Comprehensive adult ophthalmology, adult eye care, is a medical specialty involving the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and management of all manners of eye conditions from complex diseases of the eye to comprehensive vision check-ups. At Fort Worth Eye Associates, they provide professional preventive eye care to preserve healthy vision, treat a wide range of eye conditions, and perform vision correction surgery (LASIK), as well as cosmetic procedures such as Botox and blepharoplasty (corrective eyelid surgery).
What is Adult Ophthalmology “Adult Eye Care”
Adult eye care refers to any personal or professional preventive eye treatment that protects the eyes and preserves healthy vision over time. An ophthalmologist, or eye doctor, is a medical and surgical doctor who provides services such as:
- Medical Treatment: Diagnosis and treatment of mild to severe eye conditions and diseases
- Surgical Treatment: Traditional eye surgery and advanced LASER eye surgery called LASIK (Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) eye surgery
- Comprehensive Vision Screening: To check for impaired vision, abnormalities, or disease
- Prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses
Importance of an Annual Ophthalmic Exam
Maintaining healthy vision starts with having an annual ophthalmic exam which involves a series of non-invasive tests that:
- Check visual acuity and eye health
- Determine eyelid functionality
- Measure pupil response to light
- Measure curvature of the eye
- Test eye movement, focus, and teaming
Additional testing of the eyes may be recommended depending on medical history or results of preliminary tests. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends having an ophthalmic eye exam every 1-2 years, which is especially important as we age because vision typically worsens when we get older.
Symptoms of Age-related Eye Problems
- Tired eyes, especially when focusing at close distances or during/after reading
- Hazy vision
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty distinguishing intensity or shades of colors
- Eye inflammation
- Pressure within the eye
Serious eye conditions can be detected during a routine eye exam, and because many eye disorders have no obvious symptoms, keeping current with your annual ophthalmic exam is vital to long-term eye health.
Conditions Treated by Ophthalmologists
Ophthalmologists at Fort Worth Eye Associates treat all forms of eye conditions and disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease are key in preserving and protecting your vision. After your ophthalmic exam, your treatment plan will depend on the diagnosis made by your doctor. Eye treatment may involve merely adjusting your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. If other eye conditions are discovered, your doctor will discuss all treatment options with you to design a customized plan that fits your needs. With proper and early intervention, many serious, potentially blinding diseases can have successful outcomes.
Cataracts are a condition in which the lenses of the eyes become cloudy over time causing vision to appear foggy. Cataracts occur when the eye lenses become thicker and less flexible with age and the eye tissue breaks down, clouding the lens. Cataracts typically affect both eyes and eventually require surgical removal to restore sharp vision. Cataract surgery is typically performed in-office on an outpatient basis, during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear, artificial lens (intraocular lens).
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye disorders that commonly affect patients with diabetes. Diabetic eye disease encompasses:
- Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can make it harder for you to see
- Glaucoma: A group of eye disorders that lead to progressive damage to the optic nerve.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Potentially blinding condition involving retinal blood vessel changes that can lead to vessel bleeding or leakage or fluid build-up
- Diabetic macular edema (DME): Swelling in the macular region of the retina due to diabetic retinopathy
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases in adult ophthalmology resulting from elevated eye pressure levels which cause damage to the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Left untreated, glaucoma can result in vision loss or even blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can save vision. Treatment will include medication to lower eye pressure (eye drops or oral medicine) and, in some cases, possible laser or conventional surgery.
Dry Eye Syndrome – Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)
Dry eye syndrome, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a common form of the ocular surface disease (OSD) characterized by inadequate tear film due to either low tear volume or, more commonly, accelerated evaporation of tears caused by poor tear quality. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome may include:
- Gritty or foreign body sensation in the eye
- Eye irritation or dryness
- Excessive tearing
- Blurry or inconsistent vision
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Eye discharge or redness
Treatment for dry eye syndrome usually involves the use of artificial tears to hydrate the eyes and avoidance of bothersome environments, such as dusty, drafty, dry, or smoky places. In some cases, medication (topical steroid eye drops or immunosuppressants) or plugs to block tear drainage thus conserving tears (punctal plugs) may be recommended.
Strabismus also called crossed eyes, walleyes, or heterotopia: Condition caused by poor muscle control of the eye in which the eyes are misaligned causing one eye to drift outward, inward, or upward rather than the eyes moving together. Strabismus is typically treated by adjusting eye muscle tension surgically.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia (lazy eye) is a common condition, affecting 2-3 of every 100 people, caused by a poor eye-brain connection and characterized by poor vision in one eye which results in the eyes not working together properly. The weaker eye may then wander inward or outward independently, similar to strabismus. Treatment to stimulate the weaker eye may include:
- Wearing an eyepatch or corrective lenses
- Use of bangerter filter (placed over the eyeglass lens of the strong eye)
- Prescription eye drops (Atropine)
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is an outpatient surgical procedure to correct droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, fat, or muscle. Blepharoplasty can be performed on upper or lower eyelids that may be impairing vision by keeping the eyes from opening completely or by sagging down over the eyes.
Floaters and Flashers
Floaters and flashers are typically an age-related condition in which specks, cobweb-type shapes, or light flashes appear in the vision due to the gel-like substance (vitreous) in the eyes becoming more liquid. Floaters seem to be in the field of vision but are actually comprised of cell material floating inside the vitreous and casting a shadow. Flashers occur when the vitreous pulls on the retina creating the appearance of a streak of light. Occasional floaters and flashers are common as we age, but constant flashes can be a sign of a retinal tear. Persistent or bothersome floaters or flashers should be evaluated by an eye care professional.
Macular degeneration is a serious and common eye disease characterized by deterioration of the macula (central part of the retina) causing vision loss. Macular degeneration begins with blurred vision and can progress until central vision is completely lost, at which time a patient is considered to be legally blind. Peripheral vision is typically not affected. While macular degeneration is not curable, slowing progression is possible, so early detection through annual eye examinations is essential.
How to Instill Eye Drops
Learn more about how “How to Use Eye Drops in Children and Adults” is a part of the ophthalmic treatment to prevent further eye damage. These steps will help you successfully instill your eye drops and receive the maximum effectiveness and minimum side effects.
At Fort Worth Eye Associates, we combine high-quality, individualized care with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide the best possible eye care experience for our patients.
If you are experiencing symptoms of an eye disorder or are in need of an annual ophthalmic examination, please call our Fort Worth office at 817-732-5593.
Training for an ophthalmologist includes:
- 4 years college degree
- 4 years medical school
- At least 1 year internship in general medicine
- At least 3-4 years residency specializing in eye care
- Fellowship for any sub-specialty pursued like pediatric ophthalmology
- Passing a licensing exam, including ethics and legal screening
- Passing written and oral exam (if board certified)