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Macular Degeneration – Dry

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina and results in distortion or loss of central vision. It commonly occurs in older adults and is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration. There are two type of age-related macular degeneration: wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease and affects 90% of the people who have the condition.

In the dry form of macular degeneration, there is a breakdown or thinning of the layer of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) in the macula. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision. The RPE cells support the light sensitive photoreceptor cells that are so critical to our vision. When we look at something, the photoreceptors (rods and cones) gather the images and send them to the brain, allowing us to see.

The breakdown or degeneration of these cells is called atrophy and is characterized by the presence of drusen (dots of yellow crystalline deposits that develop within the macula) and thinning of the macula. Dry macular degeneration reduces central vision and can affect color perception. Generally, the damage caused by the dry form of macular degeneration is not as severe or rapid as that of the wet form. However, over time, it can cause profound vision loss, affecting the ability to drive, read and recognize faces. Dry macular degeneration may first develop in one eye and then affect both.

There are many risk factors that contribute to age-related macular degeneration. Family history, poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are just some of the elements that increase your chances of developing the condition.

Early detection and self-care measures may delay vision […]

How to Detect a Torn or Detached Retina

A retinal detachment occurs when the retina (a nerve layer that lines the back wall of the eye) separates from the back of the eye. It is usually due to a tear in the retina which can happen because of an inherent weakness, trauma or the vitreous gel pulling a hole in the retina.

Retinal tears and detachment occur when the vitreous, a clear jelly-like substance that fills the eye, pulls from the retina and causes the retina to tear. Liquid that passes through the tear and settles under the retina causes a separation of the retina from the back wall of the eye. The retina cannot work if it is detached from its blood supply.

Retinal detachment itself is painless. But warning signs almost always appear before it occurs or has advanced. These warning signs or symptoms include:

The sudden appearance of many floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision
Flashes of light in one or both eyes
Blurred vision
Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision
A curtain-like shadow over your visual field

If caught and treated early there could be little or no vision loss after the eye heals from being repaired. However, if the center of the retina (the macula) detaches, there is usually some permanent vision loss. If left untreated, a detached retina can cause total blindness.

Retinal detachments occur most frequently in people over the age of 40, although they may occur at any age. It is more common in men and Caucasians. Nearsightedness, a personal or family history of retinal detachment, cataract surgery, eye diseases and eye trauma increase the risk of developing a retinal detachment.

A retinal tear or detachment is a medical emergency and you should […]

Diabetic Eye Care

Diabetes can harm your eyes. Along with the many unpleasant side effects of the disease, diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of having glaucoma, cataracts or other eye problems. Below are some diabetic eye care tips to help you take charge of your disease and protect your vision:

Maintain regular vision exams: Regular appointments with your eye doctor should be scheduled at least once a year. During a thorough eye exam in Phoenix, Dr. Lemley will check the blood vessels in your eyes for early signs of damage from diabetes.

Keep your blood sugar under control: Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes, resulting in serious vision problems. High blood sugar can also cause blurred vision caused by having too much sugar and water in the lens of the eye, which is in front of the retina.

Monitor your blood pressure: High blood pressure alone can lead to eye disease, so keep it in check. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more careful about your health.

Monitor your cholesterol levels: All it takes is a blood test to find out how much “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.

Eat for wellness: Your diet has a major impact on your blood sugar. Pack your diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. If you struggle with maintaining a healthy diet, you can get ideas and encouragement from a nutritionist.

If you smoke, quit: Smoking causes damage to your blood vessels which makes you more likely to end up […]

Retinal Tear Recovery

The retina is the layer of specialized nerve tissue lining the back of the eye that allows you to see. The inside of the eye is filled with a clear gel-like substance called the vitreous. As we get older, the vitreous may pull away from its attachment to the retina at the back of the eye. Usually the vitreous separates from the retina without causing problems. But sometimes the vitreous pulls and tears the retina in one or more places. Retinal tears can also occur from trauma to the eye, severe nearsightedness or other retinal disorders.

Retinal tears are painless. Some symptoms include seeing an increased number of floaters and flashes, and also decreased vision. Floaters are small, moving spots in the field of view and can even be seen when the eyes are closed. A sudden increase in number or size of floaters may suggest a retinal tear. Flashes, the seeing of a bright light in your field of vision, is also a possible sign of a retinal tear. This happens when the vitreous pulls on the retina and causes a bright visual response.

A tear in the retina is an issue that should be evaluated right away because if left untreated it can extend and allow fluid to enter through the tear and separate the retina from the underlying tissue, causing a retinal detachment.

Retinal tears are usually treated with laser treatment to prevent the retinal tear from developing into a retinal detachment. Laser treatment works by forming a scar around the retinal tear and prevents the vitreous from seeping through the tear. Occasionally it is not possible to perform laser treatment and in this case a freezing procedure called cryopexy is used to treat […]

Retinal Detachment Symptoms

Retinal detachment is a serious medical emergency and is characterized by the separation of the retina from the back of the eye. Without urgent treatment, retinal detachment will result in permanent vision loss. The retina is one of the most important structures in your eye because it converts what you see into electrical impulses to your brain.

Retinal detachment occurs in less than 1 in 10,000 people but is more common in older people, those with myopia, people who have had previous eye trauma or after complicated cataract surgery.

It is important to know the symptoms of retinal detachment so that if you notice any of these warning signs you can receive prompt treatment.

Symptoms of a detached retina may include:

The sudden appearance of floaters (dark, semi-transparent, floating shapes) in the field of vision
Brief, bright flashes of light – these flashes may be most noticeable when you move your eyes in the dark
Loss of peripheral vision (a curtain effect)
Loss of central vision

When a retinal detachment begins, patients usually notice a dark shadow in the corner of their visual field that moves across it. This is often referred to as a curtain effect. As a detached retina progresses towards the center of your eye (the macula) central and total vision loss occurs.

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency and needs to be treated by a trained retinal professional such as Dr. Lemley in Medford as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may result in permanent vision loss. If you experience any retinal detachment symptoms, contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or medfordretinacare.com.

Macular Degeneration Tests

Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the retina responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.

When macular degeneration sets in, deterioration of central vision begins. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of decreased vision in the United States in patients over age 50. Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the natural aging process.

If you have macular degeneration, you may have symptoms such as blurriness, dark areas or distortion in your central vision and perhaps permanent loss of your central vision. It usually does not affect the side (peripheral) vision.

As with other eye conditions, early detection of macular degeneration is key to slowing the progression of the disease and preserving vision. During a thorough retinal exam in Medford, we use advanced tools to screen for macular degeneration.

One tool that we may use is called Optical Coherence Tomography (OTC) to examine whether your eyes show symptoms of macular degeneration.

Another macular degeneration test is a fluorescein angiogram (FA). The fluorescein angiogram involves the injection of a dye (not iodine based) called fluorescein.  As the fluorescein dye travels through your retina, pictures are taken which may help your doctor diagnose macular degeneration. In most instances, a retinal specialist performs an FA. It is a diagnostic test used mainly for the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases.

One key tool that you can use to help identify macular degeneration symptoms – or self-monitor the progression of your disease if you have already been diagnosed – is the Amsler grid test. Some of the early signs of macular degeneration include wavy lines, blank spots or other distortions in vision, and […]

Eye Care After Diabetes

To keep your vision sharp, it’s important to take good care of your health so you can prevent problems related to diabetes.

Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes and this can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can also lead to cataracts and glaucoma which occur earlier and more frequently in people with diabetes.

These tips can help you manage your diabetes and protect your eyes:

Maintain Regular Vision Exams. Schedule appointments with your eye doctor at least once a year so that any problem can be detected early and treated. During a retinal examination in Medford, Dr. Lemley will use special drops to widen (dilate) your pupils and check the blood vessels in your eyes for signs of damage from diabetes.

Control Your Blood Glucose. If you keep your blood sugar levels steady, you can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Several times a year you should have an HbA1c blood test. This test shows your glucose levels over the past 2 or 3 months.

Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control. High blood pressure can lead to eye disease. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more careful about how you manage your conditions.

Regularly Monitor Your Cholesterol Levels. All it takes is a blood test to find out how much “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.

Maintain a Healthy Diet. Healthy eating helps keep your blood sugar in your target range. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes.

Don’t Smoke. Smoking causes problems […]

Retinal Disorders

The retina is a transparent layer of light-sensing tissue in the back of your eye that sends images to your brain. In the center of this nerve tissue is the macula. It provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving, seeing fine detail and color. The peripheral area of the retina, which surrounds the macula, contains photoreceptor cells called rods which respond to lower light levels but are not color sensitive. The rods are responsible for peripheral vision and night vision.

Retinal disorders affect this vital tissue. Retina disorders can affect the way that you process visual information and lead to distorted or absent vision. Some can be serious enough to cause blindness. Examples of retinal disorders are:

Macular Degeneration – a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision
Diabetic Retinopathy – a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels of the retina
Retinal Detachment – a medical emergency, when the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye
Retinoblastoma – cancer of the retina, most common in young children
Macular Pucker – scar tissue on the macula
Macular Hole – a small break in the macula that usually affects people over 60
Floaters – cobwebs or specks in your field of vision
Retinal Vein Occlusion – blockage of one of the veins returning blood from your retina back to your heart

Retinal disorders are often diagnosed and treated by an ophthalmologist. During a retinal examination in Phoenix, Dr. Lemley puts drops in the eye to dilate the pupil. This allows the retina to be seen in much more detail with ophthalmoscopy (shining a light through a magnifying lens and into the back of the eye).

To schedule a retinal exam […]

Diabetic Retinopathy Stages

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes which affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye. This lining is called the retina.

A healthy retina is necessary for good eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked and damage your sight.

In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect your sight, but if it progresses, eventually vision quality will be affected.

Diabetic retinopathy has four stages; they are mild, moderate, severe non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.

Mild Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – In the earliest stage of retinopathy, micro-aneurysms (small balloon-like swelling) occur in the retina’s tiny blood vessels.

Moderate Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – At this stage, some of the retina’s blood vessels become blocked.

Severe Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – As the disease progresses further, many more of the blood vessels become blocked, depriving the retina of its necessary blood supply. Due to this short supply of blood, the retina sends signals to grow new blood vessels for nourishment.

Proliferative Retinopathy – In the advanced stage, the retina signals trigger the growth of new blood vessels; these are abnormal and fragile. They grow along the surface of the clear, vitreous gel that fills the inside of the eye. As these new retinal blood vessels develop and grow abnormally, their fragile walls may leak blood and cause severe vision loss or blindness.

If you have diabetes, you should be aware of the potential of developing diabetic retinopathy. It estimated that 40-45% of patients diagnosed with diabetes also have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. Since there are no well-known symptoms for retinopathy, it is advisable for diabetic patients to maintain regular vision exams. To schedule an appointment in Medford, contact Medical Eye […]

Macular Degeneration – Dry

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina and results in distortion or loss of central vision. It commonly occurs in older adults and is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration. There are two type of age-related macular degeneration: wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease and affects 90% of the people who have the condition.

In the dry form of macular degeneration, there is a breakdown or thinning of the layer of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) in the macula. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision. The RPE cells support the light sensitive photoreceptor cells that are so critical to our vision. When we look at something, the photoreceptors (rods and cones) gather the images and send them to the brain, allowing us to see.

The breakdown or degeneration of these cells is called atrophy and is characterized by the presence of drusen (dots of yellow crystalline deposits that develop within the macula) and thinning of the macula. Dry macular degeneration reduces the central vision and can affect color perception. Generally, the damage caused by the dry form of macular degeneration is not as severe or rapid as that of the wet form. However, over time, it can cause profound vision loss, affecting the ability to drive, read and recognize faces. Dry macular degeneration may first develop in one eye and then affect both.

There are many risk factors that contribute to age-related macular degeneration. Family history, poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are just some of the elements that increase your chances of developing the condition.

Early detection and self-care measures may delay […]