Envision Optical
Optometrist in QLD and NSW
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Different Eye Disorders and Treatments

October 29, 2021
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Posted By: Envision Optical
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Eye health is integral to one's whole-body health and wellness. The Australian Department of Health (ADH) states more than 450,000 people are living with vision impairment or blindness. 

Among common eye conditions are cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Fortunately, effective diagnostic methods and therapies are available to prevent, manage, and treat optical diseases. 

Refractive Errors 

Perhaps the most well-known eye conditions are known as refractive errors. These issues include:

  • Myopia — nearsightedness
  • Hyperopia — farsightedness
  • Astigmatism — distorted vision at all distances
  • Presbyopia — inability to focus on objects up close

Most refractive errors can usually be treated by eyeglasses, contact lenses and surgery. 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects sharp, central vision needed to clearly see fine details. The macula is the primary section of the retina that allows us to focus on details in our daily lives, like reading and driving. 

The two types of AMD are wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration.

Wet AMD happens when irregular blood vessels grow behind the retina, leading to fluid and blood leakage, bleeding, or scarring. This condition can rapidly damage one's central vision. 

Dry AMD happens when the macula diminishes, or thins, gradually over time and inhibits a person's central vision. Generally, dry AMD affects both eyes, and a common early sign is the appearance of yellow or white spots under the retina called drusen.

Treatment varies based on the patient and their unique case of AMD. An ophthalmologist may recommend a combination of AREDS formula vitamins and minerals to slow disease progression. Whereas advanced cases of AMD may require surgery.

Other times, devices such as corrective lenses, glasses, and contact lenses are effective for AMD treatment. 

Cataracts 

Cataracts cloud the eye's normally transparent lens and can occur at any age. Over time, a cataract slowly develops, blurs vision, and can eventually lead to vision loss. Many people often compare cataracts to looking through a cloudy or dusty window.

When cataracts interfere with a person's daily activities, your ophthalmologist can surgically remove cataracts and replace them with clear, functional and artificial lenses. Cataract surgery is generally considered a safe outpatient procedure. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) progressively damages the retina's light-sensitive tissues and blood vessels. This eye condition is a common complication associated with the disease. 

The four stages of DR are: 

  • Mild nonproliferative retinopathy — tiny bulges in retinal blood vessels, called microaneurysms
  • Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy — characterised by blockage in some retinal vessels, hemorrhages, microaneurysms, and yellowish or granulated lipids (hard exudates) 
  • Severe nonproliferative retinopathy — scar tissues form, and a lack of blood supply sends signals to the retina to create new blood cells, closing off previous ones 
  • Proliferative retinopathy — results in new vessel formation on the retina's inner surface, which can lead to retinal detachment. 

Disease management can reduce the risk of DR, such as controlling blood pressure, lipid irregularities, and blood sugar. Early detection and treatment is key to reducing the risk of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy. 

Mild cases of DR can be treated with careful diabetes management and diet. Patients may also use VEGFR inhibitor and steroid medications. Advanced DR cases may require vitrectomy, laser coagulation, or laser surgery. 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma damages the eye's optic nerve, which can result in vision loss and even blindness. This disease can occur from increased pressure of optical fluids. Early treatment can protect patients from vision loss, blurred vision, or distorted vision. 

  • Open-angle glaucoma — slow progression of the disease, resulting in gradual vision loss
  • Closed-angle glaucoma — rapid progression of the disease, resulting in sudden vision loss

Treatment for glaucoma may include any combination of the following: medication and beta-blockers, laser surgery, and glaucoma medications.

Amblyopia

Commonly referred to as "lazy eye," amblyopia is often seen in children. Amblyopia is reduced vision in one eye from abnormal vision development. The weaker eye typically wanders outward or inward. 

Amblyopia can occur due to conditions like strabismus, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or cataracts.

Untreated, amblyopia can persist into adulthood. However, an optometrist can treat amblyopia using: 

  • Eye patches
  • Eye drops
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Bifocals 
  • Corrective lenses 
  • Surgery 
  • Occlusion therapy

Strabismus

Strabismus ("crossed eyes") is an asymmetrical positioning of the eyes caused by a lack of optical coordination. For instance, the eyes can cross inward (esotropia) or outward (exotropia). 

Because the eyes look in different directions, they lack depth perception and cannot focus on a single point simultaneously. Over time, the brain may ignore one of the eye's image inputs, which can lead to vision loss. Your optometrist can offer several treatment options to align the eyes' positioning, such as special eyewear, contact lenses, eye patches or surgery. 

Eye Disease Prevention and Management  

According to the Australian Department of Health, around 90% of blindness and vision impairment is preventable or treatable if detected early. 

Regular eye tests can help identify warning signs and allow your optometrist to promptly treat eye conditions and vision problems. 

Reducing the risk for many eye conditions also requires caring for your eyes and living a healthy lifestyle. 

Many optical treatments are available, and your local family optometrist can determine which approach is best for you by creating a personalised treatment plan. There are often invasive or noninvasive therapies for many eye conditions, depending on the issue and the patient's needs. 

Our Optometrist in Tweed Heads and Burleigh Waters Welcomes You 

Andrew Bowden is a skilled and experienced optometrist who can diagnose and treat various optical diseases and conditions. 

At Envision Optical, we want you to live your best and healthiest life, and we believe this starts with your eye health. Eye exams allow Andrew to identify early signs of eye diseases, monitor your eye health, and provide prompt and customised treatment. 

We invite you to https://www.envisionoptical.com.au/https://www.envisionoptical.com.au/contact at one of our optometry practices in Burleigh Waters or Tweeds Head. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!