Managing Eye Diseases

The success of managing eye diseases is greatly increased when it is caught early and treated aggressively to prevent damage before it occurs. That is why routine eye exams are so vital to your eye health. Here is a brief overview of some common eye diseases Dr. Mattson detects and treats.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma encompasses a group of eye diseases that affect the tissues at the back of the eye, and can lead to irreversible vision loss, if left untreated. Early detection and proactive treatment can prevent unnecessary vision loss.

There are no symptoms during the early stages of glaucoma, so a comprehensive eye exam including a glaucoma screening is crucial. During a comprehensive eye exam at Burnsville Family Eye Care, we measure the eyes’ intraocular pressure, or IOP, as an indicator of glaucoma. A definitive glaucoma diagnosis requires examining the retina and optic nerve for damage.

Treatment for glaucoma involves a daily eye drop regimen that reduces eye pressure. Since glaucoma presents no adverse symptoms during the early stages, many patients become negligent about their use of the eye drops, allowing internal eye pressure to swing out of control and cause damage to the critical structures at the back of the eye responsible for our eyesight. Advanced glaucoma may require more aggressive treatments, including eye surgery or laser eye surgery for glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration, sometimes abbreviated AMD, is a progressive eye disease and a leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 65. At our eye care practice, we encourage those at risk for developing AMD to have a comprehensive eye exam once a year.

The macula is the portion of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for our sharp, central vision, allowing us to perceive the details of the world around us. If that portion of the eye becomes damaged, the vision loss it causes can be devastating. Macular degeneration is an incurable yet treatable eye disease that has a genetic component, so if you have a family history of macular degeneration or blindness of an unknown cause, it is important to discuss these risk factors with your eye doctor during your comprehensive eye exam.

Cataracts

Cataract disease is characterized by opacification of the lens in the eye, leading to cloudy vision. In a normal eye, the crystalline lens is made up of proteins that are perfectly aligned to allow the lens to be transparent. As part of the natural aging process, metabolic changes in the lens cause the lens to become clouded over, reducing the quality of the image that passes through the eye.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • blurry vision that cannot be fully corrected with prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • ghost images or double vision
  • vision that appears faded or cloudy

While eye experts have not yet agreed upon a definitive cause of cataracts, exposure to UV rays appears to increase the risk of developing cataracts, so optometrists recommend taking precautions, like wearing UV protected sunglasses, and avoiding looking directly at the sun. Diabetics tend to experience cataracts earlier than the rest of the population, while eating a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins seems to delay cataract progression.

The most common treatment for cataracts in Savage, MN, and around the world, is cataract surgery. During this relatively non-invasive outpatient surgical procedure, the opaque lens is removed, and it is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL), which allows light to pass through it, providing crystal clear vision. New IOLs can even eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. The success rate of cataracts surgery is exceptionally high, and the recovery is usually quick and uncomplicated.

Contact our Eye Care Practice today to schedule an eye exam for eye disease management near Savage. Dr. Andrew Mattson is here for you.