Macular Degeneration Treatment Options in Western New York

Macular degeneration is an eye condition that leads to visual distortions and potentially permanent central vision loss. Often, it’s a devastating diagnosis initially, but there are treatments available that can help preserve vision and slow further degeneration.  

The exact treatment options available depend on the kind of AMD present. Here’s a brief overview of macular degeneration, including a look at the two primary types and some treatment options.  

What Is Macular Degeneration?  

Age-related macular degeneration – which some simply refer to as macular degeneration – is an eye condition impacting the retina that leads to central vision loss. The loss of visual acuity in AMD patients classically worsens over time, and it can be severe. Overall, AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in individuals aged 50 and older. There are two primary forms of AMD: wet and dry.  

Dry macular degeneration occurs when drusen collects in the macula, leading to visual distortions and damage to the macula. Wet AMD involves abnormal blood vessel activity under the macular, causing visual distortions and scarring that can lead to central vision loss.  

Treatment Options for Wet AMD  

There are several treatment options for wet AMD. Anti-VEGF medications can reduce abnormal vessels in the retina, as well as slow leakage. These treatments are delivered via an injection and administered by a suitably credentialed eye care provider. Generally, the medication is administered on a regular schedule, typically every one to three months. For many people, this approach may dramatically slow or halt vision loss, and some patients may even experience vision improvements.  

For some patients with wet AMD, laser surgery is potentially beneficial, particularly if the medication-based approach isn’t yielding positive results. The laser procedures allow an eye care provider to reduce the number of vessels present or stem any leaking, which can slow the progression of AMD.  

Treatment Options for Dry AMD  

Currently, treatments are available for patients with dry AMD with geographic atrophy. There are prescription medications available that an eye care specialist can administer by injection.  

Specific nutritional supplements are also potentially beneficial. Taking copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc daily may make a difference, though it’s wise to consult with your eye care provider before incorporating any supplements into your diet.  

Finally, some patients with advanced dry AMD in both eyes may benefit from telescopic lens implantation. Once in place, the lenses magnify a person’s field of vision, though they offer a relatively narrow field of view.  

Finding the Right Macular Degeneration Treatment Option for You  

Determining which macular degeneration treatment options are best for you requires expertise. By scheduling an appointment with your eye care provider, you can find out more information about your condition and receive details about treatments that may benefit you.  

Get The Best Macular Degeneration Treatment in Buffalo, NY 

Take the proactive step towards preserving your vision – schedule a consultation with ECVA today at one of our 4 WNY locations. Don’t let macular degeneration define your vision, act now to see a clearer tomorrow. 

Cataract Surgery Success Rate

Cataract surgery is among the most common types of surgery. While it was once an inpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia, it can now be performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. This approach is more convenient, safer, and less expensive, and cataract surgery success rates have never been higher. Traditionally, cataract surgery has been performed with a scalpel, but lasers are increasingly used. Patients report little pain and a quick recovery in most cases. Cataract surgery success rates are very high, reportedly 97-98%, according to recent studies, and few complications are encountered.  

Who Performs Cataract Surgery?

If you’re looking for an eye doctor for cataracts, ophthalmologists are the specialists who perform this type of surgery. If you’ve never had eye surgery before, your eye care has most likely been managed by optometrists or opticians. Optometrists are licensed professionals who can perform eye examinations and diagnose and treat some conditions, but they are not medical doctors. Conditions that require surgery, such as cataracts, must be referred to an ophthalmologist. If you have glasses or contacts, you’ll know your optician as the helpful person who ensures they fit correctly. 

What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?

Any surgery comes with a degree of risk, but cataract surgery complications are rare and seldom serious. All long as the patient follows the post-operative instructions their ophthalmologist gives them, the chances they will experience any side effects are low. There are three serious potential issues to be aware of: retinal detachment, swelling of the eye and eye infection. Familiarize yourself with the following symptoms and report any occurrences to your ophthalmologist immediately. While these cataract surgery complications are serious if ignored, prompt treatment can keep you and your vision healthy. 

Retinal Detachment

Cataract surgery has been shown to cause a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment. For patients with other eye disorders, such as high myopia – a rare type of severe nearsightedness – the risk of retinal detachment is even higher. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss. 

Retinal detachment is usually painless. The symptoms you are likely to notice are a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light. Floaters are just what they sound like – little specks that seem to float around in your vision. If you notice these symptoms, don’t take a nap or wait to see if they clear up on their own, contact your doctor immediately, even if they occur after hours. The sooner retinal detachment is treated, the better the chances of preserving some or all of your vision. 

Swelling of the Eye

Some post-surgical swelling of the eye is not unusual. It can increase during the first 24 hours after surgery. It can be alarming to notice that your vision was better immediately right after surgery than a day later. Chances are, the swelling will go down on its own, but if it’s severe and not dissipating as your instructions indicated that it would, don’t hesitate to contact the ophthalmologist who performed your cataract surgery. They may tell you to use your steroid eye drops more frequently or prescribe something different or more potent. 

Eye Infection

Preventing eye infection often comes down to meticulous hygiene. Your ophthalmologist will do their part by prescribing antibiotic drops for you to begin using before surgery and continue afterward. You can do your part by using the drops as prescribed and washing your hands well with soap before using the drops or touching the eye area. Also, take care not to touch the surface of your eye or your eyelashes with the dropper.  

Is Cataract Surgery Always Successful?

While the cataract surgery success rate is high, it’s not 100%. It’s possible for your vision to be worse than before the surgery or blurry. Typically, this is due to issues such as waiting too long to have cataract surgery performed, which can lead to difficulties with the surgery.  

Can Cataracts Come Back After Surgery?

Once cataracts are removed, they cannot grow back, but a new one can form. These secondary cataracts are called posterior capsular opacification(PCO). Secondary cataract symptoms take months or years to develop and are becoming rarer as technology has advanced. Reasons for an increased risk of PCO include age (secondary cataract symptoms are more common among younger patients), diabetes, uveitis, myotonic dystrophy, and retinitis pigmentosa. Cataracts caused by injury are more likely to lead to secondary contact symptoms. 

Secondary cataract symptoms to watch for include blurry vision, glare or halos from headlights and issues with vision such as trouble reading, driving, watching television and sometimes difficulty with color perception. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your cataract ophthalmologist.  

How Long Does it Take to Recover From Cataract Surgery?

After cataract surgery, most people can go back to work and resume other daily activities in a couple of days. Full recovery can take as long as eight weeks and your vision should stabilize within 3-6 weeks. The closer you follow the instructions of your ophthalmologist, the better your chance of being a cataract surgery success story.  

What Should You Look For in a Cataract Surgeon in Buffalo? 

When you’re trusting someone with your vision, you want an ophthalmologist you can trust. Look for a surgeon specializing in cataract surgery and up to date on the latest studies and technologies. Look for reviews and recommendations and review the credentials and experience of any cataract surgeon you consider. Be sure to ask your surgeon relevant questions such as how many surgeries they have performed and their cataract surgery success rate. 

Credentials of a Cataract Surgeon

Your surgeon should be board certified in ophthalmology if they have the training and skills required to perform cataract surgery successfully. You should also check that the doctor has no malpractice suits or disciplinary actions on their record. Healthgrades.com is a good source for conducting this research.  

Experience

Even though cataract surgery is relatively simple and risk-free, you don’t want to put your eyesight in the hands of someone who doesn’t have plenty of experience. Surgery performed by an ophthalmologist with plenty of experience increases the chances of successful cataract surgery. A doctor who has performed the surgery many times before will know exactly what to watch for. 

Choosing the Right Cataract Surgeon in Buffalo

If you have been identified as a candidate for cataract surgery, you may wonder what the next step is. If an optometrist diagnosed you, they may refer you to a specific ophthalmologist, or provide you with a list to choose from. If they did not refer you, there are several ways to find qualified cataract ophthalmologists in Buffalo. If you have friends or family who have undergone cataract surgery, they may be able to provide recommendations for cataract eye doctors in Buffalo. If not, your insurance company may be able to help, or you can request referrals from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patient’s eyes and vision are our priority. That’s why we encourage you to watch for early signs of cataracts and see your eye doctor regularly. If you are experiencing vision changes or haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, 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. 

Your Safety is Our Priority

Starting on Monday, May 18, 2020, all ECVA locations will be re-opening. Our goal is to provide high-quality eye care services to each and every one of our patients during these unprecedented times.

Your safety is our priority. As a result, we will be taking extra precautions to ensure your health as well as the health of our staff. We are adhering to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to preserve the well-being of everyone who comes into our clinics. Here is an overview of any changes you may experience when coming in for an eye care appointment.

Socially Distanced Waiting Areas

Each of the waiting rooms in our clinics has been reconfigured. The adjustments support social distancing standards, ensuring patients can remain appropriately separated during their visits.

Protective Shielding

Reducing the spread of germs is essential. Each ECVA clinic now has protective shielding installed in the reception areas, a step that can mitigate the spread of diseases.

Surgical Mask Requirements

When coming in for an office visit, all patients will have to wear surgical masks. This step can help reduce the spread of germs, keeping both patients and staff members safer.

PPE Use by Staff

When appropriate, staff members may choose to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE). Along with surgical masks, this can include medical gloves, protective face shields, and protective eyewear.

Handwashing Practices

Handwashing can be an effective approach for combating the spread of germs. Our clinics now have new standards in place that promote more frequent handwashing, a step that enhances safety for patients and staff members alike.

Disinfecting

While disinfecting surfaces has always been a priority at ECVA, those efforts are currently enhanced. Along with all equipment used on patients, seating areas and work surfaces are be disinfected regularly throughout the day.

Visitor Limits

As a means of keeping patients and staff members protected, we are requesting that friends or family members who arrive at an appointment with a patient remain in their vehicles. If that is not possible, we ask that only those with an appointment head into the exam room to meet with their doctor.

Rescheduling

If you or a household member are experiencing symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19, or you have been recently exposed to anyone with symptoms, we ask that you reschedule your office appointment. The potential symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever

We would also like to reiterate that the situation is fluid, and new precautions may be implemented should the need arise. If you have questions regarding the new processes or about your upcoming appointment, or have an emergency eye care need, please contact the ECVA main office at (716) 631-8888. Our team will be happy to speak with you.

We also thank our patients for their patience during these unique times. We look forward to seeing you again starting on May 18.

Corona Virus Patient Message

The health and safety of our patients and staff is a top priority for Eye Care and Vision Associates (ECVA). We are closely monitoring updates from trusted health care organizations and governmental recommendations regarding the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19).

Please be advised that as a health care provider, we will continue to provide services for our patients as necessary. We will also be adhering to infection control guidelines as provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

So that we can mitigate the spread of infectious disease, ECVA respectfully requests that you please contact our office @ (716) 631-3937 (Eyes) to reschedule your office appointment if:

  1. You are feeling ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms
  2. Have experienced a fever in the last 24 hours
  3. Have a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
  4. Been exposed to anyone with the above symptoms or has been diagnosed with the Corona Virus
  5. Traveled to a region with a known transmission of the Corona Virus per the CDC website within the past 14 days.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and for the trust that you have placed in ECVA.

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) in Adults

Amblyopia – also known as lazy eye – is an eye condition that isn’t caused by an underlying disease. Usually, it only impacts one eye. However, there are some patients that have amblyopia in both eyes. 

Adults with the condition often experience reduced vision that isn’t always correctable with glasses or contact lenses. Typically, the vision loss is due to how the brain treats input from the amblyopic eye or eyes. Instead of fully acknowledging the visual stimuli, the brain seemingly ignores the visuals. While the eye may also point inward or outward, the physical misalignment isn’t the source of the vision reduction. 

Signs of Amblyopia 

Certain symptoms are common with amblyopia. One or both eyes may wander inward or outward, or both eyes may not seem to be working together. Depth perception tends to be poor, and a person with amblyopia may squint or shut one eye to achieve greater visual acuity. Head tilting when examining an object is also a possible sign, along with frequent eye strain, eye fatigue, or headaches. 

In many cases, amblyopia is detectable during a vision screening as well. Since eye exams look at visual acuity in a variety of scenarios, the visual acuity reduction can typically be identified. 

Typical Causes of Amblyopia 

One of the most common causes of amblyopia is strabismus, a condition where one eye is turned, preventing proper alignment between both eyes. Another potential source of lazy eye is anisometropia, where each eye has different levels of visual acuity. Trauma and eye blockage (such as a drooping eyelid) may also cause amblyopia. 

The reason these conditions can lead to amblyopia is the difference in visual capability. If one eye is capable of seeing clearly, but the other isn’t, the brain suppresses the information that is coming from the latter eye. That processing change can result in permanent vision loss. 

Treatment for Amblyopia 

Many people believe that amblyopia is only treatable in children, often those who are 12 years of age or younger. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. While every patient is different, some adults can see results from amblyopia treatment. 

Typically, eye patching or drops alone isn’t sufficient. While this may increase the visual acuity of the amblyopic eye, the approach isn’t guaranteed to result in better binocular vision (when both eyes work together). Without training to learn how to combine visuals from both eyes simultaneously, the overall results tend to be lackluster and don’t often stand the test of time. 

Luckily, there are other treatment options. Optometric vision therapy can help patients by engaging their eyes during activities that require binocular vision and encompass all distances (far, middle, and near). 

Essentially, the amblyopic eye undergoes physical therapy in conjunction with the healthy eye. And, in many cases, the visual acuity improvements can be substantial. 

There isn’t technically a surgery to correct amblyopia. However, if another condition is involved, such as strabismus, then surgical correction of that condition may be necessary. That way, it will be easier to train both eyes to work together. 

If you have amblyopia and are looking for treatment options, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our talented team works diligently to ensure your eye health, performing thorough exams to identify any issues that may need correcting. We can design treatment options to meet your unique needs, providing the best outcome possible. 

Learn the Difference Between Seeing an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist

When you choose an eye care provider, you are trusting the health of your eyes and quality of your vision to that professional. Many patients mistakenly assume that optometrists and ophthalmologists are the same, particularly since both are doctors that focus on the eye.

However, optometrists and ophthalmologists are actually very different. Before you entrust your vision and eye health to a doctor, here’s what you need to know about the difference between seeing an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.

What is an Optometrist?

Optometrists are eye health specialists who have earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. They have specialized education and training that allow them to perform exams that can spot vision issues and a variety of eye health problems. However, an OD is not a medical doctor (MD), so they are governed by different rules regarding medical care.

An optometrist can prescribe corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses. Additionally, they are licensed to prescribe medications that can treat certain eye-related conditions or diseases.

However, precisely how much medical care an optometrist can provide is determined by state law, though it is almost never as comprehensive as you can receive from an MD. For example, optometrists are usually not licensed or trained to perform eye surgeries, though there are a few exceptions.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

Unlike an optometrist, an ophthalmologist is typically an MD. These professionals went to medical school, completed medical internships, residencies, and, possibly, fellowships, focusing their studies on the eye and surrounding areas.

Ophthalmologists are not only trained to perform vision exams, identify eye health issues, prescribe corrective lenses, and treat various eye conditions, they are also able to perform eye surgeries. Essentially, an ophthalmologist can offer complete eye care services beyond what an optometrist is allowed to provide. This can include providing surgical care for diagnoses like cataracts, glaucoma, strabismus and more. Additionally, they can prescribe medications for the treatment of more complicated conditions, such as diabetes, that is impacting vision quality or eye health.

Choosing Between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist

While both an optometrist and an ophthalmologist can assist with vision correction and address a range of eye health concerns, ophthalmologists have additional knowledge and capabilities that allow them to offer complete eye care. By choosing an ophthalmologist, you can receive comprehensive care from a single doctor, limiting the need for referrals for treating certain eye health concerns or conditions.

Alternatively, by choosing a clinic that has optometrists and ophthalmologists on staff, you can get a similar result. You have access to all of the specialists you may need under a single roof, allowing you to see the ideal professional based on your needs at any given point in time.

If you are concerned about your vision or eye health or haven’t seen an eye care professional recently, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our experienced ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work diligently to keep our patients’ eyes in the best condition possible and to correct vision issues quickly and efficiently, ensuring their vision remains clear and their eyes stay healthy.

TALK WITH ONE OF OUR EYE CARE PROFESSIONALS TODAY!

If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit www.ecvaeyecare.com .

Vision & Aging: What You Need to Know

As we age, our vision usually changes. Both eye disease and vision loss become more common as people get older, particularly once a person reaches their 60s and beyond.

Certain changes are normal and aren’t a signal of any kind of underlying disease. Others could be signs of more serious health problems. However, in both cases, if you don’t get your eyes checked regularly, your quality of life could diminish quickly.

Common Vision Changes as We Age

One of the most common forms of vision changes people experience is presbyopia. The lens of the eye starts to struggle to change shape, making it harder to focus on objects that are close to you. Often, people first notice these shifts in their vision when they are reading, as they have to hold the text further away to be able to focus.

In many cases, presbyopia is easy to correct with reading glasses, regular prescription glasses or contact lenses. Some other options, like corrective surgeries, can also restore visual acuity.

Cataracts are also increasingly common as a person ages. The formation of cataracts makes it hard to see clearly, but they can typically be removed with a simple and highly effective surgery.

Major Age-Related Eye Diseases

Certain vision changes are signs of a more serious condition. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among older members of the population. As the macula deteriorates, central vision starts to fade. Over time, reading, driving, recognizing faces, using a computer and a variety of other tasks become more challenging. However, when caught early, treatment can limit the damage caused by macular degeneration and may even restore some visual acuity.

For every decade after you reach 40, your risk of developing glaucoma increases. As the optic nerve is damaged, vision loss occurs. Over time, blindness is a possibility. Without regular eye exams, spotting glaucoma before permanent damage is done is nearly impossible. However, when detected early, treatments can prevent or slow vision loss.

If you have diabetes, you are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to blindness. High blood glucose levels damage the blood vessels in the retina, preventing proper blood flow. In some cases, new blood vessels develop in the wrong parts of the eye, causing vision loss. Once you have diabetic retinopathy, you need to work with a medical provider to ensure you get the proper treatments.

The best way to identify and manage age-related vision changes and eye conditions is to see your ophthalmologist or optometrist regularly. During an exam, they can look for signs of changes and discuss any vision-related concerns you may have, as well as develop treatment plans to preserve your vision. If you haven’t seen an eye doctor recently, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our experienced ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work diligently to maintain the health of the eyes of our patients and to correct vision issues in patients of all ages, ensuring their eyes remain healthy and they can see clearly.

Talk With One Of Our Eye Care Professionals Today!

If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit www.ecvaeyecare.com .

Shield Your Eyes: Why UV Sunglasses Are Important

Most people understand that exposure to ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays can lead to sunburns or cause skin cancer. However, not as many people realize that UV light can harm their eyes as well, potentially leading to some serious health problems.

By wearing sunglasses that offer UV protection, you can prevent at least some of these harmful rays from reaching your eyes. If you want to know more about why UV sunglasses are important, here’s what you need to know.

Eye Problems and UV Light

Exposure to UV rays from the sun has been linked to several eye-related issues. Cataracts, photokeratitis, macular degeneration, pterygia, and pinguecula have all been connected to UV exposure, either as a potential cause or as something that can accelerate the condition.

Additionally, uveal melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer and is strongly connected to exposure to UV rays. It isn’t unlike most melanomas that show up on the skin; it is just limited to the eye area.

Understanding UV Light

UV rays are part of the light spectrum, though these rays aren’t detectable by the naked eye. Also known as ultraviolet radiation, UV rays fall into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVC is potentially the most harmful form, but the atmosphere’s ozone layer blocks nearly all UVC rays. UVB does make it through the atmosphere to a degree, and the cornea can absorb 100 percent of these rays, potentially leading to photokeratitis, pinguecula, and pterygium.

UVA has the ability to pass through the cornea and reach the retina and lens. Overexposure has been linked to some forms of cataracts, and it may lead to the development of macular degeneration.

Why UV Sunglasses are Important

UV sunglasses are often the best form of protection against potentially harmful UV rays. The lenses can prevent the UV rays from making their way to your eyes, reducing your level of exposure dramatically when the sunglasses are worn.

If you want the best possible protection, look for sunglasses that block 100% of every type of UV ray. Additionally, opt for wraparound sunglasses, as they cover the eyes more completely.

Sunglass lenses don’t necessarily have to be dark to be effective against UV rays. Even lighter or less opaque lenses can perform well if they are treated with the right coatings.

Prescription and non-prescription sunglasses can be made with UV-blocking lenses. If you would like to learn more about UV sunglasses or want to have an eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our experienced ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work diligently to maintain the health of the eyes of our patients, including identifying eye problems that may be the result of overexposure to harmful UV light. Additionally, our optical shop can help you select lenses that will protect you from potentially damaging UV rays, ensuring your eyes are always protected.

Book An Appointment Today!

If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit www.ecvaeyecare.com .

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Maintaining the health of your eyes is essential. Otherwise, a medical condition could cause irreparable damage, causing you to lose visual acuity or your ability to see.

If you suffer from diabetes, you could be at risk for diabetic retinopathy, a harmful condition that can rob you of your vision. Here’s what you need to know about this damaging eye disease.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, in the simplest terms, is an eye disease that can occur in people who have diabetes and rob them of their vision. High blood sugar levels (blood glucose levels) can damage the blood vessels in the retina. Damaged blood vessels can lead to swelling and even leaking. In some cases, the blood vessels close, preventing blood from flowing properly in the eye. In both of those cases, your vision can be compromised, leading to diminished clarity or partial or full blindness.

At times, diabetic retinopathy can lead to the growth of new blood vessels on the retina. When this occurs, damage to your vision is possible, including falling acuity and even varying degrees of blindness.

Those in the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy may not know they have the condition. Often, the earliest symptoms can only be spotted during a thorough eye exam. However, noticeable symptoms do eventually occur, including blurriness, an increased number of floaters, vision changes, dark or black spots in the field of vision, declining night vision, and colors looking washed out or faded.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

First, your ophthalmologist will take a detailed medical history. As they proceed, they will ask you about any current medical conditions and whether you are experiencing any symptoms that could make you prone to diabetic retinopathy or indicate you may have the condition.

During an exam, the ophthalmologist uses drops to dilate your eyes, causing your pupils to widen. Then, they can examine your eye with a special lens, allowing them to look for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

In some cases, your ophthalmologist may perform a fluorescein angiography. A special dye is injected into a vein, typically in your arm. Then, once the dye reaches the blood vessels in your eye, images are captured with a special camera, letting your ophthalmologist to see any blockages, leaks, or abnormal blood vessel growth.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an alternative approach for closely examining the retina. A specialized machine scans the eye, providing highly detailed images that can help your ophthalmologist spot signs of diabetic retinopathy.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

If your ophthalmologist diagnoses you with diabetic retinopathy, they may recommend certain treatments based on how the condition presents in your eyes. Typically, they will discuss blood sugar control options that can help slow the condition or even restore some of your vision.

They may also recommend an anti-VEGF medication, a prescription designed the limit swelling in the macula of the eye and potentially stop or reverse vision loss, or steroids, which also reduce inflammation. These medications are administered by a medical professional as it has to be given as an injection in the eye.

Laser surgery is another potential treatment. The lasers can seal leaking blood vessels and reduce swelling. They can also shrink intrusive blood vessels and potentially prevent them from recurring.

In more advanced cases, vitrectomy – a surgical procedure that removes blood from leaking vessels and vitreous gel toward the back of the eye – allows light to properly pass through the retina. This can help improve your vision and slow the progression of the condition.

If you are concerned about the health of your eyes or have not had a recent checkup, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA location today. Our skilled ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work diligently to maintain the health of your eyes and to correct vision issues, ensuring your eyes remain in the best shape possible and you can see clearly.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit www.ecvaeyecare.com .