Many eye diseases have no symptoms in their early stages. By the time you notice changes in your vision, the damage is often irreversible. Regular eye exams are the best way to diagnose and treat eye diseases early, before you lose your vision.
Eye exams are especially important as you age. The leading causes of blindness in the United States are age-related eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Regardless of your age, a thorough eye exam can catch the earliest signs of problems, before you may even notice changes in your vision. During your eye exam, we’ll evaluate your vision and your eye structures for any signs of irregularities. This allows us to diagnose disease early and begin treatment as soon as possible.
During an eye exam, we can detect any irregularities that could indicate eye diseases. Some of the more common diseases we look for include glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process that causes the natural lens to become cloudy. As the lens becomes hazy, light can’t focus on the retina properly, causing blurry vision. Cataracts are quite common, but you shouldn’t let them interfere with your vision and activities.
In the early stages, cataracts can often be managed with stronger glasses. If cataracts progress, cataract surgery is the solution. Surgery is recommended when cataracts start to interfere with everyday tasks like reading and driving.
Dry macular degeneration occurs when deposits, called drusen, form under the macula and impede vision. This form of the disease typically develops slowly and the main way to manage the disease is through lifestyle modifications like increasing your intake of certain nutrients and vitamins.
Wet macular degeneration progresses much more quickly and causes much more rapid vision loss. In the wet form, drusen are accompanied by blood and fluid leakage, which can lead to dramatic vision loss. The main treatment options for wet macular degeneration are laser therapy and injections.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can cause progressive damage to the retina. Diabetes can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including in the eyes. When the blood vessels in the retina are damaged, these vessels can leak blood and other fluids.
As the fluid collects, the retinal tissue swells, leading to cloudy/blurry vision and eventual vision loss. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on the stage, but in the early stages, the best treatment is managing blood sugar levels. As the disease progresses, laser therapy and injections are other treatment options.
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