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Decatur Medical Office
(404) 298-5557

Snellville Medical Office
(770) 736-7020

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FAQ

Q: When should a child see an eye doctor?

At the time of birth a child’s vision is not fully developed. Major changes take place in the first years of life. Significant eye problems in very young children are relatively uncommon (except for crossed eyes) but, when present, they must be treated very early in life. Otherwise, vision does not develop in the problem eye. The loss of sight in that eye is permanent and cannot be corrected with glasses.

Infants and children need to have their eyes examined between 3 and 6 months of age. A follow up exam by age 3 years is prudent. Pediatricians often do these early exams. Before beginning school it is prudent to have the child examined by an eye doctor.

Q: How can you tell if your infant has an eye problem?

  • Poor focus on objects after 3 months of age
  • Eyes not straight
  • An eyelid that droops
  • Eyes water with overflow tearing
  • Family history of serious eye problems

Q: What are the clues that your child may have a vision problem?

  • The eye is red, with or without discharge
  • The child squints to read or see small objects
  • Excessive blinking
  • Complaints of blurred distance vision
  • Complaints of headaches
  • Complaints of double vision

Q: What is a cataract?

Cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye. The effect is similar to that of looking through ground glass. Things look fuzzy and reading is difficult. There may be glare while driving at night. Characteristically, these changes start slowly and progress over months or years.

Q: What is the cause and how do I prevent cataracts?

There are many causes of cataracts. The most common cause is aging of the eye. Both eyes are usually affected but often to a different degree. 

There is no way to consistently prevent cataract development. Several vitamins have been shown to reduce cataract formation but their protective effect is very limited. Avoiding excessive exposure to UV light by using glasses and sunglasses with UV filters may help a little.

Q: When do I need surgery?

Generally, you need surgery when the cataracts have advanced to a point where your vision interferes with your life style. As long as you can do what you want to do, you do not have to have surgery.

Q: Why do I need to have my eye examined if I have Diabetes?

Diabetes often causes changes in the microscopic blood vessels inside the eye. This leads to poor blood circulation within the eye and to damage of the retina (the film-like membrane responsible for vision).

Q: What is retinal edema?

Damaged eye blood vessels may leak fluid into the retina. The retina swells (edema) and vision may be affected. Some forms of edema absorb spontaneously and leave no permanent damage. Other forms tend to progress and must be treated with lasers. The purpose of laser treatment is to preserve current visual level. Only 15% of patients report improvement in quality of vision after treatment. Still, treatment is very important because it tends to reduce additional visual loss. Since treatment is often unable to restore lost vision, it is important to treat early, before much vision is lost. Diabetics can help preserve their vision by undergoing periodic eye exams and by seeking care promptly when any symptoms appear.

Q: What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition in which the nerve fibers inside the eye are destroyed. There are several types of glaucoma, the most important types are primary open angle (POAG) and narrow angle glaucoma (NAG).

In POAG each eye has about 1 million nerve fibers. They come together in the back of the eye to make up the eye nerve. Glaucoma destroys nerve fibers. When many nerve fibers are lost, the eye becomes blind.

There are no symptoms until very late in the disease. There is no pain. In late POAG side vision is lost. Central vision (used for reading and similar tasks) remains relatively good. The field of vision narrows. The patient feels as if he is looking through a long narrow tube. Just the central, straight ahead vision is clear. When driving across an intersection such a patient might be able to read the license plate of the car in front of him, but would not be able to see the car coming at him from the side.

In NAG, patients often have acute attack of eye pain due to sudden increases in eye pressure. Between attacks the eye pressure is normal. These “attacks” happen when the usual watery fluid inside the eye circulate through the eye and drains out of the eye in the “angle” between the cornea (the clear window of the eye) and the iris (the colored part of the eye). Some people are born with narrow, slit-like draining angles. In such people, anything that further narrows the angle prevents adequate drainage and causes the pressure to build up.

Q: How do can I be sure I do not have glaucoma?

You need a complete, dilated eye exam. We routinely check the nerve, the eye pressure, and the draining area. If the eye exam is normal, and you do not have a family history of glaucoma, it is pretty safe to assume that you do not have glaucoma.

Q: What is Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a condition in which the macula is damaged and central vision is lost. The macula is the special area of the retina used for detailed vision (central vision). When the macula is damaged reading and similar detailed vision activity is difficult. Because dark or empty spaces block your center of vision you may have difficulty driving, doing detailed work and reading fine print. Faces may appear blurred. Straight edges and lines may appear wavy. However, with the use of low vision aids, and rehabilitation, you can learn new ways to cooks, read, write letters and live an active life.

Q: Will I go completely blind from AMD?

No. You will never go totally blind from AMD. AMD affects only the central vision. Around the macula is the retina responsible for side vision (peripheral vision). The side vision lets you know what is around you. You will be able to walk around, dress yourself and do most daily tasks. Peripheral retina is not affected by AMD and there is no loss of side vision.

If the disease progresses, you may be declared “legally blind.” Legally blind are terrifying words but they do not give an accurate picture of the situation. The situation is not nearly as bleak as those words imply. You will be partially sighted rather than blind. Because you may not be able to do certain things, such as driving, laws have been passed to help with such handicaps. Legally blind is not the same as totally blind.

Q: How did I get this disease and are there risk factors?

The cause of AMD is unknown. Smoking is the only proven risk factor. Excessive sun exposure high blood pressure and a diet low in certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants have been suspected. They have not been proven to predispose to AMD. Patients diagnosed with AMD should have eye exams every 6 months, or immediately if vision change is noticed.

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FAQ

Q: When should a child see an eye doctor?

At the time of birth a child’s vision is not fully developed. Major changes take place in the first years of life. Significant eye problems in very young children are relatively uncommon (except for crossed eyes) but, when present, they must be treated very early in life. Otherwise, vision does not develop in the problem eye. The loss of sight in that eye is permanent and cannot be corrected with glasses.

Infants and children need to have their eyes examined between 3 and 6 months of age. A follow up exam by age 3 years is prudent. Pediatricians often do these early exams. Before beginning school it is prudent to have the child examined by an eye doctor.

Q: How can you tell if your infant has an eye problem?

Q: What are the clues that your child may have a vision problem?

Q: What is a cataract?

Cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye. The effect is similar to that of looking through ground glass. Things look fuzzy and reading is difficult. There may be glare while driving at night. Characteristically, these changes start slowly and progress over months or years.

Q: What is the cause and how do I prevent cataracts?

There are many causes of cataracts. The most common cause is aging of the eye. Both eyes are usually affected but often to a different degree. 

There is no way to consistently prevent cataract development. Several vitamins have been shown to reduce cataract formation but their protective effect is very limited. Avoiding excessive exposure to UV light by using glasses and sunglasses with UV filters may help a little.

Q: When do I need surgery?

Generally, you need surgery when the cataracts have advanced to a point where your vision interferes with your life style. As long as you can do what you want to do, you do not have to have surgery.

Q: Why do I need to have my eye examined if I have Diabetes?

Diabetes often causes changes in the microscopic blood vessels inside the eye. This leads to poor blood circulation within the eye and to damage of the retina (the film-like membrane responsible for vision).

Q: What is retinal edema?

Damaged eye blood vessels may leak fluid into the retina. The retina swells (edema) and vision may be affected. Some forms of edema absorb spontaneously and leave no permanent damage. Other forms tend to progress and must be treated with lasers. The purpose of laser treatment is to preserve current visual level. Only 15% of patients report improvement in quality of vision after treatment. Still, treatment is very important because it tends to reduce additional visual loss. Since treatment is often unable to restore lost vision, it is important to treat early, before much vision is lost. Diabetics can help preserve their vision by undergoing periodic eye exams and by seeking care promptly when any symptoms appear.

Q: What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition in which the nerve fibers inside the eye are destroyed. There are several types of glaucoma, the most important types are primary open angle (POAG) and narrow angle glaucoma (NAG).

In POAG each eye has about 1 million nerve fibers. They come together in the back of the eye to make up the eye nerve. Glaucoma destroys nerve fibers. When many nerve fibers are lost, the eye becomes blind.

There are no symptoms until very late in the disease. There is no pain. In late POAG side vision is lost. Central vision (used for reading and similar tasks) remains relatively good. The field of vision narrows. The patient feels as if he is looking through a long narrow tube. Just the central, straight ahead vision is clear. When driving across an intersection such a patient might be able to read the license plate of the car in front of him, but would not be able to see the car coming at him from the side.

In NAG, patients often have acute attack of eye pain due to sudden increases in eye pressure. Between attacks the eye pressure is normal. These “attacks” happen when the usual watery fluid inside the eye circulate through the eye and drains out of the eye in the “angle” between the cornea (the clear window of the eye) and the iris (the colored part of the eye). Some people are born with narrow, slit-like draining angles. In such people, anything that further narrows the angle prevents adequate drainage and causes the pressure to build up.

Q: How do can I be sure I do not have glaucoma?

You need a complete, dilated eye exam. We routinely check the nerve, the eye pressure, and the draining area. If the eye exam is normal, and you do not have a family history of glaucoma, it is pretty safe to assume that you do not have glaucoma.

Q: What is Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a condition in which the macula is damaged and central vision is lost. The macula is the special area of the retina used for detailed vision (central vision). When the macula is damaged reading and similar detailed vision activity is difficult. Because dark or empty spaces block your center of vision you may have difficulty driving, doing detailed work and reading fine print. Faces may appear blurred. Straight edges and lines may appear wavy. However, with the use of low vision aids, and rehabilitation, you can learn new ways to cooks, read, write letters and live an active life.

Q: Will I go completely blind from AMD?

No. You will never go totally blind from AMD. AMD affects only the central vision. Around the macula is the retina responsible for side vision (peripheral vision). The side vision lets you know what is around you. You will be able to walk around, dress yourself and do most daily tasks. Peripheral retina is not affected by AMD and there is no loss of side vision.

If the disease progresses, you may be declared “legally blind.” Legally blind are terrifying words but they do not give an accurate picture of the situation. The situation is not nearly as bleak as those words imply. You will be partially sighted rather than blind. Because you may not be able to do certain things, such as driving, laws have been passed to help with such handicaps. Legally blind is not the same as totally blind.

Q: How did I get this disease and are there risk factors?

The cause of AMD is unknown. Smoking is the only proven risk factor. Excessive sun exposure high blood pressure and a diet low in certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants have been suspected. They have not been proven to predispose to AMD. Patients diagnosed with AMD should have eye exams every 6 months, or immediately if vision change is noticed.

(404) 298-5557
465 Winn Way, #10 - Decatur, GA 30030

(770) 736-7020
1700 Tree Lane Road, #135 - Snellville, GA 30078