More Information About Eye Conditions
At Village Eyecare, we believe it is important for our patients to understand the information we provide them with so they can make the best choices to maintain and improve their eye health. Below you will find videos and details about the most common eye conditions:
Why Are We The Best?
Quality eyewear and service is our utmost concern. For this reason we have installed our own finishing lab. Having our own lab enables us to manufacture your lenses to the exact specifications of your prescription.
The on site lab allows us to produce most single vision prescriptions the same day, depending on tint or coating options. Progressive lenses are custom ordered and will be typically completed in our lab in 1 or 2 days. In some cases next day service is available.
With the latest diagnostic equipment, we can detect eye problems sooner, resulting in more effective treatment.
Equipment and Advanced Testing
Dry Eye Analyzer
Anterior Segment Camera
Retinal Fundus Camera
Digital Refraction Systems
Electronic Medical Records
OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)
Patient Education Videos
Refractive errors include myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism, they are very common and can usually be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lens. Read More >>
In people with dry eye, the eye produces fewer or less quality tears and is unable to keep its surface lubricated and comfortable. It is important to get treatment in order to prevent damage to the eyes.Read More >>
Dry eye is a chronic condition that can affect both eye comfort and vision. Symptoms may include:
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Eyes feeling dry
- Persistent use of eye drops
- Symptoms getting worse later in the day
The accurate diagnosis and management of dry eye requires special tests that go beyond the eye examination. Village Eyecare is equipped with the latest in diagnostic equipment that aids in the determining the cause of the dryness which allows for a more effective treatment plan.
The different forms of dry eye treatment include:
- Artificial tears
- Eyelid and eyelash hygiene
- Punctal Plugs (tear drainage occlusion)
- Restasis (prescription strength eye drops)
- Topical Steroids
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
Dry eye can occur in climates with dry air, as well as with the use of some drugs, including antihistamines, nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, and anti-depressant drugs. People with dry eye should let their health care providers know all the medications they are taking, since some of them may intensify dry eye symptoms.
If you suffer from dry eyes, call one of the three Chicago locations for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment options.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. Read More >>
- Clumps of protein reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.The lens consists mostly of water and protein. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause blurred vision. Most age-related cataracts develop from protein clumpings. When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to “grow” slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Over time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Seeing may become more difficult. Your vision may get duller or blurrier.
- The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.As the clear lens slowly colors with age, your vision gradually may acquire a brownish shade. At first, the amount of tinting may be small and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may make it more difficult to read and perform other routine activities. This gradual change in the amount of tinting does not affect the sharpness of the image transmitted to the retina. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples. You may be wearing what you believe to be a pair of black socks, only to find out from friends that you are wearing purple socks.
Who is at risk for cataract? The risk of cataract increases as you get older. Other risk factors for cataract include:
- Certain diseases such as diabetes.
- Personal behavior such as smoking and alcohol use.
- The environment such as prolonged exposure to sunlight.
What can I do to protect my vision? Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe good nutrition can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract. They recommend eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants. If you are age 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. Early treatment for many eye diseases may save your sight.
Also known as Lazy Eye, is a condition where the eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye.Read More >>
Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. The condition can be difficult to manage because it tends to recur. Read More >>
Conjunctivitis “Pink Eye”
A disease that causes swelling, itching, burning, and redness of the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the white of the eye.Read More >>
At its onset, conjunctivitis is usually painless and does not adversely affect vision. The infection will clear in most cases without requiring medical care. But for some forms of conjunctivitis, treatment will be needed. If treatment is delayed, the infection may worsen and cause corneal inflammation and a loss of vision.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. Read More >>
Allergies affecting the eye are fairly common usually related to pollen symptoms can include redness, itching, tearing, burning, stinging, and watery discharge.Read More >>
An increasing number of eye allergy cases are related to medications and contact lens wear. Also, animal hair and certain cosmetics, such as mascara, face creams, and eyebrow pencil, can cause allergies that affect the eye. Touching or rubbing eyes after handling nail polish, soaps, or chemicals may cause an allergic reaction. Some people have sensitivity to lip gloss and eye makeup. Allergy symptoms are temporary and can eliminated by not having contact with the offending cosmetic or detergent.
Make an appointment with your eye doctor if you need help managing your eye allergies.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly and completing daily tasks. Read More >>
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of diabetes. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.Read More >>
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of diabetes. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.
Diabetic eye disease may include:
- Diabetic retinopathy—damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
- Cataract—clouding of the eye’s lens. Cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
- Glaucoma—increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, at first you may not notice changes to your vision. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
Causes and Risk Factors
How does diabetic retinopathy cause vision loss?
Blood vessels damaged from diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss in two ways:
- Fragile, abnormal blood vessels can develop and leak blood into the center of the eye, blurring vision. This is proliferative retinopathy and is the fourth and most advanced stage of the disease.
- Fluid can leak into the center of the macula, the part of the eye where sharp, straight-ahead vision occurs. The fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision. This condition is called macular edema. It can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy also have macular edema.
Who is at risk for diabetic retinopathy?
All people with diabetes–both type 1 and type 2–are at risk. That’s why everyone with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy.
What can I do to protect my vision?
If you have diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year and remember:
- Proliferative retinopathy can develop without symptoms. At this advanced stage, you are at high risk for vision loss.
- Macular edema can develop without symptoms at any of the four stages of diabetic retinopathy.
- You can develop both proliferative retinopathy and macular edema and still see fine. However, you are at high risk for vision loss.
- Your eye care professional can tell if you have macular edema or any stage of diabetic retinopathy. Whether or not you have symptoms, early detection and timely treatment can prevent vision loss.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may need an eye exam more often. People with proliferative retinopathy can reduce their risk of blindness by 95 percent with timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care.
The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) showed that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of retinopathy. The people with diabetes who kept their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible also had much less kidney and nerve disease. Better control also reduces the need for sight-saving laser surgery.
Other studies have shown that controlling elevated blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of vision loss. Controlling these will help your overall health as well as help protect your vision.
How are diabetic retinopathy and macular edema detected?
Diabetic retinopathy and macular edema are detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes:
- Visual acuity test. This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.
- Dilated eye exam. Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. This allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.
- Tonometry. An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.
Your eye care professional checks your retina for early signs of the disease, including:
- Leaking blood vessels.
- Retinal swelling (macular edema).
- Pale, fatty deposits on the retina–signs of leaking blood vessels.
- Damaged nerve tissue.
- Any changes to the blood vessels.
If your eye care professional believes you need treatment for macular edema, he or she may suggest a fluorescein angiogram. In this test, a special dye is injected into your arm. Pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in your retina. The test allows your eye care professional to identify any leaking blood vessels and recommend treatment.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
During the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy, no treatment is needed, unless you have macular edema. To prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol.
Proliferative retinopathy is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called scatter laser treatment. Scatter laser treatment helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels. Your doctor places 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns in the areas of the retina away from the macula, causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Because a high number of laser burns are necessary, two or more sessions usually are required to complete treatment. Although you may notice some loss of your side vision, scatter laser treatment can save the rest of your sight. Scatter laser treatment may slightly reduce your color vision and night vision.
Scatter laser treatment works better before the fragile, new blood vessels have started to bleed. That is why it is important to have regular, comprehensive dilated eye exams. Even if bleeding has started, scatter laser treatment may still be possible, depending on the amount of bleeding. If the bleeding is severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, blood is removed from the center of your eye.
How is a macular edema treated?
Macular edema is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called focal laser treatment. Your doctor places up to several hundred small laser burns in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session. Further treatment may be needed.
A patient may need focal laser surgery more than once to control the leaking fluid. If you have macular edema in both eyes and require laser surgery, generally only one eye will be treated at a time, usually several weeks apart.
Focal laser treatment stabilizes vision. In fact, focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent. In a small number of cases, if vision is lost, it can be improved. Contact your eye care professional if you have vision loss.
A progressive thinning of the cornea keratoconus is the most common corneal dystrophy in the U.S., affecting one in every 2000 Americans, it mostly effects teenagers and young adults. Read More >>
A pinkish, triangular-shaped tissue growth on the cornea pterygiums are more common in sunny climates, and although unknown, many doctors believe they are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.Read More >>
Pterygia are more common in sunny climates and in the 20-40 age group. Scientists do not know what causes pterygia to develop. However, since people who have pterygia usually have spent a significant time outdoors, many doctors believe ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may be a factor. In areas where sunlight is strong, wearing protective eyeglasses, sunglasses, and/or hats with brims are suggested. While some studies report a higher prevalence of pterygia in men than in women, this may reflect different rates of exposure to UV light.
Because a pterygium is visible, many people want to have it removed for cosmetic reasons. It is usually not too noticeable unless it becomes red and swollen from dust or air pollutants. Surgery to remove a pterygium is not recommended unless it affects vision. If a pterygium is surgically removed, it may grow back, particularly if the patient is less than 40 years of age. Lubricants can reduce the redness and provide relief from the chronic irritation.
The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer. It is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye and can be damaged by direct contact from a foreign object or even dust. Read More >>
A corneal condition where oxygen deprivation and/or stress causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the normally clear, translucent cornea.Read More >>
As a general rule, the deeper the corneal infection, the more severe the symptoms and complications. It should be noted that corneal infections, although relatively infrequent, are the most serious complication of contact lens wear.
Minor corneal infections are commonly treated with anti-bacterial eye drops. If the problem is severe, it may require more intensive antibiotic or anti-fungal treatment to eliminate the infection, as well as steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation. Frequent visits to an eye care professional may be necessary for several months to eliminate the problem.
The retina is a layer of tissue inside of the eye, that sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.Read More >>
The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment.
What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?
Symptoms include a sudden or gradual increase in either the number of floaters, which are little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye. Another symptom is the appearance of a curtain over the field of vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a retinal detachment should see an eye care professional immediately.
What are the different types of retinal detachment?
There are three different types of retinal detachment:
Rhegmatogenous [reg-ma-TAH-jenous] A tear or break in the retina allows fluid to get under the retina and separate it from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retina. These types of retinal detachments are the most common.
In this type of detachment, scar tissue on the retina’s surface contracts and causes the retina to separate from the RPE. This type of detachment is less common.
Frequently caused by retinal diseases, including inflammatory disorders and injury/trauma to the eye. In this type, fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina, but there are no tears or breaks in the retina.
Who is at risk for retinal detachment?
A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40. It affects men more than women, and Whites more than African Americans.
A retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who:
Are extremely nearsighted
Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
Have a family history of retinal detachment
Have had cataract surgery
Have other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration
Have had an eye injury
How is retinal detachment treated?
Small holes and tears are treated with laser surgery or a freeze treatment called cryopexy. These procedures are usually performed in the doctor’s office. During laser surgery tiny burns are made around the hole to “weld” the retina back into place. Cryopexy freezes the area around the hole and helps reattach the retina.
Retinal detachments are treated with surgery that may require the patient to stay in the hospital. In some cases a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. During a vitrectomy, the doctor makes a tiny incision in the sclera (white of the eye). Next, a small instrument is placed into the eye to remove the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye and helps the eye maintain a round shape. Gas is often injected to into the eye to replace the vitreous and reattach the retina; the gas pushes the retina back against the wall of the eye. During the healing process, the eye makes fluid that gradually replaces the gas and fills the eye. With all of these procedures, either laser or cryopexy is used to “weld” the retina back in place.
With modern therapy, over 90 percent of those with a retinal detachment can be successfully treated, although sometimes a second treatment is needed. However, the visual outcome is not always predictable. The final visual result may not be known for up to several months following surgery. Even under the best of circumstances, and even after multiple attempts at repair, treatment sometimes fails and vision may eventually be lost. Visual results are best if the retinal detachment is repaired before the macula (the center region of the retina responsible for fine, detailed vision) detaches. That is why it is important to contact an eye care professional immediately if you see a sudden or gradual increase in the number of floaters and/or light flashes, or a dark curtain over the field of vision.