Eye Diseases Q & A
How are eye diseases diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis begins with a dilated eye exam and a medical history to learn about your symptoms and risk factors. The type of treatment you receive will be based on the results of your exam and may include medication, corrective lenses, lifestyle changes or surgery.
Why are dilated eye exams important?
A dilated exam widens your pupil so your eye doctor can see deep into the interior of your eye, all the way back to your retina and optic nerve head. Visualizing the nerve head and retina, including the blood vessels that supply the retina with nutrients, is important for diagnosing many diseases that can have a major impact on your eyesight and even indicate other serious health issues like tumors.
What can I do to help prevent eye disease?
The best ways to prevent eye diseases are to adopt health lifestyle habits and to have regular dilated eye exams so your eye doctor can look for signs of disease in their earliest stages, when they are most treatable. If you have specific diseases, like diabetes or high blood pressure, treating those underlying conditions is also important to avoid potential related eye damage. It's also important to have frequent exams as you get older to watch for signs of diseases more common with older age, including glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
I'm diabetic. What eye diseases should I be concerned about?
Diabetics have special risk factors when it comes to eye diseases. Three common eye diseases associated with diabetes are cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In the latter disease, elevated or uncontrolled levels of blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, resulting in vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy often causes no symptoms until its advanced stages, which makes having regular eye exams especially important.