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CATARACT AND GLAUCOMA CENTER

610 South 8th Street, El Centro, CA 92243
534 South 8th Street, El Centro, CA 92243
760-335-3737

Home About Dr. Chavez Services Laser Services Contact Testimonials FAQ
   •  My eyes don't hurt and my vision is clear. Why should I have an eye exam?
   •  What is glaucoma? Am I at risk?
   •  What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?
   •  What is a cataract? Who is at risk for developing them?
   •  How are cataracts treated?
   •  What is diabetic retinopathy and how is it treated?
   •  Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?
   •  What are the symptoms of dry eye and how is it treated?
   •  What is Astigmatism?

My eyes don't hurt and my vision is clear. Why should I have an eye exam?

Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining your eyes' health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss so you may not notice anything wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done. Early detection of any problems can allow for a choice of treatment options or prevent further harm.

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What is glaucoma? Am I at risk?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises high enough to damage the optic nerve. Symptoms include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, halo effects around lights and painful or reddened eyes. Testing by an ophthalmologist or optometrist can detect glaucoma before symptoms appear and begin treatment to prevent vision loss.

People at greatest risk for developing glaucoma include those who are over 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or have a family history of glaucoma.

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What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration occurs when the center of the retina degrades, causing a progressive loss of vision. Symptoms include:

   •  A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
   •  A gradual loss of color vision
   •  Distorted vision
   •  A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision

There are two kinds of macular degeneration: "wet" and "dry." The "wet" form can be treated in its early stages. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.

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

A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens in the front of the eye. Cataracts aren't painful, but they do cause symptoms, including:

   •  Blurred/hazy vision
   •  Spots in front of the eye(s)
   •  Sensitivity to glare
   •  A feeling of film over the eye(s)

People at risk for developing cataracts include those who are over 55, have had eye injuries or disease, have a family history of cataracts, smoke cigarettes or use certain medications.

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How are cataracts treated?

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

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What is diabetic retinopathy and how is it treated?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that nourish the retina. Vision can be lost if these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches. In its advanced stages, diabetic retinopathy can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters and blind spots and, eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible. However, treatment can slow disease progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.

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Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?

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 remain healthy.

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What are the symptoms of dry eye and how is it treated?

Dry eye often occurs during the natural aging process. It can also form as a result of eyelid or blinking problems, certain medications such as antihistamines and oral contraceptives, climate (low humidity, wind, dust), injury, and various health problems such as arthritis.

Symptoms include:

   •  Irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes
   •  A burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes
   •  Blurred vision

In addition to being uncomfortable, dry eye can damage eye tissue, scar the cornea and impair vision. Dry eye is not preventable, but it can be controlled before harm is done to your eyes.

Treatment can take many forms. Non-surgical methods include blinking exercises, increasing humidity at home or work, and use of artificial tears or moisturizing ointment. If these methods fail, small punctal plugs may be inserted in the corners of the eyes to limit tear drainage, or the drainage tubes in the eyes may be surgically closed.

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What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision condition, or refractive error, that often accompanies myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). A refractive error means that the shape of your eye doesn't refract the light properly, so that the image you see is blurred. Astigmatism occurs when the curvature of the cornea is irregularly shaped, scattering light rays entering the eye so that they are focused both in front of and behind the retina, rather than directly on the retina. Vision is blurred at all distances. For our eyes to be able to see, light rays must be bent or "refracted" so they can focus directly on the retina, the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye. Together the cornea and the lens refract light rays. The retina receives the picture formed by these light rays and sends the image to the brain through the optic nerve.

What causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism results when the eye is shaped more like a football than a baseball, which is the normal shape of the eye. Many people are born with this oblong shape and the resulting vision problem may get worse over time.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of astigmatism include difficulty maintaining a clear focus on both near and far objects, eyestrain, fatigue and headaches.

How is Astigmatism diagnosed?

Astigmatism is detected during a comprehensive eye exam through a test called refraction. Using a phoropter, an instrument that determines the type and measures the amount of refractive error present, your eye doctor will determine your exact prescription.

What are the treatment options?

Prescription glasses, contact lenses, and LASIK surgery (laser vision correction) are treatment options to optically correct astigmatism.

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