The newsLINK Group - Dealing with Age-Related Eye Problems

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Age-Related Eye Problems Title: Dealing with Age-Related Eye Problems Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Despite the best efforts of you and your patients, most of them will eventually experience eye problems as they age. The following sections briefly review what is possible today to help patients with these specific problems. Editorial: Dealing with Age-Related Eye Problems 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Despite the best efforts of you and your patients, most of them will eventually experience eye problems as they age. The following sections briefly review what is possible today to help patients with these specific problems. Cataracts Cataract surgery can be dated back to the Egyptians, and it is one of the most frequently performed eye surgeries today as well. However, there is a world of difference between primitive methods and what is being done today. Perhaps the most significant recent advance is the ability not only to replace the lens, but to correct the patient’s vision at the same time. Poor vision has always been a better option than blindness, but the ability to replace poor vision with a substantial improvement is truly remarkable. Diabetic Eye Disease Diabetic eye disease might include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy. It affects 40 to 45 percent of those in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). Someone who is pregnant and has diabetes is particularly at risk. Cataracts are included because people with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier than people without diabetes. Glaucoma is included because someone with diabetes is twice as likely to experience glaucoma as someone without. Macular edema can occur at any time when someone has diabetic retinopathy, regardless of the stage. Once it has been detected, there are several objectives: determining how serious it is, continuing to monitor it closely, and encouraging the patient to control blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. That said, however, blood sugar control might be a problem for children who are 12 or under, older patients, and patients with other diseases. Clearly, it is important for all medical professionals who are involved to work as a team when determining the best course of treatment for a patient. Scatter laser treatment or a vitrectomy are the treatments of choice for advanced retinopathy (that is, proliferative retinopathy). A vitrectomy, where blood is removed from the eye’s center, is appropriate in cases where bleeding is severe. In the case of macular edema, focal laser surgery can reduce leaks and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), macular edema can also sometimes be treated with one of three drugs: Lucentis, Avastin, or Eylea. Treatment can be in addition to, or instead of, focal laser surgery. The NEI is continuing to sponsor studies of these three drugs. Glaucoma The group of eye conditions labeled as glaucoma all involve damage to the optic nerve, usually (but not always) caused by abnormally high intraocular pressure. It is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., but the most common form is so gradual that vision loss only occurs at a late stage. That most- common type is primary open-angle glaucoma, where vision loss starts with the peripheral vision and then becomes tunnel vision in the advanced stages. The second most common kind is acute angle-closure glaucoma, which does have noticeable symptoms and which should be treated immediately either at an ophthalmologist’s office or at an emergency room: Abrupt onset of visual disturbance. This often takes place when the light is low. Blurred vision Eye pain that is accompanied by nausea and vomiting Halos around lights Red eyes. Both of the two most common kinds of glaucoma are a result of drainage failures that lead to increased pressure within the eye.

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