There are numerous types of eye emergencies. At our practice we see them all.
- Corneal abrasions – a scratch on the cornea, can cause perfuse tearing, sensitivity to light and extreme sharp shooting pain.
- Vitreous floater – can be a simple degenerative change of the vitreous, the jelly inside the back of the eye. It is made up of water and proteins. The proteins and the water may separate causing the proteins to coalesce together. At that point a black spot appears to be floating in your vision. Sometimes, the vitreous separates from the retina and a piece of retina is torn. Usually, flashes of light are associated with this event. A patient experiencing such a phenomenon must see their eye doctor immediately, since there is a high risk of a retinal detachment.
- Eye infections – a patient usually notices red eyes, discharge, tearing, burning and discomfort.
- Allergic conjunctivitis – patients that have seasonal or environmental allergies may notice itchy, red, tearing eyes. This condition is easily treated with prescription eye drops.
- Central vein/artery occlusions – patients with Hypertension or high cholesterol can have a blockage of their arterial or venous system supplying the retina. This type of event causes severe loss of vision and must be further investigated with extensive blood work and a cardiac evaluation.
In general always remember to call your doctor if:
- Your have red or painful eyes.
- You have flaking, discharge, or a lesion on your eye or eyelid.
- You have had trauma to your eye, or you have a bulging eye or a drooping eyelid.
- Sudden loss of vision.
- Flashes, floaters or a curtain covering your eyes.
- Double vision.
- Pain with eye movements.
LASIK, (Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis) is currently one of the most frequently performed elective procedures in North America. It is a highly effective outpatient procedure, often referred to as refractive surgery, and is used to correct myopia and hyperopia, as well as astigmatism. This procedure, which is performed by ophthalmologist’s and trained LASIK surgeons, uses a cool beam of light from the excimer laser to gently reshape the front surface (cornea) of your eye. This is done by creating a corneal flap on the surface of the eye, which is peeled back to allow the excimer laser to begin reshaping.
Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is a refractive surgery technique developed by Italian doctor, Massimo Camellin, MD and first publicized in 1999. The motivation behind LASEK was to find a surface ablation technique like PRK that induced less discomfort, offers a lower incidence of corneal haze, and provides the patient with faster vision recovery time.
The concern between LASEK and LASIK is the Lasik flap. Although it provides the patient with more comfort, virtually eliminates the probability of haze, and offers very quick visual recovery, if the flap exists, there will be the possibility of flap related problems. Those potential problems do not stop when you leave the surgery suite. Once you have had Lasik you have always had Lasik and you must always consider that your eye is fundamentally and forever changed.
The PRK process uses an excimer laser to sculpt an area 5 to 9 millimeters in diameter on the surface of the eye. This process removes only 5-10% of the thickness of the cornea for mild to moderate myopia and up to 30% for extreme myopia – about the thickness of 1 to 3 human hairs. The major benefit of this procedure is that the integrity and the strength of the corneal dome is retained. The excimer laser is set at a wavelength of 193nm, which can remove a microscopic corneal cell layer without damaging any adjoining cells. This allows the practitioner to make extremely accurate and specific modifications to the cornea with little trauma to the eye.
This ability to sculpt, rather than cut, opens up the arena for treating additional vision conditions. At this stage, there are excimer laser machines that with a combination of masks and computer controls, can reliably treat myopia, hyperopia and now astigmatism.