Common Eye Conditions & Diseases
Along with cataract and glaucoma testing, our dedicated and experienced optometry team will look for signs of other eye diseases during a comprehensive eye exam. When eye diseases are diagnosed early, treatment and management plans are more successful.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is associated with the aging process and is common in individuals over 50, is an eye disease that affects the macula, the area of the retina responsible for central vision. We need our central vision for everyday tasks like driving or reading. There are two types of AMD:
- Dry AMD occurs when the macula deteriorates over time due to aging. This is a slow, progressive disease that leads to the gradual blurring of central vision. It is the more common form of AMD and is associated with the accumulation of drusen, deposits of lipids and proteins under the retina.
- Wet AMD is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, which break and leak blood or fluid into the macula. Wet AMD usually starts as dry AMD, but not everyone with dry AMD will develop wet AMD.
Regular eye exams are essential to detect, diagnose, and monitor AMD. Early detection can help prevent or at least slow vision loss due to AMD.
Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin. It impacts every area of your body, including your eyes. Diabetes can increase your risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels that supply the retina. It occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood, which impairs the blood vessels, reducing the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the retina. The eye attempts to grow new blood vessels, but these are inadequate and break easily.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to undergo annual eye exams to monitor your ocular health and detect diabetic eye diseases early.
Flashes & Floaters
Floaters are specks or cobwebs that float around in your field of view and dart away if you try to look directly at them. Floaters usually occur when the vitreous shrinks and becomes more stringy as we age. These little strands cast shadows on the retina, known as floaters.
Floaters are natural and usually harmless, however, they are sometimes associated with a more serious issue, like intraocular infection, eye injury, or retinal tear or detachment.
Flashes are often described as bright streaks or pinpricks of light. They’re caused by physical forces on the retina. They can be due to tractional forces on the retina when the vitreous shrinks as we age, or by trauma.
If you suddenly start seeing continual and repeated flashes, this could be a sign of retinal tear or detachment, and you should seek emergency medical attention. In most cases, occasional flashes are harmless, but it’s always good to discuss them with your optometrist during an eye exam.