Without prompt treatment, diseases affecting vision can quickly lead to permanent vision loss. The best way to prevent this is to schedule regular check-ups with a trusted eye doctor. The experienced doctors at Choate Eye Associates diagnose and treat eye diseases for patients in the Nashville area. Our vision care practice located near Hendersonville, Tennessee is equipped to offer the finest care available in the area for eye conditions and diseases of all kinds, including glaucoma.
Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease in which the cornea — the front part of the eye covering the iris and pupil — changes shape. Over time, the cornea assumes a conical shape rather than the normal curved shape, causing visual distortion, multiple images, streaking, and light sensitivity. Keratoconus is one of the less understood eye diseases. Its progression is unpredictable, though it is usually diagnosed in adolescents and becomes most severe in patients in their twenties and thirties, and each eye can be affected differently.
Symptoms of keratoconus may include blurred vision (especially at distances), distorted vision similar to astigmatism, double vision, seeing halos around lights, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light or glare, squinting to see images clearly, and frequent changes in corrective lens prescriptions.
In most cases, contact lenses designed specifically for patients with keratoconus or corrective eyeglasses prove sufficient to minimize the effects of the disease. Patients are generally still able to drive and participate in other normal activities with the aid of these lenses. Occasionally, corneal transplant or corneal grafting (penetrating keratoplasty) may be necessary to treat keratoconus when non-surgical treatment has failed or when the disease becomes too severe. The superior diagnostic and disease management capabilities at our practice serving Nashville and Hendersonville, Tennessee and surrounding areas provides patients with keratoconus and other eye diseases with the benefit of state-of-the-art vision care. This is all the more important when an individual is confronting eye disease and working toward maintaining the best possible quality of life.
Cataracts are the clouding of the natural lens of the eye due to the aging process and chronic exposure to ultraviolet light. Without appropriate medical care, including the prescription of proper sunglasses and vitamin therapy, cataracts can eventually cause partial or total blindness. Cataracts most often occur in older patients, making regular checkups for eye diseases even more important as patients age. Risk factors for cataracts include smoking, alcohol consumption, UV light exposure, physical injury, and medications such as oral steroids. There are also congenital cataracts, which may be present at birth or develop in early childhood.
Symptoms of cataracts include blurred or double vision, decreased ability to distinguish some colors, glare or sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, and difficulty seeing at night.
Cataract treatment involves surgery to remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The latest lens implants give patients better vision at multiple focal depths, allowing cataract surgery patients to see normally after receiving a lens implant. We work with only the best eye surgeons to ensure that our patients get the finest vision care available.
Diabetics are at a significantly increased risk of vision loss from a variety of eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma. The condition most closely associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, a degenerative eye disease characterized by damage to blood vessels in the retina. Abnormally high blood sugar levels weaken the walls of these vessels, causing them to rupture and leak fluid into the retina. This fluid damages the retina, ultimately causing vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy does not present clear symptoms until after it has begun to proliferate, making preventative measures an important part of everyday life for diabetics. Controlling blood sugar levels consistently is the best method of prevention. Pregnant women with diabetes face the highest risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, and should have regular vision care appointments to check for this and other eye diseases. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors. The doctors at Choate Eye Associates will recommend proper nutritional supplements to help protect your retinas.
The primary surgical treatment for diabetic retinopathy is called laser photocoagulation. In this procedure, a laser is used to seal the blood vessels affected by diabetic retinopathy in order to prevent the fluid leakage that causes vision loss. This treatment is generally a very effective way to seal existing leaks, but treatment will need to be repeated as new leaks develop.
With all the risks for eye diseases created by diabetes, diabetics in and around Nashville and Hendersonville, Tennessee should have a vision care expert they can trust. Years of experience in the management of eye diseases make Drs. Choate the ideal choice.
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, currently causes more cases of blindness in Americans over the age of 50 than any other eye disease. Macular degeneration gradually and painlessly destroys the macula, which is the central portion of the retina that makes high-resolution central vision possible. As the disease progresses, patients develop a blind spot in the middle of the visual field.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. 90 percent of all patients have the dry form, which is less destructive though currently untreatable. For the 10 percent who have wet macular degeneration, medication and laser surgery are available to slow the disease.
Risk factors for macular degeneration include smoking, heart disease, diets high in partially hydrogenated fats and low in minerals and antioxidant vitamins (such as A, C, and E), and long-term exposure to UV light. You can reduce your chances of developing this condition by eating a healthy diet, taking vitamin supplements, wearing sunglasses while outdoors, and quitting smoking. If you’re 50 or older, annual eye exams are also recommended, especially if you have a family history of AMD.
Although there is no cure for AMD and damage cannot be reversed, several treatment options are available to help slow the advancement of the disease. Photodynamic therapy may be used to treat certain types of AMD, and wet AMD may be treated with macular translocation surgery or thermal laser surgery. Magnifiers, large-face clocks and telephones, and large-print books and magazines can also help AMD patients make the most out of the sight they still have.
Though the prospect of vision loss linked to serious eye diseases may be frightening, Nashville and Hendersonville, Tennessee area residents can expect vision care of the highest standard from Choate Eye Associates. Superior disease management can help you avoid unnecessary vision loss. Contact our vision care practice today to schedule an appointment.