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Eye Education

Introduction to the Eye

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Blepharitis

The leading cause of eye and eyelid redness and discomfort...
Blepharitis is a chronic disease caused by dysfunction of the meibomian glands in the eyelid. There are approximately 25 to 30 meibomian glands in each eyelid that normally produce the oil component of the tear film. The oil helps to stop the tears from evaporating, thus preventing dry eyes. In blepharitis, the glands produce abnormally thick oil that is irritating to the eyelid and eye. The thickened oil can also cause blockage of the gland, leading to infection. Common symptoms of blepharitis include burning, redness, and itching of the eyelids or eye. Oil and debris will also accumulate on the lid margin and eyelashes. Treatment includes warm compresses, lid scrubs, medications, and supplement to control the condition. For more information, visit the National Eye Institute website.

Cataracts

Clouding of your intraocular lens...
Inside the eye, everyone has a clear crystalline lens that allows us to focus in the distance as well as close up.  Overtime, this lens becomes more rigid and reading becomes more difficult without the use of eyewear.  This same lens can become clouded over time and will eventually affect how we see.  This clouding process is called a cataract.  Most cataracts are related to aging.  By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.  Although cataracts cannot be reversed without surgery, wearing UV protection when outdoors, eating healthy, and discontinuing smoking will help delay progression of cataracts in most people.  For more information, go to the National Eye Institute website.

cataracts-compare
photos provided by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Lyons will evaluate for cataracts during your slit-lamp examination.  Sometimes your eyes will need dilated for the best view of the cataracts.  View more information about the Slit-lamp Examination here.

Glaucoma

The silent thief of vision...
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and results in permanent vision loss and blindness.  There are many different types of glaucoma, but open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease.  Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief” of sight because in most cases the victim is unaware that the condition exists.  Risk factors of glaucoma include high eye pressure, “cupping” of the optic nerves, ethnicity, age, and family history of the condition.  For further information, visit the National Eye Institute website.

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photos provided by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Additional testing that is performed in the office for screening and managing Glaucoma includes Intraocular Pressure (IOP), Retinal Imaging, Visual Field, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), Visual Evoked Potential (VEP), Gonioscopy, and Pachymetry.

Macular Degeneration

A leading cause of central vision loss...
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a retinal disease that causes loss of central vision in the macula.  There are two main types of ARMD– dry and wet.  Dry refers to the slow, progressive loss of central vision caused by loss of macular pigmentation and drusen development.  Wet is the more severe form that results in leaking blood vessels of the macula, causing sudden central vision loss.  Risk factors of ARMD include age, smoking, UV exposure, blue eyes, malnutrition, and family history of the condition.  For more information, visit the National Eye Institute website.

photos provided by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
photos provided by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

 

The MPOD is the newest test that helps us determine your risk for development of ARMD, allowing us to start supplemental treatment before any damage occurs.  We perform this every 6-12 months as part of your regular exam.  A score between 0.50-1.00 is normal, lower than 0.50 is abnormal.  A score lower than 0.50 indicates a greater risk of ARMD development and supplemental treatment is recommended.

The MPOD Test:

Since family history plays a strong role in development of ARMD, Genetic Testing can be performed in the office to help predict your risk for developing the disease.  Cells from your cheek are collected and sent to the Macular Risk testing lab.  This test is designed to identify those who are likely to progress to advanced ARMD within 2, 5, and 10 years.

Additional testing that is performed in the office for screening and managing ARMD includes Retinal ImagingOptical Coherence Tomography (OCT)Visual Evoked Potential (VEP), and Electroretinography (ERG).