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The eyes are complex organs that rely on many different structures and processes to refract, focus and process images. Diseases and disorders can cause a a variety of problems that interfere with these intricate functions. Some eye diseases are more uncomfortable than damaging, while others pose a serious threat to your eyesight. That's why you need a trusted eye health resource on hand to diagnose and treat various kinds of eye ailments -- and our optometry team at Eyecare Specialties can serve as that trusted resource for your family.
Some eye diseases make their presence known through discomfort and vision problems right away. Common problems include:
Dry eye syndrome - Chronically dry eyes may cause redness, itching, a gritty sensation in the eyes and/or blurred vision. If this problem goes untreated, the lack of lubricating moisture can expose the eyes to bacteria and make corneal ulceration or scarring a possibility.
Conjunctivitis - Conjunctivitis ("pink eye") may have bacterial, viral or allergic/environmental causes. This inflammation of a membrane called the conjunctiva produces eye redness, itching, swelling and a thick or watery discharge.
Other eye diseases may progress for years without your knowledge, quietly destroying your eye's ability to function without producing symptoms until an advanced stage. These problems include:
Macular degeneration - This condition, which is usually age related, damages a portion of the retina called the macula that makes central vision possible. Advanced macular degeneration can make it impossible for you to read, write or view people's faces clearly.
Diabetic eye disease - Diabetic eye disease damages the small blood vessels that nourish the retina. This causes blood leakage and blood vessel overgrowth that impairs vision.
Glaucoma - Glaucoma is most often the effect of high fluid pressure inside the eye. This excess pressure progressively destroys optic nerve tissue, eventually robbing you of your eyesight.
Cataracts - Cataracts typically occur in older eyes, although some varieties can begin earlier. This condition causes proteins in the eye's lens to become cloudy and opaque, distorting your vision.
Prompt diagnosis of any condition is always recommended. Our optometry clinic urges regular eye exams to catch those "hidden" eye problems that might otherwise cause irreversible vision loss. Even progressive, incurable eye diseases can be controlled to help you preserve your eyesight. For instance, we can prescribe medications to help control intraocular pressure in glaucoma sufferers. Injectable medications can slow the progress of macular degeneration. Diabetic eye disease may respond to corticosteroids, injectable drugs, and (of course) controlling the underlying diabetes. Cataracts can be removed surgically; we will monitor the condition and provide pre-surgery and post-surgery care.
Our optometry team is also happy to treat more obvious eye issues such as dry eye disorder, conjunctivitis and eye allergy issues. Treatment methods may include eye drops, antibiotics (for conjunctivitis), lifestyle recommendations and treatment of underlying conditions that may cause dryness. Call 660-747-2020 to schedule an eye evaluation!