Summit Eye Center Blog

6 Steps to Protect Your Eyes from Macular Degeneration

1. Get regular dilated eye exams

There are often no symptoms early on in AMD. Therefore, having your eyes dilated on a yearly basis is critical to diagnosing and managing AMD in its early stages.

2. Quit smoking

It has been shown through many clinical studies that smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration. It also increases the speed at which it progresses. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers.

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Macular Degeneration - What do I need to know?

ARMD
What is AMD, Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

AMD is a leading cause of blindness for Americans over the age of 50. There are greater than 11 million people in the United States who have AMD. It affects a person’s central vision, which can make activities such as driving, reading and recognizing faces difficult.

What causes AMD?

AMD affects the tissue that lines the back of the eye called the retina. The central portion of the retina is called the macula. The macula is the portion of the retina that is responsible for our sharpest vision. At this point, no one knows the exact cause of AMD. It is thought to be a combination of heredity and environmental factors such as smoking and diet.

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Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty...What do you need to know as a patient?

SLT

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, SLT, is a laser procedure that is used to lower intraocular pressure, IOP, in patients with glaucoma. It can be used as an initial treatment for glaucoma or in conjunction with medication eye drops.

With SLT, the laser energy is applied to the drainage tissue in the eye, the trabecular meshwork. A biological change is induced in this tissue that allows better drainage of fluid through the tissue and out of the eye. The increased drainage results in a lowering of IOP. It may take 1-3 months to obtain the maximum result.

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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

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A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when one of the blood vessels on the white part of the eye breaks. This blood then becomes trapped between the white part of the eye and the clear tissue above it. This is usually a benign condition that causes no visual problems and minimal, if any, discomfort despite its appearance.

Although we often don’t know what causes this bleeding, the following are some potential causes.

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Glaucoma Treatment

Damage to one’s vision from glaucoma cannot be reversed. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to slow and hopefully halt the progression of the damage. There are numerous treatment options available today.

Glaucoma is treated by lowering the pressure within the eye. This is accomplished by increasing the outflow of fluid from within the eye or slowing the production of fluid within the eye. The doctor will determine what eye pressure is appropriate for each individual patient based on the stage of disease the patient has, the level of eye pressure when they presented with glaucoma, as well as other factors.

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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is what carries the visual information from our eyes to the back of the brain where it is processed into the images that we see. This damage occurs from a combination of pressure from within the eye pushing on the optic nerve and hampered blood flow to the optic nerve.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over the age of 60. Although glaucoma can occur at any age, its incidence increases as one ages.

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Often called the “silent thief of sight”, glaucoma usually presents with no symptoms to make the patient aware they have a problem until permanent damage occurs. Because of this yearly, dilated eye examinations are critical in diagnosing the disease early in patients, with the hope of preventing damage that impacts one’s lifestyle. If it has been over a year since your last dilated eye exam, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment to have your eye dilated.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma. Of those, only half know it due to its lack of symptoms early on. Everyone is at risk of developing glaucoma. The following groups are at an increased risk.

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Vision for a Person's Lifetime

How Our Vision Changes Over One’s Lifetime

 

Kids and Teenagers Age 8-17

It is important to monitor children’s eye health with annual eye exams. As their bodies are developing, vision changes can occur. Often, nearsightedness will develop during these years. Children will experience increased visual demands as their schoolwork becomes more advanced and they begin driving toward the end of this timeframe. During these years, children will participate in sporting activities that require optimal vision and sometimes eye protection. Having a comprehensive eye examination ensures that their eyes are healthy and seeing to the best they can. Common visual treatments during this stage are glasses and contact lenses.

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Nearsightedness

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What is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, myopia, is the most common cause of vision problem in people under the age of 40. The number of people with nearsightedness continues to grow. Just a few decades ago, the number of Americans with myopia was about 25%. Today, over 40% of Americans are nearsighted. In fact, it is projected globally that 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

Signs and Symptoms of Myopia

Children who are nearsighted often struggle to see things on the board at school or are unable to see things like a clock or television clearly. Adults, typically struggle seeing road signs or recognizing faces across a room. Individuals may squint to see these distant objects. However, these people will be able to see well for near tasks such as reading and working on a computer.

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Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is dependent on what stage of disease you have, your level of vision and the doctor’s clinical decision.

For mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, the treatment is good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure. Control your blood sugar by watching your diet and taking the medication prescribed by your doctor. Controlling you blood pressure helps keep the eye’s blood vessels healthy.

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Diabetic Retinopathy


Diabetic retinopathy results from damage to the blood vessels within the retina, the tissue that lines the back of the eye. The retina is where the light rays that enter the eye are focused. This information is transported via the optic nerve to the back of the brain where it is processed into the pictures we see. With diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels within the retina leak fluid and bleed. This can affect a person’s ability to see clearly.

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Diabetes and Your Eyes


November is American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month. This is a perfect time to discuss how diabetes can affect the eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. It is the result of damage to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. Early detection, proper management of your diabetes and annual dilated eye exams can protect against vision loss.

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Why do they dilate my eyes?


You may ask yourself...why do they dilate my eyes when I see the eye doctor? Is it really necessary? We want to answer that question today.

The short answer is that by dilating the eye, it allows the doctor to get the best view possible of the back 2/3 of the eye.

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Pink Eye


Pink eye is a common cause of school and workplace absences. The medical name for pink eye is conjunctivitis. It gets this name because it is a result of harmful bacteria or viruses invading the thin moist membrane lining of the outer eye and eyelids, the conjunctiva.

Most pink eye will go away on its own in 1-2 weeks...See Your Eye Doctor Right Away if:

• You are in pain or have trouble seeing• You are sensitive to light• Your symptoms have continued for 1 week or more• Your symptoms are getting worse• Your eye is producing a lot of pus or mucus• You have any other symptoms of an infection, like a fever or achiness

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Astigmatism


What is astigmatism? This is a question many have for one of the most common vision problems. At least 30% of the US population has some level of astigmatism. We will answer everything you need to know about astigmatism in this blog. Yes, it is “astigmatism” not “stigmatism” as it is commonly referred to. You don’t have “a stigmatism”...you have astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Similar to nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism is a refractive error. It is simply a problem with how the eye focuses light. It is not a disease or eye health problem.

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Eyestrain


Are your eyes bothering you while at work? Eyestrain is a common problem found in the workplace and with schoolwork. This is even more common with the extended screen time we all have at work and at home. We will cover common symptoms, causes and treatments in this blog.

Common symptoms of eyestrain include the following:• Tired, uncomfortable, or burning eyes• Watery or dry eyes• Blurred or double vision• Headaches • Increased sensitivity to light• Sore neck, shoulders or back

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What does it mean to have 20/20 vision?

When you have an eye exam, the doctor will state your vision is 20/20 or 20/something. What does that mean? Is 20/20 “perfect vision”? If not, what is “perfect vision”?

Let’s take a closer look at how your vision is assessed when you have an eye exam and what the terminology the doctor uses actually means.

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