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Stillwater EyeCare

Common Eye Diseases

Cataract

A cataract is a cloudiness that develops in the natural lens inside of your eye. Most of the time this is an age-related change similar to skin wrinkles or worn out joints. When a cataract becomes cloudy enough it can cause blurry vision, reduced vision with bright lights (such as head lights), decreased contrast sensitivity, and a reduced ability to see colors. When these things start to affect your day to day life, it is time to consider treatment. The only treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is performed in a sterile operating room environment like other surgical procedures. The pupil is dilated, and small microincisions are made into the cornea to allow the cataract surgeon access to the cataract. A good analogy is a peanut M&M. During cataract surgery we make a small opening in the “shell” of the cataract and remove the cloudy chocolate and peanut parts to allow light to enter the eye again and improve vision. The thin shell around the cataract is left behind. A new clear artificial intraocular lens is injected into the eye and positioned into the small shell to replace the cloudy cataract. The shell holds this lens in place behind the iris.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest, least invasive surgeries available, and has a very high success rate. If you think you may need cataract surgery, or have been suffering from blurry vision, decreased vision, or difficulty seeing with bright lights, please call us for a consultation at 405-743-4212. Dr. Flood and Dr. Martin both perform cataract surgery in Stillwater at the Stillwater Surgery Center West. You may also find visit our Youtube Channel or our Facebook page for other useful information on eye health and eye disease.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related macular degeneration is a degenerative disease of the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for our vision. Macular degeneration can result in progressive loss of central vision and is the most common cause of blindness in older Americans. Certain individuals develop this condition due to a complex and incompletely understood combination of genetic and environmental factors. We do know that smoking and a family history of macular degeneration will increase your risk of this disorder. If you have a family history of macular degeneration, it is important to have yearly comprehensive dilated eye exams.

There are two major types of macular degeneration: a “dry” type and a “wet” type. Dry macular degeneration generally progresses slowly over the course of years. The National Eye Institute conducted two studies (referred to as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study) which found that patients with intermediate macular degeneration benefited from taking a collection of antioxidant vitamins. This reduced the progression of macular degeneration by about 25% and is commercially available as Preservision with the “AREDS 2” formula. Components of this formula include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin. Supplementing your diet with green leafy vegetables can help to increase your intake of most of these nutrients, and is a good idea for patients with milder dry macular degeneration.

The “wet” type of macular degeneration can be more severe, and can result in faster vision loss over the course of months, weeks, or even days. This results from abnormal blood vessels under the retina that cause swelling or bleeding. This causes damage to the retina, which can result in central blindness. Fortunately, if caught early enough, there are very effective treatments for wet macular degeneration. There are several medications called Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medications that can be injected into the eye to stabilize swelling and bleeding. In the vast majority of patients, this will stabilize the vision, and in many cases can improve vision that has been lost. Dr. Flood is the first retina specialist to offer these treatments in Stillwater, and the only retina specialist available full time in Stillwater to care for you at all stages of the treatment process. Please call us at 405-743-4212 to set up an appointment. You may also find visit our Youtube Channel or our Facebook page for other useful information on eye health and eye disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults in the United States. Diabetes occurs when a person’s body is unable to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. When blood glucose is elevated for extended periods of time, it can injure the inner linings of blood vessels, including fine blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the retina. This results in poor blood flow to the retina. Such poor blood flow can lead to two major problems: swelling in the macula (also referred to as diabetic macular edema) and growth of new abnormal blood vessels on the optic nerve, retina, or iris (also referred to as neovascularization or “new blood vessel growth”).

Diabetic macular edema can cause worsening of central vision. When there is swelling within the macula (the central part of the retina), it cannot function properly, resulting in a decrease in vision. There are several treatment options, including injection of a class of medications called Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), injection of steroids, and sometimes laser treatments (focal or grid laser).

New blood vessel growth on the optic nerve, retina, or iris, can put you at high risk of devastating vision loss. These new blood vessels grow in response to the inadequate blood flow to the retina as a result of diabetes. These new blood vessels are not normal in structure, and can easily break, causing large bleeds, inflammation, and retinal detachments. These new blood vessels can grow without any symptoms until something catastrophic happens (such as a large bleed or retinal detachment). This is the main reason your primary care doctor recommends that diabetics have a yearly dilated eye exam, even if you don’t have any symptoms. If we see new blood vessels growing during your examination, you can be treated with either a laser procedure (pan retinal photocoagulation) or injections (Anti-VEGF medications like Avastin, Lucentis, or Eylea), which can greatly reduce the risk of major vision loss and blindness. Dr. Flood is the first retina specialist to offer these treatments in Stillwater, and the only retina specialist available full time in Stillwater to care for you at all stages of the treatment process. Please call us at 405-743-4212 to set up an appointment. You may also find visit our Youtube Channel or our Facebook page for other useful information on eye health and eye disease.