There are many different issues that can affect your eyesight, ranging from simple refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, to external injuries and infections, to degenerative or neurological conditions that could potentially cause permanent blindness. However, three of the most common causes of visual impairment worldwide are cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. While these three problems may seem similar in that they all ultimately result in a loss of vision, they all affect the eyes differently and each requires its own distinctive method of treatment. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we diagnose and treat all forms of vision loss using the most advanced methods.
Cataracts result when age, injury, disease, or environmental factors like ultraviolet radiation damage the lens of the eye, resulting in an opaque clouding that grows gradually worse over time. Although the process the forms cataracts cannot be reversed, the damaged lens can be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) composed of plastic, acrylic, or silicone. Dr. William Segal regularly performs cataract surgery using the LenSx® laser, the most technologically advanced system available, to achieve exceptional results.
Glaucoma occurs when the flow of fluid into and out of the eye’s anterior chamber is interrupted and pressure builds up inside the eye. Eventually this increased pressure can damage the ocular nerve and cause permanent vision loss. If diagnosed early, prescription medications may be able to control the progression of the glaucoma and prevent vision loss. However, more advanced cases can be treated using the new Iridex CYCLO G6™ Glaucoma Laser System or with the implantation of an FDA-approved iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass medical device, which improves the eye’s natural outflow and lowers the fluid pressure in the eye.
Retinopathy is usually the result of high blood sugar levels, resulting from diabetes, or hypertension. These conditions can, over time, seriously damage the walls of the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients to the eyes, eventually allowing blood and fluid to leak into the eye itself. The inflammation, blood clots, and fluid build-up in the central region of the retina cause general blurriness and eventual vision loss. The best way to avoid retinopathy is to keep the blood vessels healthy with proper diet and exercise, but for more advanced cases there are also laser treatments, known as photocoagulation, that can help prevent the disease from worsening.
Although these treatments are all extremely effective, patient outcomes are always better if an eye condition can be caught in its earliest stages. This is why the specialists at Georgia Eye recommend that patients regularly come in for routine eye checks and comprehensive medical eye examinations. In some cases we can even recognize and diagnose serious eye problems before the patient has even started to experience symptoms, allowing us to implement the appropriate treatment before any serious vision loss can occur. If you have any concerns about your vision, or any questions about how to best maintain the health of your eyes, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule an eye exam with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on how to keep your vision clear and healthy.