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See below for a brief overview of some of the more frequently encountered eye diseases.
If your tears are not sufficient (for a number of reasons), you can suffer from dry eyes.
Dry eyes occur because the tears produced are insufficient. Sometimes this is because your eyes don’t produce enough tears, more commonly referred to as dry eye syndrome, or it can be because your eyes are producing poor quality tears.
Dry eyes can be caused by inflammation, tear duct problems, certain medical conditions, and some medications. Other causes of dry eyes include aging, contact lens wear, complications from eye diseases, and environmental factors.
At Deerwood Family Eyecare, Dr. Shearer and his staff can help you understand the underlying causes of your dry eyes and maximize your comfort and vision.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection in the thin tissue lining the eye and the inside of the eyelid, often referred to as “pink eye” and is extremely contagious.
There are three typical causes of pink eye – allergic reaction, bacterial or viral infection, and environmental pollutants such as air pollution or chlorine. Pink eye caused by a viral or bacterial infection can be quite contagious. Be careful around anyone you may know with pink eye. If you suspect you have it, be careful and call us right away.
Contact Dr. Shearer at Deerwood Family Eyecare when experiencing any discharge, itching or burning, excessive tearing, pink coloration in white portion of one or both eyes, or swollen eyelids. A comprehensive eye assessment will help determine the exact type of conjunctivitis and a treatment plan.
Blepharitis is a condition that causes itchy eyelids. Generally associated with dry scalp or acne rosacea, blepharitis is not contagious and rarely causes harm to eyesight. This condition can also sometimes cause a stye to form along the eye’s lid.
Causes of blepharitis most often include bacteria, dandruff, or problems with the oil produced by the glands of the eyelid.
A comprehensive eye exam at Deerwood Family Eyecare will help narrow down the specific cause of blepharitis so that treatment options can be discussed.
Glaucoma is a painless disease that occurs when the pressure of the fluid within the eye builds up and causes damage to the optic nerve. Learn more about glaucoma diagnosis and treatments.
A few groups are at higher risk for developing glaucoma:
- African Americans over age 40
- Anyone above age 60
- Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
- Individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure
If untreated, glaucoma can result in vision loss and blindness. Contact Dr. Shearer if experiencing any symptoms that cause a loss of side (peripheral) vision. A comprehensive eye exam and glaucoma-specific testing will be needed to diagnose and determine the best course of action.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) causes a loss of central vision. The macula at the back of the retina is the root cause and can either become “dry” (macula becomes thin and stops working) or “wet” (blood leaks from newly created vessels and collects under the macula). If you have “dry” ARMD the macula is thin and has stopped working. “Wet” ARMD is when blood leaks from newly created vessels and collects under the macula.
ARMD is the leading cause of severe eyesight loss in adults over 50 years of age. Some groups have higher risk factors than others. For example:
- Caucasians develop ARMD more frequently than other races
- Women develop the disease at an earlier age than men
While the causes are not completely known, there is a link between lack of proper nutrition and the development of ARMD. Some studies have found that low fat foods and leafy green vegetables can slow the loss of vision for “dry” ARMD.
Treatment for the “wet” form of ARMD includes a laser procedure to slow the bleeding. A new medication that is injected in the back of the eye can also be used to for this type of ARMD.
A comprehensive eye exam along with several additional tests are necessary to determine the presence and progression of ARMD. After diagnosis, Dr. Shearer and his professional team will develop a customized treatment plan to protect against further vision loss.
Diabetes and the Eye
Diabetes can cause problems throughout the body, including the eye – in the form of diabetic retinopathy. The sugar build-up in the body damages the circulation of blood around the retina. The blood vessels in the eye area then begin to leak, causing swelling and blurry vision.
Diabetic retinopathy symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss or a dark spot in the center of your vision field
- Floater and spots
- Night-time vision problems
Treatments for diabetic retinopathy vary depending on how advanced the disease is and the damage it has caused.
Eye problems caused by diabetes can be prevented (or at least slowed) by taking the appropriate medications, eating healthy foods, exercising, and abstaining from smoking and alcohol.
A comprehensive eye exam and as well as other tests are necessary to determine the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
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