General Eye Care

Cataract Surgery

Once a cataract has formed, there are no medications, diets, glasses or exercises that can reverse the process. Surgical removal of the clouded lens is the only way to completely restore lost vision. A cataract can progress very slowly, and, in some cases, the eye's lens will simply thicken without clouding, causing only loss in distance vision. In those earlier stages, or when clouding of the lens isn't present, symptoms can often be addressed with stronger glasses or contact lenses, brighter lighting, or the use of a magnifying glass.

When vision loss progresses to the point where it affects your daily life and/or safety, surgery to remove the lens will likely be necessary. In situations where a cataract is in combination with one or more diseases or conditions, your doctor also may recommend surgery even if your vision is only mildly impaired. This could happen if your cataract is interfering with the examination or treatment of other parts of your eye.

When a cataract is the only disease present, surgery is, in the vast majority of cases, very successful. In fact, millions of people in the U.S. undergo this vision-saving procedure each year. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor may recommend surgery on the eye with the poorer vision first. The second procedure will be completed after the first eye has healed.

Unlike other diseases or conditions, where the eye care professional often dictates when surgery or treatments are necessary, cataract surgery is a decision arrived at by both patient and physician. And when it's time, Dr. Tillis will help you understand your options for treatment. Ultimately, only you know how your vision is affected and how much your cataract interferes with your quality of life.

 

Diabetic eye care

Individuals with diabetes have an elevated risk of developing many conditions of the eye, and should receive regular comprehensive eye exams to monitor eye health. Catching problems early vastly reduces the risk of significant vision loss. Dr. Tillis offers specialty care for many diabetes-related eye conditions.

It is very important for diabetes patients to take very good care of themselves to help prevent diabetic retinopathy. A patient should try to maintain normal blood sugar levels, a healthy blood pressure, and avoid smoking.

Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration: “dry” (atrophic) and “wet” (exudative). Dry macular degeneration is the most common. It is caused by the degeneration of the retinal tissue within the macula as you age. It is commonly referred to as AMD or ARMD, which stands for Age Related Macular Degeneration. Approximately ten percent of the population will develop dry AMD. Vision loss in dry AMD is typically gradual.

Macular degeneration is a breakdown of the retinal tissue in the macula of an affected eye. The macula is a small area in the back of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail. The breakdown of the macula causes decreased central vision, which can affect our distance and near vision. Many studies have revealed that the frequency of this disease increases dramatically after age 60, and there is currently no cure available.

Wet AMD occurs when there is new blood vessel growth behind the macula caused by the degeneration process. These new blood vessels leak in the back of the eye. Vision loss from this type of macular degeneration is often more rapid and severe.

The wet form of AMD is much less common than the dry type and occurs in approximately 10 percent of patients who have the disease. However, wet AMD accounts for 90 percent of the severe visual loss that is associated with macular degeneration.

 

Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which the eyes produce an abnormally low volume of tears. Tears perform an important function for the eye, keeping it clean and lubricated, providing nutrition, and establishing a smooth surface through which the eye refracts light.

Typical symptoms of dry eye include a dry or gritty sensation, scratchiness, itching, burning, pain, eyelid heaviness, intermittent blurred vision and intermittent tearing. Symptoms are usually worse later in the day after prolonged use of the eyes, and in conditions of heat, wind and low humidity.

Many patients with dry eye syndrome complain of intermittent tearing. Normally, the lids produce a small amount of tears to keep the eyes lubricated and healthy. If this tearing is of poor quality or of insufficient quantity to keep the eyes healthy, a message will be sent to the brain to cause a reflex flow of tears from the main tear gland. This is usually a large volume of watery tears that may not provide adequate lubrication. In other cases, the eyes may attempt to make up for poor quality tears with an increased quantity of tears. In either case, artificial lubricants can help decrease the tearing.

Dry eye syndrome is rarely a serious problem, but it is almost always a nuisance. Treatment initially begins with artificial lubricants, usually drops given 3 to 6 times a day. Warm, wet soaks with a clean washcloth can also be used when the eyes are especially irritated. Artificial tears work best when given on a scheduled basis rather than in response to symptoms. After beginning therapy with artificial tears, it may take several weeks of continuous use before long lasting improvement in symptoms is achieved.

More severe cases of dry eye may require the use of an ointment or gel at bedtime, and/or the use of preservative-free artificial tears every hour or two during the day. Patients with severe symptoms may also consider closure of the tear drainage system (punctual occlusion), which allows the patient's own tears to remain on the eye longer.

All artificial tears are not created equal. Many have preservatives that can cause further irritation, especially if used frequently. Gently preserved artificial tears may be used up to 4-6 times a day. If more frequent use is required, or for especially sensitive eyes, preservative free tears should be used.

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