Eye Care Services FAQ

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the eye care services provided at Miramar.


Q. What is the retina?
A.

The retina is a thin sheet of nerve tissue in the back of the eye where light rays are focused and transmitted to the brain.

Q.

What is the vitreous?

A.

The vitreous is a gel-like substance that fills the eye and is connected to the retina, optic nerve and many blood vessels.

Q.

How can retina-vitreous problems be treated?

A.

Problems with the retina and vitreous -- including retinal tear, retinal detachment, severe intraocular infection (endophthalmitis) and trauma -- can lead to vision loss and even blindness. Surgery can correct problems before vision is lost or prevent further deterioration from occurring.

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Q.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

A.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). When these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches, vision loss occurs. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters and blind spots - and, eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible.

Q.

Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?

A.

Yes. People with diabetes are most susceptible to developing it, but your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Regular eye exams are an integral part of making sure your eyes are healthy.

Q.

Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?

A.

Although damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be corrected, patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.

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Q.

I have diabetes. Should I have an eye exam?

A.

Yes! Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. These and other serious conditions often develop without vision loss or pain, so significant damage may be done to the eyes by the time the patient notices any symptoms. For this reason it is very important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined once a year. The eye is examined through a dilated pupil, and our ophthalmologists look for signs of developing problems in the eye's structures and blood vessels. Diagnosing and treating eye disease early can prevent vision loss. It is also important to maintain a steady blood-sugar level, take prescribed medications, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking.

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Q.

What is LASIK?

A.

LASIK stands for laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis. It adjusts the curvature of the cornea to improve the eye's ability to focus light.

During the procedure, a device called a microkeratome creates a flap in the outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium. Patients are given topical anesthesia and a mild sedative so they are awake but calm and cannot feel the instruments. The epithelial flap is lifted and an excimer laser beam adjusts corneal curvature so objects no longer appear blurry. The flap is then closed.

The entire LASIK procedure takes only 15-30 minutes per eye, and patients are often ready to leave the office within an hour or two.

Q.

How does refractive surgery improve vision?

A.

The cornea is the clear covering on the front of the eye which bends, or refracts, light rays that focus on the retina in the back of the eye. A certain shape, or curvature, is required in order for light to focus exactly on the retina rather than in front of it or behind it. Corneal curvature may be surgically corrected using LASIK, LASEK or other refractive procedures to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. A thorough eye examination and consultation are necessary before a treatment decision can be made.

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Q. What is glaucoma?
A.

One of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises high enough to damage the optic nerve. It cannot be prevented, and vision lost to it cannot be restored. The high eye pressure associated with glaucoma is caused by blockages in the eye's fluid drains. No one knows yet why the blockages form. People at the greatest risk include those who are over the age of 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or who have a family history of glaucoma.

Q.

Does glaucoma have any symptoms?

A.

Glaucoma often develops over many years without causing pain - so you may not experience vision loss until the disease has progressed. Symptoms are occasionally present and should be taken as warning signs that glaucoma may be developing; these include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, halo effects around lights and painful or reddened eyes.

Q.

Is glaucoma treatable?

A.

Once diagnosed, glaucoma can be controlled. Treatments to lower pressure in the eye include non-surgical methods such as prescription eye drops and medications, laser therapy, and surgery.

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Q.

What is a cataract? Who is at risk for developing them?

A.

A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens in the front of the eye. Cataracts are caused by a chemical change of unknown origin in the eye, and cause blurred or distorted vision. People at risk for developing cataracts are over 55 years old, have had eye injuries or disease, have a family history of cataracts, smoke cigarettes or use certain medications.

Q.

Can cataracts be prevented?

A.

They cannot be prevented from forming, but early detection through regular eye exams can help maintain the clearest vision possible.

Q.

Are there symptoms associated with cataracts?

A.

There is no pain associated with the condition, but there are several symptoms that indicate failing vision due to cataracts. These include:

  • Blurred/hazy vision
  • Spots in front of the eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to glare
  • A feeling of "film" over the eye(s)
  • A temporary improvement in near vision
Q.

How are cataracts treated?

A.

Vision loss from cataracts can often be corrected with prescription glasses and contact lenses. For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, replacement surgery may be the preferred method of treatment. During cataract replacement (the most common surgical procedure in the country), the lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens implant or IOL.

More Frequently Asked Questions >>

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