The number of Americans suffering eye diseases and complications has increased by 23% since 2000, according to a study carried out by the Johns Hopkins University. Furthermore, figures from the National Eye Institute show that glaucoma affects 2.7 million people, cataracts 24.4 million, myopia 34 million, low vision 2.9 million, and hyperopia 14 million. The good news is most of these diseases are treatable. Read on to learn more about diseases and conditions that an eye doctor Princeton NJ can treat.
Cataracts affect the eye’s natural lens causing cloudiness. Prevent Blindness America (PBA) reckons more than 20 million Americans aged over 40 years cataracts. Common types of cataracts include cortical cataract, subcapsular cataract, and nuclear cataract. Certain lifestyle choices as well as some medical conditions can make one more prone to cataracts. Known risk factors for developing cataracts include smoking tobacco, diabetes, hypertension, use of corticosteroids, and alcohol abuse. However, you should consult an eye doctor if you start to lose vision in one or both eyes. If you have cataracts, treatment options generally range from wearing glasses to surgery. The latter option can restore vision fully. In fact, statistics published by the PBA show that nine out of 10 people who undergo cataract surgery are able to see clearly again. The surgical procedure involves replacing the cloudy lens with a plastic intraocular lens (IOL). An experienced eye doctor can perform this surgery to help you regain lost vision.
Keratoconus is a disease of the eyes that typically leads to progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea. As a result, one develops distorted vision. If you have a mild form of the disease, your doctor can prescribe eyeglasses or soft contact lenses to correct irregular vision. Take note that people with Keratoconus require made-to-order contact lenses. In cases where custom lenses do not work, the next option is to use gas permeable contact lenses. Other treatment options include “piggybacking” contact lenses, scleral and semi-scleral lenses, topography-guided conductive keratoplasty (CK), surgically applied corneal implants, and corneal crosslinking. A study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that CK (the use of radio waves to reshape the surface of the eye) is capable of restoring normal corneal symmetry.
Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy
This disorder affects the eye’s cornea and is more common in adults aged over 50 years. Symptoms include pain in the eyes, blurred vision, inability to see at night, and sensitivity to light. To diagnose the disease, an ophthalmologist carries out a comprehensive eye exam using a slit lamp. Eye disease specialists also measure corneal thickness to determine the extent of swelling cause by the disease. Treatment options include using sodium chloride eye drops or surgery (deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty). It is not advisable to undergo surgery if you are suffering from cataracts.
Glaucoma is a disorder of the eyes that causes damage to the optic nerves. World Health Organization (WHO) figures show that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. Here are the common types of glaucoma:
- Angle-closure glaucoma
- Normal-tension glaucoma
- Primary open-angle glaucoma
- Congenital glaucoma
- Secondary glaucoma
- Pigmentary glaucoma
In general, intraocular pressure should be below 21 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). If the pressure rises above 30mmHG, the likelihood of losing vision is quite high. Eye doctors and Princeton eye care use screening methods such as visual field testing, gonioscopy, scanning laser polarimetry (SLP), confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure glaucoma damage. Depending on the level of blindness, your doctor can decide to perform surgery or prescribe eye drops.
Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina leading to blindness if left untreated. Loss of vision occurs when high blood sugar levels damage light sensitive cells in the eyes called photoreceptors. If you experience symptoms such as eye pain, fluctuating vision, double vision, or blurry vision, you should see an eye doctor immediately. Only a professional can determine whether you have non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), or clinically significant macular edema (CSME). Take note that a study carried out by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that African-Americans with diabetes are more likely (50 percent) to develop diabetic retinopathy compared to Caucasians. To prevent this disease, it is wise to maintain a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and tobacco, exercise regularly, as well as monitoring blood pressure levels.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to treat conjunctivitis. People who interact closely with others such as schoolchildren, teachers, college students, and healthcare workers could contract this contagious eye disease. In simple terms, pink eye is the inflammation of the conjunctiva (a thin cover of the white of the eye). Patients can develop allergic conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, or bacterial conjunctivitis. Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment option might involve the use of antibiotic eye drops or allergy medications. You should never share personal items such as washcloths or handkerchiefs. The same is true for contact lenses or swimming goggles. If you have any doubts, concerns, or queries, let your optometrist in Princeton NJ know.
This is basically the detachment of the retina from its support tissue and when this happens, it can potentially lead to permanent loss of vision . According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who experience symptoms such as floaters and flashes of light will have a retinal detachment at some point in the future. Other symptoms include blurry vision and seeing a shadow descend from the top of your eyes. Common causes of retinal detachments include injury to the eyes or face, cataract surgery, or a developing tumor. The good news is an ophthalmologist can diagnose the condition and recommend the right treatment. In most cases, surgical procedures such as vitrectomy, scleral buckling, or pneumatic retinopexy are necessary to repair the detached retina.
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
This development disorder affects vision making it hard for one to see properly. Unlike the diseases described above, amblyopia develops during early childhood and usually affects one eye. If you do not consult and seek advice from an eye doctor, your child might eventually lose vision in the affected eye. Some common types of lazy eye include deprivation amblyopia, strabismic amblyopia, and refractive amblyopia. Treatment involves surgery called strabismus to correct the refractive errors in the lazy eye. After this, the child has to wear an eye patch for a period ranging from a few days to several weeks. The aim is to train both eyes to work together. Atropine eye drops also come in handy to blur vision in the good eye and force the child to use the lazy eye.