Glaucoma is an eye disorder affecting millions of Americans, most of whom don’t know that they have it. It is most often caused by too much pressure on the inside of the eye. The fluid in your eyes helps to nourish and cleanse your eyes by constantly being produced and draining out. When too much fluid is produced or not enough drains out, the intraocular pressure builds and damages the optic nerve. This leads to a gradual loss in peripheral vision.
For the early and mid-advanced glaucoma the patient may have no symptoms at all. Those suffering from open-angle glaucoma in the later stages may note the experience of a type of tunnel vision, where their field of vision gradually decreases. It can eventually lead to blindness as it snuffs out the central vision also. Narrow-angle glaucoma, which is less common, causes symptoms of sharp pain in the eyes, blurred vision, and even nausea or vomiting. It can cause blindness in a matter of days, and it requires immediate, emergency medical attention.
Heredity, as well as being over the age of 55, of African descent, near-sighted, or diabetic put you at higher risk of developing glaucoma. Finally, if you have used steroids or cortisone for a long period of time, or if you have suffered an eye injury in the past, you have a greater chance of developing glaucoma.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. As we age the natural lens inside the eye begins to yellow, the lens become thicker, then cloudy. Light has trouble coming in and you have trouble seeing out. This is a cataract.
A person with cataracts may notice faded colors, problems with light (such as halos, or headlights that seem too bright), poor night vision, and/or blurred vision.
Cataracts can be detected through a dilated eye exam. In the early stages, a cataract can be treated by updating your glasses or contact lens prescription. Ultimately, treatment is surgical removal of the cloudy natural lens and implant of a clear artificial lens. Dr. Miller will help you decide when to pursue cataract surgery and recommend a surgeon when the time comes. The time for cataract surgery is when the cataracts are affecting your activities of daily living, such as driving, reading, working or hobbies.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is a disease which affects a small area of the retina known as the macula. The macula is a specialized area of the retina that allows us to see the fine detail. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula begins to deteriorate.
Most often, macular degeneration is accompanied by formation of yellow deposits, called “drusen,” under the macula, which thin the macula. This is called “dry” macular degeneration. In less common cases, abnormal blood vessels develop under the macula and leak fluid. This is called “wet” macular degeneration.
A number of uncontrollable factors contribute to macular degeneration, including age, sex, eye color, farsightedness, and race. Risk factors you can control include smoking, high blood pressure, exposure to harmful sunlight, and diet.
There are often no symptoms of ARMD in its early stages. The most common symptoms, when detected, include a spot of blurry vision, dark vision, or distorted vision. Wet macular degeneration progresses much faster than the dry variety. Both forms of macular degeneration can cause blindness.
Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but treatment is available to slow the effects. The most promising research is in the area of nutrition and supplementation to prevent macular degeneration and to slow progression. If you have ARMD or have increased risk of developing ARMD, Dr. Miller will take the time to develop a customized plan to help keep your vision sharp and your body healthy.