If you suffer from diabetes, you have a high risk of developing diabetic eye disease and resulting blindness. The doctors at South Shore Eye Care in Wantagh and Massapequa, New York, take ample time to counsel and educate you, empowering you to take control of your health and wellness every day. If you have diabetes, South Shore Eye Care recommends scheduling a comprehensive exam with one of its highly qualified and dedicated ophthalmologists today.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease describes a group of eye diseases that develop as a complication of diabetes including:

  • Cataract, which is condition in which the lens of the eye become clouded
  • Diabetic retinopathy, which refers to damaged blood vessels in the retina
  • Glaucoma, which is increased intraocular pressure (IOP) that damages the optic nerve and causes vision loss
  • Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease in diabetics and a leading cause of blindness.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy comes with no warning signs until damage exists. Because you aren’t likely to experience symptoms associated with diabetic retinopathy, annual eye exams (or more frequent visits depending on your ophthalmologist’s recommendations) are a critical component of prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Who is at Highest Risk of Diabetic Eye Disease?

Anyone with diabetes is at risk, and the longer you’ve suffered from diabetes, the higher risk you face.

Is There Any Way to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?

You can’t prevent diabetic retinopathy, but you can reduce your risk by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. Research shows that patients with controlled blood sugar levels were less likely to progress to severe retinopathy. Other measures you can take include:

  • Taking your diabetes and other medications exactly as prescribed
  • Abstaining from smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular physical activity

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

In most cases, the best treatment available is laser surgery. This procedure, paired with adequate follow-up and ongoing monitoring and treatment, can reduce the risk of blindness by as much as 90%. However, it cannot restore vision that’s been lost due to diabetic retinopathy. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize eye health even when you feel fine.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed during a dilated eye exam performed by your ophthalmologist. Sharing your history of diabetes with your ophthalmologist is a critical component of your care.

How Can Exams Help?

Eye exams are important in detecting retinopathy before irreversible blindness occurs, but in some cases, diabetic retinopathy is identified before a patient even knows they have diabetes. In these cases, an eye exam can be lifesaving.

Macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula weakens, resulting in a loss of central vision. The condition, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), can cause blurring and even partial vision loss. There are two types of macular degeneration – wet and dry. Most people with the disease have the latter version, which is caused solely by an aging macula. However, some people have wet macular degeneration, which occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow inside the macula. The wet version can lead to permanent scarring and loss of central vision.

Did you know…

that macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in America? Currently, there are approximately 1.8 million adults over age 40 who have macular degeneration – most of whom are seniors ages 75 and up. Even more – 7.3 million – are currently considered at high risk of developing the disease. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates the prevalence of macular degeneration to grow, reaching nearly 3 million by the year 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is at risk for developing macular degeneration?

Age is the most influential risk factor for developing macular degeneration, though the disease is also common in Caucasians, and people who smoke. The symptoms of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, can also increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

In most cases, the symptoms of macular degeneration begin gradually and progress slowly over time. People often describe having blurry vision or blind spots, as well as difficulty perceiving color. Anyone who is experiencing unusual vision changes should schedule an optometry appointment. A routine eye exam can identify AMD in its earliest stages, which may improve long-term management of the disease.

What is the treatment for macular degeneration?

There is no cure for macular degeneration although an optometrist can help manage the condition. People with AMD may benefit from certain nutritional supplements like zinc and beta-carotene, as well as certain drug therapies as the disease becomes more advanced. Wet macular degeneration often requires greater interventions, which may include laser therapy to target and destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

Dry eye is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough quality tears to sufficiently lubricate the eye. Without tear lubrication, the eyes may become irritated, causing burning, itchiness and excessive watering. Patients with severe cases of dry eyes may actually experience vision impairments caused by damage to the surface of the eye. Fortunately, dry eye treatments are available to help the eye produce more of its own natural tears and also manage inflammation.

Did you know…

that dry eye is a very common condition among residents over age 50? The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that nearly 4.9 million Americans over age 50 are suffering from dry eye, with women outnumbering men nearly 2 to 1. There are many reasons why people develop dry eye, including environmental conditions, the use of certain medications, and the long-term use of contact lenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be treated for dry eye?

The only way of knowing whether you need treatment for dry eye is by visiting your eye doctor for a diagnostic exam. Your eye doctor may recommend treatment if you are found to have abnormal tear production that is contributing to dryness on the surface of your eyes.

What should I expect during treatment for dry eye?

There are several ways of treating dry eye. Together with your optometrist, you will decide upon the treatment that best fits your needs. This may include supplementing your natural tears with artificial solutions that can be purchased over-the-counter at most drug stores. You may also be prescribed a medication designed to increase natural tear production. In some cases, eye doctors may recommend conserving natural tears and preventing them from draining by blocking tear ducts or surgically closing them altogether.

Will I need to follow any special instructions during treatment?

You can continue to treat your dry eye with eye lubricating drops that provide temporary relief. Some patients also experience improvements in natural tear production by consuming an omega-3 supplement. Other steps you can do to minimize symptoms include wearing sunglasses outdoors, using a humidifier in your home, and remembering to blink when watching television or staring at a computer screen.

If you’re suffering from corneal or external eye diseases, you understand the dramatic impact that eye pain and discomfort can have on your quality of life. At South Shore Eye Care in Wantagh and Massapequa, New York, the staff is passionate about alleviating these symptoms so you can focus on what really matters in life. The corneal and external disease experts at South Shore Eye Care have decades of experience in providing innovative treatment in the most difficult cases. If you have seen other doctors without relief, contact South Shore Eye Care to make an appointment — and find relief.

What is the Cornea?

The cornea is the outermost layer of your eye, covering the pupil and iris. Completely free of blood vessels, the cornea is clear, comprised of five separate layers, and serves as:

  • Protection for your eye, preventing damage from pathogens, dust, and other matter
  • The outermost lens, focusing light before it hits the inner lens and is projected onto the retina

What are the Most Common Corneal Conditions and Diseases?

Your cornea can be damaged by diseases like:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Infection
  • Chemical, thermal, or traumatic injury
  • Tumors
  • Hereditary conditions like Fuch’s or granular dystrophy

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Corneal Injury, Infection, or Disease?

Although conditions that can affect your cornea vary, the most common symptoms for nearly any corneal complication are pain and discomfort. Other common symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Corneal scarring

How is Corneal Disease Diagnosed?

If you suspect you have a corneal disease, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist at South Shore Eye Care, who can use a variety of tools and equipment to examine your eye for problems. Specific testing depends on your symptoms.

Can Corneal Disease Be Treated?

Our Corneal Specialists are board certified and fellowship trained in Cornea and External Diseases. They can treat corneal scars and endothelial dystrophies with corneal transplants such as Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). They also perform penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasy (DALK) for patients with severe corneal scars or advanced keratoconus.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Aside from your regularly scheduled visits, you should see an eye doctor if you:

  • Suspect you may have injured or damaged your cornea
  • Have an eye infection
  • Are experiencing flashes of light
  • Experience sudden changes in vision

These can be indications of conditions that require further evaluation and treatment as soon as possible.

Eye exams are professional screenings used to evaluate the health of the eye and diagnose vision impairments and disease. Each is comprised of a series of several tests that analyze various functions of the eye, such as color differentiation, distance vision, and peripheral awareness. A comprehensive eye exam can identify vision complications during their earliest stages, providing eye doctors the opportunity to treat them more easily. A comprehensive eye exam will consist of:

  • Visual acuity testing to measure the clarity of your sight
  • Refractive evaluation to diagnose refractive errors
  • Visual field testing to measure your peripheral vision
  • Color vision analysis to identify an inability to distinguish certain colors
  • Examination of the back of your eye, retina, and underlying blood vessels
  • Glaucoma testing to measure intraocular fluid pressure
  • Eye muscle testing to identify weak eye movements
  • Corneal exam to evaluate the health of the cornea, iris, lens and surrounding tissues

Did you know…

that a periodic eye exam can reveal underlying health issues long before other symptoms are present? In addition to identifying vision complications and eye disease, a comprehensive eye examination can also reveal conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or even a brain tumor. The American Optometric Association recommends that adults under age 60 undergo an eye exam at least once every two years. At-risk patients and patients over age 60 should get an eye exam annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m healthy and can see clearly. Do I need an eye exam?

Yes. Eye examinations can reveal much more than vision impairments – they can save lives. If you haven’t had an eye exam in the past 12 to 24 months, contact your eye doctor to schedule an appointment.

What should I expect during my eye examination?

Your eye exam will take approximately half an hour and will include a series of tests using advanced optometric machinery. You will also be asked about your medical history and any vision complications you may be experiencing. Eye exams typically do not hurt, but you can expect to look into bright lights during your visit.

What should I expect following my appointment?

If you are given a clean bill of health with no vision impairments, you can return to your normal activities and plan to visit your eye doctor again in one to two year. If you are found to have refractive errors, you may be given a prescription for corrective lenses. In cases where a disease is present, you may be referred to a vision or medical specialist for further treatment.

Glaucoma is a term used to refer to a group of eye diseases that ultimately cause damage to the optic nerve. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma; but there are treatments available to help manage the condition and prevent vision loss. People with glaucoma often experience slow and gradual vision loss that is so subtle, it is virtually undetectable until it reaches advanced stages. Glaucoma often presents no other symptoms than vision loss, which is why it is important to visit an eye doctor periodically for comprehensive eye exams. As the disease progresses, it can eye pain and nausea, as well as total vision loss.

Did you know…

that glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States? It accounts for approximately 10 percent of all cases of total vision loss – some who lose their vision despite seeking treatment. The disease can strike anyone at any time, from birth to old age. More than 2 million Americans are believed to live with glaucoma, of who only 50 percent have received a diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I see an eye doctor about glaucoma testing?

Your eye doctor should perform a routine glaucoma screening at your periodic eye exams. However, you should see your eye doctor if you notice changes in your vision, such as blurring or halos when you look at lights. There are several tests available to test for glaucoma, including intraocular pressure testing and visual field testing. These screenings are painless, but could make it possible to diagnose and treat glaucoma in its earliest stages.

What should I expect during glaucoma treatment?

Treatment for glaucoma depends on the severity of the disease. If South Shore Eye Care diagnoses you with the disease, you may begin with a conservative treatment regimen of medicated eye drops or medications that help reduce pressure in your eye.If these types of treatments are ineffective, South Shore Eye Care may recommend a more aggressive treatment
plan that includes a surgery to relieve excess fluids from the eye.

Will I need to follow any special instructions during treatment?

If you are taking medications or eye drops to alleviate pressure in your eyes, it is important that you do so according to your eye doctor’s instructions. If you undergo surgical treatment for glaucoma, you will need to adhere to a strict set of post-operative instructions in the days and weeks after your procedure. For example, you will need to wear an eye patch for the first 24 hours after your procedure, and avoid getting water or other substances in your eyes. You’ll also be told to avoid straining your eyes, refrain from strenuous activity, and wear an eye shield at night during the first several weeks after your procedure. Expect to feel some increased sensitivity in your eye, as well as a ‘scratchy’ sensation.

You may have adapted to the fleeting fuzz-like shadows in your field of vision, but what are they trying to tell you about your health? The diligent team of ophthalmologists at South Shore Eye Care in Wantagh and Massapequa, New York, knows that while most floaters are harmless, some indicate a more serious underlying disease. When it comes to your vision, they leave no stone unturned.

What are Floaters?

Eye floaters are small, irregular shadows in your vision that may bounce around or appear sporadically.

What Causes Floaters?

Inside your eye is a jelly-like substance called the vitreous. As you age, the vitreous becomes thinner, allowing tiny fibers within it to clump and cast a shadow on your retina.

When is it Important to See An Eye Doctor?

Anytime you develop new floaters, you should consult with your ophthalmologist. Additionally, when numerous new floaters appear at once and/or are accompanied by light flashes, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist immediately as this can indicate detachment between the vitreous and the retina and can cause vision loss if left untreated.

Is This a Correlation Between Floaters and Systemic Health Problems?

No, there has been no connection found between floaters and smoking, stress, or other health problems or diagnoses.

How Common are Floaters?

Floaters are very common, affecting over 70% of the population.

How are Floaters Treated?

The vast majority of floaters do not require medical treatment. Most floaters shrink and fade over time and are easily managed and tolerated. Sometimes looking up and down rapidly will cause the floaters to settle at the bottom of the eye, removing the shadows from your sight.

In rare cases, an extensive number of floaters can completely block vision. In these cases, the ophthalmologist performs a vitrectomy, a procedure in which the vitreous (jelly-like substance inside the eye) is removed with a needle and replaced with a saline solution.

When floaters appear as a symptom of retinal detachment, surgery is required to reattach the retina.

How are Floaters Diagnosed?

In most cases, your eye doctor can locate and examine floaters using his ophthalmoscope and slit-lamp, common equipment found in an eye doctor’s exam rooms. In some cases, fluorescein angiography is performed. In this procedure, dye is injected into the eye, making tiny vessels more visible.

What is the First Step If You Have Floaters?

The first and most important step to take when you notice new floaters is to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Call South Shore Eye Care today to schedule an exam; the staff is eager to assist you.

An eyelid surgery – also known as a blepharoplasty – is a procedure used to rejuvenate the appearance of the upper and lower eyelids. Age and genetics can cause drooping, sagging, and excess folds around the eyes. This can contribute to both cosmetic and visual complications, including a tired and aged appearance, as well as difficulty seeing. Eyelid surgery can take years off of the eyes, eliminating under-eye bags, removing upper eye puffiness and reducing the amount of excess skin surrounding the eyes.

Did you know…

that certain conditions can interfere with the healing process following an eyelid surgery? Eye diseases like glaucoma, retinal detachment, and dry eye can inhibit eyelid surgery recovery. Other medical conditions can increase the risk associated with the procedure, such as cardiovascular disease, thyroid diseases and diabetes. It is important to let your doctor know if you suffer from any of these conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for eyelid surgery?

You may be a candidate for eyelid surgery if you are a non-smoking adult in good health. It is important that you have realistic expectations for the outcome of your blepharoplasty. A consultation with your surgeon can help you determine whether your facial tissues and eye muscles are healthy enough to undergo a blepharoplasty procedure.

What should I expect during my blepharoplasty procedure?

You’ll be placed under IV sedation or general anesthesia for the duration of your eyelid surgery. Your surgeon will form an incision discreetly along the natural crease of the eyelid or along the lower lash line. It is via those incisions that excess skin can be removed, the muscles tightened, and fat deposits redistributed.

Will I need to follow any special post-operative instructions after my eyelid surgery?

The eyelid surgery recovery period will require that you follow special instructions provided by your surgeon. These instructions are designed to facilitate a complete recovery free of complications. When you awaken from surgery, your eyes may be covered with gauze and lubricating ointment. In the following days, you may be responsible for applying topical medications or taking oral prescriptions to prevent infection. It is normal to experience some swelling and bruising following the procedure, but most discomfort should subside within a few weeks.

Children’s vision care should begin at birth and continue throughout childhood and adolescence. Without professional vision screenings, children can grow up with a distorted vision that eventually causes complications during the school years. According to the American Optometric Association, undiagnosed and untreated vision problems can worsen in children because the brain learns to accommodate the distortion over time. Furthermore, untreated vision discrepancies can lead to academic, athletic and social handicaps that hold kids back from their ultimate potential.

Did you know…

that an estimated one in every four children is suffering from some kind of vision problem? Often these problems go undetected throughout childhood and even into the teenage years. In fact, as many as 11 percent of U.S. teens have vision problems that have not been professionally diagnosed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have my child’s eyes examined?

Yes. Your child’s first eye exam should occur before he or she ever leaves the hospital at birth. Additional pediatric eye health screenings should occur every year from that point forward, with the first vision acuity test occurring around 3 ½. Even if your child performs well on vision tests, contact your eye doctor if you notice that your child is suddenly rubbing his or her eyes, squinting or demonstrating behaviors that seem to compensate for poor vision, such as sitting too close to the television.

What should I expect during my child’s eye examination?

The extent of your child’s eye examinations will depend on his or her age. For most kids, exams will check the health of near vision, distance vision, peripheral field awareness, eye movement and tracking, focusing capabilities, and eye-hand coordination.

What should I be doing between examinations to protect my child’s eyes?

There is little you can do between eye exams to help your child’s vision health other than encouraging him or her to wear UV-protective sunglasses and feed your child a nutritious diet high in antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein, as well as omega-3 fats. Contrary to popular belief, sitting too close to the TV will not harm your child’s eyes.

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a medical procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops to help strengthen the cornea or ” windshield” of the eye in case of corneal ectasia. CXL can be used to help patients with keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, or post-refractive surgery corneal ectasia.

Corneal cross-linking¹:

  • Creates new corneal collagen cross-links
  • Results in a shortening and thickening of the collagen fibrils
  • Leads to the stiffening of the cornea

CXL is performed in the office and uses topical anesthesia. It can be performed either one eye at a time, or bilaterally depending upon the patient’s clinical scenario and indications as determined by our South Shore Eye Care surgeons. 

Corneal collagen cross-linking is performed to help stabilize corneas and to prevent progression of ectasia. After the treatment, the patient will be guided as to the best method for visual rehabilitation by the doctor.

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