Dr. Wojton treats and manages chronic conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and dry eyes.
What is Glaucoma?
There are many different types of glaucoma but the most common type is Open Angle Glaucoma. Many people are under the misconception that glaucoma is caused by high pressures inside the eye. However, glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, and one can have glaucoma even if their pressures are “normal”. In addition, open angle glaucoma does not have any symptoms such as pain or redness. Glaucoma can cause a permanent, progressive, and irreversible loss of vision which is not noticeable until very late in the disease process. First line treatment for glaucoma involves eye drops. Laser and surgical treatments can also be used in more advanced situations.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Our entire retina (the inner lining of the eye) contains photoreceptors (the cells that make us see). There is a tiny area within the retina which is “prime real estate”, meaning that the photoreceptors are packed together. This allows us to see clearly and sharply. Think of it this way: look directly at an object and notice how in-focus and detailed it is. Now look about 6 inches or even a foot next to the object. You can still see it but with less detail. So when the macula becomes damaged, a person will lose their central, detailed vision. There are two forms of macular degeneration- dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most prevalent form, and in this stage, visual defects are mild to none. Wet AMD is more serious. In this stage, fragile, damaging blood vessels begin to grow causing vision loss and/or distortion. Thankfully, there is a treatment which involves shots inside the eye to prevent the blood vessels from developing.
What is Dry Eye?
To paraphrase the TFOS Dry Eye Workshop II report, dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the surface of the eye which results in tear film instability, inflammation and damage of the eye surface, and neurosensory abnormalities. Having said that, one can see that dry eye is much more than simply “the eyes don’t make enough tears”.
The most common demographic for dry eye previously was women ages 40-60. Now it is being seen in younger people (both males and females) and even in children as a result of increased digital screen use.
Rarely will a patient enter the exam room and say “my eyes feel dry”. More commonly, symptoms include watery/red/itchy/ eyes, eyes that burn or feel gritty, or having to blink a lot to make their vision clear.
There are many treatment options for dry eye, including over-the-counter artificial tears, prescription eye drops, nutritional supplements, and punctal plugs.