What is an eye emergency vs an urgency?
True eye emergencies are eye conditions that pose a direct and imminent threat and possible permanent loss of visual function. Eye emergencies may present as sudden loss of vision, visual distortion (partial or full field of vision), double vision, new onset of flashes and/or floaters, or intense, incessant (face in palms) pain in or around the eye. Some types of ocular emergencies are trauma (such as metallic foreign bodies), corneal ulcers, artery occlusions, retinal hemorrhage, retinal detachment, bacterial infections, and stroke. These conditions should be evaluated as soon as possible.
An eye urgency is any condition that causes discomfort or a disruption of visual function, but no concern of irreversible loss of function. Eye urgencies may present as ocular burning, ocular itching, lid pain, red eyes, or a scratchy sensation. Some types are dry eye, blepharitis, styes, conjunctivitis (“pink eye”), and allergies. These conditions should be evaluated within a week.
Gradual onset and progression of decreased vision and headaches associated with eyestrain or squinting would normally constitute a routine eye problem and would be scheduled upon availability.
What are common eye diseases?
As eye physicians we commonly come across many forms of eye diseases that need to be managed. Some conditions can be monitored by our doctors in office and others must be sent to specialists for intervention. Some of the common eye conditions we manage on a daily basis are:
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Conjunctivitis (‘pink eye”)
Flashes and Floaters
As the crystalline lens inside the eye ages, oxidation occurs and causes the lens to initially become yellow and in later stages brown and cloudy. As this process progresses, the vision may change and require updates to corrective lenses, glasses or contact lenses. At the point where the decreased vision is uncorrectable with lenses and is unacceptable to the patient our doctors would recommend a consultation with a cataract surgeon for removal.
The conjunctiva is a thin clear protective mucous membrane overlying the eyeball and inside of the eyelids. When this structure becomes inflamed from allergens, toxins, bacteria or viruses it is called conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”, is very contagious and every precaution should be taken to prevent the spread of the illness. Our physicians recommend an examination to determine the cause and best course of treatment.
Flashes and Floaters
Flashes and floaters are technically not a type of pathology but a symptom of a couple of different types of pathology. Vitreous degeneration is the liquefaction of the vitreous as it ages, this causes the floaters seen in the vision but also as the vitreous “sloshes” more in the globe vitreous adhesion points can be strained and pull away from the retina. This form another type of floater called a posterior vitreous detachment or PVD. As this happens it tugs on the retina causing flashes,a complication of this is retinal tear which if not caught early, often progress to retinal detachment. It is very import to be examined as soon as possible to the onset of flashes or floaters.