Vision Problems & Eye Diseases
While there are many types of conditions and diseases that affect the eye, below is an overview of a few of the most common vision issues and eye diseases we treat at Vision Partners. If you’re experiencing symptoms of any kind, please give our office a call or a text—we want to help get you answers and feeling better as soon as possible!
When a person is able to see well up close but has trouble seeing at a distance, they are considered nearsighted. Glasses and contacts for nearsighted patients will have “minus power,” and these patients are some of the best candidates for LASIK eye surgery. If you are interested in LASIK, mention it to your doctor during your next visit and we can help refer you to a LASIK surgeon.
When a person has difficulty seeing up close but fewer issues looking in the distance, they are considered farsighted. Farsighted patients have usually prescribed “plus power” corrective lenses.
Your cornea allows light into your eye and typically has a spherical curve. However, patients with astigmatism have irregularly shaped corneas, which can lead to blurred vision. Patients with astigmatism will need an additional “power” in their lenses to correct this blurriness.
As we age, our eyes begin to lose the ability to focus on things up close, known clinically as presbyopia. This begins around ages 40-45, and is a part of naturally aging eyes so don’t worry—your arms have not gotten shorter! Presbyopia can be treated with progressive or bifocal lenses if you already wear corrective lenses, or sometimes with reading glasses.
Most digital devices like computers, phones, and tablets are backlit to aid in easy reading, but it also exposes us to harmful blue light. Overexposure to blue light can cause a host of problems, from poor sleep to headaches, to damaging one’s retina. Most of us rely on our devices, so fully stopping their use isn’t an option, but you can counteract the effects of blue light. Ask Dr. Hargrove about EyeZen and Smart Blue lens options during your next appointment.
A lazy eye occurs when one eye sees much better than the other. Often, lazy eyes are caused by an eye turn or when one eye is weaker (needs more correction) than the other in early childhood. When a lazy eye is present, its connection to the brain might not fully develop without intervention, so it is important for all children to have exams at age 1, 3, and once a year after starting school. Lazy eyes can be treated with glasses, patching, or sometimes muscle surgery.
Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” can be bacterial, viral, or an allergic reaction. If you are having symptoms like redness, itching, burning, or discharge, it is best to see your eye care provider. Other hygiene practices like hand washing and frequently changing and washing pillowcases are important when fighting pink eye.
Dry eye is by far the most common disease we treat and those affected include both children and adults. Symptoms range from dry, gritty, burning, itching, too watery eyes. Treatments may include over the counter drops, lid scrubs, punctal plugs, or prescription medications. If you have any of the above symptoms, please inform your doctor as dry eye can be very frustrating.
Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy or hazy, typically caused by aging. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and difficulty driving at night due to glare or halos. When cataracts progress to the point where it is difficult to carry out daily activities, there are surgical options to remove cataracts to improve vision. This procedure is very common and performed by an ophthalmologist.
Diabetic retinopathy, or more commonly known as diabetic eye disease, can occur in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic eye disease is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, and risk is increased by the longer someone has had diabetes and the frequency of acute sugar spikes. It is estimated that 40-45% of Americans with diabetes have diabetic eye disease but only half are aware of the condition. Diabetic retinopathy is the number one cause of blindness in those with diabetes, so it is essential to have annual exams and retinal screenings. At Vision Partners, we have the Optomap retinal screening, which takes a full image of the retina so we can detect problems early and start necessary treatment right away.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. This damage can result in vision loss, usually affecting peripheral vision first. Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, but early detection is crucial for slowing down the progression of the disease.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans. Typically detected in the 7th or 8th decade of life, macular degeneration affects central vision. There are two types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. While 90% of those affected have the dry variety, only 1 in 8 of those suffers vision loss worse than 20/30. While there is currently no treatment for the dry variety, vitamin treatment is available to prevent progression to the wet variety. Wet macular degeneration accounts for the majority of severe vision loss and tends to progress more quickly, but there are treatments available.
Annual eye exams are crucial to detecting and slowing the progression of macular degeneration—your doctor will often see early signs prior to the presence of symptoms.
Retinal Detachment can present as a persistent flashing light, black curtain over your vision or a million brown spots. If you are experiencing any of these signs, this is a medical emergency and an immediate retinal evaluation is warranted. Retinal detachments can occur spontaneously or from trauma. Most times these are repaired surgically.
Corneal Refractive Therapy, or CRT lenses, are specialty contact lenses that can be used to correct nearsightedness. The lenses work by temporarily reshaping the cornea. Patients sleep in the lenses overnight, and typically do not have to wear a corrective lens during the day. Ideal candidates for this type of therapy are children with two moderately nearsighted parents.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure where a laser is used to permanently reshape the cornea. This outpatient procedure is performed by an eye surgeon. Although LASIK can be performed on farsighted patients, the best candidates have moderate to advanced nearsightedness. If you are interested in LASIK, talk to Dr. Hargrove during your next visit—we will be happy to discuss if you’re a good candidate and provide a referral to an eye surgeon.
When cataracts have progressed to the point where daily life is impacted, surgery is typically recommended. An eye surgeon will remove the cloudy lens of the eye and replace it with a clear implant. The surgery is very common and done on an outpatient basis.
Recently, lifestyle corneal implants have become available as well, for correcting astigmatism and multifocal. If you are interested, ask our doctors about which option would suit your needs best.
“Low vision” is a general term that refers to patients with vision loss that cannot be optimally corrected with traditional glasses or contacts. Typically, this occurs when there is an existing eye disease or trauma, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic eye disease.
If you are suffering from low vision, ask about our low vision consultations—Dr. Hargrove can help you find the right options that could improve your visual needs.
Reach Out to Us
Dr. Hargrove will work with you to diagnose what’s going on with your eyes and suggest the best treatment option. For more information, you can reach out to us or schedule an appointment online!