What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition characterized by an accumulation of fluid within your eye, leading to pressure on your optic nerve and eventual vision loss.
According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness across the globe, affecting nearly 60 million people. There’s no cure, but the right treatment path can help slow the progression of your vision loss.
One of the most troubling things about glaucoma is the fact that there are often no symptoms until the condition has advanced to a dangerous level. That’s why it’s so important to schedule routine eye examinations, which include screening for glaucoma.
What Types of Glaucoma Are There?
There are two different types of glaucoma, primary open-angle, and angle-closure glaucoma.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common form of glaucoma and develops gradually over time. If your eye doesn’t properly drain fluid it may build up, creating pressure that slowly damages your optic nerve.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when your iris is located just next to your eye’s drainage angle. In some cases, your iris can create a sudden and nearly complete blockage, allowing pressure to rise very quickly. This type of glaucoma attack is a serious matter and requires emergency care.
Routine eye exams at Cooper Eye Care not only allow your eye doctor to check for signs of glaucoma, but also provides important information about your risk level for developing the condition.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Your optometrist at Cooper Eye Care has multiple treatment options to choose from in creating your customized glaucoma care plan. You’ll play an active role in determining which options to pursue, and you’ll be fully informed of the pros and cons of each path before making a decision.
All treatment efforts focus on relieving pressure on your optic nerve. Prescription eye drops can help. They work by either reducing how much fluid your eyes produce or increasing the volume of fluid that drains from your eyes.
Laser surgery is another option for open-angle glaucoma. The procedure involves using laser energy to alter the tissues within your eye in a way that improves drainage.Another surgical approach called a trabeculectomy involves creating a new channel to direct the flow of fluid from your eye, which in turn reduces pressure on your optic nerve.
Your individualized treatment plan could include one of these treatments or a combination approach. To learn more about diagnostic and treatment options, book an appointment by calling the office today.
What is Amblyopia?
According to the National Eye Institute, amblyopia affects as many as 3% of children. Left untreated, the condition can continue into adulthood.
Commonly called “lazy eye,” amblyopia is a type of vision impairment that occurs when your eye and brain are not properly working together. The affected eye is healthy and otherwise normal, but your brain seems to “prefer” working with the other eye.
It’s also possible to have amblyopia in both eyes, which results in your eyes both turning too far inward or outward. It’s important to note that many kids aren’t aware they have amblyopia because their unaffected eye can sustain the acceptable vision. Routine eye examinations can detect amblyopia even if there is no clear indication of eye misalignment.
Why Does Amblyopia Lead to Vision Problems?
If you or your child has a form of amblyopia, the problem isn’t with the affected eye(s) but with the eye/brain interaction. Researchers believe that amblyopia is rooted in a developmental problem in the optic nerve. Correcting or improving that communication can resolve vision issues.
What are the Treatment Options for Amblyopia?
Treatment has the greatest chance of success when it begins at an early age, although studies show that teenagers and young adults also respond well to treatment efforts. Prescription eyeglasses are one way to address vision issues. In order for glasses to yield the best possible results, they must be worn during all waking hours, which can be a challenge for some young kids.
Using a patch to cover the properly functioning eye is another option. This approach works by effectively “forcing” the brain to communicate with the affected eye. Vision improvements are possible, but patching alone won’t change the orientation of the eye. Atropine eye drops can help by blurring vision in the unaffected eye, leaving the other eye to handle most visual tasks.
Surgery is an option for correcting the appearance of amblyopia, but won’t correct vision problems. Combined with other treatments like vision therapy, surgery can be a powerful tool in restoring optimal appearance and function.
If you or your child has amblyopia, schedule a consultation by calling to discuss available treatment options. Correcting this condition can have a positive benefit for both vision and self-esteem.
What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is a vision problem in which the eyes are not aligned properly and may point in different directions. It commonly affects children, though adults can have it too. When one eye focuses straight ahead, the other eye may turns inward, outward, upward, or downward.
The signs of strabismus, namely the turning of one eye, may be consistent, or it may periodically come and go. The eye that’s straight may switch or alternate.
What are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Strabismus?
The most common sign of strabismus is noticing that one of your eyes isn’t straight. In children, oftentimes staring into sunlight causes squinting in only one eye. They also might tilt their head in an attempt to straighten their eyes.
Even though the eyes of infants often appear to be crossed, this is usually a condition known as pseudostrabismus, which most infants grow out of. But infants don’t simply grow out of true strabismus. Dr. Michele Levy can easily distinguish between the two conditions.
What Causes Strabismus?
In each of your eyes, certain muscles are responsible for controlling eye movement in all directions. To properly focus both eyes on what you want to look at, all those muscles must work in perfect harmony. Any small hitch can throw that off.
With normal vision, both of your eyes focus on the same spot, allowing you to see clearly. If one eye is out of alignment, as is the case for strabismus sufferers, your can lose depth perception or develop double vision.
Strabismus is particularly common amongst children who have brain disorders, including:
A cataract or an eye injury that affects your vision can lead to strabismus as well. Having a family history of strabismus can also be a contributing factor.
How is Strabismus Treated?
If you suspect you or your child may be suffering from strabismus, the professionals at Cooper Eye Care can perform a comprehensive in-office eye exam to diagnose any problems.
Depending on the specifics of your condition, treatment for strabismus may involve prescription glasses to straighten the eyes, surgery to detach and reposition eye muscles, or vision therapy to improve eye muscle coordination. The recommended course of treatment depends on factors such as your or your child’s age and the severity of the condition.
To find out more about strabismus treatment options, call today.
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