Eye Diseases

Eye Disease Information

macular degeneration

There are a number of different eye diseases that can potentially affect you or your loved ones. In some instances, these may be mild and resolve themselves fairly easily, but others can have much more serious and long-lasting effects.


We are committed to preserving the health of your eyes and your eyesight for as long as possible and for this reason, we offer routine screening against all of the main eye diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment are often crucial if treatment is to be successful and if your vision is to be preserved.


Here is what you need to know about some of the most common types of eye disease, what causes them and what we can do to prevent them from having lasting consequences for your ocular health.

Cataracts

Most people have heard of cataracts, which is an eye disease most often seen amongst the older population. In fact, by the age of 80, more than half of us have either had a cataract or have previously undergone cataract surgery.


The natural lens of the eye is usually clear. However, cataracts are characterized by the clouding of this lens. Patients who experience cataracts find that the effect on their vision is like looking through a frosted glass window and it can affect one eye or both, and not always to the same degree. It is not always possible to tell why some people develop cataracts. However, there are some factors which are believed to contribute towards the development of the condition including a family history of cataracts, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, long-term steroid use and a diagnosis of diabetes.


The only way to correct cataracts is to have surgery which removes the natural lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial alternative called an IOL or intraocular lens. The procedure is safe, straightforward and usually highly successful.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

As the name suggests, age-related macular degeneration is a condition that is also more prevalent in the older generation although it usually first affects patients in their 50s and 60s. Also known as AMD, age-related macular degeneration affects the middle part of your vision and whilst it doesn’t cause total blindness, it can make everyday activities such as driving, reading and even recognizing faces fairly tricky.


There are two types of AMD, known as ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Wet AMD is fairly rare and occurs when new blood vessels growing underneath the retina begin to leak and bleed, causing distortions in the patient’s vision. However, dry AMD is much more common and occurs when cells in the macula begin to deteriorate, breaking down and causing a yellowish deposit that accumulates in the retina, causing vision impairment.


Again, it is now always known why some patients go on to develop macular degeneration and others don’t. However, certain factors are said to contribute towards the likelihood of developing the condition including a family history of AMD, smoking, being considerably overweight/obese and taking certain medications.


What treatment is available will depend on the type of AMD that you have. If you are diagnosed with wet AMD, you may need regular eye injections and potentially a light-treatment called photodynamic therapy to stop your vision from worsening. Unfortunately, currently there is no treatment for dry AMD. However, we will be able to supply you with visual aids which will help you to continue to live a full and active life.

treating macular degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration

As the name suggests, age-related macular degeneration is a condition that is also more prevalent in the older generation although it usually first affects patients in their 50s and 60s. Also known as AMD, age-related macular degeneration affects the middle part of your vision and whilst it doesn’t cause total blindness, it can make everyday activities such as driving, reading and even recognizing faces fairly tricky.


There are two types of AMD, known as ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Wet AMD is fairly rare and occurs when new blood vessels growing underneath the retina begin to leak and bleed, causing distortions in the patient’s vision. However, dry AMD is much more common and occurs when cells in the macula begin to deteriorate, breaking down and causing a yellowish deposit that accumulates in the retina, causing vision impairment.


Again, it is now always known why some patients go on to develop macular degeneration and others don’t. However, certain factors are said to contribute towards the likelihood of developing the condition including a family history of AMD, smoking, being considerably overweight/obese and taking certain medications.


What treatment is available will depend on the type of AMD that you have. If you are diagnosed with wet AMD, you may need regular eye injections and potentially a light-treatment called photodynamic therapy to stop your vision from worsening. Unfortunately, currently, there is no treatment for dry AMD. However, we will be able to supply you with visual aids which will help you to continue to live a full and active life.

Glaucoma

Worldwide, glaucoma is the second leading cause of irreversible blindness and studies estimate that in the U.S. alone, more than 3 million people are living with the effects of glaucoma. The condition is not curable, and any vision loss as a result of glaucoma cannot be regained. For this reason, the earlier the condition can be diagnosed the better since treatment can prevent vision loss from occurring.


Although anyone can develop glaucoma, it is more commonly diagnosed in older people. It is characterized as blindness caused by damage to the optic nerve, which occurs as a result of an accumulation of pressure inside the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting messages from the retina to the brain so that our brain can tell us what we can see. However, if the optic nerve becomes damaged, these messages are interrupted, and we will lose our ability to see, beginning with our peripheral vision.


There are two types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common, refers to a very gradual increase in pressure over time, which is usually a result of the fluid in the eye not draining properly. Symptoms tend to be easy to overlook and many people don’t realize that they are suffering from glaucoma until it is identified during a routine test. Closed-angle glaucoma develops suddenly and is usually very painful and impossible to ignore. Immediately professional attention is required to prevent permanent vision loss.


Although it is not possible to reverse vision loss, there are some types of treatment that can prevent your vision loss from worsening. These include eye drops to reduce pressure in the eyes, laser treatment to open up the blocked drainage tubes or surgery to improve the drainage of fluid.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Also known as diabetic eye disease, this medical condition is characterized by damage to the retina which occurs as a result of diabetes. The longer you have been suffering from diabetes, the more likely you are to also be diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. In fact, diabetic retinopathy affects as many as 80% of people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more.


How does diabetes affect the condition of the retina? The retina is a light-sensitive layer of cells at the very back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain via the optic nerve. However, the retina relies on a constant supply of blood which arrives via a network of tiny blood vessels. If you have persistently high blood sugar levels, these blood vessels can become damaged, preventing the necessary blood from reaching the retina and affecting our ability to see. If left undiagnosed, diabetic retinopathy can cause irreversible blindness.


It is possible to reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by effectively managing your diabetes. This means taking medication as prescribed and controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, if you have been diagnosed with the condition, we may need to consider treatments involving laser therapy, injections of medication into the eyes or surgery to remove blood or scar tissue from your eyes.




The eye diseases above represent just a few of those that could compromise your ocular health and your vision. By having routine eye exams, you can reduce your risk of developing these damaging and debilitating conditions. To schedule your appointment, please contact our eyecare center in Wichita Falls, TX today by calling 940-905-0700.