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Why is it important for a patient diagnosed with diabetes to have regular eye exams?

It is important for a diabetic to have an annual dilated eye exam in order to detect serious eye damage. Diabetic retinopathy (a severe vision disorder) typically does not have any early symptoms. It is important to have routine dilated eye exams in order to protect against this disorder. Annually, 25,000 people will go blind because of the damaged tiny blood vessels in the retina. 90% of these cases could have been prevented if diagnosed and treated earlier. Our research indicates that only 60% of the diabetic population has routine annual exams. Annual dilated eye exams are important to preventing diabetic retinopathy.

When should I contact my ophthalmologist outside of routine annual or biannual exams?

It is important to contact your ophthalmologist if you discover any sudden changes with your vision, especially if you experience eye pain, flashes, floaters, and/or blind spots.

What are the common symptoms of a cataract?

Cloudy, fuzzy, and blurry vision; poor night vision (headlight glare); colors may seem dim or different from what you can remember; frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription; and double vision. These symptoms can also be the cause of other eye problems, so make sure that you contact your ophthalmologist for an accurate diagnosis.

Can glaucoma be cured with laser treatment?

Laser treatment can help control the symptoms of glaucoma, but no treatments are currently available to cure glaucoma. SLT Laser treatment helps maintain normal eye pressure and minimize future damage to the optic nerve.

Do wet and dry age-related macular degeneration have early, intermediate, and advanced stages?

Early age-related macular degeneration patients have several small drusen or a few medium-sized drusen. There is no vision loss or symptoms at this stage. Intermediate age-related macular degeneration patients have many medium-sized drusen or one or more large drusen. Some people may need more light for tasks, such as reading. A blurry spot may appear in the center of the visual field. Advanced age-related macular degeneration patients exhibit a large number of drusen deposits and a breakdown of RPE and photoreceptor (light sensitive) cells and supporting tissue in the retina. A large blurry spot occurs in the center of the visual field and can become larger and darker, eventually causing a complete loss of central vision.

Why do my pupils have to be dilated?

Dilation of the pupils is an essential part of a complete eye examination. It is necessary to permit a complete evaluation of the inside parts of the eyes.

What is an IOL that is used during cataract surgery?

An IOL stands for intraocular lens. Intraocular lenses are tiny lenses made of a synthetic material that are implanted in the eye to replace the eye's natural crystalline lens when it becomes clouded with a cataract(s). Most patients are treated today with foldable intraocular lenses. A foldable IOL is made of silicone or an acrylic that can be rolled or folded for insertion. An IOL completely replaces the eye's natural crystalline lens. When cataracts form on the eye's natural lens and impair vision, the most effective solution is to replace the eye's natural lens with an IOL. Our practice offers premium IOL's that can now correct astigmatism and allow for very good distance and reading vision without glasses.

What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?

An ophthalmologist is a licensed medical physician. Following four years of college, he/she attends four years of medical school, at least one year of internship, and three years of residency training in medicine and surgery of the eye. An ophthalmologist can examine, prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, diagnose and treat eye diseases and disorders, and perform intricate surgical procedures on the eye and eyelids. Optometrists have a degree in optometry and are not medical doctors. They may or may not have completed four years of college, then four more years of optometry school training on the visual system. Optometrists typically do not prescribe medication or perform surgery.

How serious are dry eyes, tearing, eye allergies, and other relatively minor problems?

These relatively minor eye problems are typically not an immediate threat, but they may be symptomatic of a more serious malfunction. They may also develop into serious complications if left untreated.

Is there anything I can do myself to help prevent eye disease or a loss of eyesight?

Yes, you can use lenses that protect your eyes against UV rays. Don't smoke, get enough exercise, maintain a healthy diet, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, use your eye medications as prescribed, and visit your ophthalmologist as recommended. These are all ways to lower your chances for eye disease.