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Diabetic Eye Specialist

A diabetic eye specialist is an ophthalmologist with extensive experience in caring for common eye diseases that affect people with diabetes. Eye disease is very common among people with diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness – such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. In fact, diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Diabetic-related eye problems develop from high blood sugar levels which can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye. Over 40% of diabetic patients will develop some form of eye disease in their life. The risk of developing eye problems can be reduced through regular eye exams with a diabetic eye specialist and by keeping blood sugar levels under control through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable vision loss or pain, and so by the time the patient notices any symptoms, considerable damage may have already been done to the eye. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined at least once a year with a qualified diabetic eye specialist to ensure early detection of any serious problems. Early detection and treatment are the strongest protection against diabetic eye diseases and can help prevent permanent damage. There are very effective treatments to help preserve vision if you develop diabetic eye problems, but these treatments are most effective if initiated before any vision is lost.

An exam in Medford with diabetic eye specialist Dr. Lemley will consist of several vision tests that may include visual acuity, tonometry, ophthalmoscopy, slit lamp and gonioscopy.

Contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or medfordretinacare.com to schedule an appointment […]

Diabetic Eye Exam Frequency

Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable, new onset blindness in working-age adults. Diabetes can harm your eyes by causing damage to the small blood vessels in your retina, located at the back of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of glaucoma and other eye problems.

Many times, patients do not know that their eyes are harmed until the condition has caused significant damage. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy don’t cause changes in vision and don’t produce any symptoms. Regular eye exams can catch diabetic eye problems early. Only an eye exam can detect the problem so that steps can be taken to prevent the retinopathy from getting worse.

In Medford, Dr. Lemley recommends yearly retinal exams to all diabetic patients. If you have eye problems because of diabetes, you may need more frequent visits to prevent your eye problems from getting worse.

One of the first steps of the eye exam is for Dr. Lemley to check your vision using a chart of random letters of different sizes. This is called the Snellen chart. You will then be given eye drops to dilate the pupils of your eyes so that the doctor can better see the back of the eye. To view the back of your eye, Dr. Lemley looks through a special magnifying glass using a bright light, allowing the doctor to see areas that may be damaged by diabetes. Another device called a slit lamp is used to see the clear surface of the eye (cornea). Dr. Lemley may take photos of the back of your eye to get a more detailed exam using a special camera.

Although diabetes is the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, the […]

Retinal Detachment Repair

The retina is the part of your eye that sends images through your optic nerve to the brain and is essential to your vision. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye and its blood supply. Without a blood supply, the retinal cells will start to die. This condition can cause permanent damage to your vision if not treated promptly. Reattaching the retina quickly is essential to prevent such a serious complication.

A retinal detachment may be caused by the vitreous fluid of the eye retracting from the back of the eye.  When this occurs, the retinal tissue may tear. That retinal tear can then pull away from the back of the eye and detach the retina. Some causes and risk factors of retinal detachment include glaucoma, severe trauma, nearsightedness, previous cataract surgery, previous retinal detachment in your other eye or family history of retinal detachment.
Retinal Detachment Repair Procedures
There are several types of surgery to repair a detached retina. A simple tear in the retina can be treated with freezing, called cryotherapy, or a laser procedure. Different types of retinal detachment require different kinds of surgery and different levels of anesthesia. The type of procedure your doctor chooses will depend on the severity of the detachment.

One method of retinal detachment repair is pneumatic retinopexy. In this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the eye. The bubble presses against the detached retina and pushes it back into place. A laser or cryotherapy is then used to reattach the retina firmly into place. The gas bubble dissolves a few days following the procedure.

In more severe cases, a procedure called a scleral buckle may be performed. […]

Macular Degeneration – Wet

Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in your visual field due to damage to the macula of the eye. There are two types of macular degeneration, classified as wet and dry.

Dry macular degeneration is the most common and least severe type. Wet macular degeneration is less common but much more serious. No one knows the exact cause of wet macular degeneration, but it develops in people who have had dry macular degeneration.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. Vision loss occurs much more rapidly with wet macular degeneration than with dry macular degeneration.

Wet macular degeneration symptoms usually appear suddenly and worsen rapidly. They may include:

Visual distortions, such as straight lines seeming bent
Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
Decreased intensity or brightness of colors
A well-defined blurry spot or blind spot in your field of vision
A general haziness in your overall vision
Abrupt onset and rapid worsening of symptoms

Factors that may increase your risk of macular degeneration include:

Age: This disease most commonly occurs in people over 50.

Family history: There is a hereditary component to the development of this condition.

Smoking: Smoking cigarettes or being regularly exposed to smoke significantly increases your risk of macular degeneration.

Cardiovascular disease: If you have diseases that affect your heart and blood vessels, you may be at higher risk of macular degeneration.

Many people don’t realize they have macular degeneration until their vision is very blurry so it is very important to have regular retinal exams. Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration may help reduce vision loss and, […]

What is a Retinal Eye Exam?

Visiting an eye care professional for a comprehensive retinal exam is an important part of maintaining healthy vision. A retinal exam involves dilating the pupils and looking into the eyes with a bright light and a special microscope to visualize the retina, optic nerve and blood vessels that are at the back of the eye. During a retinal exam in Medford, each eye is closely inspected for signs of common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs.

The following diseases or medical conditions may be diagnosed by or screened for during a retinal exam:

Diabetes (diabetic retinopathy)
Detached retina
Macular degeneration

Key elements of a retinal examination include dilation, tonometry, visual field test and a visual acuity test.

Dilation is an important part of a retinal exam at Medical Eye Center because it enables Dr. Lemley to view the inside of the eye. Drops placed in each eye widen the pupil which is the opening in the center of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Dilating the pupil allows more light to enter the eye. Once dilated, each eye is examined using a special magnifying lens that provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula and the optic nerve. Retinal imaging may be used in place of dilation for some patients.

Tonometry is a test that helps detect glaucoma. By directing a quick puff of air onto the eye, or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against the eye, Dr. Lemley can detect elevated eye pressure which can be a risk factor for glaucoma.

A Visual field test measures your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a […]

Retinal Eye Diseases

The back of the eye is made up of the retina and vitreous. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. The vitreous is the gel-like substance that allows the eye to maintain its shape while still allowing light to enter the retina. The retina is susceptible to a variety of diseases, inherited retinal degenerations, uveitis and eye cancers.

Learn more about some of the retinal eye diseases that can affect your vision.

Macular Degeneration: This is one of the most common eye diseases treated by retina specialists. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is associated with aging and it is the leading cause of blindness among people over the age of 50 in America. AMD gradually destroys sharp, central vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the retina. It occurs when tiny retinal blood vessels become damaged from diabetes and begin to leak fluid or blood, resulting in blurred vision.

Retinal Vein Occlusion: This disorder occurs when a vein in the retina becomes blocked, preventing adequate blood flow. The walls of the vein leak excess fluid, swelling the retina.

Retinal Tears/Detachments: Rips and tears occur when the vitreous pulls away from the retina. Liquid that passes through the tear and settles under the retina can separate the retina from the back wall of the eye, resulting in a retinal detachment.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment: Inside the vitreous are millions of thin fibers that interlock and connect to the retina. During the aging process, the vitreous begins to shrink, causing the thin fibers to pull on the surface of the retina. When those fibers are pulled too tight, […]

Diabetic Eye Disease Symptoms

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of this disease. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.

Diabetic eye disease may include:

Diabetic retinopathy – damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
Cataract – clouding of the eye’s lens.
Glaucoma – increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in those with diabetes. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are nonexistent in the early stages of the disease. Blurred vision usually occurs once the disease is more advanced.

Cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, halos around light, poor night vision and/or distorted vision. Although most people develop cataracts as they age, those with diabetes are at an increased risk of having cataracts and at an earlier age.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those without. Glaucoma has very few symptoms in its early stage, so people may be unaware that something is wrong with them. This is why regular eye examinations for people with diabetes are so important.

Finding and treating these eye problems early, before vision loss or blindness occurs, is the best way to control diabetic eye disease symptoms. If you have diabetes, make sure you have a dilated eye examination at least once a year. To schedule an eye exam in […]

Retinal Diseases that Cause Blindness

The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. In the center of the retina is the macula. The macula provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. A healthy retina is essential to good vision. Some retinal diseases can affect this vital tissue. Retinal diseases and disorders can affect your vision, and some can be serious enough to cause blindness.

Examples of retinal diseases that can cause blindness are:

Macular Degeneration: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal degenerative disease that causes a progressive loss of central vision.

Retinitis Pigmentosa: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of genetic eye conditions that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. Common symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of side (peripheral) vision.

Stargardt Disease: Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. The progressive vision loss associated with Stargardt disease is caused by the death of photoreceptor cells in the macula.

Rod-Cone Dystrophy: Rod-cone dystrophy results from a primary loss of rod photoreceptors, followed by loss of cones.

Leber Congenital Amaurosis: Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is an inherited retinal degenerative disease characterized by severe loss of vision at birth. A variety of other eye-related abnormalities including roving eye movements, deep-set eyes and sensitivity to bright light also occur with this disease. Some patients with LCA also experience central nervous system abnormalities.

Retinoschisis: Juvenile retinoschisis is an inherited disease diagnosed in childhood that causes progressive loss of central and peripheral (side) vision due to degeneration of the retina.

Choroideremia: Choroideremia is a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid […]

Macular Holes: Causes

A macular hole is a small break in the macula, an area located in the center of the eye’s light-sensitive tissue called the retina. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. A macular hole can cause blurred and distorted central vision.

Most of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80% of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape. The vitreous contains millions of fine fibers that are attached to the surface of the retina. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks and pulls away from the retinal surface. Natural fluids fill the area where the vitreous has contracted. This is normal and in most cases, there are no adverse effects. Some patients may experience a small increase in floaters, which are little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision.

However, if the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina when it pulls away, it can tear the retina and create a macular hole. Also, once the vitreous has pulled away from the surface of the retina, some of the fibers can remain on the retinal surface and can contract. This increases tension on the retina and can lead to a macular hole. In either case, the fluid that has replaced the shrunken vitreous can then seep through the hole onto the macula, blurring and distorting central vision.

Macular holes are associated with aging and usually occur in people over the age of 60. Several conditions can increase the risk of macular hole formation, including:

Injury or trauma: some young people develop macular holes after blunt trauma
Diabetic eye disease
High degree of myopia (nearsightedness)
Macular pucker: […]

What Causes Retinal Detachment?

Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina from the choroid, a membrane dense with blood vessels that is located between the retina and the sclera (white of the eye). The retina is a thin layer of light sensitive tissue that lines the back portion of the eye. When light passes through the eye, the lens focuses an image on the retina. The retina converts the image to signals that it sends to the brain through the optic nerve. The retina works with the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye and the brain to produce normal vision. When the retina detaches, it is deprived of its blood supply and source of nourishment and loses its ability to function. This can impair vision to the point of blindness, depending on how much of the retina is detached.
The Most Common Retinal Detachment Causes:

Diabetic retinopathy
Eye disorders
Occlusions of retinal blood vessels
Penetrating eye injury

Types and Causes of Retinal Detachment:
There are three types of retinal detachment:


Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment: If you have a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, you have tears or holes in your retina. These tears or holes allow fluid from within the eye to slip through the openings and get behind the retina. The fluid separates the retina from the membrane that provides it with nourishment and oxygen. The pressure from the fluid can push the retina away from the retinal pigment epithelium, causing the retina to detach. This is the most common type of retinal detachment.

Traction Retinal Detachment: Traction retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue on the retina’s surface contracts and causes the retina to pull away from the back of the eye. This is a less common type of […]