According to the American Optometry Association (AOA), Optometrists provide more than 2/3 of all primary eye care services in the United States. This includes diagnosing and prescribing treatment options for a wide range of eye diseases and disorders that can be identified during a comprehensive eye examination.
Dr. Trimble offers years of experience in disease detection, treatment, and surgical co-management of a many diseases and disorders, including:
A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. Over time, proteins in the lens break down and cause blurred vision. Numerous factors, including family history, exposure to sunlight, and more can increase the rate of cataract formation. Cataract development occurs very slowly and painlessly, typically causing mild-moderate clouding after age 60, with “mature” cataracts typically developing after age 70.
Currently, the only treatment option for cataract development is surgery to replace the eye’s natural lens with an artificial replacement. Modern cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour, and is usually performed on one eye at a time.
Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by damage to the optic nerve, usually caused by unusually high pressure inside the eye. Damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive and permanent loss of visual field (the full range of objects to a stationary eye), typically starting in the periphery. In the early stages, gradual development of blind spots in the periphery usually goes unnoticed. Untreated, the eye’s normal visual field continues to shrink to tunnel vision, and finally complete blindness.
There is no permanent cure for Glaucoma available at this time, nor is there any way reverse damage to the visual field. There are numerous treatment options available, most commonly utilizing eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure to normal levels.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes usually caused by chronically high blood sugar levels. Diabetic retinopathy characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which can cause blindness over time. The American Optometric Association and American Academy of Ophthalmologists strongly recommend people with diabetes receive comprehensive dilated eye examinations annually to evaluate ocular symptoms.
Proper treatment and control of blood pressure is critical in preventing or slowing the development of diabetic retinopathy. Treatment options for patients who have retinal damage may include laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels.
Hypertension can lead to damage to blood vessels in the eyes, often without any apparent symptoms. In most cases, damage caused by hypertension is first revealed during a comprehensive eye examination. Working with your primary care physician to maintain proper blood pressure is the best way to prevent ocular damage caused by hypertension.
Macular degeneration is a condition usually affecting older adults that affects the macula, which is the part of the retina that provides central vision and fine detail. Degeneration of the macula in most patients causes blurry vision and loss of central vision, which grows over time. There are two forms: commonly known as “wet” and “dry”, with “dry” accounting for 90% of all cases. The elderly, people of Caucasian descent, and women are at higher risk of developing macular degeneration.
There is currently no cure for dry macular degeneration, and no way to reverse damage to the macula. If diagnosed early, however, there are dietary supplements available to slow or prevent further degeneration. New treatment options exist for “wet” macular degeneration, including laser surgery, which may also slow the progression.
DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry eye is a condition caused by insufficient or inadequate tears to properly lubricate the eye. Proper tears also remove foreign matter from the surface of the eye and help prevent eye infections. Common symptoms include itchy, burning eyes, redness, excessive tearing, and discomfort. Proper examination and review of symptoms is the only way to properly diagnose dry eye syndrome.
In mild cases, adding over the counter artificial tears can manage symptoms of dry eye. This is usually the first course of treatment recommended by eye care professionals. New research also shows that adding omega-3 fatty acids nutritional supplements may improve natural tears in many patients. For patients with more severe dry eye that can’t be managed with over the counter artificial tears, prescription eye drops can improve tear production and symptoms.
CONJUNCTIVITIS (AKA “PINK EYE”)
Conjuctivitis, or “pink eye” as it’s more commonly known, is characterized by inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is common and some forms are highly infectious. Some symptoms include itchy, burning eyes, swelling, discharges, and discoloration. Conjunctivitis occurs in one of three types:
- Infectious Conjunctivitis
- Bacterial conjuncitivis is an infection that is usally easily treatable with antibiotic eye drops, with symptoms typically subsiding after a few days.
- Viral conjuncitivis is usually caused by the viruses associated with the common cold and can be indistinguishable from bacterial conjuncitivis. Steroid drops may reduce swelling and relieve symptoms from viral conjunctivis. Over time, the virus will run it’s course and the infection will subside.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis
- Allergic conjuncitivis is caused by allergens that trigger an allergic reaction. This form is typically seasonal, and symptoms can be treated with a variety of eye drops.
- Chemical Conjuctivitis
- Chemical conjunctivitis can be caused by a variety of chemicals in contact with your eyes from pollution to chlorine to more serious toxins. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, and usually involves flushing the irritants out of the eye with saline and/or drops to reduce symptoms.
Retinal detachment is a serious condition in which the retina detaches from the back surface of the eye. Symptoms may include flashes or floaters, blurred vision, or a sudden and severe decrease in vision. Detachment can be caused by a number of other eye diseases or disorders, but is most commonly caused by blunt force trauma.
Most cases of retinal detachment can be treated successfully, usually utilizing laser surgery. Other treatment options are available for more severe cases.
Proper protective eyewear and/or head protection should be worn when participating in activities where eye and head trauma may be likely, such as sports and high-risk occupations.