What is a Cataract?

A cataract occurs when the clear natural lens within our eye begins to become cloudy. Cataracts are very common, occurring in a large majority of the population 65 and older, which can develop in one or both eyes. The most common symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty driving at night due to glare and halos, trouble seeing distant objects clearly such as street signs or the television, in addition to noticing a gradual loss of color vibrancy.

Cataracts only develop because of proteins in the lens clumping together. When these proteins clump up, your lens becomes cloudy, instead of clear.

Should you notice any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor!

Cataract surgery is a safe and quick outpatient procedure that could transform your life. Modern cataract surgery liquefies the cataract using ultrasound, which is then suctioned out through a tiny micro-incision that requires no sutures. Then, the intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted through the same micro-incision in a folded position, which then opens up into its proper and permanent position on the eye. The surgery corrects distance vision, and most patients will require glasses for up-close reading and computer use. However, there are premium lens options available that could potentially eliminate the need for glasses. Talk with your Sweeney Eye doctor about whether cataract surgery is right for you.

To make an appointment with one of our eye care physicians at Sweeney Eye or if you have any other questions, please contact us today!

What is Surfer’s Eye?

Spring is finally upon us which means clear skies and sunshine. Sweeney Eye of Sunnyvale wants to make sure that you keep your eyes protected while you are outside, because the Sun’s rays can cause more than just a sunburn.

Surfer’s Eye, also known as pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm), is an elevated, wedged-shaped mass of flesh on the eyeball which begins in the corner of the eye, on the sclera (white part of the eye), and can eventually spread to the cornea.  As unappealing as it looks, it is relatively harmless in its early stages or if the mass is small. However, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss if the mass grows over the cornea.

Even though this growth is commonly known as “Surfer’s Eye”, it has nothing to do with the act of surfing. Pterygium is caused by the Sun’s UV rays, so anyone who works outside in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time are at risk. Other factors, like dust and wind, increase the chance of it occurring, as well as having light skin or light eyes. Pterygium is common between the ages of 20 to 40 year olds, as well as people located in sunny regions. Common symptoms are an itchiness of the eye, redness, and a burning sensation. Some patients have also reported a feeling of something “in” their eye. The good news is that this mass is not cancerous, but it does need to be removed immediately. Take steps to prevent pterygium or the regrowth of it (after surgery) by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or photochromic lenses.

If you find yourself always out in the sun, make sure to schedule an eye exam once or twice a year with your Sweeney Eye eye care physician, in Sunnyvale or Richardson, to help prevent the growth of pterygium.

February is Low Vision Month

What is “low vision”?

Low vision is when your vision cannot be corrected to 20/70 or better, even with glasses or contacts. Typical causes of low vision include, cataracts, AMD, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration: is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are often no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of AMD, but if left untreated, it may gradually result in blurred or loss central vision; in one or both eyes.
  • Diabetic Eye Disease: Diabetes causes many complications in the body, particularly in the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years old.
  • Glaucoma: The name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve by high intraocular pressure in the eye. Known as the “thief of sight, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.
  • Cataracts:A cataract is the progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which disrupts light passing through the pupil to the back of the eye (retina). Over time a cataract leads to diminished sight in the affected eye and eventually to blindness if untreated. Unlike AMD, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Eye Disease, Cataracts can be removed through Laser Cataract Surgery.

These eye conditions make doing daily activities difficult such as cooking, driving, reading, and even recognizing the faces of friends and family.


How Yearly Eye Exams Can Lower the Risk for Low Vision

Just like an annual physical, a yearly eye exam is important for your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams are critical in the prevention and early detection o various eye diseases. Several eye diseases do not show symptoms until vision loss has occurred. However, if a condition is detected early, there is the potential to prevent vision loss.

During an eye exam, your Sweeney Eye optometrist will evaluate the health of your eyes through a series of comprehensive tests, while checking for the very conditions that cause low vision such as glaucoma, AMD, and diabetic retinopathy.

Call Sweeney Eye today to schedule an eye exam and learn what you need to do to keep your eyes healthy!