Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the eyelid. It is often referred to as “pink eye” and can be bacterial, allergic, or viral in origin. If you have conjunctivitis, you may experience any of the following: ocular itching, tearing, discharge, burning, redness, sensitivity to light, or a feeling of something inside your eye. It is important to have an examination if you experience these symptoms so that your condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.
Signs that you may have dry eyes include the following: ocular burning sensation, fluctuating/blurred vision (usually worse at the end of the day or prolonged computer work), gritty or sandy feeling, excessive watering, overall irritation, and mild itching. Dry eyes may be a result of insufficient tear production or a poor tear quality. Certain medical conditions, age, poor nutrition, and medications can contribute to dry eyes. Various treatments are available including eye drops, ointments, nutritional supplements, and eyelid cleaners.
Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is characterized by a slow, progressive loss of peripheral vision. A common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, where the patient does not experience any symptoms in the early phases. Narrow Angle Glaucoma, less common in the United States, occurs when there is a rapid increase in eye pressure and the patient may experience severe eye pain, redness, nausea, vomiting, halos around lights and blurred vision. These symptoms are similar to what migraine sufferers experience and can be misdiagnosed. Risk factors include, hyperopia (farsightedness), race (Asian), gender (females) along with certain medications ie Topomax.
Risk factors for glaucoma include family history, age, race (African Americans/ Hispanics), eye pressure, corneal thickness and certain medical conditions.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of Diabetes where there is damage to the blood vessels that nourish the retina. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. The better control you have of your diabetic condition through proper diet, exercise, medication, the less likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Important to work with your medical doctor to monitor your blood sugar and A1c levels to reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Because you can have early signs of diabetic retinopathy without any symptoms, it is imperative to have annual dilated eye exams if you are diabetic. Early detection and treatment can help to prevent vision loss from diabetes.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition where there are changes in the macula (the small, central area of the retina) resulting in a loss of central acuity. Risk factors include age, race (more common in Caucasians), and smokers. Nutrition plays a key role in slowing the progression of AMD. A landmark study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) performed by NEI concluded that Vitamins A,C,E, zinc, and copper reduced the risk of disease progression in certain AMD patients. Recent studies have provided additional evidence specific to the beneficial role of carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) to visual function in patients with AMD. Current research is underway in the AREDS II to determine if additional supplements, including essential fats and carotenoids (lutein/zeaxanthin), can help prevent progression in AMD. Visit the Ocular Nutrition Society’s website for more information.
Ellicott City Total Eye Care serves Ellicott City, Columbia, Laurel, Elkridge, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Catonsville, Randallstown, Olney, Maple Lawn, Dayton and surrounding communities. Call 410-730-8878 to schedule an appointment.