November 2010 Ask the Expert Questions

Q:The last four years I have been suffering from myopia. My eye glasses prescription has gone from -4.5 to -4.75. Should I go for retina surgery?

A:Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a very common eye condition. Myopia is not considered an eye disease. It is due to the development of the eyeball: (1) either the cornea (front surface of the eye) is too curved and therefore is very powerful; (2) the eyeball length is longer than the average eye; (3) or a combination of the previous two conditions.

The amount of myopia increase that you have: -4.50 to -4.75 is the most minimal amount of increase that can be made to an eyeglass prescription and should not be a cause of concern. There is no retina surgery that will change the length of the eyeball.

You may be thinking about refractive surgery (LASIK or PRK) which is performed for vision correction of myopia. There are several factors that need to be considered in order to determine if you are a good candidate for refractive surgery:

(1) Realistic expectations

(2) Stability of glasses prescription over a period of time (at least three separate visits)

(3) Amount of corneal tissue available

(4) Current health conditions which may affect healing time/success of surgery

(5) Dryness of eyes prior to surgery

In order to determine if you are a good candidate for refractive surgery, you need to have a consultation by a refractive surgeon to evaluate these factors and additional factors which may affect the success of the surgery. – Linda Pang, O.D. at Lighthouse International

Q:After working around activated alumina desiccant dust, I noticed that the caruncula in my right eye is swollen and has turned a yellowish color. It does not bother me, is not painful, and I do not have any puss or watering of the eyes associated with it. However, if something was wrong, wouldn't I have some kind of symptoms?

A:Whenever any contaminants (alumina, acid, bleach, dust, chemicals, etc) come into contact with the eye, it not only causes discomfort or irritation but it can damage the surface of the eye. Many eye conditions do not exhibit symptoms until significant damage has already occurred; therefore it is important to have an eye examination whenever you suspect a problem. If you are concerned about the irritation affecting your eyes, then it is advised to have your eyes examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. – Linda Pang, O.D. at Lighthouse International

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