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I have an ocular edema and wear contacts. I have excellent…

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I have an ocular edema...
I have an ocular edema and wear contacts. I have excellent wearing habits and just made a switch to toric lenses. Could this be the cause? I am a -13.0 in both eyes. I am also concerned about a recent eye exam where an intern spent a solid 4-5 minutes looking into my eye after being dilated with a very bright light. She couldn't find what she was looking for and simply kept trying. I had to turn away on three different occasions from the pain/brightness. Could this lead to eye damage. At 37, I have the beginning signs of macular degeneration and the previously mentioned edema.
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Eye
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6/24/2011
Eye Doctor: Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist replied 7 years ago
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Hello and thanks for your question. The answer to your question would depend on what kind of edema you have. Is this edema in the cornea (the front lens part of the eye)? Or is it edema in the retina? If there is edema in the cornea, then yes, contact lenses can cause this. It may require a switch to a new type of contact lenses that allow more oxygen to reach the cornea and/or a change in how much you wear the contacts.

If it is swelling in the retina, then these beginning signs of macular degeneration may be involved here. Some people your age can get a swelling in the retina that appears to happen for no reason, called central serous retinopathy (CSR) which is difficult to see on an exam (may explain why the intern couldn't see it), but is visible on additional testing. For these people, the vast majority of them have complete resolution of their swelling in several weeks, but they are fairly blurry until then. It is quite unlikely that the exam she did would cause permanent damage to the retina, though.

Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?

I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.

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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

This corneal edema is lingering. I have been taking a steroid (Prednisolone) for three weeks. I have a follow up appointment with my optometrist in two days.

Can you give me a brief overview of the differences between an optometrist and an opthamologist? Should I be seeing an opthamologist?

Eye Doctor: Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist replied 7 years ago
An optometrist earns a four-year degree in optometry after first completing an undergraduate degree; optometrists study and treat the eye as a visual system with their main emphasis being the diagnosis and treatment of visual related disorders, such as far-sightedness, near-sightedness, and astigmatism through the prescribing of glasses, contact lenses, and other low vision aids. They are also trained to recognize common eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and initiate common, baseline treatment recommendations, but these are often times of secondary importance in the daily dealings of an optometrist....

An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor first and foremost, having completed a four-year medical doctorate degree in addition to a college, undergraduate degree. After completion of the medical degree, an ophthalmologist also completes one year of experience as a general doctor treating hospitalized and clinic patients in a wide range of specialties such as OB/GYN, psychiatry, internal medicine, and general surgery, as well as having three additional years of specialty training in ophthalmology where they are taught to recognize, diagnose, and treat the medical and surgical diseases of the eye and body as they relate to the eyes.

First, let me say that all optometrists are not the same; there are many optometrists who pride themselves on being concerned with and treating the eye as a whole, and are not focused solely on selling glasses or contact lenses. That being said, many optometrists staff doc-in-the-box optical shops such as you might find in shopping malls and have as their primary goal the dispensing of glasses and contact lens prescriptions while performing cursory or less than complete eye exams. Suffice it to say, on the whole, most optometrists do not have significant experience treating complex medical problems of the eye.

So, to answer your question, you need to be seeing an ophthalmologist who is trained to handle these types of problems.

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Thanks for the answer. I am satisfied however I am currently on a plan for unlimited questions and don't understand why I am being charged per question.
Eye Doctor: Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist replied 7 years ago
I'm really not sure how that works exactly so I will be happy to send this to the category moderators who can get you the assistance you need
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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