Four Rare Eye Diseases that Ophthalmologist Treat
With extensive training and education, Ophthalmologists are often called on to diagnose and treat some of the most uncommon and unique eye diseases and disorders. Below are four rare eye diseases that Ophthalmologists may run into with patients.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome
Charles bonnet syndrome causes a person whose vision is deteriorating to see hallucinations. The hallucinations are only visual and don’t involve hearing things or any other sensations.
- According to the Macular Society, up to half of all people with macular degeneration may experience Charles Bonnet Syndrome hallucinations at some point.
- While there isn’t extensive research on this disorder, ophthalmologists have come to the conclusion that the hallucinations are the brain’s reaction to the vision loss. When a person starts to lose their vision, the brain doesn’t receive as much information and instead fills in the gaps with images that it has stored.
There is currently no cure for Charles Bonnet Syndrome, but patients usually feel relief when they know the cause of these hallucinations. Medications used to treat epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, and dementia have been effective for some patients.
Stargardt Disease is a rare genetic eye disease that occurs when fatty material builds up on the macula and disrupts the central vision. Vision loss usually starts in childhood, but some people don’t start to lose their vision until adulthood.
- Seeing gray, black, or hazy spots in the center of vision.
- Having extreme sensitivity to light.
- Needing more time for eyes to adjust between light and dark places.
- Experiencing color blindness.
Currently there is no treatment for Stargardt disease but with the help of low vision aids and rehabilitation programs, living with the disease is manageable.
Haemolacria is a rare condition that causes a person to produce tears partially made of blood. These tears can occur from a variety of causes including hormone changes, menstruation, inflammation, blocked tear ducts, or high blood pressure. While the condition is usually benign, you should seek medical attention to be sure there aren’t any underlying issues.
- Probe or irrigate the affected area.
- Take cultures to identify any underlying causes.
- Perform nasal endoscopy.
- Perform CT Scan.
Often bloody tears require no treatment but if there are underlying causes, a doctor may recommend treatments like medication or antibiotic eye drops, flushing for tear draining, or surgery.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a group of eye diseases that affects the retina. This disease causes cells to break down slowly over time resulting in vision loss. Retinitis Pigmentosa is genetic with symptoms usually starting in childhood, and most people eventually lose their eyesight.
- Loss of night vision. Parents may notice that children have trouble moving around in the dark or adjusting to dim light.
- Loss of peripheral visions resulting in trouble seeing things out of the corner of eyes.
- Extreme sensitivity to light.
- Loss of color vision.
There are currently no treatments available for patients of Retinitis Pigmentosa. However, according to Hopkins Medicine, wearing UV sunglasses can help protect your eye’s retina and delay the start of symptoms. For patients with a more advanced version, there are artificial retina (retinal prosthesis) that can help with severe vision loss.
As always, the best way to prevent eye issues or catch early symptoms of any severe disorders is to schedule regular check ups with your eye doctor. At Sterling Vision, our eye vision is focused specifically on you. Give us a call or stop by one of our convenient locations to schedule your appointment today!