Borchert Optometry

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Eye Diseases
Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disorder that leads to a progressive loss of vision due to damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is like a pony tail of nerve fibers gathered throughout the lining of your eyes. This pony tail bundle  leaves the back of the eye, carrying information to the brain about the objects you are seeing. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure may cause damage to the optic nerve.  Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness. Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and many people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma. When the pressure inside an eye is too high for that particular eyeball, glaucoma will develop. Unfortunately, there are very few signals that a person may experience to tell them of glaucoma's presence. We call it a silent disease. That is why Dr. Borchert will check your eye pressure during your visit to determine the risk to your optic nerve.

Cataracts

The lens is located inside the eye behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. The lens focuses light on the lining of the eye, called the retina. The lens is made of mostly proteins and water. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers. Chronic accumulation of sunlight exposure throughout life from childhood on can contribute to these lens changes.

A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending on its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc have been researched and may help reduce the progression of cataracts and some other eye diseases.


Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. It is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar, which can cause many health problems. Too much sugar in the blood can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Diabetes can contribute to formation of cataracts by causing the lens to swell with increased sugar retention. Over time, diabetes also affects the circulatory system of the retina.

Diabetic retinopathy is the result of damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. They leak blood and other fluids that cause swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Dr. Borchert will be dilating the eye to detect early changes associated with diabetes.


Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. Caucasians are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races. Women also develop AMD at an earlier age than men. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. Macular degeneration is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or  “wet”.

Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early.

Some common symptoms are: a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. If you experience any of these, contact Borchert Optometry immediately. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, low vision devices, such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can be prescribed to maximize existing vision. Eye vitamins such as Ocuvite Preservision AREDS II formula have been studied over many years and have been shown to slow down the progression of vision loss from macular degeneration. Ask Dr. Borchert about these supplements.


Flashes and Floaters

Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. At a young age, this jelly is like the consistency of a jello jiggler, more firm than watery. As we get older, the firm jello like substance melts and becomes more fluid. "Floaters" appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Spots are often caused by small flecks of protein or other matter trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth. They can also result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries.

Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems, and you should see Dr. Borchert when you notice sudden changes or see increases in spots or floaters.


Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a disorder of the eye in which the retina  peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue. Initial detachment may be localized, but without rapid treatment the entire retina may detach, leading to loss of vision and potential blindness. This is a medical emergency and if you experience symptoms, you need to call Dr. Borchert or go to the emergency room at the hospital.

The retina is a thin layer of light sensitive tissue on the walls of the eye. The optical system of the eye focuses light on the retina much like light is focused on the film or sensor in a camera. The retina translates that focused image into nerve impulses and sends them to the brain through the optic nerve. Occasionally, separation of the vitreous, injury or trauma to the eye or head may cause a small tear in the retina. The tear allows vitreous fluid to seep through it under the retina, and peel it away like a bubble in wallpaper.

Near-sighted people are at more risk of developing retinal thinning, cracks, or tears which may lead to retinal detachment due to the elongation of the eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have poor quality tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. Common symptoms include burning or gritty sensation of the eyes, feeling like a needle is suddenly poking into the eye, blurred vision, excess mucous production and eyestrain while concentrating on tasks.

With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose.

Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage. Many steps can be taken to reduce the effects of dry eye on the ocular surface. If over the counter lubricants do not help enough, there are other treatments that Dr. Borchert can prescribe which will help relieve symptoms and injury to your eyes.


Myopia (Near-sightedness)

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.

Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Some research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work.

Generally, nearsightedness first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. However, nearsightedness may also develop in adults due to visual stress or health conditions such as diabetes.

A common sign of nearsightedness is difficulty with the clarity of distant objects like a movie or TV screen or the chalkboard in school. It is important to diagnose and treat near-sightedness in a timely manner, especially in young children to help alleviate problems in school.


Hyperopia (Far-sightedness)

Farsightedness, or hyperopia,  is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.

Common signs of farsightedness include difficulty in concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, aching or burning eyes, irritability or nervousness after sustained concentration.

Common vision screenings, often done in schools, are generally not as effective in detecting farsightedness as a comprehensive optometric examination in an office. Oftentimes this means that the eyes will need to be dilated during the exam in order to relax the spasm of the muscle in the eye.

In mild cases of farsightedness, your eyes may be able to compensate without corrective lenses. In other cases, Dr. Borchert can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to optically correct farsightedness by altering the way the light enters your eyes.


Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects.

Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40's. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.

Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm's length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue and/or headaches when doing close work. Our comprehensive examination will include testing for presbyopia.

To help you compensate for presbyopia, Dr. Borchert can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, Dr. Borchert will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs.

Because the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eyewear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision.


Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.

Astigmatism is a very common vision condition. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don't affect vision and don't require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches. Contact lenses or glasses may be prescribed to help correct the vision in many cases of astigmatism.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder caused by either a bacteria, a skin condition such as dandruff of the scalp, or acne rosacea. It affects people of all ages. Although uncomfortable, blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight. Sometimes the course of treatment includes prescription ointment to help clear blepharitis. Dr. Borchert can evaluate and treat the underlying cause of the lid problem, which if left untreated, may occasionally result in loss of the eyelashes.

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