Atrium Health Navicent Ophthalmology Macon

Eye Conditions


Close up of an eye with a cataractA cataract is a result of natural change occurring inside your eye, a gradual clouding of the lens within the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. It is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with a simple surgery.

A person with a cataract can experience difficulties when conducting everyday activities such as reading or driving. With new advances in cataract surgery, patients recover quickly, allowing them to return home after treatment.


Young girl with conjunctivitisConjunctivitis is also known as pink eye and it is an inflammation of the outer outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. It is commonly due to an infection or an allergic reaction. Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and tends to be prevalent in schools and amongst children. It can spread by direct person-to-person contact, the sharing of objects and by airborne droplets. Conjunctivitis is usually a minor problem, however in some cases serious corneal inflammation can occur.

Signs and symptoms of Conjunctivitis include:

  • Watery Discharge
  • Irritation
  • Red Eye - may spread to fellow eye
  • Itching and tearing
  • Swelling
  • Eyelids sticking together

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye condition and is the leading cause of blindness amongst adults. Blood vessels in the retina are damaged. Macular edema is a condition that can form when blood vessels weaken and leak fluid, causing swelling and blurry vision. New blood vessels can form on the surface of the retina, that can bleed and eventually lead to blindness.

In the early stage of the disease, many times there are no symptoms or pain. An eye care professional can tell you if you have diabetic retinopathy by giving you a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Laser eye surgery can close or shrink the new abnormal blood vessels that can leak blood into the eye. It can also slow or stop the fluid leakage from retina vessels that can cause vision loss. Injection of drugs into the eye also prevents leakage and causes improvement of vision

Surgery may be needed in order to remove the blood. This condition can eventually lead to a detached retina and can cause loss of sight or blindness if not treated early. Please don't hesitate to call us if you are experiencing these or other vision problems.

Image of an eye with and without diabetic retinopathy

Dry Eyes

Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes do not produce enough tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter or allergens, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose.

Symptoms of dry eye include the following:

  • Irritation
  • Dry eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Burning and stinging
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses

Dry eye cannot be cured, but we may be able to prescribe a treatment that is right for you. Treatments may include the use of artificial tears, moisturizing ointment, or punctal plugs. Treatment may also include oral supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and prescription eyedrops like cyclosporine (Restasis) or Xiidra (Lifitegrast).

Illustration of the anatomy of an eye


Glaucoma is not just one eye disease, but a group of eye conditions resulting in optic nerve damage, which may cause loss of vision. Abnormally high pressure inside your eye usually causes this damage. Some people may get optic nerve damage at low pressure levels while others tolerate higher pressure levels.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage. The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, has no noticeable signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss.

The only sure way to diagnose glaucoma is with a complete eye exam. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and limit glaucoma-related vision loss. It's important to get your eyes examined regularly, and make sure your eye doctor measures your intraocular pressure.

What are the signs and symptoms of Glaucoma?

At first there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal.

As disease worsens, side vision may begin to fail. Objects straight ahead maybe clear, but objects to the side might be missed. With untreated, advanced glaucoma, the field of vision narrows and the objects in the front can no longer be seen.

Man and woman getting an eye exam

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration exmple, shows a clock with a darkened, blurry centerAge related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. You need central vision to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. Dry AMD happens when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. Your gradually lose your central vision. Wet AMD causes the growth of abnormal blood vessels which can bleed or leak fluid. This leads to sudden vision loss in one or both eyes.

Regular comprehensive eye examinations can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision. In the early stage of AMD, treatments can include eating better and taking specific vitamins. If abnormal blood vessels develop, you may require drugs in the eye or laser surgery to help stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina.

Ocular Allergies

Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances or an allergen in the environment. Some believe that allergens are due to pollution and some believe it is the lack of exposure that does not allow us to become acclaimed to them. Ocular allergies are among the most uncomfortable forms of allergic reactions. Symptoms for Ocular Allergies may include the following:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Watery eyes
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Swelling of the eyelids

Ocular allergies are commonly associated with allergic rhinitis. Since the eye is so close to the nose, substances that come in contact with the eye can flow downward to the nose.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing


A pterygium is commonly known as surfer's eye and most often refers to the benign growth of the conjuctiva. The pterygium commonly grows from the nasal side of the conjunctiva and is usually present in the palpebral fissure. In some cases a pterygium can grow large enough to cover the entire pupil. It is associated with the exposure of ultraviolet-light, dust and low humidity. Surgery is available for the removal of the pterygium.


  • Redness on and around the conjunctiva
  • Growth on the cornea
  • Red triangle-shaped thickening
  • Discoloration of the conjunctiva

Close up of and eye with Pterygium