For more information about each condition, download the PDF info sheet.
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Age-related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the name given to a group of chronic, degenerative retinal eye diseases that cause progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral or side vision intact. It affects the ability to read, drive, recognise faces and perform activities that require detailed vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness and severe vision loss in older Australians.
Intravitreal injections are the most successful treatment for wet AMD. It turns off the leakage of fluid into the retina, and works in more than 95 % of people with macular degeneration.
The retina is a layer of special light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that sends nerve impulses up the optic nerve to the brain. In people with diabetes, tiny blood vessels in the retina may become diseased and damaged. This process is called diabetic retinopathy. It usually affects the retina slowly, over months or years.
The area of the retina that provides the sharpest vision is called the macula. Leaking blood or fluid can cause the macular to swell (macular oedema). This causes blurred vision and is a common result of diabetic retinopathy.
Dermatochalasis (excess eyelid skin)
Dermatochalasis is a condition in which the skin above the upper eyelid is sagging and interfering with function of the upper eyelid. It is very common and usually occurs with aging. If the skin is sagging enough to interfere with vision, surgery may be required. The surgical procedure to repair this condition is called a Blepharoplasty.
Ectropion refers to the lower eyelid turning outward abnormally, and Entropion refers to the lower eyelid turning inward abnormally. These abnormal eyelid positions can be caused by several different conditions and usually lead to abnormal tearing, redness and discomfort. The surgical repair depends on the cause.
A chalazion is a localised inflammatory response involving sebaceous glands of the eyelid that occurs when the gland duct is obstructed. A chalazion may resolve spontaneously or with warm compresses, lid scrubs, and lid massage. When there is no improvement, the chalazion may be incised and drained. This can be done in a procedural room or operating theatre, depending on the age of the patient and type of anaesthesia required.
If you suffer from floaters then you are familiar with the frustrating visual disturbance caused by these cobweb and cloud-like shadows.
Floaters are small pieces of debris that float in the eye’s vitreous humour (the jelly-like substance in the main chamber of the eye). This debris casts shadows onto the retina (the light-sensitive tissue layer at the back of the eye). If you have floaters, it is these shadows that you see floating across your field of vision. If necessary, these can sometimes be treated with laser.
Lid lesions are common – lumps and bumps that appear on your lids. Many are benign and require no treatment. However, skin cancer in light-skinned people living in Australia is relatively common. Surgery is required to remove the cancer and repair the resulting missing tissue (“defect”).
If the defect is small, it may be done under simple local anaesthesia. However, if the defect is large, it may require general anaesthesia. Two basic techniques are used: Flaps and Grafts. Your doctor will choose the type of closure most appropriate for your skin defect.
Uveitis is inflammation of the eye – typically causing a red, sore eye which is sensitive to light.
The eye has three different layers of tissue: the protective outer layer called the sclera, the middle layer called the uvea, and the inner layer called the retina. The iris, ciliary body and choroid form the uvea. Uveitis is an inflammation of any part of the uvea.
Uveitis can affect other areas of the eye, for example,the retina, optic nerve or the lens.
In many cases of uveitis, a specific cause is not found, and it is called “idiopathic” or “autoimmune”. That is, the body’s own immune system reacts against the body itself. In other cases, there may be an association with some other medical disorder, infection or trauma.
Uveitis can be acute (lasting days or weeks) or chronic. Some cases of uveitis can seriously affect vision and the long-term health of the eye. Permanent loss of sight can result, but this is rare.
Types of uveitis
- Anterior uveitis or Iritis – the most common form of uvetis - primarily affects the iris, although the ciliary body can also become inflamed.
- Intermediate uveitis – affects the area just behind the ciliary body and may extend to the retina.
- Posterior uveitis – affects the back of the eye.
- Panuveitis – inflammation of the entire uvea.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms depend on the type of uveitis and may include: eye redness, eye discomfort or pain, blurred vision, increased tear production, sensitivity to light, black dots in the field of vision, smaller-than-normal pupil size.
Your medical history and medication list is important here – some drugs cause uveitis, and underlying conditions can be picked up first by an episode of uveitis - make sure you provide a complete and current medical history.
If you do not have treatment, your symptoms and condition may continue to worsen. If uveitis is associated with another medical disorder, then that condition is treated too. Except for cases where uveitis is caused by an infection (such as bacteria or a parasite), uveitis may not be curable but is generally treatable. Treatment aims to control the signs and symptoms, and prevent complications. The treatments themselves can have risks and side effects.
Uveitis is usually treated by one medication or a combination of three different medications:
- Corticosteroids to reduce eye inflammation
- Mydriatic eye drops to dilate the pupil and reduce inflammation
- In severe cases, immunosuppressants may be required to reduce inflammation by targeting the immune system
If you have any questions or concerns ask Dr Adams and she can explain further.
Vision with floaters, before treatment
Vision without floaters, following Laser Floater Treatment