Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration involves the deterioration of the macula or the area of best vision, which is the part of the retina that controls detailed visual acuity. The condition can be categorised as either wet (10% of patients) or dry (90% of patients). The wet form of this condition occurs when there is abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye, while dry macular degeneration occurs as a result of the macula tissues thinning. While these conditions cannot be cured, Dr Enslin Uys is able to recommend a treatment to delay its progression. More recently, injections have been found to stop the progression of the wet macular degeneration. This group of medication is called anti-VEGF and includes Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea. Dr Enslin Uys has the expert knowledge to know which one will work best for your condition. These injections have to be repeated, initially up to monthly until your condition has stabilised. The interval between injections will then slowly be increased.
Vein and arterial occlusions
Vein and arterial occlusions can be described as strokes, which occur in the eye which we call retinal artery occlusions or retinal vein occlusions. These strokes occur as a result of a blockage in the arteries or veins in the retina and cause loss of vision. While retinal vascular occlusions (eye occlusions) are generally painless, it is essential to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Retinitis pigmentosa occurs as a result of a degenerative eye disease that causes serious vision impairment. Some common symptoms include night blindness, vision loss and seeing flashes of light. The condition can be inherited, and there are genetic tests available to help assess the risk of passing on the disease to your child. Unfortunately there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa; however, cataract removal surgery may help to improve the vision when they occur.
Uveitis refers to inflammation of the uvea, which is the vascular middle part of the eye and includes the iris, choroid and ciliary body. Eye inflammation can be caused by an injury or a systemic inflammatory disease such as sarcoidosis, arthritis or Chrone's disease, or in some cases, by exposure to toxic substances like pesticides. The most common uveitis treatment for this condition is a steroid, which can be administered by injection, tablets or most commonly eye drops.
Diabetic eye disease
Diabetic eye disease (or diabetic retinopathy) refers to a group of conditions, which affect patients with diabetes. Some common conditions in this group include glaucoma, cataracts, proliferative diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema. Treatment options depend on the condition, although early detection helps to reduce the risk of blindness considerably in all of the diabetic eye diseases. Most common treatment for diabetic macular oedema includes intra virtual injections of a group of drugs called anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). The three drugs available in South Africa are Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea. Occasionally a steroid (triamcinolone) injection is used when the anti-VEGF does not work. Focal argon laser treatment is also used if the swelling is very localised and far away from the area of best vision.
Tumours inside the eye generally occur in the middle layer (choroid) and the inner layer (retina) of the eye. Tumours, can however also be found on the lids, conjunctiva or in the orbit. Tumours do not always indicate eye cancer (malignant tumour) and can be benign, in which case they are non-cancerous growths that do not spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumours, however, can affect vision. Treatment options for eye tumours include observation with regular follow up and photographic or ultrasound monitoring, excision, laser surgery, photodynamic therapy or radiation therapy. The treatment depends on the type of lesion, size and location. Dr Enslin Uys has the expert knowledge to recommend the best treatment for your eye condition. The cancer treatment is often in collaboration with an Oncologist. Retinoblastoma (the most common tumour in children) and melanomas (adults) are often treated using chemotherapy or radiation. It is common for some patients to experience visual side effects of these cancer-fighting drugs. Ocular side effects of cancer-fighting therapies include photophobia (sensitivity to light), conjunctivitis (otherwise known as pink eye), dry and sore eyes and cataracts. Ocular side effects may be mild, however more severe side effects will possibly need surgical treatment by an ophthalmologist or eye surgeon when you are under the care of an Oncologist.