What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when your tears do not produce adequate lubrication for your eyes, whether that means you don't produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears.

If after a comprehensive eye exam your doctor concludes that further dry eye tests are need, your doctor may measure the volume of your tears as well as test their quality.

If diagnosed with dry eye, treatment may include taking medication for inflammation, using artificial tears, applying warm compresses, incorporating an eye hygiene routine, or even surgery to insert punctal plugs that keep tears from draining away and helps artificial tears last longer.

Floaters & Flashes

Floaters

To see the world clearly, light must enter the front of your eye, pass through the vitreous (the clear gel like fluid inside of the eye), and focus on the retina (the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye). Frequently, tiny clumps of cells form inside the gel-like vitreous. The shadows these clumps cast on the retina are what we perceive as floaters. They can appear as dots, circles, lines, clouds, or cobwebs in the field of vision.

Floaters are more common as we reach middle age when the vitreous gel can start to thicken and shrink forming clumps or strands. Sometimes the shrinking of the vitreous can create tiny tears in the retina as it pulls away from the wall of the eye. If these tears bleed, new floaters may appear.

Flashes

With flashes, the vitreous gel is rubbing or pulling at the retina, moving it slightly from its normal position lining the back of the eye. Flashes are flashes of light that appear in your vision intermittently as a result of this subtle retinal displacement. It may be noticeable off and on for several weeks or months.

Causes of Floaters & Flashes

Trauma to the eye, migraine headaches, and a serious condition called retinal detachment can cause floaters and flashes.

What is macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula due to age or abnormal blood vessel growth. The macula is a small part of the eye located on the retina—the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is the responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.

AMD destroys this central vision. If left untreated, it can cause blindness.

There are two forms of AMD, dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common. The disease generally goes unnoticed until it is detected during an eye examination.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?

Thorough eye exams, involving dilation of your pupil, and visual field tests are used to diagnose macular degeneration.

The earlier AMD is diagnosed, the better chance you have of preserving some or much of your central vision. That is why it is so important that you and your ophthalmologist monitor your vision in each eye carefully. Regular eye exams help diagnose macular degeneration early.

You can also monitor your central vision using the Amsler grid. Here’s how:
  1. Wear your reading glasses and hold the grid 12 to 15 inches away from your face in good light.
  2. Cover one eye.
  3. Look directly at the center dot with the uncovered eye and keep your eye focused on it.
  4. While looking directly at the center dot, note whether all lines of the grid are straight or if any areas are distorted, blurry or dark.
  5. Repeat this procedure with the other eye.
  6. If any area of the grid looks wavy, blurred or dark, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.

How is macular degeneration treated?

Laser Therapy: If a fluorescein angiogram shows that the abnormal blood vessels have not grown under the center of the macula, it may be possible to treat them with standard laser therapy. It is important to stop the spread of these vessels as quickly as possible, but depending on how close the vessels are to the center of the macula, the patient may experience some further permanent blurring or loss of vision after the procedure.

Photodynamic Therapy: If the abnormal blood vessels grow under the center of the macula, standard laser treatment would permanently damage the macula, worsening vision. In some of cases, Photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be an option. This therapeutic procedure uses a combination of a light-activated drug called a photosensitizer and special low-power or cool laser. The combination can be used to treat wet AMD right at the center of the macula. With PDT the photosensitive drug is injected into the patient and travels throughout all the blood vessels including the abnormal vessels behind the central macula. The drug attaches to molecules that are commonly found in rapidly growing cells such as those in wet AMD blood vessels. A low power laser light is focused directly on the abnormal vessels which activates the drug causing damage specifically to the unwanted blood vessels.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetes affects the blood vessels throughout the body, particularly in the kidney and in the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is the name we give to diabetes’ adverse affects on the blood vessels in the eye. In the United States, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults. Risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases over time. An adult who has had diabetes for 15 years or longer stands an 80 percent chance of experiencing damage to retinal blood vessels.

The retina, the multiple layers of tissue located at the back of the eye, detects visual stimuli and transmits signals to the brain. When diabetes affects the ocular blood vessels, they may develop leaks or contribute to the formation of scar tissue; these problems reduce the retina’s ability to detect and transmit images.

There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy: background (BDR) and proliferative (PDR). Treatment is available for both of these problems.

Laser Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

When diabetes results in new blood vessels in the retina that leak blood, a laser procedure may be used to painlessly destroy the new growth and seal the blood vessels.

Presbyopia

Over time, the eye’s lens gradually loses its elasticity and its ability to change shape to see close objects. Bifocals or reading glasses are the traditional prescription for remedying this presbyopic loss of accommodation, but recent technology makes it possible to exchange the inflexible lens for one designed to compensate for changes in the eye and improve functional vision at all distances.

Do you have presbyopia and cataracts?

Ask about premium lifestyle replacement lens implants that may greatly improve both problems at the same time.

OUR TEAM

Each of our ophthalmologists is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and our optometrists are certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Together with our friendly and highly trained staff, we offer comprehensive eye care.

James Barad, MD

James Barad, MD

Dean Carlson, MD

Dean Carlson, MD

Sheron Marshall, MD

Sheron Marshall, MD

Scott Smetana, MD

Scott Smetana, MD

Clayton Falknor, MD

Clayton Falknor, MD

Robert Foerster, MD

Robert Foerster, MD

Andrea Pikkula, MD

Andrea Pikkula, OD

Marta Walz, OD

Marta Walz, OD