Here is a summary of the various eye conditions and eye diseases we see and often treat at Optique Boutique 20/20.
CONJUNCTIVITIS (PINK EYE)
Conjunctivitis, more commonly called pink eye is a condition affecting the thin membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. It is most often caused by a virus or bacterial infection, although allergies such as seasonal pollen, animal dander, cosmetics and perfumes or chemical agents such as bleach and furniture polish can also cause inflammation of the membrane. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious; however, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be very contagious and easily spread through touching or sharing an object like a towel with someone who has conjunctivitis or through coughing or sneezing. Children with contagious conjunctivitis should stay home from daycare or school. Symptoms of infectious conjunctivitis typically begins in one eye, but can involve the other eye within a few days, while symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis usually involve both eyes. Symptoms include redness, burning, scratchiness and itching. The affected eye may have excess tearing and may be "stuck shut" in the morning.
In some minor cases the eye may get better without treatment, but in most cases treatment will shorten the healing time and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. In more serious cases there may be damaging corneal effects that may threaten sight if it is not promptly diagnosed and left untreated. If symptoms occur call Optique Boutique 20/20 for an appointment to assess the severity of the condition and offer a treatment remedy.
Blepharitis is a common and often stubborn condition affecting the eyelids. Blepharitis may cause the eyelids to become inflamed, red, irritated, swollen, induce excessive tearing or itching, create a feeling of having a foreign object in the eye and can cause an unsightly accumulation of crusty or scaly buildup around the eye. This condition can be caused by blocked oil glands near the eyelashes, bacteria or even allergens, that affect the inner part of the eyelid. Sometimes it is caused by poor eyelid hygiene from bacteria on the hair and eyebrows, affecting the outer part of the eyelid near the eyelashes. The acute version responds quickly to antibiotics and aggressive eyelid hygiene, while the chronic type responds more poorly, but can be managed with diligent eyelid hygiene. Fortunately, it is non-threatening to eyesight, although uncomfortable and sometimes unsightly. If your eyes exhibit any of these symptoms, call Optique Boutique 20/20 for an appointment to determine the causes, assess the severity of the condition and offer a treatment remedy.
We are born with a clear crystalline lens, unfortunately as we age the lens hardens and stiffens from the effects of UV radiation from the sun. The lens gradually becomes cloudy with age and as the youthful suppleness of the lens is diminished it loses its ability to focus properly. The most common cause of cataracts is the natural consequence of the aging process. By age 65 half of the population has cataracts and by age 85, 75% of people have cataracts. Less common causes of cataracts include heredity, birth defects, chronic diseases such as diabetes, extensive steroid use or use of certain medications and more rarely certain eye injuries. The vision loss is gradual with a blurring of vision even with prescription glasses. Symptoms may include cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty recognizing faces, faded colors, haloes or glare around lights, trouble with bright lights, double vision in a single eye and difficulty seeing at night. Modifiable factors that increase the risk of cataracts include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and excessive alcohol intake. You may also slow the formation of cataracts by protecting your eyes from direct sunlight by wearing a good pair of sunglasses that have 100% UVA and UVB protection. A thorough eye examination by Dr. Treski can diagnose cataracts and help determine your best alternatives. Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries performed in the United States and is often the best alternative when cataracts start to adversely affect your everyday activities. Beginning stages of cataracts may slightly improve using prescriptive correction, however in later stages it may be time for a cataract surgery referral.
Eye floaters usually appear as translucent squiggly lines, threadlike strands, small black dots or gray spots that drift through your field of vision. They are usually noticed in bright light or against the backdrop of white or light colors. Although some floaters may be harmless, others may be symptoms of much more severe eye abnormalities. Floaters consist of protein fibers that are part of the gel-like substance in the back of the eye called the vitreous. Between the age of 50-75 as we grow older little shreds of the protein fibers may clump together. These small flecks or shreds of the protein fibers that cast their shadows onto the retina are called floaters. Only after a thorough eye examination can it be determined if the floaters that you are experiencing isn’t due to a more severe eye condition or disease such as diabetic retinopathy, detached retina, torn retina, bleeding in the vitreous, inflammation of the vitreous or retina caused by an infection or autoimmune condition or even a tumor. If you experience an increase in the number of floaters, a flash of light, loss of side vision, eye pain, had eye trauma or have any sudden change in your vision, contact Dr. Treski immediately for an appointment because it may indicate a more serious condition requiring immediate attention and diagnosis.
Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve as a result of an increase of fluid in the anterior or front part of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye presses on the optic nerve in the back of the eye, resulting in damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for the transmission of the visual information entering the eyes to be interpreted by our brain. The nerves in the neural fiber layer that is affected by glaucoma are responsible for your visual field.
The most common type of glaucoma exhibits no pain or symptoms and is often called the silent thief. Glaucoma is not related to blood pressure and anyone, even those with perfect vision can get glaucoma. Vision is first lost in the periphery, where it is not easily detected as we go about our daily lives, until a large portion of vision is lost and once your vision is lost due to glaucoma, it is irreversible. Once detected, Dr. Treski can prescribe eye drops to decrease the eye pressure by slowing the production of fluids within the eye or discuss alternatives including surgery. Glaucoma is a classic example and reason why yearly eye examinations are essential to your eye health and sight.
DIABETES AND DIABETIC RETINOPATHY
Diabetes affects the blood vessels of your body and Diabetic Retinopathy affects the blood vessels in the back of your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is a vision-threatening disease that can cause damage to the retina of the eye. It is the leading cause of blindness among working age Americans, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Between 12,000 and 24,000 new cases of blindness from diabetic retinopathy occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. According to a 2015 report released by the International Diabetes Federation, the United States has the highest rate of diabetes among 38 developed nations. Approximately 30 million Americans or about 11% of the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 79 has some stage of diabetes. If blood glucose levels are too high for too long, blood vessels in the back of the eye can leak. As a result of the damaged blood vessels, our body attempts to compensate by forming new blood vessels to supply oxygen and nourishment to the retina. However, the new blood vessels are very weak and often bleed and can affect the patient’s vision. It is important to have yearly comprehensive eye examinations for early detection and prevention of any diabetic retinal changes. If such changes occur, Dr. Treski can consult with the patient’s primary doctor so that adjustments to the patient’s medication can be made to help protect against diabetes related vision loss.
Macular Degeneration develops as we age and is therefore often referred to as ARMD (age related macular degeneration). It is the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central 2% portion of the retina, known as the macula progressively deteriorates, affecting sharp and central vision. The retina contains the light-sensing nerve cells at the back of the eye. Macular degeneration almost never results in complete blindness; however, it can be a source of significant visual disability. As macular degeneration progresses, it may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that becomes noticeable when reading and driving. Because it affects the central vision, recognizing people’s faces may also become more difficult as the disease worsens. Although the cause is not known, there are common contributing risk factors, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition and genetics. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. Approximately 90% of people that develop macular degeneration have the dry form of the disease which can result in some central vision loss, however the dry form of macular degeneration can lead to the wet form. The wet form of macular degeneration occurs when an abnormal growth of blood vessels begins to leak blood and fluid into the retina which eventually will result in scarring, blind spots and eventually permanent loss of central vision. Although only about 10% of people with macular degeneration develop the wet form, they make up the majority of those who experience serious vision loss from the disease. Currently there is no treatment for the dry type, however there is treatment for the more severe wet type. Supplements containing Lutein are shown to be helpful in slowing the disease in patients that already have it. Regular eye examinations are critical for early diagnosis and proper monitoring of your eyesight once macular degeneration is discovered.
Lasik or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The surgery reshapes the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, so that the light received through it is properly focused onto the retina in the back of your eye. Lasik usually replaces the need for glasses or contact lenses. As of 2011, approximately 11 million people in the United States have had Lasik surgery and in 2015, the number of LASIK surgeries in the United States was approximately 596,000 with a high satisfaction rate. Everyone is not a good candidate for Lasik and there are some medical requirements, such as strong tear production and thick corneas that must be met. There is also a similar procedure called PRK which is an alternative for Lasik, but has a longer healing time and can have a more painful recovery. If you are interested in Lasik surgery, make an appointment with Dr. Amy Treski at Optique Boutique 20/20 to determine if Lasik is right for you.
COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME
Computer vision syndrome is a condition that affects both adults and children as a result of staring at a computer for an extended period of time. Symptoms include dry eyes, eye fatigue, eye strain, burning, neck ache, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and difficulty refocusing. Dr. Treski recommends what she calls the 20/20 rule. It is necessary to take breaks from staring or focusing on detailed work or computer screens. Dr. Treski advises that you should look up at a distance into infinity for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Reducing the glare on your computer screen from windows by adjusting the position of your monitor, lower the lighting or install a glare filter may also help. Using artificial tears may help with dry eyes to reduce some of the symptoms including discomfort, red eyes and irritation. If these simple remedies don’t help make an appointment with Dr. Treski at Optique Boutique 20/20 for more personalized treatment, including special computer eyeglasses with advanced new coatings that block blue rays given off by computers and a dry eye treatment evaluation.
AMBLYOPIA (LAZY EYE)
Amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye, usually starts as a childhood condition when one eye has much better vision and focus than the other one. Early diagnosis is important because the longer this condition goes untreated, your child’s brain receives both a blurry image and a clear image, causing the brain to ignore the blurry one in preference for the clearer image. If left unchecked over months or even years in a young child, the vision in the blurry eye will worsen and vision will not fully develop. This condition can be caused by large differences in refractive error between the two eyes due to one eye being more farsighted or having a greater astigmatism than the other. Sometimes one of the eyes may turn in or out and the eyes don’t line up correctly causing double vision. This is called strabismus and can lead to amblyopia. Another cause of amblyopia may be discovered because the child cannot see well out of one eye because something is blocking the light from reaching the retina in the back of the eye, such as from a cataract of the lens or some blood or other condition in the back of the eye. Your child is more likely to have amblyopia if it already runs in the family. Treatment can include glasses to correct the refractive error, patching the good eye to force the weaker eye to focus properly, use of atropine eye drops in mild cases to blur the vision in the good eye in lieu of a patch or Dr. Treski may recommend surgery if necessary to remove an existing cataract. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to good results; therefore, it is recommended that children have a complete eye examination by age four or five. With early diagnosis and treatment most children will gain vision however, amblyopia becomes more difficult to treat after about 7-9 years of age, because the brain develops to accept only the information received from the good eye and ignores the signals received through the lazy eye. It is essential to make sure your child has routine eye examinations.