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‘Tis the season!

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‘Tis the season!

Seasonally named eye conditions!

We’re sure that you’ve come to recognise our optometrists, Dr. Euan McGinty and Dr. John Wilson, are eye geeks through and through.  So for this holiday season, our eye guys thought they’d share some seasonal naming quirks for eye conditions!
All of these are real eye conditions … well … almost all, for a bit of Christmas fun we’re throwing in a fake one – let’s see if you can pick out the fake one.

1- Christmas Tree Cataract

Usually cataracts are a haziness or discolouration of the natural lens inside the eye, which sits just
Christmas Tree Cataract – (image Medscape)
behind the iris.  They can look foggy or smokey to look at and can cause a similar effect on our vision.  Christmas Tree Cataracts are slightly different, this cataract tends to form highly reflective particles in the eye, which significantly bend the light or refract it.  These refractive and reflective properties give the cataract a highly coloured, iridescent and sparkly appearance which is where it gets its name from.
Similar to other cataracts, we would monitor this for its affect on your vision and look for associations with medical conditions.  While it is very pretty to look at, its affect on your vision would depend upon how significant it was in size and its location in the lens.

2 – Frosted Angiitis

This uncommon condition gives an distinct appearance to the blood vessels at the back of the eye and can unfortunately lead to significant degradation in the quality of vision.  Perhaps due to its rareness, the cause can sometimes be a mystery (idiopathic); however it is thought to be associated with an immune response from the body.

Frosted blood vessel appearance

3 – Rudolph Vasculature

A normal and healthy eye, which has a slightly unusual presentation in the blood vessels entering and
Classic Rudolph Vasculature presentation
leaving the optic disc at the back of the eye.  The optic disc is the natural blind spot at the back of the eye, where there are no light receptor cells.  At this point the optic nerve leaves the eye to carry the nerve pulse signals to the brain and where the blood vessels enter and leave the eye.
In Rudolph Vasculature the blood vessels all leave going upwards, giving the appearance likened to the antlers of a reindeer, and due to the twisting of the blood vessels there appears to be a “red nose” in the center of the optic nerve.  No known side effects are associated with this condition.

4 – Snowball Vitreous Floaters

Snowball floaters (bottom-left) – (image Optos.com)
Floaters are not an uncommon finding and often we can be aware of them in particular lighting conditions or against blank backgrounds – a white wall or a blue sky.  As floaters can also be a sign of activity in the eye, they definitely should not be ignored and if you experience new floaters always arrange an appointment for assessment without delay.
Snowball floaters are usually inflammatory cells, which are white in appearance, and occur in a condition called Pars Planitis.  The presence of floaters may actually be the only symptom of this condition, which is generally benign and may only cause a small effect on vision, if at all.

5 – Macular Star

Macular Star (yellow star to the right) – (photo EyeWiki)
The macula is the central part of the retina, which is the most sensitive area responsible for fine detail and colour vision.  When we talk about seeing 20/20 vision, it is this part of the retina which is working for us.
A Macular Star forms due to leakage of lipid rich fluid leaking from the blood vessels into the tissues of the retina, often forming a classic star pattern around the macula. 
If seen, it is important to try to identify the cause, although sometimes the cause is unknown.  It can be related to hypertension or to nerve inflammation.  The nerve inflammation, when caused by infection, is most commonly related to cat-scratch disease.
Thankfully, for most of these conditions, they are quite rare to see!
This will be our last blog until 2015, we do hope you are enjoying them.
Many thanks to all our friends, followers, supporters, customers, patients who have made 2014 such a fantastic year for Ocean Optometry – we can’t wait for 2015!

Happy Holidays from all at Ocean!

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