A quick look at some of the most common eye diseases diagnosed and often treated at Annandale EyeCare in Annandale
“Eye diseases” is a blanket term that refers to a host of diseases relating to the function of the eye. Below we describe some of the more common types of eye diseases and how they are generally treated. For more in-depth information, please speak with your eye care provider at Annandale EyeCare.
Conjunctivitis - "Pink Eye"
Conjunctivitis, sometimes known as pink eye, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids. Caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens and other irritants like smoke and dust. If conjunctivitis is due to infection, "pink eye" is highly contagious and is usually accompanied by redness in the white of the eye and increased tearing and/or discharge.
While some minor cases can improve within two weeks, some develop more serious corneal inflammation and threaten sight. If you suspect conjunctivitis, visit your eye care provider at Annandale EyeCare for an examination and appropriate treatment.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a general term for a group of eye problems that can result from having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease, so it is important that you don’t wait for symptoms to appear before having a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining permanent vision loss.
Often called “the silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is an increase in the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which causes damage to the optic nerve with no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and eventually blindness.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medications and surgery available that can help control the disease and help halt further vision loss. Early detection and regular eye exams are vital to slowing the progress of the disease.
Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision due to a deterioration of the macula, a tiny spot in the central portion of your retina comprised of millions of light-sensing cells. Because it is so commonly associated with aging, it is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD called “dry,” most common and with no known treatment, and “wet,” less common and treated with injections and laser procedures. Genetic testing is now available to help identify those most likely to develop “wet” macular degeneration.
In most cases, reversing damage caused by AMD is not possible, but supplements, protection from sunlight (UV), eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking can reduce the risk and progression of macular degeneration. For suggestions, speak with your eye care provider at Annandale EyeCare.
Dry Eye Syndrome / Disease
Dry eye syndrome refers to a breakdown in the quantity or quality of tears to moisten, cleanse and protect the eyes. This is significant because, with each blink, tears protect the surface of the eye, washing away dust and microorganisms. When this protective coating dries up, the eyes may feel “gritty” or burn and can be more sensitive to light. In extreme cases, vision can be blurred.
If you suspect that you have dry eye, see your eye doctor. Proper care will not only increase your comfort – it will protect your eyes. Your eye care provider can perform a series of tests to determine if you have dry eyes.
Annandale EyeCare has the experience and instrumentation necessary to diagnose and often treat the eye diseases detailed above, as well as many other eye diseases, at our office in Annandale. For more information please schedule an appointment with your optometrist, and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.