Glossary of Terms

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | k | l | m | n | o | p | r | s | t | u | v

amsler grid -  During an eye exam, your doctor might have you look at an Amsler grid. The pattern of the grid resembles a checkerboard. You will cover one eye and stare at a black dot in the center of the grid. While staring at the dot, you might notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy, or that that some of the lines are missing.
blepharoplasty -  eyelid surgery to remove excess skin and fat. This surgery can be performed on both the upper and on the lower eyelids and can improve a person's vision as well as enhance the appearance of youth and vitality.  
Bowman's Layer - 

Bowman's layer is a transparent sheet of tissue that lies beneath the epithelium. It is made of strong layered protein fibers called collagen. If it is injured, the tissue in Bowman's layer forms a scar as it heals. If these scars are large and centrally located, they can interfere with vision.

cataract - 

This is a clouded area in the eye's lens. While many people get cataracts as they age, they happen at an earlier age in people with diabetes.

closed-angle glaucoma -  In this type, the angle in the eye is closed, or blocked. This prevents the fluid inside the eye from draining and causes the pressure in the eye to rise. In some people, the blockage happens very suddenly and causes severe pain and vision loss. This is called "acute closed-angle glaucoma." In other people, it happens slowly over time, and might cause periods of headaches. This is called "chronic closed-angle glaucoma." Closed-angle glaucoma is a serious condition and needs to be treated immediately.
congenital glaucoma  -  This happens when a child is born with a defect in the angle of the eye that slows the normal drainage of fluid. These children usually have obvious symptoms, such as cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing.
cornea -  The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer. It is a clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. It has two main functions: Protections and Vision.
corneal dystrophy - 

A corneal dystrophy is a condition in which one or more parts of the cornea lose their normal clarity due to a buildup of cloudy material. There are over 20 corneal dystrophies that affect all parts of the cornea. Many of them are inherited and not the result of other health or lifestyle factors.

corneal infections - 

damage to the cornea from injury or bacteria can cause painful inflammation and corneal infections. Another name for a corneal infection is keratitis. Corneal infections can be a rare but serious complication of contact lens wear. They can reduce clarity of vision, cause corneal discharges, and even erode the cornea. They can also lead to corneal scarring, which can harm vision and might require a corneal transplant.

cryopexy -  This is a freeze treatment that can also help with small holes and tears. Cryopexy freezes the area around the hole and helps reattach the retina. This procedure is performed in the eye doctor's office.
Descemet's membrane - 

This is a thin but strong sheet of tissue that protects the eye from infection and injuries. It also holds a part of the cornea called the corneal endothelium. Descemet's membrane heals quickly after injury.

Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty  - 

DSEK is another option for people who need a cornea transplant for cornea swelling. DSEK is also called the "sutureless corneal transplant," since it does not require stitches. DSEK has some advantages over traditional corneal transplant. These include faster vision recovery, a stronger eye, lower risk of rejection, and lower risk of conditions that can be caused by stiches, such as astigmatism and infections.

- Synonyms: DSEK
diabetic retinopathy - 

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.

dilated eye exam -  For this test, the eye doctor will put drops in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. He or she will then use a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision might remain blurred for several hours.
dry eye - 

In people with dry eye, the eye produces fewer or lower quality tears and is unable to keep itself moist and comfortable. The main symptom of dry eye is a scratchy or sandy feeling as if something is in the eye.

endothelium -  The endothelium is the extremely thin, innermost layer of the cornea. Endothelial cells are essential to keep the cornea clear. Normally, fluid leaks slowly from inside the eye into the stroma. The endothelium's primary task is to pump this excess fluid out of the stroma. Without this pumping action, the stroma would swell with water, become hazy, and eventually opaque. Once endothelium cells are destroyed by disease or injury, they are lost forever. If a person loses too many endothelial cells, he or she might need a corneal transplantation.
epithelium - 

This is the outermost layer of the cornea that blocks foreign material, such as dust, water, and bacteria, from entering the eye and provides a smooth surface that allows the cornea to get nutrients from tears. The epithelium is filled with thousands of tiny nerve endings that make the cornea very sensitive to pain.

exudative -  In this type retinal detachment, fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina, but there are no tears or breaks in the retina. This type is usually caused by retinal diseases, including inflammatory disorders and injury or trauma to the eye.
floaters -  Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks that float around in the field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when you hold your eyes still.
- Synonyms: floater, Floater
focal laser treatment -  This is a kind of laser surgery for people with macular edema. For this treatment, the doctor places small laser burns directly in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session, but a person might need focal laser surgery more than once to control leaking fluid. If surgery is needed for macular edema is in both eyes, generally only one eye will be treated at a time, usually several weeks apart.
gas injection -  For this treatment, the eye doctor injects a gas bubble into the eye. The doctor might do this in addition to the laser or cryopexy treatment. The gas bubble can help hold the retina against the eye wall while the areas treated with laser or cryopexy reattach at full strength, which can take up to a week.
glaucoma - 

This is damage of the optic nerve and loss of vision. It is usually associated with an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma.

glaucoma drainage implant  -  For this surgery, the eye doctor places an implant inside the eye to help fluid drain. There are different types of implants eye doctors can use for this treatment. Your eye doctor can help you decide which type is best for you.
granular dystrophy - 

Granular dystrophy causes "crumb-shaped" lesions to form on the inside of the eye. Over time, these lesions can grow and affect vision. In some people, the condition also causes eye pain or discomfort.

herpes zoster - 

This is an infection that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. In most cases, once a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in his or her body. But in some people, the virus becomes active again later in life. When this happens, the virus travels down nerve fibers and can infect any part of the body. The infection causes a blistering rash (called shingles), fever, painful inflammations of the affected nerve fibers, and a general feeling of sluggishness. In many people who have a varicella-zoster infection in their head or neck, the virus also affects the cornea.

- Synonyms: shingles
iridocorneal endothelial syndrome  - 

This condition involves changes in the iris (the colored part of the eye), swelling of the cornea, and the development of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease in which normal fluid inside the eye cannot drain properly. Glaucoma can cause severe vision loss. ICE is most common in women and usually diagnosed between ages 30 to 50. It usually only happens in one eye.

- Synonyms: ICE
keratoconus - 

This is the most common corneal dystrophy in the U.S, and is most prevalent in teenagers and adults in their 20s. It happens when the middle of the cornea thins and gradually bulges outward, forming a cone shape. This bulging changes the how the cornea refracts (bends) light, and can cause refractive errors such as nearsightedness and astigmatism. It can also cause swelling and scarring of the cornea, which can harm vision. Keratoconus usually affects both eyes.

laser iridotomy -  Like any surgery, laser surgery can cause side effects, such as inflammation. The doctor might give you drops to take home for soreness or inflammation inside the eye. Several follow-up appointments might be needed to monitor your eye pressure. Usually, if a person has glaucoma in both eyes, one eye will be treated at a time. But some people will have both eyes treated at the same time. If you have your eyes treated separately, the laser treatments for each eye will be scheduled several days to weeks apart.
laser surgery -  Laser surgery can treat small holes and tears. Tiny burns are made around the hole to "weld" the retina back into place. It is performed in the eye doctor's office.
laser trabeculoplasty -  This can help fluid drain out of the eye in open angle glaucoma. It is a surgery that the eye doctor performs in his or her office. If you have open-angle glaucoma, your eye doctor might suggest this as an option at any point in your treatment. In many cases, a person needs to keep taking glaucoma medication after this procedure.
LASIK -  LASIK, which stands for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, is the most popular form of laser eye surgery.  It is a two step process: first a flap is created on the front of the cornea, then a laser is used to gently reshape the cornea underneath the flap to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
lattice dystrophy - 

Lattice dystrophy causes abnormal protein fibers (called amyloid deposits) to collect in the stroma. Over time, these groups of fibers converge and take up more of the stroma. This causes cloudiness in the cornea and can also harm vision. Although lattice dystrophy can occur at any time in life, the condition usually happens in children between the ages of two and seven.

low-tension glaucoma  -  In this type, the optic nerve is damaged without an increase in eye pressure. People with this condition might also have problems with side vision. In some people with this type of glaucoma, medications or surgery can lower the eye pressure and slow the disease. In other people, lowering the eye pressure will not stop the glaucoma from getting worse.
- Synonyms: normal-tension glaucoma
macular edema - 

This is when fluid leaks into the center of the macula, the part of the eye that allows for central vision. Central vision is the sharp, straight-ahead vision needed to see fine detail. When fluid leaks into the macula, it causes swelling and blurs vision. Macular edema can happen at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to happen as the disease worsens. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy also have macular edema.

macular hole -  A macular hole is a small break in the macula. The macula is located in the center of the retina, an area of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. The macula controls central vision, which is the sharp, straight-ahead vision we need for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail.
map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy - 

This dystrophy happens when part of the epithelium does not develop normally, and epithelial cells cannot properly adhere to it. This causes the erosion of the epithelium. This condition is also called "epithelial basement membrane dystrophy," since it affects the area of the epithelium called the basement membrane.

mild non-proliferative retinopathy - 

This is the earliest stage. People in this stage have small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina's tiny blood vessels. These are called microaneurysms.

moderate non-proliferative retinopathy  - 

In this second stage, blood vessels that nourish the retina become blocked.

neovascular glaucoma -  This is a severe form of glaucoma that can happen in people with diabetes.
ocular herpes - 

This condition is caused by recurrent viral infections from the herpes simplex virus. It is the most common infectious cause of corneal blindness in the U.S. It causes a painful sore on the eyelid or surface of the eye and inflammation of the cornea.

open-angle glaucoma -  In this type, the angle in the eye is open, but it does not function properly. This prevents the fluid inside the eye from draining and causes the pressure in the eye to rise.
pachymetry -  For this test, the eye doctor uses an ultrasonic wave instrument to measure the thickness of the cornea. A numbing drop is applied to the eye beforehand.
phototherapeutic keratectomy - 

Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) can treat superficial corneal dystrophies, corneal scars, and certain corneal infections. Only a short time ago, people with these disorders would most likely have needed a corneal transplant.

- Synonyms: PTK
pigmentary glaucoma -  In this type, pigment from the iris flakes off and blocks the meshwork of the angle. This slows fluid drainage.
proliferative retinopathy - 

At this advanced stage, the signals sent by the retina in the third stage trigger the growth of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels are fragile and break easily. They grow along the retina and along the surface of the clear, vitreous gel that fills the inside of the eye. On their own, these blood vessels do not cause symptoms or vision loss. But if they break and leak blood, they can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.

pseudoexfoliative glaucoma -  People with this type have deposits of a protein-like material in their eye.
pterygium - 

A pterygium is a pinkish, triangular-shaped growth of tissue on the cornea. Pterygia are more common in sunny climates and in people aged 20 to 40. Some pterygia grow slowly throughout a person's life, while others stop growing after a certain point. A pterygium rarely grows so large that it begins to cover the pupil of the eye.

Restore Vision -  Boise location-icon8756 W Emerald St, Suite 196, Boise, ID 83704 mobile208-375-6700  
retinal detachment -  Retinal detachment is a condition in which a layer of tissue called the retina gets lifted or pulled away from its normal position in the eye. The retina acts as a light-sensitive wallpaper in the eye, lining the inside of the eye wall and sending visual signals to the brain.
rhegmatogenous -  In this type of retinal detachment, a tear or break allows fluid to get under the retina and separate it from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The RPE is a layer of cells that nourishes the retina. These types of retinal detachments are the most common. They are also the most dangerous type, since they progress rapidly.
scatter laser treatment - 

This is a kind of laser surgery for people with proliferative retinopathy. Scatter laser treatment helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels. For this treatment, the doctor places 1000 to 2000 laser burns in the areas of the retina away from the macula. This causes the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Because a high number of laser burns are necessary, a person who gets this treatment usually needs two or more sessions. Scatter laser treatment can cause some loss of peripheral (side) vision, but it can preserve and save the rest of the person's vision, especially critical central vision. It might also slightly reduce color vision and night vision.

scleral buckle -  This is a tiny synthetic band that the doctor attaches to the outside of the eyeball. The band gently pushes the wall of the eye in toward the center of the eye. This places the eye wall very close to the detached retina. Natural pumps in the eye then help reattach the retina to the wall.
secondary glaucoma -  These are types of open-angle glaucoma that are caused by medication or other medical conditions.
severe non-proliferative retinopathy - 

In this third stage, many more blood vessels are blocked. This keeps several areas of the retina from receiving the blood supply they need. These areas of the retina send signals to the body to grow new blood vessels for nourishment.

stroma - 

Beneath Bowman's layer is the stroma, which accounts for about 90 percent of the cornea's thickness. It is mostly made of water and collagen. The collagen's unique shape, arrangement, and spacing are important in allowing light to pass through the cornea. The stromal layer is is the part of the cornea that is reshaped in laser vision correction, such as PRK and LASIK procedures.

tonometry -  This test involves an instrument that measures the pressure inside the eye. Your doctor might apply numbing drops to your eye for this test.
trabectome -  For this surgery, the eye doctor removes the meshwork inside the eye to help fluid drain.
trabeculectomy  -  In this surgery, the eye doctor makes a new opening for the fluid to leave the eye. (See diagram.) Your eye doctor might suggest this treatment at any time.
tractional -  In this type retinal detachment, scar tissue on the retina's surface shrinks and causes it to separate from the RPE. This type of detachment occurs in people with diabetes. It does not progress as rapidly.
uvetic glaucoma  -  This type of glaucoma can happen from eye inflammation.
virectomy - 

This is a surgical procedure for people with severe bleeding. During a vitrectomy, the doctor removes blood from the center of the eye. If you have this treatment, you will probably also have scatter laser treatment at the same time.

visual acuity test -  This test uses an eye chart to measure how well you see at various distances.