Macular degeneration is a disease that can cause blind spots in your vision or affect your ability to see detailed objects. There are two forms of macular degeneration, dry and wet. In the dry form, which is the most common, small changes to your macula develop and begin causing little blind areas of which you may not even be aware. The dry form of macular degeneration has the potential to develop into the wet form, in which a newly formed blood vessel can leak and cause a large blind spot to form. The biggest risk factor for developing macular degeneration is a family history of the condition. Dr. Ortiz checks every patient for signs of macular degeneration as part of a comprehensive eye examination and will discuss with you any changes she notices during your exam. While there are no definitive treatments to prevent the development of macular degeneration, eating a well-balanced diet rich in anti-oxidants and other eye-healthy nutrients, as well as regularly protecting your eyes from harmful UV damage may help prevent you from developing the disease.
Cataracts are caused by the crystalline lens inside the eye gradually becoming less clear as we get older. While cataracts may worsen over time, it is important to note that they do not grow. The clouding of the lens can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common cause is UV damage that occurs throughout our lifetime. As the lens becomes cloudy, vision can become dim and hazy and may cause some difficulty with everyday tasks such as reading, watching television, and driving at night. Dr. Ortiz can help manage these visual changes with prescriptive eyewear, and if appropriate, make a referral to a respected cataract surgeon. Cataract surgery is an out-patient procedure that can bring back your bright, crisp vision.
Every patient with diabetes should have a complete dilated eye examination every year. Diabetes can damage the walls of your blood vessels and allow some blood to leak out into the body where it should not be. Your eyes are the only place in your body we can see those blood vessels to check for any damage. Diabetes can also stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that can leak and damage the retina. Any of those changes noted in the retina are called Diabetic Retinopathy. If Dr. Ortiz notices any diabetic retinopathy during your examination, she will refer you to a retinal specialist to treat those changes and prevent further damage and vision loss.
Dry eye disease is most often caused by an inability to produce the correct combination of oily and watery tears to keep the ocular surface lubricated. The most common complaints from our dry eye patients are a gritty or sandy sensation or excessive watering of the eyes. Having watery eyes may seem the opposite of having dry eyes, but the symptoms stem from the same cause. When we are not able to produce the necessary amount of oils to keep our eyes well-lubricated, our eyes tend to water to help reduce discomfort. Most people with dry eyes are able to successfully manage their symptoms with simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter lubricant eye drops. More severe cases may require stronger treatment such as prescription eye drops. Dr. Ortiz is very comfortable managing dry eye symptoms and will work with you to find the best solution to manage your condition.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve in the back of the eye sometimes called the sneak thief of vision. It gets that nickname because there are most often no symptoms or visible signs of the disease, but if left untreated can steal your peripheral vision leaving you with only a small central area through which you can see. While there are many different forms of the disease, one of the most notable factors is an increase in the pressure of the fluid inside the eye (intraocular pressure). The largest risk factor for glaucoma is having a family history of the condition. We check for signs of glaucoma during every comprehensive eye examination, but some patients that are considered ‘at risk’ for developing the disease may need more specialized testing. The basic tests include: checking your eye pressure, evaluating peripheral vision, and looking closely at the appearance of your optic nerve. The most common form of treatment for glaucoma is a prescription eye drop used one or more times daily.