Ophthalmology & Retinal Surgery

Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?
There are about two million Americans suffering from glaucoma. About half of them have no idea they even have the disease. Glaucoma consists of several diseases. Any one of them can cause damage to the optic nerve which could result in blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is found in 90 percent of the glaucoma patients.

Glaucoma results when the eye’s drainage passage is blocked or does not function properly. The clear fluids build up causing aqueous humor. This causes the intraocular pressure to rise. Over a period of time, this pressure can damage the optic nerve resulting in peripheral vision loss and finally the loss of central vision. Even if the intraocular pressure is below average, the optic nerve could still be damaged. The average intraocular pressure in adults is 15 mmHg. However, normal intraocular pressure varies from person to person. There is a higher likelihood that a person could have glaucoma damage if the intraocular pressure is high.

There are no early symptoms for the most common kinds of glaucoma. Once a patient loses vision due to glaucoma, it is usually too late. Unless the pressure is high, most patients cannot feel the elevated pressure. Getting glaucoma treatment early can head off most of the problems with glaucoma. It is a disease that lasts a lifetime; however, with glaucoma treatment, it can be controlled.

Glaucoma can affect anyone of any race and of any age. The risk factor can be increased with the following:

  • Age increase
  • African American heritage
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Extreme nearsightedness
  • Long-term steroid treatment
  • Injury or trauma to the eye

If you suffer from any of these and are feeling pressure in your eye, you might need glaucoma treatment.

Check for glaucoma during annual eye examinations. Have tests done if your eye doctor discovers elevated pressure or optic nerves that look distrustful.

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Glaucoma Treatment at Edgewood

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments that can control it. Our glaucoma treatment techniques can help you control the disease. Medicines that we recommend for glaucoma treatment come in a pill form or as an eye drop. Most patients just use the drops. Most medications are taken from one to three times a day. Medications on the market today have few side effects but can prevent blindness. Patients need to see the eye doctor for pressure checks every three to six months depending on how severe the glaucoma is and how the pressure is responding to glaucoma treatment. When medication and/or laser surgery do not control the intraocular pressure, Filtration surgery is utilized by our ophthalmologists. This glaucoma treatment creates a new drainage channel that allows the aqueous humor to drain from the eye.

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Cataract Surgery

If you have been told you have a cataract and that you need to have it removed, do not get scared. Cataract surgery can be a life-changing experience once you understand what a cataract is and how it is removed. You will say to yourself that you wish you had cataract surgery performed earlier. Cataracts can result in loss of vision if left untreated. Medicines and diets do not work on getting rid of cataracts.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. It is also one of the most successful. When a cataract, the cloudy lens behind your pupil, is removed you receive a lens implant that corrects your vision. Cataract surgery allows patients to have corrected vision and some do not ever have to wear glasses again. In the past, eye problems such as astigmatism and presbyopia could be corrected surgically and the patient had to wear glasses afterward. Edgewood offers cataract patients the chance to correct astigmatism and presbyopia as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness. This could mean you never have to wear glasses again. Be aware that there could be extra fees if you want this option when having cataract surgery. Medicare and private insurance companies may pay for cataract surgery, but they usually do not pay for additional up-graded options.

  • Monofocal Implant: This helps to correct vision; however, bifocals are required for the sharpest vision for far and near. Medicare and private insurance companies cover 80 percent of the surgery’s cost with a basic monofocal implant.
  • Toric Implant: This corrects astigmatism so you can see distances clearer and can perform activities easier such as watching television or driving. After the implant, you will be required to wear glasses for tasks that are near such as reading or working on the computer. Astigmatism is where your cornea is steeper in one meridian than another (like a football), not spherical (like a basketball) and therefore blurs vision.
  • Custom Implants: If you get these implants, you will be able to see the full range of vision including near and far. If you suffer from astigmatism, our surgeons will correct it along by making a small incision in the peripheral cornea (LRI). You will be able to perform about 90 to 95 percent of your daily activities without glasses by correcting presbyopia. Presbyopia is where you need glasses or bifocals if you are over the age of 45. Whether you are 45 or 85, this cataract surgery will correct your vision permanently.

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Retina Laser Surgery

About The Retina
The retina is vital to vision; light reflects off images and goes through the cornea, then through the lens, and onto the retina where the image is "developed" and the brain makes sense of it.
The retina has two parts: the peripheral retina and the macula. The peripheral surrounds the macula, which is very small and is what is used when we see something out of the corner of our eye. Because peripheral vision isn’t bringing in the detail clearly, it cannot be used for reading or other close work. If someone is seen off to the side, they may be recognizable because of their general shape, but it will be impossible to distinguish the expression on a face.

Retina eye surgery is used to address such problems as retinal detachment and intraocular infection. Retinal and vitreous problems can cause severe loss of vision or even blindness. Most serious retinal problems that require surgery are caused by problems with the vitreous.

When a tear occurs, the vitreous liquid may seep under the retina, lifting that part up off the back wall of the eye, and this separation is called a detachment. Each year in North America, approximately one out of every 10,000 people develops a retinal detachment. Symptoms include floaters, or a gray curtain or veil moving across the field of vision.

Retina eye surgery or cryo-surgery is used to secure that part to the eye wall around the retinal tear. The patient will be required to maintain a certain head position for several days. Sometimes this procedure can be done in the ophthalmologist’s office. A flexible band is placed around the equator of the eye to counterbalance any force pulling the retina out of place. Retinal eye surgery recovery will result in some discomfort. Medications are usually given, and the patient is advised when to resume normal activity. A change of glasses may be necessary after the reattachment has been accomplished.

A laser is an instrument that produces a pure, high-intensity beam of light energy. The laser light can be focused onto the retina, selectively treating the desired area while leaving the surrounding tissues untouched. The absorbed energy creates a microscopic spot to destroy lesions or weld tissues together.

Lasers were first used to treat eye diseases over 30 years ago and have become the standard of care for previously untreatable disorders. For many patients, laser treatment can preserve or prevent vision loss if done in a timely fashion.

Your eye will almost always look and feel normal with retinal diseases, even when there is hemorrhaging and leakage in the back of your eye. Your sight may also be normal for a while despite the presence of potentially blinding eye problems.

The only way to tell if you need laser surgery is to have a careful, dilated retinal examination, often followed by a special test that evaluates the eye’s circulation (fluorescein angiography).
Lasers are commonly used to treat the following eye conditions:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal vein occlusions
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Ocular histoplasmosis
  • Retinal breaks and detachment
  • Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC)

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Retina Surgery Q&As

What happens during my surgery?
There are no special preparations before eye laser treatment. You should eat normally and take your regularly prescribed medications before surgery. Retinal laser surgery can be performed either in the surgeons office or the hospital. Eye drops will be given to dilate the pupil and numb the eye. The treatment is performed while you are seated in a chair, similar to the one used for regular eye examinations. You will remain awake and comfortable. Treatment is usually painless, although some patients may require a numbing injection for discomfort or sensitivity to the laser light. The laser treatment usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete, and you can go home immediately following surgery. Arrangements for transportation should be made in advance since you may not be able to drive right away.

What are the restrictions and side effects after laser?
There are virtually no restrictions following retinal laser surgery, and you should be able to resume your normal activities and work schedule the following day. Most patients notice no vision changes following their laser surgery, although there may be some temporary blurring for several weeks to months. In addition, depending on the condition being treated, some may notice a permanent blind spot or decrease in peripheral and night vision.

Will I need more than one laser treatment?
It will take several weeks to months before we can tell whether the laser surgery has been successful. Many patients, however, will need more than one treatment to control their eye problem and prevent further loss of vision.

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Retina Surgery Recovery

Retinal eye surgery recovery usually means the problem with the retina has now been resolved, and a patch is placed over the affected area for a few days. The patient must avoid lifting anything, and in general just be patient while healing takes place. In some instances, the patient is instructed to lie still in bed for a few days to let healing begin.

Any surgery has some risk; however, left untreated, a retinal detachment will usually result in permanent severe vision loss or blindness. Some of the surgical risks during retinal eye surgery recovery include infection; bleeding; high pressure inside; or cataract. Most retina eye surgery is successful, although a second operation is sometimes needed.

Vision may take many months to improve after retinal eye surgery recovery, and in some cases may never fully return. The more severe the detachment, and the longer it has been present, the less likely the vision may be expected to return. For this reason, it is very important to see an ophthalmologist at the first sign of trouble. If an operation is proven to be necessary, the retinal eye surgery recovery will be less troublesome if it is done as early as possible.

Proper care of the body through nutrition and exercise will ensure that the eyes are in good health too. Proper equipment when engaged in activities that could harm the eyes is also important. Glasses that protect them from fragments of wood or metal could be vital to vision. Avoiding irritants like chemical fumes or smoke will help keep the eyes healthy. Wearing corrective lenses will avoid strain to a person’s eyes, and keep them healthy. There is much we can do to help our eyes remain our means of viewing the world around us.

Illness can affect a person’s eyes in permanent ways, although usually not the retina. For instance, measles can cause visual weakness requiring corrective glasses. However, diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. They fail to provide the nutrients to maintain a healthy retina, leading to a slow or rapid loss of vision. Laser retina eye surgery can prevent further bleeding and control the visual loss. All diabetics should have a baseline evaluation by an ophthalmologist for early detection and a better chance for preserving vision.

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