Glaucoma is a category of eye disease that occurs when the optic nerve fibers become damaged and it disrupts the transmission of information to the brain. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.. Chronic glaucoma has no symptoms at first, but progressively can steal your sight. 2.29 million Americans have glaucoma, the “sneak thief of sight.” Another 2 million don’t know they have it. Glaucoma is treatable, and the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the less chance there is of vision loss occurring. There are three treatments used: eye drops, microsurgery, and laser surgery. The drops decrease the production of fluid in the front section of the eye and/or increase the fluid outflow thus decreasing the intra-ocular pressure. Laser surgery increases eye fluid outflow as well or it can repair a blockage. Microsurgery is used to create an additional channel for the fluid to drain out of the eye.
Diabetic eye disease is used to describe a group of eye conditions which are common in those with diabetes. All of the conditions can lead to serious vision loss or blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetes-related disease and is the foremost cause of blindness in adults in the US. It is the result of fluctuations in the retinal blood vessels linked to blood sugar levels. In some cases of diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels can become inflamed and then leak fluid. In other cases, abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina itself. For patients with progressed forms of the disease, Dr. Berke often recommends laser surgery where an intense beam of light is aimed at the retinal vessels to stop leaking. Laser surgery and proper follow-up care can minimize the likelihood of blindness by up to 90% when treatment begins as early as possible.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disease that affects the sharp, central vision which can make reading and driving impossible. Currently, 2 million Americans have AMD. There are two forms, dry (90%) and wet (10%). AMD is caused by degeneration in the central section of the retina, the macula, and is somewhat treatable but currently not curable. When cells in the macula break down, images are not collected properly and as the disease progresses, individuals can experience blurred or wavy vision eventually leading to central vision loss. For wet AMD the most common treatment is vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injection therapy. An injection in the eye may sound intimidating, but the shot is not painful as the eye is anesthetized first. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and the effects can last around a month and occasionally longer. Studies have shown that special formulations of vitamins, minerals and large amounts of anti-oxidants and protein dyes like lutein, zeaxanthine and meso-zeaxanthine slow down the process. Click here to learn more.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye and is a part of our natural aging process. The Latin word for ‘cloudy’ is ‘cataract.’ It blocks light from reaching the back of the eye and interferes with vision. The most common symptoms include: cloudy or blurry vision; glare or light sensitivity; poor night vision; double vision; fading of color perception and frequent changes of your eye prescription. 22.3 million Americans have cataracts. More than 3 million surgeries are done per year and it is one of the fastest, safest and best resulting surgeries of all time. Nowadays there is even laser assisted cataract surgery for better precision and there are now different types of lens implants to choose from. These include: standard or monofocal lenses; multifocal or accommodating lenses that mimic the eye’s natural focusing ability for distance and near; and toric lenses for astigmatism.
Translated from Latin, presbyopia literally means aging eye. By the time you are in your 40’s or beyond, your eyes have begun to lose the ability to focus at near and you can have headaches, eyestrain at close work, blurry vision and eye fatigue. So classically you turn to reading glasses. Nowadays there are several alternatives to glasses and they include: Corneal surgical inlay, refractive lens exchange (RLE), refractive surgery, monovision or multifocal contacts.
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