Disorders

Changes in your vision

Click here for more details about Presbyopia.

As time passes, bodies change. Hair colors change. Skin textures change. Voices change. And, inevitably vision changes. However, changes in your vision don't have to mean a change in your lifestyle. A program of preventive eye examinations and prompt treatment of problems can keep your eyes at their best throughout your life.

PRESBYOPIA
If you're near the age of 40, you may have already experienced problems with reading anything closer than arm length.  If so, you probably have presbyopia.

Presbyopia, caused by a rigidity of the crystalline lens, robs the lens of its ability to properly focus light passing though the eye. Presbyopia is usually noticeable around age 40 and becomes more pronounced with time. You may need glasses only for reading, sewing, or doing close work unless other vision conditions also affect your eyes. Many vision conditions, including presbyopia, can also be corrected with contact lenses. Laser vision correction itself does not correct for presbyopia. We will recommend what is right for your vision condition.

 
The crossword puzzle on the right shows how someone who is developing presbyopia and needs reading glasses would see. Often people say they are using lower quality ink or printing things smaller.

TREATMENT

  • Glasses: single vision or bifocals
  • Contact Lenses
    Monovision (one lens for near and one lens for far)
    Bifocal contacts
    Combination of both

CATARACTS
Cataracts are the leading cause of reversible blindness in the United States. Cataracts cloud the normally clear transparent lens of the eyes, thus blurring vision. Like presbyopia, cataracts commonly occur with aging. A vast majority of all over 70 will have at least one cataract. They may not have to be treated, however.

 
Notice the picture on the right, the bean shaped object (lens) is yellow or cloudy (cataract).

A patient whose vision is impaired by cataracts may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A gradual, painless blurring or dimming of vision
  • Halo or haze around lights, especially at night
  • Double (or multiple) vision or trouble driving at night
  • Difficulty reading or sewing or following the path of a golf ball
  • Vision that is worse in bright sunlight especially in younger patients

Cataracts may be caused by accidents, diseases, or infections. However, the most common cause is senile cataracts, which result from aging. Senile cataracts cannot be prevented with medicine or other therapy. They can, however, be removed surgically when vision becomes too blurry. An artificial lens can be implanted to restore clear vision without the necessity of thick glasses. Sometimes glasses are needed only for reading small print! With a skilled surgeon, cataract surgery is relatively uncomplicated and has a very high success rate. Click here for more details about cataracts.

GLAUCOMA

One out every 50 people over the age of 35 suffers form glaucoma, making it one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.  Glaucoma is classically caused by a progressive increase of pressure within the eye, which causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve.

However, there are forms of glaucoma where the pressure inside the eye is normal. Your chances of developing glaucoma are even higher if you are African American; suffer from diabetes, anemia, or hardening of the arteries, migraines, sleep apnea; or have a family history of glaucoma.

 
Notice the picture on the right, the bean shaped object (lens) is yellow or cloudy (cataract)

Because most types of glaucoma develop gradually and painlessly, damage can be extensive before it is noticeable to the patient. Glaucoma can be treated, but nothing can repair nerve damage once it occurs. That is why annual, preventive eye examinations are essential after age 40.

Glaucoma is detected by a variety of tests. We have invested in diagnostic instrumentation found in the leading hospitals and glaucoma clinics: tonometry, which measures your intraoccular pressure; visual fields, which measures vision loss; GDx and OCT, which can measure beneath the eye and diagnose glaucoma up to 5 years earlier than was previously possible. Click here for more details about glaucoma.

Dr. Skowron discussing glaucoma treatment options

 

MACULAR DEGENERATION

Another condition which may affect the aging eye is macular degeneration. This occurs when the central point of focus on the retina (called the macula) is damaged.

Signs of macular degeneration are:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Loss of color visual clarity
  • A dark empty area in the center of the visual field

One reason macular degeneration often goes unnoticed is that it usually affects only one eye. In this case, the good eye compensates for the affected eye, allowing the problem to go unnoticed by the patient. This is one reason annual eye examinations are recommended after age 40. Treatment of macular degeneration may include the use special eye vitamins, medicine placed within the eye, laser surgery, and magnification devices. Click here for more details about macular degeneration.

DRY EYEThere are hundreds of tiny glands in the eyelids that produce the tears. With dry eye these glands don't produce the proper quality or quantity of tears causing the eyes to sting, burn, feel scratchy or gritty and TEAR. Yes, having dry eye can cause your eyes to tear or water. It can also be the cause stringy mucus and red eyes which are made worse by irritation from smoke or other irritants (wind, low humidity).

While dry eyes is definitely age related, it may also be caused by many prescription and nonprescription medications including antihistamines, beta-blockers, decongestants, diuretics, oral contraceptives, sleeping medications, tranquilizers, and tricyclic antidepressants. Check with us or a pharmacist if you suspect that a medication is causing dry eyes.

Dry eyes may not sound like a serious problem. However, if inadequately treated, chronic dryness can lead to corneal damage and scars.

Dry eyes can usually be treated very successfully. A humidifier placed in the house or in the bedroom is a good start. Ordinary tear-replacement drops can control mild problems. More severe problems are treated with prescription medications including the use of short term steroids and Restasis. Special, tiny removable plugs can be inserted into the tear ducts to prevent any tears that you produce from draining. Click here for more details about dry eye.

Of course there are many other conditions that occur as we age. These are the most common.

Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest about our services.

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(630) 834-6244

370 N. York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126