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Diseases of the Eye

Our top priority is the care of your eyes. We want to keep your eyes healthy through regular eye health evaluations, communication, and education. This page lists a few of the most common eye diseases. Select from the following list of topics or scroll to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for:

Blepharitis

BlepharitisThere are two types of blepharitis. Seborrheic blepharitis is often part of an overall skin condition called seborrhea, which may also affect the scalp, chest, back and the area behind the ears. The second form of blepharitis – staph blepharitis – is a more severe condition, caused by bacteria, that begins in childhood and may continue through adulthood.  

Causes

Hormones, nutrition, general physical condition, and even stress may contribute to seborrheic blepharitis. Build-ups of naturally occurring bacteria contribute to staph blepharitis.

Symptoms

Blepharitis could be described as dandruff of the eyelids. Seborrheic blepharitis causes redness of the eyelids, flaking and scaling of the eyelashes, and greasy, waxy scales. Staph blepharitis also causes redness of the eyelid margins and flaking of the lashes, and can cause loss of eyelashes, eyelid scarring, and red eye.

Treatment

Eyelid scrubs with baby shampoo or a specially formulated cleaner can reduce the symptoms of blepharitis. Application of warm compresses to the eyes daily can also help. Staph blepharitis may also require antibiotic drops or ointments, and special eyelid cleansers. The use of artificial tears is often helpful to relieve associated discomfort or dryness.


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Cataracts

CataractsA cataract is a cloudiness that occurs in the normally clear lens of the eye. The lens helps to focus images onto the back of the eye. If the lens is cloudy it causes a decrease in vision.

Symptoms

A person with cataracts may notice faded colors, problems with light (such as halos, or headlights that seem too bright), or poor night vision.

Treatment

Your eye doctor can detect the presence of cataracts through a thorough eye exam, including a visual acuity test and dilation of the pupils. The good news is that cararacts can be removed and replaced with a clear lens providing clear vision again.

At Solano Eye Care we are trained to help advise and can help find the best surgeon for you. We also co-manage the postoperative care and prescribe the appropriate glasses or contact lenses, when needed, following surgery.


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Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

ConjunctivitisConjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, is a redness of the eye. It is often accompanied by a discharge (clear, yellow, or white) and itching in the eye.

Causes

Pink eye is most often a viral infection, but it may also be caused by bacteria or an allergic reaction. Viral pink eye is highly contagious.

Prevention & Treatment

To avoid spreading conjunctivitis, wash your hands often, do not touch the infected area with your hands, do not share wash cloths or towels, and avoid using makeup which may become contaminated. A child with pink eye should be kept from school for a few days. Sometimes an eye doctor will need to prescribe antibiotic eye drops and ointments to clear up conjunctivitis.


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Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes it is extemely important for you to have a dilated retinal eye exam every year. The early phases of diabetic retinopathy may not cause vision symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition associated with diabetes. High levels of blood sugar may damage tiny blood vessels in your eye. New vessels may form to replace the damaged vessels. The new vessels can burst, resulting in blurred vision or even blindness.

Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • "Floaters" – small specks that pass across your field of vision, made up of cells floating in the transparent gel of your eye
  • Difficulty reading or seeing things close-up
  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Flashes
  • Blurred or darkened vision

Risk Factors & Treatment

If you have diabetes, make sure you control your blood sugar level. This will reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, give us a call. If diagnosed properly, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with a laser procedure or a vitrectomy.

Following your eye examination a letter will be sent to the doctor who is managing your diabetes. This report of your eye health is important information for your diabetes doctor.


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Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are constantly dry, you may have dry eye syndrome, which affects almost 10 million Americans. Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of, or poor quality of, tears. Tears lubricate the outer layer of the eye called the cornea. If the tears are not composed of a proper balance of mucous, water, and oil, the eye becomes irritated.

Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome leads to a number of symptoms, including irritation, burning, excessive tearing, redness, blurred vision that improves with blinking, and discomfort after long periods of watching television, driving, using a computer, or reading.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome. These include dry, hot, or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioned rooms, and cigarette smoke. Contact lens wearers, people with abnormally dry skin, and the elderly are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome. You may also be more at risk if you take certain medications, have a thyroid condition, a vitamin-A deficiency, Parkinson's or Sjorgen's disease, or if you are a woman going through menopause.


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Glaucoma

Glaucoma Glaucoma is a very common eye disorder affecting millions of Americans. It is progresssive damage of the optic nerve which may be caused by too much pressure on the inside of the eye. The fluid in your eyes helps to nourish and cleanse the inside of your eyes by constantly flowing in and out. When the fluid is prevented from flowing out, the intraocular pressure builds and damages the optic nerve. This causes a gradual loss in peripheral vision.

Symptoms

Glaucoma is a painless disease. Most people who have glaucoma have no symptoms. It gradually affects your peripheral vision and then closes in until all vision is lost. For this reason it is very important to have eye examinations every 1-2 years. Once the nerve is damaged and vision has been lost, it can't be reversed.

At Solano Eye Care we have the latest equipment to diagnose and monitor this silent disease to help protect your vision.

Risk Factors & Treatment

Heredity is a risk factor. If you have a parent or sibling with glaucoma your risk of developing it is higher than the average person. Also, you may be at greater risk if you are over 45, of African descent, near-sighted, or diabetic. Finally, if you have used steroids or cortizone for a long period of time, or if you have suffered an eye injury in the past, you have a greater chance of developing glaucoma.

Some people have "normal tension glaucoma". These patients have normal eye pressure but their nerve still atrophies gradually over time. This is thought to be more of a vascular cause than an eye pressure problem. The treatment usually requires eye drops to be used daily and frequent monitoring of the health of the nerve and peripheral vision.


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Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disease which affects a small area of the retina known as the macula. The macula is a specialized area on the retina that allows us to see the fine detail of whatever is directly in front of us. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula begins to deteriorate.

"Wet" vs. "Dry"

Most often, macular degeneration is accompanied by formation of yellow deposits, called "drusen," under the macula, which cause the macula to become "bumpy" or irregular. This is called "dry" macular degeneration. In rare cases, abnormal blood vessels develop under the macula and leak fluid. This is called "wet" macular degeneration.

Causes

A number of uncontrollable factors contribute to macular degeneration, including age, sex, eye color, hereditary, and race. Risk factors you can control include smoking, high blood pressure, exposure to harmful sunlight, and diet.

Symptoms

It is difficult to detect dry macular degeneration in its early stages. The most common symptoms, when detected, include a spot of blurry vision, dark vision, or distorted vision. Wet macular degeneration progresses much faster than the dry variety. Both forms of macular degeneration can cause loss of central vision, making it difficult to read or see small details.

Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but treatment is available to slow the effects. Certain vitamins and nutrition may also help slow the progression.


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Retinal Detachment

Retinal DetachmentThe part of the eye which collects light and transmits the light messages to the optic nerve and brain is the retina. It lines the inner back wall of the eye. When the retina separates from the back wall, it is known as retinal detachment. It is a serious condition which can cause permanent damage and vision loss if not treated quickly.

 

Symptoms

A retinal detachment often causes sudden defects in your vision. It may just cause a blind spot too small to notice, or it may cause a noticeable shadow which obscures your vision. An increase in "floaters," which look like small particles or fine threads, may also be noticed. Finally, flashes of light are associated with retinal detachment.

Risk Factors

Eye injuries, tumors, and cataract surgery can increase the risk for retinal detachment. Near-sighted individuals and the elderly are at greater risk for spontaneous detachment. Also, diabetic retinopathy, a condition associated with diabetes, can cause bleeding which leads to retinal detachment.


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