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Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), keratitis sicca, sicca syndrome, xerophthalmia, or simply dry eyes, is an eye disease in which tear film evaporation is high or tear production is low. Dry eye syndrome is commonly found in humans and some animals. The patient’s eyes dry out and become inflamed.
Our eyes are producing tears all the time, not just when we cry or experience a sudden rush of emotion or after yawning. Healthy eyes are covered with a fluid all the time, known as a tear film, which is designed to remain stable between each blink. A stable tear film prevents the eyes from becoming dry, and keeps the eyes clear, and with comfortable vision.
If the tear glands produce a lower quantity of tears, the tear film can become destabilized. The tear film can break down quickly, creating dry spots on the surface of the eyes.
Dry eye syndrome can occur at any age, and in people who are otherwise healthy. It is more common with older age, when the individual produces fewer tears. In some parts of the world, where malnutrition results in a vitamin A deficiency, dry eye syndrome is much more common.
Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) or the now discarded term senile macular degeneration (SMD), describes a variety of pathologic but extremely common conditions that affect the macula (a portion of the retina of the eye) and, therefore, central vision. Central vision is what you see directly in front of you rather than what you see at the side (or periphery) of your vision.
Macular degeneration is caused when part of the retina deteriorates. The retina is the interior layer of the eye consisting of the receptors and nerves that collect and transmit light signals from the eye into the optic nerve, then to the brain for interpretation as our sense of vision. The macula is the central portion of the retina and is responsible for detailed vision and color vision, the vision we use to read, thread a needle, sign a check, or recognize faces. The macula is a highly specialized part of the nervous system and the eye in which the photoreceptors that react to light stimulus and the neurons that interpret and transmit these signals are precisely organized and densely compacted. It is the macula that allows humans to see 20/20, or an eagle to spot a small rodent on the ground hundreds of feet below.
Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens inside the eye – which is normally clear. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. If they develop in both eyes, one will be more severely affected than the other. A normally clear lens allows light to pass through to the back of the eye, so that the patient can see well-defined images. If a part of the lens becomes opaque light does not pass through easily and the patient’s vision becomes blurry – like looking through cloudy water or a fogged-up window. The more opaque (cloudier) the lens becomes, the worse the person’s vision will be.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. When these blood vessels are damaged, they may leak blood and grow fragile new vessels. When the nerve cells are damaged, vision is impaired. These changes can result in blurring of your vision, hemorrhage into your eye, or, if untreated, retinal detachment. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises – if left untreated the patient may lose vision, and even become blind. The disease generally affects both eyes, although one may have more severe signs and symptoms than the other.
There is a small space in the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber”. Clear liquid flows in-and-out of the anterior chamber, this fluid nourishes and bathes nearby tissues. If a patient has glaucoma, the fluid does not drain properly – it drains too slowly – out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up, and pressure inside the eye rises. Unless this pressure is brought down and controlled, the optic nerve and other parts of the eye may become damaged, leading to loss of vision.
At Northpark Optometry we use up-to-date instruments to get a closer look and prevent any diseases. That’s why we highly recommend getting our Fundus Photo test.
Fundus photography is an advanced digital retinal photograph. By taking a digital fundus photo image of the back portion of the eye (the retina), Dr. Paver can detect and monitor ocular health. The screening picture that is produced captures a clear view of the optic nerve, blood vessels, macula and fovea.
Fundus photos can provide a baseline measurement for future comparison. A look at the internal view of the eye can be key in detecting Glaucoma, Macular Degneration, Diabetic retinopathy, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Retinal detachments and many more eye disorders detectable at very early stages.
At Northpark Optometry we offer emergency same day eye care. If you are experiencing pain, redness, itching, burning, discharge, or any other symptom in your eyes do not hesitate to call us. We will do our best to see you immediately.
We accept most PPO medical insurances including :
- ANTHEM BLUE CROSS
- BLUE CROSS
- BLUE SHIELD
- UNITED HEALTH CARE