How is macular degeneration treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, a healthy lifestyle can be important in reducing the risk of developing AMD. A healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish, supplemented with vitamins high in specific antioxidants (A, C, E and beta-carotene with zinc), can significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss.
Laser treatments can seal leaky blood vessels to reduce hemorrhaging and scarring that decrease central vision.
Recent research shows the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor type A (VEGF-A) stimulates the growth of blood vessels in patients with wet AMD. The presence of these new abnormal blood vessels impairs vision. New anti-VEGF-A medication regimens, like Lucentis, Macugen and Avastin, inhibit VEGF-A, reduce new vessel growth and result in improved vision.
Low Vision Aids:
People who suffer from macular degeneration are able to compensate for some of their vision loss through the use of low vision aids. May sophisticated magnifying devices, as well as spectacles and hand or stand magnifiers, are available. Bright illumination for reading and other close work can also be helpful.
The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. There are 6 distinct layers to the cornea. Many diseases can affect the clarity of the cornea and vision. These diseases can be inherited as well as acquired.
Diagnostic tests can determine the health of the cornea, as well as it’s thickness and contour.
Dr. Lum performs many corneal surgeries including corneal transplants (both full thickness and partial thickness).
One of the most common nuisance problems of the eye is dryness. The normal eye should be moist and glistening. An eye that is dry is uncomfortable, characterized by a burning sensation and often blurry or watery.
The tear film consists of three distinct components: an oil layer which helps prevent evaporation; an aqueous liquid layer; and a mucus layer which coats the surface of the eye. A problem in any layer of the tear film can cause dry eye symptoms.
Ventura Ophthalmology is a certified Center of Excellence for dry eye diagnosis and treatment. We have the latest technology to diagnose the cause of your dry eye. The Tear Lab as well as InflammaDry tests are available. We also treat the problem with conventional as well as the latest cutting edge techniques.
Many treatments are available to treat dry eyes, including artificial tear eye drop supplementation, nutritional supplements, Restasis® (cyclosporine), punctual plugs, anti-inflammatory eye drops and the newest treatment, the Pro-Kera amniotic membrane.
NUTRITION: Not All Omega-3s Are the Same
Omega-3 nutritional supplements have been proven to significantly improve eye health and relieve dry eye symptoms. You may already be taking a fish oil from the store, but are you taking the right one?
Supported by significant research and experience, the Dr. Lum have determined certain formulations of omega-3’s can provide the purest, most therapeutically potent omega-3 based nutritional supplements possible. When taken as recommended, they deliver a therapeutic amount of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Ask about BioTears® in the office.
PROKERA: The only FDA-cleared therapeutic device that both reduces inflammation and promotes healing
Dr. Lum is pleased to offer our patients PROKERA®, a biologic corneal bandage/medical device used by eye doctors around the world to treat eye diseases such as keratitis, recurrent corneal erosion, dry eye syndrome and chemical burns. This unique treatment is safe and effective, and it is comprised of cryopreserved amniotic membrane tissue in a thermoplastic ring set. Amniotic tissue is proven to have natural therapeutic actions to help damaged eye surfaces heal faster. PROKERA insertion occurs in the office and is a coverage procedure with most insurance plans. The biologic corneal bandage is placed on the first eye for about 4 to 7 days; the patient can continue their daily activities and use artificial tears as needed. When the bandage on the first eye is removed, the eye is evaluated and a second eye can be scheduled.
Allergies are a common ocular complaint, characterized by itching, redness and watering. Ocular allergies are often associated with dry eye syndrome. Ventura county has many sources of allergens.
Ventura Ophthalmology can test for many common allergens in the southern California area. This allergy testing is usually covered by medical insurance. Once allergens are identified, treatment and avoidance are instituted.
A variety of topical eye drops as well as oral agents are available to alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes.
Flashers and Floaters
A floater is a small clump of gel that forms in the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid which fills the cavity inside the eye. Floaters may be seen as dots, lines, cobwebs or spiders, and are most often noticed when reading, looking at a plank wall or gazing at a clear sky.
What causes floater?
While the appearance of floaters may cause concern, floaters are usually a result of the aging process. As we mature, the vitreous gel shrinks and pulls away from the retina. Floaters are especially common in nearsighted people, in people who have suffered eye injuries, and after eye surgery.
Are floaters ever serious?
Sometimes, the retina may be torn as the vitreous shrinks and pulls away from the retina. A tear through a small blood vessel in the retina may cause bleeding. Clotted blood and vitreous material may appear as a new set of floaters. Retinal tears require immediate medical attention to prevent retinal detachment. If the retina detaches from the back of the eye, partial or total loss of vision may occur.
How are floaters treated?
Although annoying, floaters are usually not vision threatening and do not require treatment. Often floaters diminish and become less bothersome with time. If a floater appears directly in the line of vision, moving the eye around will often help. However, with a complete eye examination, it can be determined if the floaters are harmless or the beginning of a more serious problem.
In cases where floaters do indicate a more serious condition, lasers can be used to prevent vision loss. This painless treatment can usually be performed as an office procedure and prevents more serious conditions, such as retinal detachment. If you are experiencing floaters you should obtain a complete eye examination.
Flashers appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in the field of vision, though no light is actually flashing. Flashers are similar to the sensation of “seeing stars” when one is hit on the head. Flashers are most often noticed at night or in a dark room.
What causes flashers?
Flashers are caused by the vitreous gel tugging at the retina. If the gel actually separates from the retina, flashes of light may appear periodically for several weeks. Flashers are usually a result of the aging process and do not indicate a serious vision problem. However, flashers which appear along with a large number of new floaters or with a loss of part of the field of vision may indicate retinal detachment, requiring an immediate eye exam.
Flashes and Migraines?
Flashes can also occur in association with migraine headaches. A migraine is caused by a spasm of blood vessels in the visual information center of the brain. Migraine related flashes distort central vision for ten to twenty minutes and appear a jagged lines or “heat waves” in both eyes.
How are flashers treated?
Unless they represent the symptoms of a more serious condition, flashers do not require treatment. Flashers which are a result of vitreous pulling away from the retina will eventually stop. However, flashers may indicate retinal detachment, which needs immediate medical treatment. If you are experiencing flashers you should obtain a complete dilate eye examination.
Blepharitis & Eyelid Diseases
Blepharitis is a common eye problem which affects the eyelids. There are multiple types of blepharitis, most characterized by redness and irritation of the eyelids as well as dandruff-like deposits on the base of the eyelashes. Usually, simply cleaning the lids and lashes on a daily basis can decrease the buildup of debris.
Blepharitis is often associated with a skin condition called acne rosacea. Untreated blepharitis can lead to eye infections and styes (pimples of the eyelids). Many blepharitis patients also have concomitant dry eye as the eyelids are the source of the oil layer of the tear film.
A consultation with our doctors can help you understand and treat blepharitis.