Fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist Dr. Kurt Schwiesow, MD, explains how medical marijuana, specifically THC, is not a preferred treatment for glaucoma.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea – the clear covering over your eye – is slightly irregular in shape, preventing light from focusing properly on the retina in the back of your eye. As a result your vision may be blurry at any or all distances.
Astigmatism can cause symptoms of varying severity, from headaches, eye strain and fatigue to blurred or distorted vision.
Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Eye exams test for the condition and help your doctor provide a proper prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Depending on life and the degree of astigmatism, some patients prefer corneal modification (i.e. LASIK or other refractive surgery) to improve vision quality.
Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation – a long-term swelling – of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. It may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, acne, bacterial infection, allergic reaction or poor eyelid hygiene. The eyes may become red or blurry, as well as tear frequently. The eyelids crust, flake, scale or redden, and the smooth inside lining of the lids may become rough. In more serious cases, sores can form when the crusting skin is removed, the eyelashes may fall out, the eyelids can deform, the infection can spread to the cornea, and patients often suffer from excessive tearing. Blepharitis can also cause styes, chalazions and problems with the tear film.
Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crust and dandruff shampoo can help keep the eyelids clear. This may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the problems.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). When these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches, vision loss occurs. Laser surgery is the treatment of choice.
Focal laser coagulation may be recommended for patients with clinically significant macular edema (CSME) – swelling of the central retina, called the macula. The laser coagulates, or dries up, the fluid that is causing the swelling. A similar procedure called scatter laser photocoagulation (also known as pan-retinal photocoagulation or PRP) destroys abnormal blood vessel growth in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). If there is blood in the eye obscuring the laser, a vitrectomy may be performed to drain the blood in preparation for photocoagulation. This procedure works best before the blood vessels have started to bleed. It can cause a loss of some side vision, but will save the rest of your vision from being lost.
Dry eye occurs when the eyes aren’t sufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don’t produce enough tears, or because the tears themselves have a chemical imbalance.
People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries.
Dry eye is not only painful, it can also damage the eye’s tissues and impair vision. Fortunately, many treatment options are available.
Non-surgical treatments for dry eye include blinking exercises, increasing humidity at home or work, and use of artificial tears or moisturizing ointment. If these methods fail, small punctal plugs may be inserted in the corners of the eyes to limit tear drainage, or the drainage tubes in the eyes may be surgically closed. Eyelid surgery is also a solution if an eyelid condition is causing your dry eyes.
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