Below are brief descriptions of the various eye conditions we commonly see and treat at St. Lucie Eye Care in Port St. Lucie.
There are many different types of eye conditions that could be affecting your eyesight or could have long-term consequences if not treated properly or promptly. We list some of the more common conditions below. If you think you or someone in your family has one of these conditions, please contact St. Lucie Eye Care in Port St. Lucie for an exam and recommendations.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)Lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia, is a loss or lack of development of vision, usually in one eye. This degenerative process usually begins with an inherited condition and appears during infancy or early childhood. Lazy eye needs to be diagnosed between birth and early school age since it is during this period that the brain “chooses” its visual pathway and may ignore the weaker eye permanently. Lazy eye is not always easy to recognize since a child with worse vision in one eye does not necessarily have lazy eye. Because of this, it is recommended that all children, including those with no symptoms, have a comprehensive eye examination by the age of three and sooner if there is a family history of any eye condition or disease. If you suspect a problem, or need to set up your child’s first eye examination, contact St. Lucie Eye Care to set up an appointment.
BlepharitisBlepharitis is a general term for an inflammation of the eyelid and eyelashes. It is among the most common and stubborn eye conditions usually resulting from poor eyelid hygiene, a low-grade bacterial infection (usually staphylococcal), an allergic reaction and/or abnormalities in oil gland function. Like some other skin conditions, blepharitis can be controlled but not cured. The main goals in treating it are to reduce the amount of bacteria along the lid margin and open plugged glands. Contact St. Lucie Eye Care to assess the severity of your problem and the best treatment method.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a general term for a group of eye problems that can result from having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. The Optomap can check for abnormalities in the eyes Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye
disease, so it is important that you don’t wait for symptoms to appear before having a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining permanent vision loss.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens, which leads to a progressive blurring or dimming of vision. It is the world’s leading cause of blindness and among the most common conditions related to aging – by age 65, you have a 50 percent chance of developing a cataract, and, by age 75, it jumps to 70 percent.
A cataract starts out small and initially has little or no effect on vision. As the cataract progresses, it becomes harder to read and perform other normal tasks. In the early stages, your doctor may recommend stronger eyeglasses and adjusting your lighting to reduce glare. When cataracts disrupt your daily life, your doctor may recommend cataract-removal surgery, which is one of the most frequent and successful procedures done in the U.S.
Often called “the silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is an increase in the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which causes damage to the optic nerve with no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and eventually blindness.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medications and surgery available that can help halt further vision loss. Early detection and regular eye exams are vital to slowing the progress of the disease.
Keratoconus is a vision disorder that occurs when the normally round cornea (the front part of the eye) becomes thin and irregular (cone) shaped. This abnormal shape prevents the light fromentering the eye from being focused correctly on the retina and causes distortion of vision. In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. These symptoms usually appear in the late teens or late 20s. Keratoconus may progress for 10-20 years and then slow in its progression. Each eye may be affected differently.
As keratoconus progresses, the cornea bulges more and vision may become more distorted. In a small number of cases, the cornea will swell and cause a sudden and significant decrease in vision. The swelling occurs when the strain of the cornea’s protruding cone-like shape causes a tiny crack to develop. The swelling may last for weeks or months as the crack heals and is gradually replaced by scar tissue. If this sudden swelling does occur, your doctor can prescribe eyedrops for temporary relief, but there are no medicines that can prevent the disorder from progressing.
Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct the mild nearsightedness and astigmatism that is caused by the early stages for keratoconus. As the disorder progresses and cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be prescribed to correct vision adequately. In most cases, this is adequate. The contact lenses must be carefully fitted and frequent checkups and lens changes may be needed to achieve and maintain good vision.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral contacts are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses specially designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” of the eye (sclera). In doing so, scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other corneal irregularities. Also, the space between the cornea and the back surface of a scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir to provide comfort for people with severe dry eyes who otherwise could not tolerate contact lens wear.
Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision due to a deterioration of the macula, a tiny spot in the central portion of your retina comprised of millions of light-sensing cells. Because it is so commonly associated with aging, it is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD called “dry,” most common and with no known treatment, and “wet,” less common and treated with laser procedures. Genetic testing is now available to help identify those most likely to develop “wet” macular degeneration.
In most cases, reversing damage caused by AMD is not possible, but supplements, protection from sunlight, eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking can reduce the risk and progression of macular degeneration. For suggestions, speak with your eye care provider at St. Lucie Eye Care.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome is characterized by neck pain, blurry vision, stiff shoulders, headache and watery eyes when working in front of a computer screen. The symptoms are typically due to posture, dry eyes, eye muscle coordination and poorly corrected vision.
Since computer monitors are typically 20 to 26 inches from your eyes, your regular glasses may not be the best option for computer work. This distance range is considered intermediate – closer than what you use to drive a car but farther away than what you use to read. Special lens designs for computer work provide you with a larger intermediate area for viewing the computer and your immediate work area like the top of your desk. St. Lucie Eye Care can help you determine if these special lenses are appropriate for you.
Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye syndrome refers to a breakdown in the quantity or quality of tears to moisten, cleanse and protect the eyes. This is significant because, with each blink, tears protect the surface of the eye, washing away dust and microorganisms. When this protective coating dries up, the eyes may feel “gritty” or burn and can be more sensitive to light. In extreme cases, vision can be blurred.
If you suspect that you have dry eye, see your eye doctor. Proper care will not only increase your comfort – it will protect your eyes. Your eye care provider can perform a series of tests to determine if you have dry eyes.
Cross-eyed, medically known as strabismus, refers to a condition in which eyes are misaligned. It commonly occurs when the muscles that control eye movement are not properly working together. The result is one or both eyes turning inward, outward, upward or downward, or one or both eyes moving irregularly.
Strabismus is usually diagnosed during childhood and affects about 4 percent of children, afflicting boys and girls equally. Though it cannot be prevented, its complications can be avoided with early intervention. Even if you notice symptoms intermittently – when your child is ill, stressed or fatigued – alert your eye care provider.
St. Lucie Eye Care has the experience and equipment necessary to diagnose and often treat the eye conditions detailed above at our office in Port St. Lucie. For more information please request an appointment with one of our eye doctors, and we will be in touch with you shortly.