A healthy eye is required to see clearly, but normal function is required as well. Blurry vision itself does not generally indicate the presence of an eye disease; however, a complete eye examination is required to rule out this possibility. Most commonly blurred vision is caused by a focusing error in an otherwise healthy eye.
Traditionally, glasses and contact lenses have been used to improve vision when dealing with the vision problems below. These visual aids help neutralize the focusing error but do not address the source of the problem, the incorrect corneal curvature. For that, you need to reshape the cornea’s surface to allow vision to be in sharp focus without dependency on glasses or contact lenses. The most effective, accurate, and reliable method of reshaping the cornea available today is laser vision correction via LASIK.
A cataract is the term used when your own, natural lens becomes hazy. We are all born with a crystalline lens which sits just behind the iris (colored part of the eye). When we are young, the lens is flexible and allows us to change focus from distance to near. With time, the lens becomes stiff and we eventually need bifocals or reading glasses – usually at about 40 years old. With more time, the lens becomes hazy (a cataract) making vision more blurred. People can feel as if there is a film which does not get better with blinking.
There are several types of cataracts. The most common form is slowly progressive and occurs in almost everyone if we live long enough. Other types can be associated with medications, inflammation or trauma. Regardless of the type of cataract, the treatment is the same: remove the cataract and replace it with an intraocular lens.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is extremely important to be screened for glaucoma because once vision is lost, it cannot be regained. However, progression of the disease can be halted by lowering the pressure of the eye.
There are many different types of glaucoma and most of them are related to different ways in which the eye pressure can rise. Treatment is usually accomplished with drops which lower the eye pressure. It is important to continue to monitor the pressure over time as drops can lose their effectiveness and more drops may need to be added. For some people, drops are not enough and surgery is required to lower the eye pressure sufficiently. There are also laser treatments which can lower the pressure.
Damage from glaucoma affects the peripheral vision first. It is usually a subtle change in vision for most people and by the time they realize their vision is decreasing, a substantial part of their visual field may be forever lost. The damage causes changes to the optic nerve which can be seen by an eye specialist.
The most important information to know about glaucoma is that everyone should be tested. If glaucoma is found, follow-up appointments will be made. Dr. Payant is an optometrist trained to detect, monitor and medically treat glaucoma. Drs Merfeld, Larson and Raven are ophthalmologists and surgeons who can also give laser and surgical treatments for glaucoma.
If you are nearsighted (myopic) you likely experience blurred distance vision, however, have some improvement in vision at near. This is because the cornea curvature is too steep for the length of your eye. This causes images to be focused in front of the retina rather than sharply on the retinal surface. The result is blurred distance vision.
Many people have myopia. They most commonly wear glasses or contacts to see at distance but may not wear anything to see up close. They are also the best candidates for LASIK vision correction.
If you are farsighted (hyperopic) you likely have blurred distance vision which becomes even worse at near. This is because the cornea curvature is too flat for the length of your eye. This causes images to be focused behind the eye rather than sharply on the retinal surface. The result is blurred distance and near vision.
Many people with mild hyperopia do not wear any glasses until their 30s or 40s. Then glasses may be needed for both distance and near.
Astigmatism is caused by an irregularity or warpage of the corneal curvature. Depending on its severity, astigmatism can result in blurred vision, distorted vision, and even double vision. Astigmatism is a problem that can occur alone or in combination with either nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Most people have some astigmatism and it can be corrected with glasses, contacts or surgery.
If you are presbyopic, you have begun experiencing difficulty focusing up close. Presbyopia is the term used to describe the loss of ability to focus at near which occurs as a natural part of aging. Generally first noted at about the age of 40, people with presbyopia often need bifocals or reading glasses to see close objects or read.
Until recently, no surgical treatment existed for presbyopia. But now, exciting new surgeries have been developed to allow people to see far and near without glasses or contacts. Everyone undergoing cataract surgery is now given the option to choose a presbyopia correcting implant. Even people in their 80s and 90s are able to focus near and far after the surgery.
Dry Eyes – Don’t just treat the symptoms, treat the cause.
If you have been suffering with this condition—or think you may have it—we can determine the cause of your symptoms and apply therapy, appropriate to your specific needs, that may make your daily discomfort a thing of the past.
Symptoms that result from Dry Eye include:
- Discomfort and irritation
- Grittiness or the feeling of a foreign body in the eye(s)
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Fluctuating blurry or filmy vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Worsening discomfort in dry or windy conditions
Dry Eye is a long-term, chronic disease that takes years to develop—and may worsen if left untreated. There are two main forms of the disease: evaporative and aqueous deficient.
Evaporative Dry Eye, which accounts for 86% of all Dry Eye cases, is caused by blockages in the meibomian glands located in your eyelids.
This condition of obstructed glands is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. These glands are responsible for creating the lipid (oil) layer of tears. When the glands aren’t working, as they should, you don’t have enough tear film oil. This results in your tears—which lubricate your eyes and keeps them comfortable—evaporating too quickly. An insufficient oil layer can cause your tears to evaporate 4X – 16X faster than normal.
Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye occurs when the lacrimal glands do not create a sufficient amount of aqueous (water) to keep the eyes moist.
How Dry Eye can negatively impact your vision—and your life
The symptoms of Dry Eye can be uncomfortable—and a big burden. Basic visual tasks, such as reading, using a computer, driving or watching television may become difficult. Wearing contact lenses may be impossible. And, you might find that symptoms worsen later in the day, keeping you from enjoying the activities you want to do.
Underlying the considerable discomfort is a real physical condition that needs treatment to stop the cycle of Dry Eye deterioration and worsening symptoms. Dry Eye is a chronic disease, and without proper management, the deterioration may look like this:
- Increased evaporation of tears
- Unstable tear film
- Damage to the eye surface
- Further discomfort
- Inflammation and cell damage
- Fluctuation and decrease in vision
LipiFlow is the groundbreaking treatment that addresses the cause of Evaporative Dry Eye. It is designed to provide relief, so you can get on with your life.
LipiFlow Dry Eye Treatment
LipiFlow is a significant technological advancement in the management of Evaporative Dry Eye. It is the only treatment approved by the FDA for long-term Evaporative Dry Eye relief. LipiFlow is the only treatment that addresses the root cause, not just the symptoms, of Evaporative Dry Eye by treating the blocked meibomian glands.
If left untreated, blocked meibomian glands prevent the eyes from secreting enough oil to maintain quality tear consistency. When the delicate tear balance is disrupted by a lack of lipids, tears evaporate from the surface of the eye resulting in Dry Eye symptoms. Along with adversely affecting your quality of life and general eye health, Evaporative Dry Eye disease can worsen over time, even with continued use of eye drops and other treatments.
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation reduces the need for artificial tears and other prescription dry eye treatments by attending to the cause of Evaporative Dry Eye symptoms, the meibomian glands themselves. Opening and clearing these blocked glands can allow them to resume normal production of lipids (oils) needed for a healthy tear film.
Think of it as a “spa treatment” for your eyes. Gentle heat and light pressure create a warm massage that stimulates the meibomian glands’ natural lipid production and helps restore the tear film balance disrupted by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Evaporative Dry Eye can be a thing of the past—with LipiFlow
If you’re ready to kick Evaporative Dry Eye, all it takes is a phone call to get started. Make an evaluation appointment with one of our doctors to determine if you are a candidate for LipiFlow.