What Are the Types of Glaucoma?

a close up of a female having her eyes examined

January is Glaucoma Awareness month, a time of year where we take a close look at the condition and focus on sharing information to help patients maintain their eye health. While we covered the basics in a recent article – Understanding Glaucoma – we wanted to seize this opportunity to take a deeper dive into the topic.  

Glaucoma is often thought of as a single eye condition. However, there is more than one type of glaucoma, each with its own unique characteristics.  

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s wise to explore more about your specific variant. That way, you won’t just know more about how the condition is impacting your eye health, but also how the treatment options and outcomes can differ.  

Here’s a look at each of the types of glaucoma, including their characteristics, treatment options, and more.  

Open-Angle Glaucoma  

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition. With open-angle glaucoma, the angle between the cornea and the iris is wide and open, essentially the way it is meant to be. Issues arise when the drainage canals become blocked, preventing proper fluid flow and leading to fluid accumulation.  

As the fluid builds up, the pressure increases. That pressure ultimately causes damage to the optic nerve, disrupting vision signals between the eye and the brain.  

Many people with open-angle glaucoma are initially unaware they have the condition. The fluid buildup usually happens slowly over time and doesn’t typically result in physical discomfort. Typically, people with open-angle glaucoma only become aware once they begin experiencing vision loss unless it is caught earlier during a standard eye exam.  

Open-angle glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss, up to blindness. With proper treatment, damage can be mitigated or slowed, potentially preserving your vision. However, there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, including open-angle.  

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma  

Angle-closure glaucoma is also the result of fluid buildup. However, fluid flow is disrupted due to the narrowing of the entrance points of the drainage canals. At times, those openings are simply too small to allow for proper fluid flow. However, they can also be shut entirely, either by design or due to clogging.  

With angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms typically appear quickly. Along with vision loss, eye pain, headaches, and nausea commonly occur. There may also be eye redness as well as a halo effect around lights.   

Angle-closure glaucoma causes vision loss and may lead to blindness. It is also considered a medical emergency. As with open-angle glaucoma, there isn’t a cure. Though, with quick treatment, it’s possible to reduce the harmful effects of the condition.  

Normal-Tension Glaucoma  

With normal-tension glaucoma, pressure isn’t the issue, though optic nerve damage still occurs, resulting in vision changes or loss. In some cases, trauma may be to blame. In others, it could be heightened optic nerve sensitivity, blood flow issues, or circulation impairments.  

Normal-tension glaucoma, like the other versions, also can’t be cured. However, it can be managed, especially if caught early.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently or are experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes), Causes and Treatment

child receiving an eye exam

Strabismus – the technical term for crossed eyes – is a condition where a person’s eyes don’t point in the same direction simultaneously. Typically, it presents with at least one eye pointing up, down, in, or out compared to the other. However, both eyes can be affected.  

If you wonder what causes strabismus and what treatment options are available, here’s what you need to know.  

Risk Factors for Strabismus  

Generally, strabismus is caused by poor eye muscle control or development. For childhood strabismus, the exact reason for its occurrence isn’t always known. However, the condition tends to run in families, which could suggest a genetic component.  

Certain medical conditions may make strabismus more likely in both children and adults. For example, any muscle or nerve impacting illness could increase the occurrence of strabismus, as well as premature birth. Connective tissue disorders may be responsible, as well as brain or eye tumors.  

Head injuries can also cause crossed eyes if the movement controlling muscles or nerves are damaged. Graves’ disease or a stroke can lead to the condition as well.  

For adults, blood vessel or eye damage can be responsible. Additionally, farsightedness, cataracts, or other conditions that cause the eyes to try and compensate for vision problems may lead to strabismus development.  

Strabismus Testing  

At times, identifying strabismus is fairly straightforward. If the eyes don’t point in the same direction, strabismus is the likely diagnosis.  

However, additional tests are usually conducted to confirm strabismus. For example, your eye doctor may take turns covering each eye, allowing them to assess how each one turns and to what degree. It also allows them to determine under which conditions the turn happens.  

Strabismus Treatment Options  

Several strabismus treatment options available, though which one is best may depend on the severity of the condition. For mild strabismus, glasses may be all that’s necessary. For example, the lens over the impacted eye can be made with a prism, alleviating any symptoms while wearing their glasses.  

In some cases, wearing a patch over the stronger eye (if one is unaffected) may help. It forces the weaker eye to do more work, potentially strengthening it and leading to better alignment. Certain kinds of eye exercises may also have a similar impact.  

For many cases, strabismus correction surgery is necessary. With this, the eye muscles are adjusted to improve alignment. After surgery, additional vision therapy may be needed to enhance eye coordination and reduce the chances of a reversion.  

If you or a loved one may have strabismus, it’s wise to make an appointment with your eye doctor right away. They can assess the severity of the condition and choose an appropriate treatment option, ensuring the misalignment is compensated for or corrected before it becomes more severe.  

Western New York’s Best Eye Doctors 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health or our patients. If you suspect strabismus, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

A Big Thank You To Our Patients

Each year, ECVA hosts an annual basket raffle for the month of November to benefit a family in need at Christmas. The money raised gets matched by our physicians and this year, ECVA employees raised an amazing $7,410! 

Thanks to our patients and staff, we were able to adopt a local veteran family of 9 through Western New York Heroes which is a local veterans’ assistance organization. This would not have been possible without your support, so we want to say,  

Thank You for your generous donations! 

This is truly a rewarding experience that touches all of our hearts, particularly at the holidays and especially when we are able to assist those who served our country and their families. Our employees look forward to this project every year and are always eager to help out. 

Since starting our basket raffle in 2015, ECVA employees and partners have raised more than $31,000 to assist needy families throughout  Western New York. 

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Eye Care and Vision Associates

How to Tell If You Have a Scratched Cornea

person rubbing their eyes

The cornea is the thin, transparent outer layer of the eye that extends over the iris and pupil. Since it’s on the surface of the eye, it can sustain a direct injury.  

Corneal abrasions – or scratches on the cornea – can vary in severity. At times, the abrasion is relatively mild, causing only subtle symptoms. However, the scratches can be incredibly serious and may lead to additional problems, including corneal ulcers or iritis.  

Understanding the symptoms of a scratched cornea can help you determine if such an abrasion may cause any symptoms you’re experiencing. If you are wondering whether you have a scratched cornea, here’s what you need to know.  

Causes of a Scratched Cornea  

Generally speaking, scratched corneas can occur when something comes in contact with the surface of the eye. While it can be caused by a traumatic event, such as being intentionally or accidentally poked in the eye by a person or pet, those aren’t how must occur.  

Everyday incidental contact is a more likely culprit. For example, sand and dust getting into your eye could lead to abrasion, as well as debris from an industrial workplace. Makeup brushes can cause scratches as well, along with incorrectly removing a contact lens.  

Even dry eyes can be to blame. If your eyes get dry while sleeping, opening your eyelids in the morning can lead to abrasions due to the lack of moisture and the increased amount of friction.  

Essentially, anything that touches the cornea directly can damage the delicate tissue.  

Symptoms of a Scratched Cornea  

A scratched cornea can cause a range of symptoms, including:  

  • Eye Discomfort
  • A Gritty Sensation in the Eye
  • Eye Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Eye Redness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headache

Mild abrasions may only produce mild symptoms, such as a general feeling of discomfort. The more severe the abrasions tend to be, the more noticeable symptoms often are. However, even a mild scratch can evolve into a more dangerous condition if not properly treated.  

Common Treatment for a Scratched Cornea  

If you suspect that you’ve scratched your cornea, it’s wise to take a few steps immediately. If you have scratched cornea symptoms, remove your contact lenses (if you wear them) carefully. Additionally, please don’t wear them again until your eye is fully healed.  

Flushing the eye with a saline solution is a smart move. That will help rinse out any dust, dirt, or debris, if any is present. After rinsing, blink multiple times to help remove the particles naturally.  

Resist the urge to rub your eyes. If any particles remain on the surface or embedded in the eye, rubbing can cause additional scratches or make an existing abrasion worse.  

When to Call a Doctor  

If you’ve rinsed your eye with saline and you’re still experiencing redness, pain, or the feeling that debris is stuck in your eye, seek immediate medical attention. A corneal abrasion can be incredibly serious, and prompt treatment is necessary to avoid further damage.  

Contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist right away for an emergency appointment. That way, they can evaluate your eye and determine if additional treatment is necessary.  

Your Eye Health is Our Priority 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for our patients’ eyes, including evaluating and treating injuries as quickly as possible. If you suspect a corneal abrasion, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Caring for Your Eyes in Cold Weather

When the temperature drops, it’s essential to adjust your eye care routine. Dry heat, UV light, and outdoor activities can increase certain risks. As a result, you need to make sure you care for your eyes correctly.  

Luckily, it’s easy to adjust your routine to account for cold weather. If you want to make sure your eyes stay safe and healthy, here’s what you need to know.  

Dealing with Dry Heat  

When you turn on your home or workplace’s heaters during the winter, the air gets drier. Not only can the reduced humidity lead to dry skin, but it can also dry out your eyes, making them itchy and uncomfortable.  

One of the simplest ways to counteract the dryness is with a humidifier. This adds moisture back into the air, which can make your eyes feel more comfortable. Eye drops are also beneficial for quick infusions of moisture.  

If you wear contact lenses, make sure you select eye drops made for contact lens wearers. If you’re still struggling with dry eyes after that, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor. They may switch you to a different brand that uses a material that better combats dryness.  

Blocking Reflective UV Light  

Many people overlook the power of the sun during the winter, mainly because the temperature is lower. However, harmful UV rays do still exist, and they can bounce off of material like snow. In fact, UV light is more dangerous in snowy conditions because of snow’s reflective qualities.  

Usually, your best defense against UV light is a pair of sunglasses with lenses designed to block UVA and UVB rays. That limits the amount of UV light that actually reaches your eye, making it less likely that your eyes will be harmed.  

Contact lens wearers can also choose a brand with UV blocking abilities. This gives you an additional layer of protection against UV rays that aren’t blocked by sunglasses.  

Protecting Eyes During Activities  

Winter activities like skiing, ice skating, and snowball fights can be great options for getting exercise during the winter. However, while participating, your eyes could be at risk.  

Falls in the snow, snowballs hitting your face, and ice particles created by skating could harm your eyes. If you want to make sure that debris can’t damage your eyes, eye protection is a must. Choose options that won’t fog and that are designed for the activity, ensuring they won’t fall off while you’re having fun.  

Ultimately, just a few small changes to your eye care routine can make a big difference. It ensures your eyes stay safe, allowing you to avoid damage caused by dryness, UV light, or debris.  

Are You Overdue for an Eye Exam? 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for patients’ eyes and will help you choose approaches that can keep your eyes healthy all year-long. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

But My Vision Is Fine – Why Everyone Needs Eye Exams

Many people assume that if they can see clearly, their eyes must be healthy. As a result, they skip regular eye exams or only come in when they think there’s a problem.  

However, while vision changes could undoubtedly indicate a problem, eye diseases don’t always impact your ability to see clearly. If you are wondering why you should get regular eye exams, even when your vision is fine, here’s what you need to know.  

Everyone Needs Eye Exams  

Eye exams are about more than vision correction. They allow your eye doctor to look for signs of disease or particular conditions. This increases the odds that any problems are spotted early, reducing the odds that your vision will be harmed.  

Eye conditions and vision changes can occur at any age. That’s why everyone needs to keep up with their regular eye exams, even if their vision seems fine.  

Eyes Exams Are Thorough But Quick  

In most cases, a comprehensive eye exam takes one to two hours. While that sounds like a long time, that’s a drop in the bucket when you think of how many hours are in a year. Generally, you only need to go once every two years as an adult if you don’t have risk factors for a condition or a family history of eye issues. For adults over 60 and children, an annual exam is best since eye health and vision quality can change rapidly during those times.  

Plus, it ensures that your eye doctor has enough time to test your vision, examine the health of your retina, check for signs of glaucoma, assess your peripheral vision, and much more. Plus, if you need corrective lenses, part of that time will determine your prescription, fitting contact lenses, and similar activities.  

Eye Diseases Can Start Symptomless  

During the early stages of many eye diseases, there are no obvious symptoms. For example, the condition may not initially cause vision or physical changes that a person would notice.  

However, during an eye exam, those early signs can be detectable. Your eye doctor may notice an issue before it causes any harm, allowing them to start treatment and potentially save your vision.  

Your Eye Doctor Is an Important Part of Your Healthcare Team 

By going to your regular eye appointments and using the same eye doctor or clinic, your eye doctor becomes an integral part of your healthcare team. They will get to know you, allowing them to monitor potential signs of trouble or changes that are unique to you. As a result, they may spot problems faster, allowing them to intervene at the earliest possible moment.  

If you haven’t had a regular eye exam within the last one to two years, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. That way, they can check the quality of your vision and your eyes’ health, ensuring you are in the best shape possible.  

Schedule Your Routine Eye Exam in Buffalo 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for patients’ eye health and visual acuity, allowing them to identify changes early and intervene as quickly as possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Types of Low Vision

There are numerous types of vision acuity changes, each with its own signs and symptoms. Some are simply differences in severity, while others cause losses in different areas. If you are wondering about the types of low vision, here’s a look at the most common kinds.  

Central Vision Loss  

With central vision loss, a person usually has a blurry section or blind spot in the middle of their visual field. However, the vision issue doesn’t extend to their peripheral (side) vision.  

Often, a person with central vision loss has difficulties reading. They may struggle with recognizing faces, as well as identifying details at a distance.  

In most cases, central vision loss has a limited impact (if any) on mobility. The remaining peripheral vision gives the person enough to generally move about safely.  

Peripheral Vision Loss  

Essentially a counter to central vision loss, with peripheral vision loss, the blurriness or blind spots can be on one or both sides, above, below, or all around the central portion of the visual area. Usually, the person can see directly ahead, creating a form of tunnel vision.  

Reading, identifying people’s faces, and even seeing at a distance may be manageable with peripheral vision loss. However, mobility may be impacted if the peripheral vision loss is severe. Additionally, in serious cases, reading speed may be slowed, as only a couple of words may be visible at a given time.  

Blurred Vision  

With blurred vision, a person’s entire visual field is affected. Everything may appear to be out of focus, regardless of whether an object is close or far away. The issue also remains even with corrective lenses.  

However, the field of view isn’t necessarily cloudy. Colors can remain clean and crisp, even as the objects seem to be out of focus. For example, a healthy grass lawn may appear vibrantly green, but the blades of grass can’t be separately identified.  

Generalized Hazy Vision  

At times referred to as cloudy vision, generalized hazy vision also impacts the entire visual field. It’s not unlike trying to see through glare or a film, or as if a fog has come to rest permanently in front of the person’s eyes.  

Light Sensitivity  

In extreme cases, light sensitivity significantly alters a person’s vision. It occurs when normal lighting conditions seemingly overwhelm the person’s eyes, causing images to appear washed out. At times, light sensitivity can be accompanied by physical discomfort or pain even when the area’s lighting is considered a normal level.  

Night Blindness  

With night blindness, a person can’t see in dimly lit spaces, such as movie theatres or outside at night. Starlight and moonlight are usually insufficient. Even vehicle headlights may not provide enough illumination for them to drive safely.  

Ultimately, if you are struggling with low vision, scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor is essential. The ECVA team will work diligently to determine the cause of your low vision, ensuring proper steps can be taken to ensure your eyes’ health and preserve or restore your vision when possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Do I Need Readers?

Over time, a person’s vision typically changes. Losing near vision is one such change, frequently impacting people as they reach their 40s and beyond. It’s a normal part of the aging process, leading to a condition called presbyopia.  

One normal response to this shift in visual acuity is to get reading glasses or readers. These types of corrective lenses can help you see items that you’re holding up close, such as the pages of a book you want to read.  

If you want to know if you need readers, here’s what you need to know.  

What Is Presbyopia?  

First, it’s important to understand a bit about what presbyopia is and what it isn’t. Presbyopia is a form of farsightedness caused by an eye’s loss of lens elasticity, something that generally happens naturally as a person ages, usually starting when a person is in their mid-40s.  

As the lens hardens, it struggles to focus properly, impacting visual acuity. Having trouble reading is usually one of the first signs of presbyopia, leading people to hold objects further away in an attempt to focus on the text.  

However, presbyopia is not the only form of farsightedness. Hyperopia – a form of farsightedness – also makes it harder to view items that are close to your eyes. But hyperopia is caused by irregularities in the eye’s shape, not a loss of elasticity.  

How to Tell If You Need Readers  

Figuring out whether your vision changes are related to presbyopia, hyperopia, or another eye condition usually requires a thorough eye exam. That way, they can determine which course of treatment is best.  

If it is presbyopia, glasses are usually the answer. For people who don’t have any issues with their distance vision, readers may be all you need. They allow you to increase your up-close visual acuity when you need it, such as when you’re reading. Then, you can take them off when you’re relying on your distance vision.  

In the early stages of presbyopia, readers with diopters of +1.25 to +1.50 are usually enough. However, as your vision continues to change, you may need stronger reading glasses, potentially up to +2.50 to +2.75 by the time you reach your late 50s or early 60s.  

However, if your distance vision also needs correction, then bifocals may be a better choice. A section near each lens base will have a different prescription, one dedicated to close tasks like reading. The upper portion of the lens will have your distance vision prescription, allowing you to cover both visual issues. When you need your near vision, you simply focus through the lower section of the lens. When you don’t, you use the mid to upper portion.  

As with readers, your bifocals may also need to be adjusted over time. That way, you can have the right strength, allowing you to see up close with greater ease.  

If you think you may have presbyopia or are experiencing any vision changes, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for patients’ health and will help determine the cause of your vision changes and identify the right course of treatment. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

We Are Growing Our Team To Meet Western New York’s Growing Vision And Eye Care Needs

Eye Care & Vision Associates, LLP (ECVA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. David Styn, O.D. A licensed optometrist, Styn will be responsible for providing primary eye care for patients, including eye health exams and vision correction.

This key hire provides ECVA with a tremendous opportunity to better serve the Western New York community. The demand for eye care services has been strong, and the addition of Dr. Styn enables ECVA to increase the delivery of eye care services and reduce patient wait time. As an optometrist, Dr. Styn will free ECVA’s Orchard Park and Williamsville ophthalmologists to focus more on acute care patients as needed.

Born and raised in Western New York, Styn received his undergraduate degree in biology from Canisius College and earned his O.D. from Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role, and has both received his therapeutic certification and been published in Review of Optometry. “I’m thrilled to join ECVA’s team and excited to do what I love most: improve patients’ vision,” said Styn. “This organization is much more than an eye care practice. They’re a team of medical, surgical and optical professionals who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality eye care, resulting in the best quality outcomes. I’m looking forward to pursuing my passion, working hand-in-hand with Western New York’s top eye care experts to help people see and live better.”

“We are excited to have Dr. Styn become a member of the ECVA team because of his strong reputation as a highly successful optometrist in the Western New York community,” said ECVA CEO Bradley Hall. “His addition bolsters the clinical strength of our already phenomenal team, while helping ECVA to fulfill our strategic plans of expanding both our footprint in the Western New York community, as well as the availability of primary care optometric services within our practice.

“With more than 20 years of successful experience as an optometrist, Dr. Styn has earned a strong reputation in the area for providing exceptional customer service and high quality care for his patients,” continued Hall. “We welcome Dr. Styn’s overall enthusiasm and passion for providing extraordinary optometric care.”

Offering patient eye care through state-of-the-art technology, experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists, surgeons and optometrists, and a dedicated and caring staff, Eye Care & Vision Associates is a recognized leader in cataract and lasik surgery, eye exams, diabetic eye care, glaucoma management and medical retina treatment.

Schedule Your Eye Care Appointment With Dr. Styn Today

Dr. Styn is currently seeing patients at our Williamsville and Orchard Park locations. Schedule your appointment online today, we would love to help you see more clearly!

A Deeper Look into Macular Degeneration

Previously, we’ve discussed the signs and symptoms of macular degeneration and treatment options available through your eye doctor. While it’s important to understand the kind of changes that can indicate macular degeneration, ensuring you seek assistance from an eye doctor quickly, there’s more to the condition.  

Today, we are going to take a deeper look into macular degeneration. If you are wondering what causes the conditions and if there are any steps you can take to reduce your odds of getting it, here’s what you need to know.  

Causes of Macular Degeneration  

There are two main kinds of macular degeneration: dry form and wet form. With dry macular degeneration, drusen – a sort of fat deposit – may appear in the macula. The exact cause of drusen themselves isn’t known, though some believe it is waste from a person’s retina.  

While a few small drusen may not cause any vision issues, as the yellow deposits grow or become more numerous, they can lead to vision dimming or distortions. Usually, people first notice the changes when they are trying to read. However, in time, dry macular degeneration can harm the light-sensitive cells in your macula. It’s also possible to develop blind spots, typically in your central vision.  

Wet form macular degeneration has a different cause. It develops when blood vessels grow in spots underneath the macular where they shouldn’t be, allowing fluid and blood to leak into your retina. Usually, this results in distorted vision, like straight lines appearing wavy. Central vision loss and blind spots can also develop, particularly if there is scarring. Like drusen, it isn’t entirely known why the errant blood vessels form.  

Dry macular degeneration can be a cause of the wet form. This causes some to believe that the development of the blood vessels is an attempt to rid the eye of the drusen. However, the wet form can develop without dry form, so there may be other catalysts involved.  

Preventative Measures for Macular Degeneration  

While it may not be entirely possible to prevent macular degeneration, there are steps people can take to lessen their chances of getting the condition. For example, quitting smoking is a smart move, as there could be a connection between smoking and macular degeneration. Similarly, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays could help.  

Eating a balanced diet is also wise. It ensures you consume enough critical vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health. Plus, obesity is a risk factor, and eating a healthy diet may help you avoid being overweight.  

Taking in enough antioxidants (either through diet or with supplements) could also reduce your macular degeneration chances. Additionally, being mindful of your cardiovascular health could make a difference, as individuals with pre-existing heart and blood vessel conditions may be at higher risk of macular degeneration.  

Finally, keep up with your eye doctor appointments. By catching macular degeneration early, your chances of preserving your vision go up significantly.  

If you haven’t been screened for macular degeneration recently or are experiencing any vision changes, see your eye doctor as soon as possible. At ECVA, our team works diligently to care for our patients, including screening for and treating macular degeneration. If you want to ensure that your eyes are healthy, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.