of development of vision, usually in one eye. This degenerative process usually begins with an inherited condition and appears during infancy or early childhood. Lazy eye needs to be diagnosed between birth and early school age since it is during this period that the brain “chooses” its visual pathway and may ignore the weaker eye permanently.
Lazy eye is not always easy to recognize since a child with worse vision in one eye does not necessarily have lazy eye. Because of this, it is recommended that all children, including those with no symptoms, have a comprehensive eye examination by the age of three and sooner if there is a family history of any eye condition or disease.
Blepharitis is a general term for an inflammation of the eyelid and eyelashes. It is among the most common and stubborn eye conditions usually resulting from poor eyelid hygiene, a low-grade bacterial infection (usually staphylococcal), an allergic reaction and/or abnormalities in oil gland function. Like some other skin conditions, blepharitis can be controlled but not cured. The main goals in treating it are to reduce the amount of bacteria along the lid margin and open plugged glands.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens, which leads to a progressive blurring or dimming of vision. It is the world’s leading cause of blindness and among the most common conditions related to aging – by age 65, you have a 50 percent chance of developing a cataract, and, by age 75, it jumps to 70 percent.
A cataract starts out small and initially has little or no effect on vision. As the cataract progresses, it becomes harder to read and perform other normal tasks. In the early stages, your doctor may recommend stronger eyeglasses and adjusting your lighting to reduce glare. When cataracts disrupt your daily life, your doctor may recommend cataract-removal surgery, which is one of the most frequent and successful procedures done in the U.S.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome is characterized by neck pain, blurry vision, stiff shoulders, headache and watery eyes when working in front of a computer screen. The symptoms are typically due to posture, dry eyes, eye muscle coordination and poorly corrected vision.
Since computer monitors are typically 20 to 26 inches from your eyes, your regular glasses may not be the best option for computer work. This distance range is considered intermediate – closer than what you use to drive a car but farther away than what you use to read. Special lens designs for computer work provide you with a larger intermediate area for viewing the computer and your immediate work area like the top of your desk. Our optical staff can help you determine if these special lenses are appropriate for you.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome refers to a breakdown in the quantity or quality of tears to moisten, cleanse and protect the eyes. This is significant because, with each blink, tears protect the surface of the eye, washing away dust and microorganisms. When this protective coating dries up, the eyes may feel “gritty” or burn and can be more sensitive to light. In extreme cases, vision can be blurred. If you suspect that you have dry eye, please call us and schedule an appointment. Proper care will not only increase your comfort – it will protect your eyes. Your eye care provider can perform a series of tests to determine if you have dry eyes. We offer a dry eye treatment called Low Level Light Therapy. You can read more about it here.
Cross-eyed, medically known as strabismus, refers to a condition in which eyes are misaligned. It commonly occurs when the muscles that control eye movement are not properly working together. The result is one or both eyes turning inward, outward, upward or downward, or one or both eyes moving irregularly. Strabismus is usually diagnosed during childhood and affects about 4 percent of children, afflicting boys and girls equally. Though it cannot be prevented, its complications can be avoided with early intervention. Even if you notice symptoms intermittently – when your child is ill, stressed or fatigued – alert your eye care provider.