You may already know that diabetes increases your risk of developing vision problems. Diabetes can affect your eye care, making it especially important to get a regular eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease caused by diabetes.  The loss of vision can be caused by damaged or abnormal blood vessels. As a result, these blood vessels can swell and leak. It is also possible for them to close, preventing blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can affect your vision.

How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes?

If you suffer from diabetes, it’s very important to be aware of any early signs of trouble in your eyes. If you have diabetes and notice any of the following symptoms, you should consult your ophthalmologist:

Treatments for advanced diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy might not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages, which makes early detection essential. The main treatments for the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy are:

Laser Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Scattered laser surgery is a type of laser treatment that is used as part of the treatment for advanced diabetic retinopathy.

During the treatment, your eye will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops. A special lens will focus the beam of light onto your eye. You may feel some slight discomfort and you will notice flashes of bright light. The laser treats the middle and peripheral parts of the retina to prevent loss of central vision. Your vision may be blurry following the treatment, which can take between 30-45 minutes. The doctor can only work on one eye at a time, and two or more treatments may be required in each eye.

Post- Surgery Expectations

You should be able to go home on the same day or the day after your surgery. A patch may be necessary for the first few days. Activities like reading and watching television can quickly tire your eyes.

You will probably have blurred vision after the operation. This should improve gradually, although it may take several months for your vision to fully return to normal. Your surgeon will advise you about any activities you should avoid during your recovery.

While treatment can slow or stop the progression of diabetic retinopathy, it’s not a cure. Because diabetes is a lifelong condition, future retinal damage and vision loss are still possible.

Because diabetes eye diseases can lead to blindness and vision impairment, it is important to see your ophthalmologist regularly to monitor the progression. If you have any questions regarding symptoms, contact our office or call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Treatment-Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Our eye is a like a camera – and the windshield to our eye is called the CORNEA.  The cornea has several layers, like an onion.  Disease, infection, or injury may damage your cornea as we age. If that happens, scars or discoloration can form. This damage can block or distort light as it enters your eye.  Cornea disorders can include the following: 

What Is Corneal Cross-Linking?

Cross-linking is surgery to treat a weakened or warped cornea caused by either keratoconus or post laser vision correction ectasia. The cornea made of sheets of collagen.  In keratoconus or other forms of ectasia, the bonds between the collagen sheets are too weak.  As a result the cornea starts to bulge, causing poor vision that cannot be corrected by glasses or regular soft contact lenses.  In some patients with advanced disease, their corneas may rupture, causing a scar, and resulting in the need for a corneal transplant.  

Corneal Cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for the treatment of progressive keratoconus.  The goal of the procedure is to stiffen the cornea to slow or prevent further progression of the condition and preserve your vision.  The cornea is strengthened and reinforced by “cross-linking” new collagen fibers.

What to expect during a Cross-Linking procedure? 

Here’s what to expect during procedure which is done in the office:

Corneal Cross-Linking Recovery

During the first week while your eye is healing, it is important not to rub your eyes. You may have discomfort for a few days. Your ophthalmologist will give you medication for discomfort if needed.  As part of the healing process, your doctor will put a contact lens in your eye. In the event that it falls out, notify your doctor. You should not try to put it back in. If your eyes are sensitive to light, you may want to wear sunglasses. Some people will experience inner eye discomfort in the beginning of wearing contacts as well. Overall recovery time will vary by individual, and your doctor will let you know when to resume normal activities. Most people can get back to their normal daily activities within 1-2 weeks of cross-linking.

Think you may be a candidate for surgery? Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office).Our ophthalmologists will talk with you about the risks and benefits of corneal cross-linking surgery.  Insurances often cover the procedure.  Financing is available for those patients who require it.

Sources:

Corneal Cross Linking 

Cornea

Corneal Cross Linking (CXL)

Eye health is important in every phase of life. Many eye conditions in their early stages, have no obvious signs or symptoms and annual exam is often the only way to detect eye conditions before they progress. In most cases, glaucoma goes undetected until it is advanced which can lead to significant damage. 

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve.  Usually, it occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, ultimately damaging the optic nerve. 

Glaucoma patients often experience gradual and subtle vision loss, which is virtually undetectable until it reaches advanced stages. The only sure way to diagnose glaucoma is with a complete eye exam. A glaucoma screening that only checks eye pressure is not enough to find glaucoma.

Types of Eye Exams for Glaucoma Screening

A complete eye exam includes five common tests to detect glaucoma. The five factors that should be checked before making a glaucoma diagnosis:

Tonometry measures the pressure within your eye. During tonometry, eye drops are used to numb the eye. A tiny instrument is used to touch the surface of your eye and flatten the cornea, which measures the pressure. A small amount of pressure is applied to the eye by a tiny device or by a warm puff of air.

Ophthalmoscopy – This test takes pictures of your retina and optic nerve. Your ophthalmologist dilates your pupils, then uses a special digital camera to capture images.  Many ophthalmologists use a special machine called optical coherence tomography. You rest your chin on a machine and look into a lens. The machine takes pictures for a minute or two without touching your eye. Imagery shows the layers of eye tissue and maps the area.

Perimetry is a visual field test that produces a map of your complete field of vision. Visual field testing can also show how severe glaucoma is. Multiple tests may be used over time in glaucoma to determine how quickly it’s progressing.

Your ophthalmologist asks you to look at an object straight ahead, such as their nose. They may ask you to cover one eye at a time. ahead. After glaucoma has been diagnosed, visual field tests are usually done one to two times a year to check for any changes in your vision.

Gonioscopy shows the angle where your cornea (the clear outer layer of your eye) meets your iris (the colored part of your eye). Your eye’s drainage system is at this angle.  Your ophthalmologist uses eye drops to numb your eye, then touches your cornea with a special lens. The lens indicates whether the angle is open or closed. The drainage system may be blocked if the angle is closed, indicating glaucoma.

Pachymetry is a simple, painless test to measure the thickness of your cornea. Your ophthalmologist numbs your eye with drops, then touches your eye with a small probe to measure the thickness of your cornea. 

If you have one or more risk factors of glaucoma or are over age 40 and have not been screened, talk to one of our ophthalmologists. Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900(Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment. 

Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Glaucoma Research Foundation

LASIK surgery (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is a refractive surgery and is the number one performed laser vision correction procedure.  In most cases, patients elect to have LASIK when they get tired of wearing corrective lenses, such as contacts or glasses.

Although there are no guarantees with LASIK, most patients report impressive improvements in their vision after the procedure. Choosing to have a procedure like LASIK is not just about seeing better, it’s about living better.

Am I a Good Candidate for LASIK?

LASIK is FDA-approved for people aged 18 and older who’ve had a stable eyeglass or contact lens prescription for at least two years in a row, and whose eyes are generally healthy. Your ophthalmologist will thoroughly examine your eyes and make sure you are a candidate for LASIK. 

The procedure may not be recommended for people with symptoms such as:

LASIK isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you are considering LASIK, talk to your ophthalmologist about the benefits and risks — including the potential for quality-of-life issues.

What can I Expect during surgery?

Before the procedure, the eye surgeon will do an exam to check the shape and thickness of the cornea, look for refractive errors, and take detailed measurements of the eye. You will be examined by your ophthalmologist to ensure there are no eye problems.

The surgery should take less than 30 minutes. During the procedure, the eye is first numbed using special eye drops. Your surgeon will place an eyelid holder on your eye to keep you from blinking. He or she will also place a suction ring on your eye to keep it from moving. It will feel as if a finger is pressing firmly onto your eyelid. At this point, your vision will become dim or black.

The surgeon uses a laser called a microkeratome. While your ophthalmologist is using the laser, you will hear a clicking sound. After reshaping the cornea, your eye surgeon folds the flap back down into position and smoothes the edges. The flap attaches on its own in 2–3 minutes, where it will heal in place.

What Can I Expect after Surgery?

If you’re tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, contact our office to see if LASIK surgery is right for you. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment.

Sources: American Academy of OphthalmologyHarvard Medical School