Dryness of the eyes is a very common ailment that can range in severity from being an occasional nuisance to being a truly sight-threatening condition. Dry eyes are also known as “sicca” or, when more severe, as “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.” The term “dry eyes” simply means that the tear film that coats the surface of the eye is diminished.
Symptoms include “tired” eyes, grittiness, burning or stinging. Surprisingly, intermittent tearing is one of the most common symptoms because reflex tearing occurs to compensate for the dryness.
Many factors can aggravate dry eyes. These include getting older, fatigue, environment, visually demanding work, some medications and certain systemic diseases.
Usually dry eyes can be diagnosed by an eye examination, using a sophisticated magnifier call a slit lamp biomicroscope.
Sometimes additional tests, such as the Schirmer test, or special dyes, are used. These measure the amount of tears produced, the composition of the tears or the degree of secondary injury to the surface of the eye.
There are many treatments for dry eyes. Treatment of mild dry eyes usually consists of environmental adjustments and occasional use of over-the-counter artificial tear drops. Moderate dry eyes may require prescription eye drops and more frequent use of artificial tears. Severe dry eyes may require surgical procedures. Your Pacific Vision Medical Center eye doctor has a wealth of experience in treating this condition and will recommend the appropriate treatment after an examination.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, damaging small blood vessels in the eye and throughout the body. In the retina, these damaged blood vessels leak, swell or close, causing serious vision problems. At Pacific Vision Medical Center, we have extensive experience in the examination and treatment of patients with diabetes. We use state-of-the art lasers and most recently, medications placed directly into the eye to help preserve vision.
To thoroughly study the amount and location of diabetic eye damage, a series of photographs of the retina is often done after a small amount of a very safe, colored dye is injected into a vein. This procedure, using a special Fundus Camera, is called Fluorescein Angiography and is done in the office, generally taking less than one hour. When the test is complete, your physician will study all the photographs to determine the best method of treatment.
Sophisticated lasers are often used to treat areas of leaking and swelling in the retina. This laser uses thermal energy (heat) to precisely target areas of significant damage. These treatments are done in the office and often require only numbing drops for total comfort. Often patients will require more than one treatment, all require regular follow-up.
Fortunately, most eye damage from diabetic retinopathy is preventable. But damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be reversed, and it is important that potential problems are detected before they affect your vision. Your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Regular, dilated eye exams at Pacific Vision Medical Center are an integral part of making sure your eyes are remaining as healthy as possible.
Myopia is perhaps the most common refractive error that brings a person to the eye doctor. The myope can see well at near but cannot see distant objects clearly, depending on how strong of a prescription they may need. To appreciate what a very myopic person experiences, you can hold a magnifying glass over one eye and try to see an object that is far away. The blur one sees is the same as a myope or “near-sighted” person. If you look at something up close through the magnifier, it looks nice and clear and enlarged, but you would not have functional distance vision. Uncorrected myopia interferes with driving, classroom activities, crossing streets safely, and many other otherwise normal daily activities.
Hyperopia is different than myopia due to the fact that many hyperopic people can compensate for this type of error by “over-focusing”. The hyperopic person has to focus his eyes as if reading a book in order to see a distant object clearly, and then has to focus even closer than where the book is to see to read the book. The higher the power of the hyperopia, the more over-focusing work the person has to do to compensate. This leads to eye fatigue, headaches, and reduced attention to reading near work, and is a common cause of loss of speed and efficiency when a student or employee is required to do near tasks. In the higher powers, it becomes more difficult to see even at a distance without correction and near viewing with clarity for any length of time is almost impossible.
Astigmatism is easiest to visualize as being a blurred image being presented to the retina when the lens system of the eye is not shaped round like a magnifying lens, but is shaped more like a football. A glass football would warp the light coming through it so the image it presents would be distorted, blurred and unrepresentative of the object being viewed. Your eye doctor makes sure the astigmatism power of your correction is placed in exactly the right orientation in front of the eye lens system so the optical distortion is neutralized and a clear image is the result.
Pacific Vision Medical Center offers a complete selection of contact lens fitting options. There have been continual technological advances in the field of contact lenses and now modern contact lenses offer greater comfort and better vision than ever before.
You can trust our optometrist at Pacific Vision Medical Center to keep abreast of new developments related to contact lenses and to give you the very best care possible. Contact lenses are available in hard, soft and combination materials for special applications. Contacts also come in many sizes and colors and are used for convenience, bifocal needs, cosmetic appeal, sports applications, and in the treatment of certain ocular disease conditions.
For new contact lens patients in our practice, the journey starts with a detailed discussion with your doctor to determine the best options available for you.