How does Keratoconus Affect my Eyes?

eye services Boise, IDKeratoconus is a rare eye disease. It can be genetic and typically develops during the teenage years, though it has been diagnosed later in life. Keratoconus is a condition wherein the cornea changes from a dome to a cone shape. This basic overview will help you understand the signs of keratoconus and how it can affect your eyesight.

The cause

Keratoconus occurs when miniscule protein fibers, known as collagen, are not strong enough to hold the structure of the cornea intact. Collagen will weaken when antioxidant levels become too low. As a result, the normal dome-shaped cornea will progressively take on the form of a cone. Studies show that keratoconus can run in families. If you have the condition and have children, be sure to schedule them for regular eye exams beginning at age 10.

The diagnosis

As the cornea transforms from a dome to a cone shape, the eye will have a more difficult time focusing. Keratoconus will change vision in two specific ways. First, as the shape of the cornea alters, the surface of the cornea will start to become wavy. This is known as astigmatism. Second, as the shape of the cornea begins to expand, you will become nearsighted and will only be able to see objects right in front of you. The symptoms that point to keratoconus include: lights streaking, seeing double or triple, double vision when using just one eye, an abrupt change in eyesight, and bright lights that seem to have halos.

The treatment

After you are diagnosed with keratoconus, your doctor will likely begin treatment by fitting you to new eyeglasses or contact lenses. If your case is mild, glasses may be all you need. If this does not help, a treatment called cornea collagen crosslinking can halt the progression of keratoconus. Another treatment involves using a laser to smooth out the eye and help your contact lenses rest more comfortably in place. In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

Schedule an exam

The best way to keep your eye health in check is to make sure you regularly visit your eye doctor. At the Eye Associates, we pride ourselves on quality eye care and look forward to addressing your concerns and questions. Arrange your appointment today by calling MERIDIAN: 208-342-5151 or CALDWELL: 208-459-0717.

Cleansing for the Eyes

eye care services Boise, IDWe like to be clean. The value of cleanliness and hygiene was taught to us from the time we were children. Remember learning to brush your teeth, and how encouraging it was to get gold stars from your parents, or a small treasure from the dentist? By adulthood, the idea of hygiene is so ingrained that we rarely think about it. The problem is, what we learned in childhood – brush and floss and wash our hands – falls a little short. There is such a thing as hygiene for the eyes, and it is something we all want to know.

It is commonly known that the eyes – the ocular structure that allows us to see – are pretty complex. As small as they are, the eyes have numerous parts, and they all need to work together with the brain. When we think of the eyelids, this knowledge of complexity goes right out the window. Eyelids are just the skin that covers the eyes, right? Not really.

There are two types of skin on the eyelids. That alone is rather impressive, but there’s more. The eyelids are also where eyelashes sit, and that means relatively good-sized hair follicles right along the margin of the lid. Finally, it is on the eyelids where glands produce the fluids that keep the eyes moist and clean. Part of the fluid that is secreted by these glands is oil. These factors create prime conditions for bacteria. The eyelashes trap bacteria that may spread from the hands to the eyes, then these microorganisms stick in the oil that is present around the lashes. When this happens, inflammation is likely to follow.

Inflammation at the lid-margin is referred to as blepharitis. This may not be a full-blown infection like conjunctivitis, or pink eye, but it is uncomfortable and frustrating nonetheless. Some people experience such intense symptoms that they require treatment to “shake off” the bacteria-laden crust that has encapsulated the base of the eyelashes. You may not need to go this far.

Eyelid hygiene is not something that should begin after the eyes have become red and gritty, it can begin today. If it does, it may keep you from the pain of blepharitis. To clean the eyelids, apply a warm, moist cloth over the eyes for a few minutes. This loosens hair follicles and softens oil that may have dried around them. Then, a very gentle motion of the eyes can be made to remove the loosened matter from the eyelid. Baby soap may also be used to periodically clean the eyes, as this does not irritate.

There are several ways to pamper the eyes; routine cleansing is one. For personal eye care from our friendly team, call our Meridian or Caldwell office.

If You’ve got High Blood Sugar, You Need to Know about Blurry Vision!

eye care services Boise, IDBlood sugar levels can be a difficult matter to manage for many people. In some cases, diabetes is a genetic problem affecting the metabolic system. In others, the onset of diabetes stems from diet, and how insulin is used by the body to regulate the amount of glucose, or sugar, that is in the blood. We need sugar to fuel our cells, but too much, in particular, can instigate a number of health concerns.

Because sugar is used in every cell of the body, there really is no part of the body that isn’t at risk when the function of insulin and sugar is disrupted. Diabetes can become a chronic condition that ultimately causes secondary health problems, including certain eye diseases that may lead to blurry vision and, eventually, vision loss.

We encourage our patients to take special note of changes to their eyesight. Blurring may be an early warning sign for . . .

  • Macular edema, which is a type of pressure inside the eye. Macular edema describes a swollen macula, the center area of the retina is what enables us to see directly in front of us. The macula that is inundated with excess fluid becomes swollen and thick, which then leads to vision distortions such as blurriness or waves.
  • Glaucoma, or pressure on the optic nerve. Glaucoma is also related to excess fluid inside the structure of the eye. In this condition, fluid buildup occurs in the front of the eye. Glaucoma is a serious condition due to the potential for irreparable damage to the optic nerve, causing vision loss.
  • Proliferative retinopathy, an advanced form of this retinal disease. Diabetic proliferative retinopathy indicates potentially severe damage to the retina due to the growth of delicate new blood vessels within this structure. The weak nature of these vessels allows blood to lead out into the retina and the vitreous fluid of the eye, causing blurring and cloudiness.
  • Cataracts cause more cases of vision loss than any of the previously mentioned conditions. Diabetes is one of the leading risk factors in the development of cataracts, which cloud the eye’s lens gradually over time. Cataracts are not on the lens, they are integrated within it, a buildup of the protein that is naturally present in this structure.

Blurred vision is a good reason to see your eye doctor, even in between annual eye exams. The Eye Associates has locations in Caldwell and Meridian, where we provide friendly, professional service. Contact us for your visit.