Q: I get this white gooey stuff in my eyes sometimes. I try to get it out but it stays aggravated for a couple of days. I am concerned because the bottom eye lid has come away from the eye. What should I do?
A: You should be evaluated by an eye doctor to prevent permanent damage to your eyes. It appears as well that you have an “ectropian,” in which the lower eyelid drops down. This can result in irritation to your eye. Again, you may be permanently affecting your vision without seeking professional help by an eye doctor. -- Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International
Q: I was diagnosed with macular degeneration last year. I was told there is nothing that can be done. Is that true? I’m scared to go blind.
A: Depending on the form of macular degeneration that you have (dry or wet), it will determine whether or not treatment is available. In the dry form, there are no surgical or pharmaceutical treatments to halt the vision loss. Eye vitamins that meet the AREDS formulation have been shown through research studies to slow down the vision loss associated with dry macular degeneration. You should discuss with your eye doctor about whether or not these ocular vitamins are appropriate for you.
In the wet macular degeneration, laser treatments and/or Anti-VEGF injections have been clinically shown to slow down the progression of the wet macular degeneration.
Due to the damage to the macula, which is responsible for fine detail and color vision in macular degeneration, it can cause problems with reading standard print materials, performing household tasks, leisurely activities, watching television, identifying faces, seeing street signs, among other visual tasks.
It is advised that you see your eye doctor regarding which type of macular degeneration you have and he/she will determine the best course of action. You should also see a low vision eye doctor or obtain a referral from your own eye doctor for a local low vision eye doctor.
A low vision eye doctor will perform a functional vision evaluation to determine if you could benefit from optical devices such as high-powered spectacles, magnifiers, telescopes, and/or electronic magnification in order to use your remaining vision to continue to remain active and self-sufficient to perform daily living activities. Even though there may not be any pharmaceutical or surgical treatments to stop the vision loss for your specific type of eye condition, you may benefit from vision rehabilitation services and optical devices. – Linda Pang, O.D. at Lighthouse International
Q: I have dry AMD. I find normal dark colored sunglasses, while dimming the sun, also diminish my ability to see clearly. What kind and color of lens would you recommend?
A: Many patients with dry AMD not only have reduced visual acuity, but have reduced contrast sensitivity. This often indicates that “normal” dark sunglasses will actually reduce vision instead of enhance vision. There are certain filters and absorptive lenses, however, that will enhance vision and contrast while reducing glare in dry AMD.
It is advisable that you have an evaluation by an eye doctor specializing in low vision in order to find the appropriate filter for your level of vision. The bottom line is that lenses that are too dark may actually result in falls due to the lack of contrast, may affect the depth perception, or even result in automobile accidents if you are still driving. -- Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International