Eye Care Treatment & Services in Wilmington, NC
When you need medical attention, you want and deserve the best. That goes double for eye care! As a comprehensive ophthalmology practice, Intracoastal Eye has vast experience in the diagnosis and management of a full spectrum of eye conditions.
Glaucoma is a condition which causes slow, irreversible changes to the optic nerve in the back of the eye. If not diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion, glaucoma can cause vision loss from the outside in. A significant amount of vision loss can occur before someone realizes they’re not seeing as they should. For this reason, glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight.” There are at least 40 different types of glaucoma, but for all types, treatment is generally focused on lowering the eye pressure. Traditionally this is done with eye drops, but with state-of-the-art technology, Dr. Johnson can treat many cases with an in-office laser. Fortunately, with early detection and proper treatment, we are able to prevent noticeable vision loss in the vast majority of patients. If you are over the age of 50, please be sure to be checked by an ophthalmologist for glaucoma. This is especially important if glaucoma runs in your family.
A cataract is a slowly progressive clouding of the natural lens inside of the eye. This is an inevitable part of the aging process, so no one is immune to cataract formation. The process of lens change starts in your early 40’s, but generally doesn’t cause symptoms until much later in life. Patients with significant cataracts notice things like glare at night, trouble focusing on TV or road signs, or just an overall sense that the vision is not as good as it used to be. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a reliable and safe treatment for this condition. The time to do cataract surgery is when your vision is getting in the way of life, and glasses or contact lenses can no longer sufficiently correct your vision. For example, if you can no longer drive at night or follow the golf ball, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. Please see the following link for more information on cataract surgery.
Macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition affecting the retina, which is like the camera film in the back of your eye. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Americans over the age of 60. In its more severe forms, it can cause a loss of central vision, which would make it difficult to see newsprint or distinguish faces. Macular degeneration never affects the peripheral vision. There are two forms of macular degeneration – dry and wet. It’s usually preferable to stay in the dry category, but if the macular degeneration becomes wet, there are treatments which can help make it dry again. Recently, there has been a lot of interest in nutritional supplements for macular degeneration. At Intracoastal Eye, we have the most advanced technology available to detect and follow macular degeneration (High Definition Optical Coherence Tomography). Based on the results of your exam and testing, Dr. Johnson can recommend the most appropriate medical, dietary, or lifestyle modifications to help you preserve your sight.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Many diabetics are surprised to discover that diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans between the ages of 20 and 65. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye become leaky, which can lead to vision loss from a variety of complications. Many of the changes that occur in diabetic retinopathy do not cause symptoms until a late stage. Therefore, it is critical to detect problems early, and take corrective action before it’s too late. Often, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with in-office lasers. Occasionally, surgery in the operating room is necessary.
The other great advantage of your annual diabetic eye exam is that what’s happening in the eye often correlates with what’s happening in the rest of your body. The eye is the only place in the human body where blood vessels and nerve tissue can be directly visualized, and the status of the diabetes in your eyes goes a long way towards helping your other health care providers optimally manage the diabetes elsewhere in your body. If you are diabetic, or even borderline diabetic, please be sure to have at least one comprehensive eye exam every year with your ophthalmologist.
Dry eyes are an extremely common cause of ocular discomfort and blurry vision. Patients with dry eye may experience symptoms such as burning, itching, watery eyes, light sensitivity, redness, scratchy feeling, or contact lens discomfort. Fortunately, there are now several highly effective treatments to address dry eyes. Dr. Johnson will take the time to fully understand your dry eye symptoms and perform a thorough exam and any necessary testing. We can then recommend a customized dry eye treatment program to help get you back to comfortable, healthy eyes that no longer interfere with the things you love to do.
Floaters are sometimes described as gnats, cobwebs, specks, or dark strings that move around in your vision. Often, floaters are caused by natural changes that occur within the clear gel inside of your eye and are harmless. However, not all floaters are benign, so if you have new floaters, a significant increase in the number of floaters, or floaters accompanied by flashing lights, you need to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist sooner rather than later. As a recent medical breakthrough, there is emerging technology to treat persistent, significant floaters. Stay tuned to our blog or our Facebook page for any future updates.
There are many different types of eye infections, and depending on the cause of the infection, the treatment may be completely different from one infection to the other. Never reach for an old bottle of prescription eye drops to treat an eye which is presumed to be infected – the wrong drops can make things significantly worse. With a thorough exam, and in-office lab testing when needed, we can determine the cause of the infection and get you better as quickly and safely as possible.
At Intracoastal Eye, we diagnose and manage a wide spectrum of retinal disorders in addition to Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy (both described above). Examples of retinal conditions include: scar tissue of the retina, retinal tear or retinal detachment, inflammatory and auto-immune conditions, infections, tumors, etc. We employ the most advanced imaging techniques (including High Definition Optical Coherence Tomography), which allow for exquisitely detailed analysis of these most delicate structures.
Allergies of all kinds very commonly affect the eyes. Symptoms often include red, itchy, or watery eyes, but there are many other symptoms which may in fact be allergic in nature. Thorough examination and testing at Intracoastal Eye can help determine the best treatment for your particular allergy condition.
Double Vision/Eye Misalignment
There are dozens of possible causes of double vision (seeing two images). Many cases occur when the eyes are out of alignment relative to one another. While this is sometimes caused by serious underlying conditions, such as strokes, tumors, or multiple sclerosis, other causes are relatively benign. Regardless, if you have double vision, particularly if it is new, you should be evaluated by a qualified health care provider without delay. Once the underlying cause of the double vision is determined, most cases can be corrected with prescription glasses or other treatments.
YAG Laser for After Cataract
At the time of cataract surgery, an artificial lens is implanted into the eye in order to restore the eye’s ability to focus. Sometimes a filmy scar tissue forms behind the implant. Many years ago, the treatment of this condition, called PCO (posterior capsular opacification) required a return to the operating room for a second procedure. Now we can treat this condition in the office with a YAG laser. This procedure requires little or no down time, and is performed on a regular basis at Intracoastal Eye.
SLT Laser for Reduction or Elimination of Eye Drops
When the pressure inside of the eye is too high and needs to be lowered, eye drops have been the traditional first-line treatment for generations. However, with the advent of modern lasers, many cases of elevated eye pressure can be treated with a laser called SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty). Intracoastal Eye employs the industry’s leading laser platforms to help control eye pressure. SLT is an in-office procedure which is often able to reduce or eliminate the need for eye drops for patients with glaucoma. Please see the preceding description of glaucoma for more information about this condition.
Ophthalmologists are uniquely trained to perform surgery on the delicate skin and other tissues surrounding the eyes. At Intracoastal Eye, we frequently take care of growths, infections, and other lesions on and around the eye, in addition to many other conditions which affect the eyelids, forehead, and face.
Tear Duct Procedures/Watery Eyes
Many patients present to our office having problems with eyes that run water. Sometimes this relates to things affecting the surface of the eye, while other times it may be a result of an abnormality in the ducts which drain tears away from the eyes into the back of the nose. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most cases of watery eyes can be managed or cured with medical and/or surgical treatment performed at Intracoastal Eye.