Diabetic Eye Disease

“I was diagnosed with diabetes and now my doctor wants to know if I’ve had my eyes checked recently, why?”

Did you know that diabetic eye disease is the number one cause of blindness in the U.S.?

In fact, after 20-years of having been diagnosed with diabetes as many as 60% of people with diabetes will begin to show some signs of diabetic eye damage.

If you have diabetes, you really need to monitor your vision and eye health a minimum of once per year, sometimes more, depending on what we’re finding during your eye exams.  If you seen any changes in your vision, it is important to schedule an appointment with us, right away.

We will send a report back to your primary care physician with the results of your eye examination.

Click here to see an animation describing Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

Click here to see an animation describing Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.


“Do we have to do the ‘puff test’ this year?”  

We’ve never met anyone that loves the “puff test,” but it is very important to monitor your eye pressure every year.  If eye pressure begins to change over time, we want to know as soon as possible, because this could be a sign you are at risk of developing glaucoma.  But, we believe there is a much more accurate and much friendlier way to measure eye pressure; in fact, we don’t even have the “puff test” in our office!

Glaucoma is called the “silent thief of sight” because there are no symptoms, until irreversible damage has occurred.

The most common type of glaucoma develops from increased pressure inside the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss or even blindness. This pressure can build slowly and be difficult to detect in everyday life.

Eye pressure is not the only indicator of glaucoma, and high eye pressure does not always lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma can even develop with normal eye pressure, which is why we monitor five other factors to help us determine if someone is at risk for developing glaucoma.

Click here to see an animation explaining more about Glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration

“I’ve heard that macular degeneration can make me go blind?  Is that true?”  

Macular degeneration does affect the central most part of your vision (reading, watching TV, etc), but not your peripheral vision, so while certainly very damaging and life altering, it doesn’t lead to total blindness.

Macular Degeneration is a condition leading to the loss of central vision due to damage to the macula, which is a part of the retina located on the back layer of the eye that gives us central vision (reading, driving, etc).

Macular degeneration is often related to age and can be classified as atrophic (dry) or exudative (wet).

The dry form of macular degeneration is most common, but unfortunately there is no medical or surgical treatment. It occurs when debris, which can cause scarring, collects in the macula, which starts to affect vision.

The wet form is less common, but more dangerous. It occurs when blood vessels that grow from behind the macula leak into the eye. If it is diagnosed early, this form of macular degeneration can be treated with laser treatments or medication injected into the eye.

Click here to see an animation about Macular Degeneration.


“My parents had cataract surgery; will I have to have cataract surgery too?”

The simple answer is yes; every eye will eventually start to form a cataract.

A cataract is a clouding or discoloration the the internal lens of the eye. There are different types of cataracts, and they can have different causes. Aging, medication or other medical conditions can contribute to the development of cataracts in your eyes.

Cataracts can start small and develop slowly. It may not even be noticeable at first, or you may notice a slight blur to your vision, or changes in your night vision, such as glare and halos around lights. Cataracts can continue to worsen, and you may only notice the effects once it has progressed significantly.

Regular eye exams and consultations with your optometrist are the best method of identifying and monitoring cataracts. If a cataract has developed in your eyes, cataract surgery may be helpful to restore your vision by replacing the clouded lens with a clear replacement.

Technological advances have made it possible to correct many existing eyewear prescription through cataract surgery.  When you are considering cataract surgery, we’ll discuss the lens implant options available and help you decide on the best lens option for you.

Click here to see an animation describing Cataracts.


“I woke up this morning with ‘pink-eye!'”

Red eyes are a sign of ocular inflammation, usually of the conjunctiva, which is the thin clear tissue covering the sclera (the white part of the eye).  This inflammation is called Conjunctivits.

There are many different issues that can cause red eyes or conjunctivitis, and not all are the dreaded “pink eye!”

The conjunctivitis could be bacterial, viral, allergic or inflammatory in nature.  After examining your eyes closely we’ll accurately diagnose your condition, and prescribe appropriate treatments.

Click here to see a Conjunctivitis animation.

Dry Eye

“Why are my eyes watering?”  “Why do my eyes feel gritty or sandy?” Or, “Why are my eyes always red?”

These are question we hear a lot from our patients suffering from dry eye (ocular surface disease).

Dry eye is a broad term that is used to describe a range of issues that result in the eye either not producing enough tears, or not producing tears with high enough quality.

The tears we produce are more than just water on the surface if the eye, the tears also provide nutrients and oxygen to the cornea, as well as help fight against infections and allergic reactions.  The tears are secreted by different tear glands around the eyes.

Unfortunately, because dry eye is both chronic and progressive, there is no cure for dry eye. However, there are a number of different treatments that can improve tear quality and tear quantity, and effectively control the symptoms of dry eye.  These range from tear supplement drops (artificial tears), medications, oral supplements, eye lid oil gland treatments and punctal plugs to help keep the tears in the eye longer.

After a number of scans, tests and measurements, we’ll determine which treatments will work help improve your dry eye symptoms.

Click here to see an animation about Dry Eye.


“I’m not able to see clearly with my glasses or contact lenses anymore”

This is a common complaint when a person’s cornea has started to change shape and as a result, the vision has become distorted in a condition called Keratoconus.

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory disorder affecting the cornea, where the cornea becomes thinned and steepens, resulting in distorted vision, sensitivity to light, and decreased vision.

Symptoms typically manifest in a person’s younger years, usually the late teens or 20’s. Luckily, this is a condition that can be diagnosed through a routine eye exam, which underscores the importance of scheduling regular eye exams for you and your children.

Click here to see an animation describing Keratoconus.

Flashes & Floaters

“I’m seeing flashing lights and these black specs in my vision,” “I’m seeing what I thought was a bug but it wasn’t there,” “I started to see a web floating in my vision”

These are all common complaints we hear from our patients.  What are these flashes and floaters?

Flashes can look like sparks or lightning flashes in your vision. You might see flashes on and off for weeks, or even months. Flashes can happen when the vitreous (the gel filling the inside of the eye) rubs or pulls on your retina.

Floaters look like small specks, dots, circles, lines or cobwebs in your field of vision. While they seem to be in front of your eye, they are actually floating inside. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous that fills your eye What you see are the shadows these clumps cast on your retina.

Some flashes and floaters are perfectly normal, however, they can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a retinal tear or detachment. A thorough retinal evaluation will be performed to see if the flashes and floaters you’re seeing are normal or a symptom of something more serious.

Click here to see an animation describing Flashes and Floaters.

If you have any questions or may have any of the above, please contact us today at (703) 941-4111.

Click to schedule an appointment to address concerns about these are any other eye related issues.