Treat & Manage Eye Diseases Before They Progress
Having regular eye exams at San Clemente Optometry allows us to diagnose eye diseases before they become serious threats to your sight. As soon as we find signs of an eye disease, we’ll work with you to treat or manage it for the best possible outcome.
Common Types of Eye Disease
As you age, proteins can form clumps called cataracts on your eyes’ lenses and turn them foggy instead of clear. As cataracts develop, they increasingly obscure your vision and can eventually lead to blindness. Cataracts affect more than 20 million Americans over the age of 40, but they can appear earlier in people with specific risk factors, including diabetes.
Glaucoma can result in damage to the optic nerve. As one of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness, glaucoma often causes damage by increasing eye pressure, although there can be other contributing factors.
Most types of glaucoma develop over several years, but some can appear quickly. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may also be a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Other forms often have no symptoms until they start causing vision loss, so early detection via eye exams and assistance from your eye doctor are the best ways to manage their effects.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can put many people over 50 years old at risk for vision loss. AMD occurs when the macula, which is responsible for central vision, begins to deteriorate. You might face challenges reading, driving, and performing other everyday tasks, and you might even find it hard to recognize the faces of people you know.
AMD can cause significant vision loss, so early detection and management are vital for maintaining functional eyesight. Increasing the frequency of your eye exams after you turn 50 helps your eye doctor detect AMD early and preserve your vision as long as possible.
Lots of people call conjunctivitis “pink eye” because it makes the white of the eye appear pink or red. Conjunctivitis occurs when the membrane covering this part of the eye becomes inflamed. In some cases, untreated conjunctivitis can also inflame the cornea and affect your vision.
Conjunctivitis comes in numerous forms, such as:
- Viral conjunctivitis, which spreads like the common cold and is typically caused by the same viruses. This form of conjunctivitis can make you sensitive to bright light. Your eyes may also produce a mucus-like green or yellow discharge.
- Allergic conjunctivitis, which is caused by exposure to allergens like pollen, dust, and mold spores. This form of conjunctivitis is non-contagious, even though it often comes with cold-like symptoms. It can also make your eyes itch, water, or feel like they’re burning.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis, which is highly contagious and spread through bacteria. You might get bacterial conjunctivitis from insects, close contact with other people, and touching your face with infected hands. Bacterial conjunctivitis can also make your eyes produce green or yellow discharge during sleep, which can harden into a crust overnight and make your eyelids stick together in the morning.
- Chemical conjunctivitis, which isn’t contagious but is a type of eye emergency requiring urgent medical care. Exposure to toxic chemicals, including liquids, smoke, and fumes can cause conjunctivitis symptoms, but there is a chance you may be at risk of losing your vision. If your eyes have been exposed to chemicals, contact your eye doctor immediately.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema affect over 7.7 million Americans, and the number is expected to double by 2050. Having diabetes can also make you more vulnerable to glaucoma and more likely to develop cataracts while you’re still young.
Eye exams can identify diabetic eye diseases in their early stages so your optometrist can work with you to manage them. Sometimes, an eye exam can even show evidence of diabetes if you don’t know you have it. To book your next eye exam, contact our practice today.