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 eye conditions

San  Anselmo  Optometry​

D I S T I N C T I V E   U N I Q U E   E Y E W E A R

          ​​​​​TOPICS ON THIS PAGE​

  •   Blepharitis & Meibomian Gland Dysfuncition 
  •   Conjunctivitis
  •   Eyelid Twitching
  •   Glaucoma
  •   Macular Degeneration
  •   Dry Eyes
  •   Seeing "Flashes, Spots & Floaters"
  •   Retinal Detachment
  •   Diabetic Retinal Changes
  •   Ocular Allergy
  •   Cataracts

Blepharitis is a common eyelash infection which may result in gritty itchy eyes.  The small rim of eyelid tissue next to our eyes has 20 small meibomian glands on each eyelid.  These glands normally supply our eye with necessary oil to keep our eyes moist and tears from evaporating.  Both Blepharitis and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are common when people experience dry  eyes or contact lens related dryness.
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Conjunctivitis can be either an irritation or an infection of the membrane that covers the white of the eye and the inside lining of the eyelid.  It has become commonly known as 'red eye' or 'pink eye' due to the significant blood vessel inflammation that can occur.  Allergies and other irritants like air pollution, eye make up, and contact lenses cause irritation conjunctivitis. Infection conjunctivitis has two categories - viral and bacterial.  The viral type usually accompanies a cold, fever, sore throat, or flue and is characterized by eye redness and watery discharge.  The bacterial type presents with eye redness, a mucous like discharge, and is usually caused by a staph or strep bacteria.
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Eyelid twitching is a common, yet annoying, occurrence. The cause of minor eyelid twitching is unknown. A slight spasm of the lower eyelid or even both eyelids is common and of no concern.  Many factors can be associated with twitching.
Lid twitching is not a sign of a serious problem.  Usually it is just frustrating to have your eyelid twitching especially if you are talking with others and they notice.  Factors such as not getting enough sleep and an unusual time of emotional stress are often involved; so try improving these if they apply to you. 
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Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve. This nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. In most cases, damage to the optic nerve is due to increased pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP). The front part of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid is always being made behind the colored part of the eye (the iris). It leaves the eye through channels in the front of the eye in an area called the anterior chamber angle, or simply the angle. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States.  
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AMD occurs when the cells in the macula break down causing loss of sight in the central part of the field of vision. The macula is the sighting center of the retina which is only an area of about a pinhead on the retina.  The macula allows you to read fine print and make out a person’s face and the details. Most often, AMD is a slow, progressive, painless disease which often affects both eyes, usually one after the other. 
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The tears that your eyes normally produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision.  Our tear film is actually made up of several components, the oily layer (on top), the watery layer (in the middle), and the mucopolysaccharide layer (on bottom). The oil layer is produced predominantly by glands in the upper and lower eyelids.  Oil deficiency develops when your eyes do not produce enough oils to protect your tears from evaporation. When the oil layer is insufficient the watery layer begins to evaporate causing the eye to become drier.
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The appearance of new floating spots in your vision may be from normal aging but because of the possibility of a retinal hole or detachment, new spots in your vision should be evaluated immediately. The appearance of flashes of light in your vision is an additional symptom that adds urgency to be checked. 
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The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. It provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail. A retinal detachment lifts or pulls the retina from its normal position. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40.
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The most common cause of acquired blindness is unfortunately diabetes.  WIth diabetes, the retina sends out signals that it needs more oxygen and consequently new blood vessels are formed. Unfortunately, these new tiny retinal blood capillaries are formed imperfect and begin to often leak fluid onto the retina and eventually cause retinal detachments and permanent loss of vision.
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Allergies can cause itching, grittiness and increased redness of the eye. Depending on the severity of symptoms there are a variety of helpful options; from cold compresses, to over-the-counter eye drops or prescription medications.
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A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age. Most people do not even realize they have a cataract, as cataracts grow very slowly and may not impede vision early on. After a number of years vision will likely be affected. When the cataract has become so dense that it compromises the patient's quality of life, the patient and optometrist will discuss the appropriate time to remove. 
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