Eye Health FAQs

  1. How often should I have an eye exam?
  2. Am I at risk for eye disease?
  3. What is a cataract?
  4. What are cataract symptoms?
  5. Am I at risk for cataracts?
  6. How do I know if I need surgery?
  7. Can cataracts come back after surgery?
  8. What is YAG laser capsulotomy?
  9. What is the cornea?
  10. What is a corneal transplant?
  11. How successful are corneal transplants?
  12. Who needs a corneal transplant?
  13. What is blepharoplasty?
  14. How do I know blepharoplasty is the right choice for me?
  15. What is retinal detachment?
  16. What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?
  17. Am I at risk for retinal detachment?
  18. What is a vitrectomy?
  19. What is pneumatic retinopexy?
  20. What is scleral buckling?

How often should I have an eye exam?

It is recommended that everyone get an eye exam every two years, but your eye doctor may recommend more frequent exams depending on your risk factors for certain diseases. People with diabetes should be examined annually.

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Am I at risk for eye disease?

Age is the greatest risk factor for macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, especially people over age 60. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk for eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.

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What is a cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye.

The lens is what helps people focus on objects at varying distances. As part of the normal aging process, the lens can become cloudy. Left untreated, a cataract can become so dense that blindness occurs. In fact, according to the Eye Surgery Education Council, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

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What are cataract symptoms?

Typical cataract symptoms include cloudy, fuzzy, foggy or filmy vision; changes in the perception of colors; problems with night driving due to bright headlights; problems with glare from lamps or the sun; double vision; and frequent changes in the eyeglass prescription.

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Am I at risk for cataracts?

Most people who develop cataracts are older than 60. People with diabetes can also develop cataracts, as well as people who sustain an eye injury. Certain medications, such as steroids, can cause cataracts as well. Smoking accelerates cataract formation.

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How do I know if I need surgery?

Patients should discuss with their doctor their best treatment options for cataracts. If cataracts are affecting daily activities such as driving, working, housework, reading, cooking or even interacting with others, surgery may be the best option.

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Can cataracts come back after surgery?

Since the entire lens of the eye is removed during surgery, cataracts cannot return. However, many people experience the clouding of the lens capsule, which supports the replacement lens. This can develop months or years after surgery and can cause vision problems that are similar to those of the original cataract. Treatment to correct this is called YAG laser capsulotomy.

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What is YAG laser capsulotomy?

Problems after cataract surgery are rare, but can occur. Sometimes the tissue that encloses the artificial intraocular lens becomes cloudy and blurs the vision. This is called an after-cataract. This can develop months or even years after cataract surgery. This outpatient procedure is treated with a laser, called YAG laser capsulotomy.

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What is the cornea?

The cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye and is the main focusing element of the eye.

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What is a corneal transplant?

A corneal transplant replaces a disc-shaped segment of the affected cornea with a piece of healthy donor cornea. Advances in corneal transplant enable doctors to replace only the inner portion of the cornea for certain types of corneal disease. This results in much more rapid healing and improvement with less risk.

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How successful are corneal transplants?

More than 90 percent of all corneal transplants successfully restore the patient's vision.

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Who needs a corneal transplant?

A number of conditions can be treated with a corneal transplant, including clouding, swelling, scarring caused by injury or thinning of the cornea. Most corneal transplants are used to restore vision. If something disrupts the structure of your cornea - making it very thin or uneven - you might receive a corneal transplant. If you have had a painful corneal infection resulting in significant discomfort, a corneal transplant may be recommended for pain relief.

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What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is plastic surgery that removes excess skin, fat or muscle from the upper and lower eyelids.

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How do I know blepharoplasty is the right choice for me?

As people age, excess skin forms around the eye, causing the area to lose its elasticity. Fatty tissue can accumulate, and the eyes appear tired, wrinkled and puffy. This procedure may restore a youthful, refreshed appearance to your eyes. Sometimes, the excess skin interferes with vision. The best candidates are healthy and well-informed about the procedure. Some people may be excluded if they have dry eyes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Patients will determine with their doctor if it is right for them.

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What is retinal detachment?

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss. In some cases, there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment.

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What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

Symptoms include a sudden or gradual increase in either the number of floaters, which are little specks in the field of vision, and light flashes in the eye. Another symptom is the appearance of a curtain over the field of vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a retinal detachment should see an eye care professional immediately.

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Am I at risk for retinal detachment?

A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40. People more at risk are extremely nearsighted, have experienced retinal detachment in their other eye, have a family history, have had cataract surgery, have had other eye disorders or who have experienced an eye injury.

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What is a vitrectomy?

 

A vitrectomy is one of the procedures used to repair a detached retina. This procedure removes portions of the vitreous, which is sometimes necessary when the vitreous, a thick, transparent substance that fills the center of the eye, blocks the surgeon's view of the detached retina.

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What is pneumatic retinopexy?

 

This is one of many procedures used to repair retinal detachment. Medical grade gas (SF6) is injected into the eye to re-attach the retina. Reattaching the retina is necessary to restore any lost vision.

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What is scleral buckling?

Scleral buckling is a surgical procedure in which a piece of silicone plastic or sponge is sewn onto the sclera at the site of a retinal tear to push the sclera toward the retinal tear. The buckle holds the retina against the sclera until scarring seals the tear.

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