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Glacier Eye Clinic - FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

I have a red spot over the white of the eye what do I have?

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is similar to an ordinary bruise except that the bruise is to the eye. It usually appears as a single red spot or many red splotches spread out over the sclera, the white part of the eye.

Seeing a subconjunctival hemorrhage on the eye can be alarming, but it is quite common, it is usually harmless, and it will heal on its own. It will not affect your vision and usually will not cause pain.

The most common causes of this condition are sneezing, coughing, straining, or anything that raises the blood pressure in the veins, leading to a small rupture in a blood vessel or capillary. Other causes include rubbing the eye vigorously or trauma to the eye. Rare causes include blood clots or systemic blood disorders.

Even though a subconjunctival hemorrhage can seem alarming, treatment is generally not necessary. The blood spot will slowly disappear on its own. If your eye is irritated, an ophthalmologist may recommend using over-the-counter artificial tears.

I see floating objects and flashing lights in my vision what should I do?

As one gets older, the vitreous (the clear, gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye) tends to shrink slightly and take on a more watery consistency. Sometimes as the vitreous shrinks, it separates from its normal attachments and manifests as floaters. Sometimes it exerts enough force on the retina to make it tear. The appearance of flashing lights, floating objects, or a gray curtain moving across the field of vision can be indications of a retinal tear or detachment. If any of these occur, see an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) right away.

I think I have dry eyes what should I do?

Your eyes constantly produce tears at a slow and steady rate so that they stay moist and comfortable. Some people are not able to produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy or comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye.

Symptoms of dry eye include scratchiness, stinging, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, and blurry vision.

Dry eye often increases with age as tear production slows. For women, this is especially true after menopause. Dry eye can be associated with other problems like Sjögren’s syndrome, which can cause dry eyes along with dry mouth and arthritis.

Treatments for dry eye include eye drops called artificial tears to lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture. Your ophthalmologist may conserve your tears by closing the channels through which your tears drain. You can also try to prevent tears from evaporating by avoiding wind and dry air from overheated rooms and hair dryers. Smoking irritates dry eyes and should be avoided.

Can pills cure Age Related Macular Degeneration?

**Link to AMD in our website under heading Comprehensive Retina**

When should my infant or child be seen by an ophthalmologist?

Children are examined for any rare congenital problems at birth and at each well-child examination by the primary care physician, who will check for problems that may not be apparent to the parent or child but that could have serious consequences for the child’s vision. When the child is old enough, the primary care physician will perform a more formal vision screening examination. If the parent or the child’s doctor has any concerns, or if there is a family history of strabismus, amblyopia, or other eye conditions, the child should be referred to an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) for evaluation.

Conditions that the primary care physician will screen for include:

  • strabismus (misaligned eyes);
  • amblyopia (“lazy eye”);
  • ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid); and
  • decreased vision

If the child is referred to an ophthalmologist, he or she will conduct a physical examination of the eyes, using eye chart tests, pictures, or letters to test the child’s ability to see form and detail of objects, and to assess for any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism).

Vision problems in children can be serious, but if caught in time and treated early, the child’s good vision can be protected.

I just started to get double vision, what should I do?

Diplopia is double vision caused by a problem with the muscles that control the eye or the nerves that stimulate those muscles.

Many conditions can cause diplopia. Double vision is usually a symptom of strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), due to the improper movement of one or more eye muscles. Strabismus is most often found in children, but it can develop later in life. A growth in the eyelid pressing on the front of the eyeball can also cause temporary double vision. Rarely, double vision arises because of an abnormality within the eye, such as a dislocation of the eye’s natural lens.

The onset of double vision in adulthood should be brought to the attention of your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D) immediately to exclude the possibility of a tumor, aneurysm, or neurological problem.).

What is pink eye?

“Pink eye,” the common name for conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the outer, normally clear covering of the sclera (the white part of the eye). The eye appears pink when you have conjunctivitis because the blood vessels of the conjunctiva are dilated. Pink eye is often accompanied by a discharge, but vision is usually normal and discomfort is mild.

Either a bacterial or a viral infection may cause conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is much more common. It may last several weeks and is frequently accompanied by a respiratory infection (or cold). Antibiotic drops or ointments usually do not help, but symptomatic treatment such as cool compresses or over-the-counter decongestant eye drops can be used while the infection runs it course. Unlike viral conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with a variety of antibiotic eye drops or ointments, which usually cure the infection in a day or two.

Conjunctivitis can be very contagious. People who have it should not share towels or pillowcases and should wash their hands frequently. They may need to stay home from school or work, and they should stay out of swimming pools.

Vision is usually normal when pink eye is caused by conjunctivitis. If your vision is affected or you experience eye pain, it is recommended that you see an ophthalmologist.

What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist?

Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and in what they can diagnose and treat.

As a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. He or she diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery, and prescribes and fits glasses and contact lenses.

Ophthalmologists complete

  • four years of college;
  • four years of medical school;
  • one year of internship; and
  • at least three years of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the eye.

While all ophthalmologists specialize in eye problems and can treat all conditions, some decide to concentrate in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. These ophthalmologists are called subspecialists. They usually complete a fellowship, which requires one or two more years of training in the chosen area. Some subspecialists focus on the treatment of a disease, such as glaucoma. Others sub specialize in a particular part of the eye, such as the retina. Pediatric ophthalmologists sub specialize in treating eye disease in children.

An Optometrist is a doctor of optometry, licensed to practice optometry. Optometrists determine the need for glasses and contact lenses, prescribe optical correction, and screen for abnormalities of the eye. They attend two to four years of college and four years of optometry school.

In some states, optometrists can prescribe certain kinds of drugs to help diagnose and treat some eye conditions. Optometrists do not perform surgery.

An optician is licensed by the state to make optical aids. He or she fits, adjusts, and dispenses eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical devices according to the prescription of a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. Training for opticians varies from a preceptorship to two years of opticianry school.

What causes a temporary loss of vision or blackout of vision?

A transient loss of vision is often referred to as amaurosis fugax. This is most often caused by an embolic event or a small piece of cholesterol or clot travelling to the eye temporarily blocking the circulation. If you or anyone you know experiences this then you need a prompt evaluation by your ophthalmologist. He may order further testing such as an ultrasound of the neck or heart.

  • Is it OK if my baby’s eyes cross?

One common form of strabismus, or misaligned eyes, is called esotropia. Esotropia, or “crossed” eyes, occurs when the eyes turn inward. Esotropia can be both congenital, when it occurs in infants, and accommodative, which is more likely to develop after two years of age.

The main sign of esotropia is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes children will squint one eye in bright sunlight or tilt their head in order to use their eyes together.

Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is closely related to esotropia. Children learn to suppress the double vision associated with esotropia so effectively that the deviating eye gradually loses vision. It may be necessary to patch the good eye and have the child wear eyeglasses before treating the esotropia. If you think your child’s eyes are crossing they need to be seen by an ophthalmologist to determine if there is a problem.

Esotropia is often treated by surgically adjusting the tension on the eye muscles under general anesthesia. The goal of surgery is to get the eyes close enough to perfectly straight so that it is hard to see any residual deviation. Surgery usually improves the condition, and though the results are rarely perfect, they are usually better in young children.