Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking
A pterygium is a growth of the conjunctival tissue onto the cornea. This most commonly occurs on the nose-side of the cornea. The growth can cause persistent redness and inflammation, vision distortion, and corneal scarring. For the early stages of a pterygium, treatment is achieved with lubricating and anti-inflammatory drops. If there is persistent inflammation despite appropriate drops use, vision loss, or the threat of central corneal scarring, pterygium removal can be performed. Dr. Richheimer generally employs a sutureless technique, using glue instead of sutures, to repalce the pterygium with a graft. This allows not only a very high success rate, but generally a faster, more comfortable recovery.
Amniotic Membrane Transplant
In Colorado, dry eyes are an overwhelmingly common problem. They can cause redness, irritation, and foreign body sensation. Even if you don’t ‘feel’ irritated, dryness is a very common cause of fluctuating vision. Eyes that feel “tired”, especially after computer use or at the end of a long day, are often simply dry. Paradoxically, eyes that “water” or tear too much often react this way because of underlying dryness.
There are many treatments for dry eye. The first line of defense is to use lubricating artificial tear drops. Dr. Richheimer’s philosophy for treatment is to be pro-active. If there is a typical time of the day when your eyes feel dry or tired, use the drops prior to that time. If you find more than 4 drops a day are necessary, use only non-preserved tear drops. These are found (in sterile, individual dose vials) at the pharmacy or can also be purchased at Dr. Richheimer’s office.
For many, using artificial tear drops alone is not enough. Fortunately, there are many other powerful treatments available. Dr. Richheimer recommends using a high quality oral fish oil supplement, 1-2 grams per day as tolerated, for all patients with significant dryness.Using nightly warm compresses is often helpful. Prescription drops such as Restasis may be valuable. Punctal plugs can also be a very effective treatment to combat dryness. Such plugs only slow the outflow of tears (not their production) into the nose and back of the throat. Thus, eyes become more ‘wet’ and consistently lubricated.
Dr. Richheimer also offers “serum tears” for those with significant dryness or other problems healing the eye. These tears are made from components of your own blood, and should never be shared. They can have remarkable healing qualities, perhaps due to the ‘cocktail’ of growth factors and healing agents found in the bloodstream – factors to which the cornea may be underexposed due to it’s avascular nature.
There are even further treatments for dryness, such as oral prescription medicine for those with advanced dryness. The bottom line is: If your eye feels dry, irritated, or tired, or if your vision fluctuates significantly, schedule an appointment with Dr. Richheimer. He can evaluate the cause and recommend the most effective treatment for you.
Specialty Contact Lenses
For those whose are poor LASIK candidates due to a correction which is too high or a cornea which is too thin – you may be an ideal candidate for the implantable contact lens. In this procedure, the lens is slipped, through a small incision, behind the iris. The procedure is typically comfortable and takes approximately 15 minutes. Vision results are typically outstanding, even the day after surgery. Unlike LASIK, there are no, or only minimal, changes to the shape of the cornea. Also, due to the relative lack of corneal change, the chance of dryness after ICL surgery is minimal. Finally, unlike LASIK – where corneal tissue is removed resulting in a permanent effect – the implantable contact itself can be completely removed.
Dr. Richheimer is proud to offer the Visian ICL as one option for those considering an ICL for vision correction. More information can be found by clicking the Visian button.
Ocular Allergy Testing
Occasionally after cataract surgery, the membrane that holds the lens implant in place can become hazy, interfering with vision. With an in-office laser, Dr. Richheimer can open a hole in this membrane, allowing for potentially better sight. The laser is generally painless and quick, taking less than 5 minutes! While all procedures entail some risk, any problems related to a YAG capsulotomy are exceedingly rare.
A Chalazion is a clogged oil gland in the eye lid. If the normal flow from the gland is blocked, it becomes enlarged and inflammed. This is how a stye forms.
Generally, styes will resolve on there own. However, this process can be frustratingly slow! The first line of therapy involves warm compresses. The warmth can ‘melt’ the oils in the gland. Gentle compression can encourage the gland to flow again – reversing the process.
Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops, ointments, or even pills may also be helpful. If these measures are unsuccessful, surgical removal of the stye can be performed. Stye removal has a very high success rate and generally a very quick recovery time.