Monday, July 12, 2010

I Have Flashing Lights, and Now a BIG Floater

We hear this kind of story several times every day at Skyvsion. Bright flashing lights somewhere in the side of your vision that last for minutes to hours...sometimes like lightening bolts and sometimes just like a shower of stars. I time a great big floaty thing appears. It can be any shape but it often seems like a spider web that drifts in and out of view. You've had a posterior vitreal detachment!

A what?! What kind of detachment?

Remember the blog post about floaters? The vitreous jelly shrinks as we get older, and sometimes it actually shrinks to the point that it separates from the back of the eye. The back of the jelly, the part that was attached to the back of the eye, is now free floating, and it becomes dense and thick. Your big floater!

When the vitreous jelly pulls off it tugs on the retina putting traction or pull on the inner retina (the film on the inside of your eye). Now, the retina can only respond to ANY kind of stimulation in just one way. Bite it, scrratch it, tickle it, pull on it, or shine light on it, the retina will give off a sensation as if it has seen light. So when the vitreous jelly contracts and pulls off you get flashing lights!

The danger of a vitreal detatchment isn't so much the flashes or even the big floater; all of that will seem like it goes away in time. The REAL danger is that when it comes off it can take a piece of the retina with it causing a hole or a tear, and that can lead to a retinal detachment. Go HERE to see an eyemaginations video on vitreous detachments, and we'll talk some about retinal detachments another time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When Should I Use My Tear Drops?

There are many degrees of Dry Eye so there are many answers to this question! For some people it's perfectly OK to just use an artificial tear when there is a little bit of discomfort. Feel a little dry? A tiny bit of scratchiness? Go ahead and put a drop in.

Other people have Dry Eye symptoms all the time. The doctors at Skyvision like to tell these folks that they should use their tears just like they were a prescription medicine. 2, 3, sometimes 4-6 times a day on a schedule is sometimes what it takes to be comfortable with your Dry Eye.

It turns out that it is usually easier to prevent the Dry Eye symptoms from starting than it is to stop them once they start! In other words, the time to take your eye drops is when you DON'T have any symptoms. If you wait until your eyes feel badly it's already too late.

Think of an image of a well with a bucket that hangs down into the water. If the well slowly drains all day long pretty soon the rope won't be long enough to reach the water. In order for the bucket to get to the water you first have to FILL UP THE WELL! Same thing with dry eye; if you don't keep the well full all day you won't get the benefit of the tears until you fill the well (your eye) back up!

Ask Dr. White, Dr. Schlegel, or Dr. Kaye what kind of artificial tear is best for you, and how much to use them.