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Everything You Need to Know About Corneal Transplants

Monday, February 25, 2019

 CORNEAL TRANSPLANT SURGERY

 

WHAT IS THE CORNEA?

The cornea is the clear front “windshield” of your eye.  It helps to bring an image into focus for you to see.  Like a mirror, the cornea needs to be as smooth and clear as possible to give you the best vision possible.  The cornea also contains very sensitive nerve endings that can become exposed with an abrasion, or scratch.
 
 

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH THE CORNEA?

There are some diseases that are specific to the cornea that can cause pain, discomfort, blurred vision or distorted vision.  An Ophthalmologist has tools to help the cornea heal, including topical medications or drops, as well as minor in-office procedures, if necessary.
 
A few conditions, however, cannot be treated in the ways mentioned above due to the severity of the condition or location within the cornea.  If the cornea is distorted (Keratoconus) or contains scar tissue that prevents you from having good vision, an operation can be performed to correct it.  
 
 

WHAT IS A CORNEAL TRANSPLANT?

A full-thickness corneal transplant, also known as Penetrating Keratoplasty, or “PKP,” involves removing the scarred cornea, and replacing it with tissue from a donor.  This procedure typically involves stitches which hold the new cornea in place until it heals.  In addition, you’ll want to be frequently monitored by your doctor.
 
If a disease is localized to the innermost layer of the cornea, common in a condition known as Fuch’s Dystrophy, then only that innermost layer needs to be transplanted or replaced.  This is referred to as “Endothelial Keratoplasty” or partial-thickness transplant.  While this procedure has been around for more than 20 years, advances in techniques continue to improve the surgery so that people may even see a perfect “20/20” again after a corneal transplant!  
 
The physicians at Georgia Ophthalmology are proud to offer their patients the latest in full and partial thickness transplant surgery.
 
 

WHAT ELSE IS INVOLVED IN CORNEAL TRANSPLANT SURGERY?

The most unique part of the cornea is that it is somewhat “hidden” from your body’s immune system, meaning that if you need a corneal transplant, you don’t have to worry about being blood-matched to a donor.  The procedure can be done at your convenience—no waiting list required.
 
Recovery is also easier than you think!  Transplant patients need to take it easy for a week or so—no heavy lifting, bending or straining—but going out to eat, running errands or other non-strenuous activities are all permitted.  The eye heals quickly, only needing medicated eye drops to recover.
 
 
If you have or are concerned that you may have a cornea problem, Georgia Ophthalmology Associates has fellowship-trained Cornea Specialists who can evaluate your condition and make a recommendation on treatment.  If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates using the Decatur or Snellville telephone numbers, based on the location that is most convenient for you.
 
 

 

Did You Know That February Is AMD Awareness Month?

Did You Know That February Is AMD Awareness Month?

Friday, January 25, 2019
Author Georgia Opthalmology Associates

Tags macular degeneration, retina, vision correction, ophthalmologist

 

AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD) is the leading cause of loss of vision in the aging population over 50 years old. Since the human population is living longer, the incidence of macular degeneration is unfortunately increasing.   

The macula takes up a small portion of the entire retina.  The retina is the light sensing tissue at the back of the eye.  The very small macula is what gives us our clear central vision.  It is made up of critical vision cells that allow us to see very fine details.
 
Without this area our ability to see color would be very poor and vision would be blurred when reading, driving or watching television. Macular degeneration almost never leads to total blindness as there is still peripheral vision (seeing things off to the sides). Central vision though will be significantly impaired perhaps with blurry dark spots or reduced color perception.  

WHAT CAUSES MACULAR DEGENERATION?

 
The cause is currently unknown, however there are factors that may promote AMD.  It is more prevalent in Caucasians and mostly white females. 
 
It is also diagnosed in patients who are obese or who have a family history of macular degeneration. Some other risk factors include smoking and hypertension.

IS THERE MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF MACULAR DEGENERATION?

 
There are two forms of macular degeneration.  The first is the dry type and the second is the wet type.  
The dry type is a slowly progressive loss of central vision that may occur over many years. It may start with some slight blurring of vision with your ophthalmologist noticing tiny particles in the macula (called drusen) during your eye examination. These are thought to be decaying vision cells. 
 
The second type called wet macular degeneration, has a much more rapid onset and a much greater visual loss in a short period of time.  It is caused by new blood vessels that form under the macula.  These blood vessels are fragile and leak fluid which causes both visual loss and distortion of vision. With wet macular degeneration, visual changes are straight lines that appear wavy or parts of your center vision to be blacked out. 
 
It is also possible that dry macular degeneration may over time progress to the wet form of macular degeneration.

IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR AMD?

 
We as ophthalmologists have a number of ways to treat macular degeneration.  None of them will completely eradicate the disease but in many cases can slow down the process and decrease the damage. 
In moderate to advanced dry AMD, studies have been shown that antioxidants, vitamins and minerals along with lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin may slow down the decay of the macula. 
 
In the case of wet macular degeneration, your ophthalmologist would use injections of medication that will creat a regression of the leaking blood vessels, which consequently decreases the swelling in the macula. This can improve the vision and dry up the swollen macula. In some cases, laser treatment may also stop the leaking from these vessels. 

Even though there is no cure for macular degeneration, early detection and treatment are essential.  Having a yearly eye examination can detect the early signs of macular degeneration especially if you have a family history of macular degeneration.
 
You should wear sunglasses when outside to protect the retina from ultraviolet rays. Be sure to eat a diet that includes green leafy vegetables. 

There is a card that we have in both of our Georgia Ophthalmology Associates offices called an “Amsler grid” which has vertical and horizontal lines.  When looking at the grid, if you are not seeing all the lines or some appear wavy, that could be an early warning sign of macular degeneration.
 
We would be happy to share a copy of the card along with other educational materials about AMD and overall eye health.  Please read more about AMD within this website located when you click on the Retina icon.
There are many advances in the treatment of macular degeneration and research continues to advance our understanding and treatment of this disease. 
 
The first step is yours and that is to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist or one of our Georgia Ophthalmology providers for a complete eye evaluation with careful examination of the retina.  

If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates in Decatur or Snellville! 
What Is Glaucoma?

What Is Glaucoma?

Thursday, January 03, 2019
Author Gayle Leff Goldstein, MD

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the world.  Here in the United States, there are over 3 million people diagnosed with the eye condition who are aged 40 and older. 

The population most affected are African Americans who are 15-times more likely to suffer blindness from glaucoma than Caucasians. Hispanic prevalence is also on the rise especially for those over 65 years old.

Is There More Than One Kind Of Glaucoma?

There are two main forms of glaucoma—open angle and closed angle.  Both forms cause optic nerve damage that leads to visual loss. 
 
Often the pressure inside the eye (intraocular) is elevated but glaucoma can also be diagnosed with low to normal intraocular pressure measurements.
 
Open angle glaucoma is the most common type where the drainage canals are open but the aqueous fluid in the front part of the eye builds up and causes higher pressures inside the eye.  Over time and often without symptoms, the higher pressure damages the optic nerve which is the “seeing” nerve of the eye that transmits information from the retina to the brain.  The changes to your eyesight can be subtle with changes beginning with loss of side vision. 
 
Closed angle glaucoma is where drainage canals are closed.  When closed angle glaucoma occurs suddenly, acute angle closure symptoms include severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden onset of visual disturbance that occur often in low light settings.  Other symptoms include blurred vision, haloes around lights and eye redness.  Chronic angle closure can also occur over a longer period of time with less acute symptoms or pain.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

Risk factors for glaucoma include high intraocular pressure, a family history of glaucoma, over 40 years in age for African Americans and over 60 for Caucasians and Hispanics. 
 
In addition, thin corneas and increased optic nerve cupping (increased size of the optic disc) are physical signs associated with glaucoma that your doctor sees. 
 
Other risk factors are high near sightedness, diabetes, having had an eye injury or surgery, high blood pressure or use of corticosteroids.

Can My Glaucoma Be Cured?

There is no cure for glaucoma.  Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent visual loss and blindness. 
 
Treatments for open angle glaucoma include medications in the form of eye drops, which help to lower the intraocular pressure, laser treatment or conventional surgery. In recent years, minimally-invasive operations have become available to lower intraocular pressure when performed along with cataract surgery.  
 
Long-term management of glaucoma includes a relationship with your ophthalmologist.  Once a diagnosis is made, a lifelong commitment is also made for regular checkups. 
 
Glaucoma monitoring includes measuring intraocular pressure, visual field testing that assess peripheral vision, fundus photography to view the back of the eye and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to visualize the layers of the retina and optic nerve fibers.
 
Glaucoma has been called a “silent thief of vision.”  It is common and it runs in families.  If you have not had a recent eye exam or screening for glaucoma, you should make an appointment with your ophthalmologist. 
 
If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates.  
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Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Corneal Transplants

Monday, February 25, 2019

 CORNEAL TRANSPLANT SURGERY

 

WHAT IS THE CORNEA?

The cornea is the clear front “windshield” of your eye.  It helps to bring an image into focus for you to see.  Like a mirror, the cornea needs to be as smooth and clear as possible to give you the best vision possible.  The cornea also contains very sensitive nerve endings that can become exposed with an abrasion, or scratch.
 
 

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH THE CORNEA?

There are some diseases that are specific to the cornea that can cause pain, discomfort, blurred vision or distorted vision.  An Ophthalmologist has tools to help the cornea heal, including topical medications or drops, as well as minor in-office procedures, if necessary.
 
A few conditions, however, cannot be treated in the ways mentioned above due to the severity of the condition or location within the cornea.  If the cornea is distorted (Keratoconus) or contains scar tissue that prevents you from having good vision, an operation can be performed to correct it.  
 
 

WHAT IS A CORNEAL TRANSPLANT?

A full-thickness corneal transplant, also known as Penetrating Keratoplasty, or “PKP,” involves removing the scarred cornea, and replacing it with tissue from a donor.  This procedure typically involves stitches which hold the new cornea in place until it heals.  In addition, you’ll want to be frequently monitored by your doctor.
 
If a disease is localized to the innermost layer of the cornea, common in a condition known as Fuch’s Dystrophy, then only that innermost layer needs to be transplanted or replaced.  This is referred to as “Endothelial Keratoplasty” or partial-thickness transplant.  While this procedure has been around for more than 20 years, advances in techniques continue to improve the surgery so that people may even see a perfect “20/20” again after a corneal transplant!  
 
The physicians at Georgia Ophthalmology are proud to offer their patients the latest in full and partial thickness transplant surgery.
 
 

WHAT ELSE IS INVOLVED IN CORNEAL TRANSPLANT SURGERY?

The most unique part of the cornea is that it is somewhat “hidden” from your body’s immune system, meaning that if you need a corneal transplant, you don’t have to worry about being blood-matched to a donor.  The procedure can be done at your convenience—no waiting list required.
 
Recovery is also easier than you think!  Transplant patients need to take it easy for a week or so—no heavy lifting, bending or straining—but going out to eat, running errands or other non-strenuous activities are all permitted.  The eye heals quickly, only needing medicated eye drops to recover.
 
 
If you have or are concerned that you may have a cornea problem, Georgia Ophthalmology Associates has fellowship-trained Cornea Specialists who can evaluate your condition and make a recommendation on treatment.  If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates using the Decatur or Snellville telephone numbers, based on the location that is most convenient for you.
 
 

 

Did You Know That February Is AMD Awareness Month?

Did You Know That February Is AMD Awareness Month?

Friday, January 25, 2019
Author Georgia Opthalmology Associates

Tags macular degeneration, retina, vision correction, ophthalmologist

 

AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD) is the leading cause of loss of vision in the aging population over 50 years old. Since the human population is living longer, the incidence of macular degeneration is unfortunately increasing.   

The macula takes up a small portion of the entire retina.  The retina is the light sensing tissue at the back of the eye.  The very small macula is what gives us our clear central vision.  It is made up of critical vision cells that allow us to see very fine details.
 
Without this area our ability to see color would be very poor and vision would be blurred when reading, driving or watching television. Macular degeneration almost never leads to total blindness as there is still peripheral vision (seeing things off to the sides). Central vision though will be significantly impaired perhaps with blurry dark spots or reduced color perception.  

WHAT CAUSES MACULAR DEGENERATION?

 
The cause is currently unknown, however there are factors that may promote AMD.  It is more prevalent in Caucasians and mostly white females. 
 
It is also diagnosed in patients who are obese or who have a family history of macular degeneration. Some other risk factors include smoking and hypertension.

IS THERE MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF MACULAR DEGENERATION?

 
There are two forms of macular degeneration.  The first is the dry type and the second is the wet type.  
The dry type is a slowly progressive loss of central vision that may occur over many years. It may start with some slight blurring of vision with your ophthalmologist noticing tiny particles in the macula (called drusen) during your eye examination. These are thought to be decaying vision cells. 
 
The second type called wet macular degeneration, has a much more rapid onset and a much greater visual loss in a short period of time.  It is caused by new blood vessels that form under the macula.  These blood vessels are fragile and leak fluid which causes both visual loss and distortion of vision. With wet macular degeneration, visual changes are straight lines that appear wavy or parts of your center vision to be blacked out. 
 
It is also possible that dry macular degeneration may over time progress to the wet form of macular degeneration.

IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR AMD?

 
We as ophthalmologists have a number of ways to treat macular degeneration.  None of them will completely eradicate the disease but in many cases can slow down the process and decrease the damage. 
In moderate to advanced dry AMD, studies have been shown that antioxidants, vitamins and minerals along with lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin may slow down the decay of the macula. 
 
In the case of wet macular degeneration, your ophthalmologist would use injections of medication that will creat a regression of the leaking blood vessels, which consequently decreases the swelling in the macula. This can improve the vision and dry up the swollen macula. In some cases, laser treatment may also stop the leaking from these vessels. 

Even though there is no cure for macular degeneration, early detection and treatment are essential.  Having a yearly eye examination can detect the early signs of macular degeneration especially if you have a family history of macular degeneration.
 
You should wear sunglasses when outside to protect the retina from ultraviolet rays. Be sure to eat a diet that includes green leafy vegetables. 

There is a card that we have in both of our Georgia Ophthalmology Associates offices called an “Amsler grid” which has vertical and horizontal lines.  When looking at the grid, if you are not seeing all the lines or some appear wavy, that could be an early warning sign of macular degeneration.
 
We would be happy to share a copy of the card along with other educational materials about AMD and overall eye health.  Please read more about AMD within this website located when you click on the Retina icon.
There are many advances in the treatment of macular degeneration and research continues to advance our understanding and treatment of this disease. 
 
The first step is yours and that is to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist or one of our Georgia Ophthalmology providers for a complete eye evaluation with careful examination of the retina.  

If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates in Decatur or Snellville! 
What Is Glaucoma?

What Is Glaucoma?

Thursday, January 03, 2019
Author Gayle Leff Goldstein, MD

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the world.  Here in the United States, there are over 3 million people diagnosed with the eye condition who are aged 40 and older. 

The population most affected are African Americans who are 15-times more likely to suffer blindness from glaucoma than Caucasians. Hispanic prevalence is also on the rise especially for those over 65 years old.

Is There More Than One Kind Of Glaucoma?

There are two main forms of glaucoma—open angle and closed angle.  Both forms cause optic nerve damage that leads to visual loss. 
 
Often the pressure inside the eye (intraocular) is elevated but glaucoma can also be diagnosed with low to normal intraocular pressure measurements.
 
Open angle glaucoma is the most common type where the drainage canals are open but the aqueous fluid in the front part of the eye builds up and causes higher pressures inside the eye.  Over time and often without symptoms, the higher pressure damages the optic nerve which is the “seeing” nerve of the eye that transmits information from the retina to the brain.  The changes to your eyesight can be subtle with changes beginning with loss of side vision. 
 
Closed angle glaucoma is where drainage canals are closed.  When closed angle glaucoma occurs suddenly, acute angle closure symptoms include severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden onset of visual disturbance that occur often in low light settings.  Other symptoms include blurred vision, haloes around lights and eye redness.  Chronic angle closure can also occur over a longer period of time with less acute symptoms or pain.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

Risk factors for glaucoma include high intraocular pressure, a family history of glaucoma, over 40 years in age for African Americans and over 60 for Caucasians and Hispanics. 
 
In addition, thin corneas and increased optic nerve cupping (increased size of the optic disc) are physical signs associated with glaucoma that your doctor sees. 
 
Other risk factors are high near sightedness, diabetes, having had an eye injury or surgery, high blood pressure or use of corticosteroids.

Can My Glaucoma Be Cured?

There is no cure for glaucoma.  Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent visual loss and blindness. 
 
Treatments for open angle glaucoma include medications in the form of eye drops, which help to lower the intraocular pressure, laser treatment or conventional surgery. In recent years, minimally-invasive operations have become available to lower intraocular pressure when performed along with cataract surgery.  
 
Long-term management of glaucoma includes a relationship with your ophthalmologist.  Once a diagnosis is made, a lifelong commitment is also made for regular checkups. 
 
Glaucoma monitoring includes measuring intraocular pressure, visual field testing that assess peripheral vision, fundus photography to view the back of the eye and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to visualize the layers of the retina and optic nerve fibers.
 
Glaucoma has been called a “silent thief of vision.”  It is common and it runs in families.  If you have not had a recent eye exam or screening for glaucoma, you should make an appointment with your ophthalmologist. 
 
If you do not have an ophthalmologist or need a consult, please make an appointment with us at Georgia Ophthalmology Associates.  

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

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