age-related macular degeneration newsletters by itsmuchfaster


									 1 HEALTH IN OUR HANDS!                         May 2003

                                              Eye Diseases
   The final issue of Health in Our       vision is impaired.                                    Treatment
Hands for this school term focuses on                                                   Stronger reading glasses, magnifiers,
the following eye diseases: cataracts,                Risk Factors                  and telescopes can be used as treatment
glaucoma, and macular degeneration.          Risk factors include the following:    options. If one of these options does
                                                                                    not work, surgery is the only option.
                                               smoking.
                                                                                    Surgery options are based on the
                                               excessive exposure to sunlight.
                                                                                    condition of the lens, history of
                                               steroid use.
                                                                                    previous eye surgery, and ability of the
                                               high cholesterol.                   pupil to dilate. There are three surgery
                                               aging.                              options that may be used:
                                               eye injury.                         phacoemulsification, extrascapular
                                               and taking cortisone for            extraction surgery, and YAG laser
                                                   extended periods of time.        surgery.
                                                                                        In phacoemulsification, a small
                                                       Symptoms                     incision is made on the side of the
                                              A cataract is indicated by the        cornea. A miniature probe is inserted
                                          following symptoms:                       into the eye. The probe emits
            Definitions                         cloudy or blurred vision.          ultrasound waves, which soften and
**The lens is the part of the eye that          problems with light, such as       break up the protein on the lens.
helps focus light on the retina.                   sunlight.                        Finally, a suction is used to remove the
**The retina, which is located on the           poor night vision.                 protein.
inside back wall of the eye, is filled          double or multiple vision.             In extrascapular extraction surgery,
with light-sensitive cells that sends           frequent changes in                a long incision is made on the side of
signals for vision to the brain.                   eyeglasses.                      the cornea. Hard protein is removed.
**The optic nerve is a bundle of more           print appearing faded and          In both phacoemulsification and
than one million nerve fibers. It                  lacks contrast.                  extrascapular extraction surgery, the
connects the retina to the brain and is         and colors appearing faded         removed lens is replaced by an
needed for good vision.                            and changed in hue.              intraocular lens or a soft contact lens.
**The macula is the part of the retina                                                  Sometimes after-cataracts develop
that is responsible for central vision.                                             post-surgery. When after-cataracts
**The fovea, the center of the macula,                                              form, a YAG laser capsulotomy is used
                                              A cataract is detected via the
is responsible for sharp vision.                                                    to remove the cataract.
                                          examination of the lens. Several tests
                                                                                        After phacoemulsification and
                                          can be administered. A visual acuity
                                                                                    extrascapular extraction surgeries, the
            Cataracts                     test or eye chart test can be
                                                                                    eyes are examined the day following
   The lens is made of protein and        administered to see how well images
                                                                                    surgery. Eye drops may be used to
water. When protein clumps together,      are seen at various distances. The
                                                                                    prevent infection and reduce
the lens becomes opaque. A cataract, a    pupils can be dilated. A tonometry test
                                                                                    inflammation. Eye shields or
clouding of the lens, forms. The          can be given to measure the fluid
                                                                                    sunglasses may be worn.
resulting cataract blocks light from      pressure in the eyes.
reaching the retina. Consequently,
 2 HEALTH IN OUR HANDS!                           May 2003

            Glaucoma                        conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is a thin,                          Detection
    The eye produces aqueous, a clear       clear tissue. Fluid flows through the           The Amsler grid or fluorescein
fluid that drains out of the anterior       opening under conjunctiva and drains         angiography can be used to detect
chamber, a space between the cornea         from the eye.                                AMD. The Amsler grid is used to
and iris. If there is an imbalance              Even though surgery is effective,        detect changes in eyesight. With
between the production and drainage of      there are possible side effects. Side        fluorescein angiography, dye is injected
aqueous, intraocular pressure increases.    effects include formation of cataracts,      into a vein in the arm. The dye passes
An increase in eye pressure damages         problems with the cornea, inflammation       through the blood vessels in the retina.
the optic nerve and causes vision loss.     or infection inside the eye, or swelling     Photographs are taken of the dye
                                            of blood vessels behind the eye.             movement and used to identify changes
             Symptoms                                                                    in macular pigmentation or the presence
   Initially, there are no symptoms            Macular Degeneration                      of abnormal blood vessels in the
associated with glaucoma. However, as          In macular degeneration or age-           macula.
the disease progresses, the following       related macular degeneration (AMD),
symptoms appear:                            the macula deteriorates. It becomes                         Treatment
      little to no side vision.            difficult to see straight ahead and fine        There is no effective treatment for
      loss of forward vision.              details. There are two possible causes       dry AMD. However, there are several
      extreme eye pain.                    of AMD: dysfunction of cells                 treatment options for wet AMD.
      headaches.                           underneath the retina or formation of        Photocoagulation is one treatment
                                            new blood vessels beneath the retina.        option. In photocoagulation, a high-
      nausea and vomiting.
                                            When the light-sensitive cells               energy laser is used to burn and destroy
      glare and light-sensitivity.
                                            underneath the retina dysfunction or         small areas with abnormal blood
      tearing.
                                            disappear, blank spots appear in the         vessels under the macula.
      and enlargement of the cornea.       center of the field of vision because           Another option is photodynamic
                                            signals cannot be sent through the optic     therapy, which causes less harm to the
              Detection                     nerve to the brain. This is known as         macula. Visudyne is injected into the
   To detect glaucoma, the amount of        dry AMD. When blood vessels form             bloodstream. A cold laser is directed
pressure the optic nerve can tolerate       beneath the retina, blood vessels can        into the macula. The drug releases
without being damaged is measured.          leak blood and fluid causing scarring.       substances that close off the abnormal
Several tests can be administered to        As a result of scarring, central vision is   blood vessels directly under the fovea.
assess pressure, which should be            lost. This process causes wet AMD.           Next, a hot laser is used to destroy
between 8 and 21mmHg. Visual acuity,                                                     abnormal blood vessels. Then, the
pupil dilation, and tonometry tests can                 Risk Factors                     fovea is placed over healthy tissue.
be used. A visual field test can be            Risk factors include:                        The type of treatment chosen for wet
administered to assess peripheral vision.
                                                 age.                                   AMD depends on the following: the
The health of the eye is evaluated using                                                 location and appearance of abnormal
                                                 sex.
an ophthalmoscope. A special lens,                                                       blood vessels, amount of blood that has
                                                 family history of AMD.
gonioscopy, is used to examine the                                                       leaked, and the health of the macula
anterior chamber and the eye’s drainage          race.
                                                                                         and tissue around the fovea.
system. Furthermore, the Arden                   cigarette smoking.
Screening Test, a color test that may            cardiovascular disease.
                                                                                          ** Sources for this newsletter
indicate vision changes, can be used.            light colored eyes.
                                                 exposure to ultraviolet light.
             Treatment                           and low levels of nutrients. 
    There are several treatment options.                                       
Medicine can be used as long as it                        Symptoms             
controls eye pressure. Medicine will            AMD can be asymptomatic. When  
either cause less production or more        symptoms do present, any of the
drainage of aqueous. Laser surgery or       following are possible symptoms:                          **************
laser trabeculoplasty is an option.                minimal loss of central vision.         The Arkansas State University Employee
During laser surgery, 50 to 100 evenly             blurred central vision.              Wellness Newsletter is published monthly during
                                                                                         the academic year by the College of Nursing and
spaced burns are made to stretch the               difficulty recognizing faces         Health Professions. Health questions can be
drainage holes so that fluid can be                   and printed words.                 addressed to Dean Susan Hanrahan, Ph. D., ext.
drained through the holes. In                      central blind spot.                  3112 or
                                                                                         Produced by LaToya Nance, graduate student in
conventional surgery, a small piece of             visual hallucinations.               the College of Nursing and Health Professions,
tissue is removed from the sclera, the             and haziness of overall vision.      Physical Therapy Program.
white part of the eye that is covered by

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