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LASIK SELF TEST

The Des Moines LASIK specialists at Des Moines Eye Surgeons invite you to find out if you are a LASIK candidate. Please take our LASIK self-evaluation test and one of our staff members will be in touch with you to discuss your LASIK candidacy.

ONLINE PAYMENTS

Making a payment to Des Moines Eye Surgeons is quick and easy! Click the link below to make your payment online!

EYELID SURGERY

Every year, thousands of men and women choose eyelid surgery to improve their vision and the way they look. Droopy eyelids can make you appear older and can also impair vision. Eyelid surgery with Des Moines Eye Surgeons corrects these problems and also removes puffiness and bags around your eyes that make you look worn and tired.

COSMETIC SERVICES

If you are seeing BOTOX© in the Des Moines area contact us today! Des Moines Eye Surgeons offers Latisse for eyelash enhancement and BOTOX® cosmetic injections. Learn how our cosmetic services can help you achieve your best look today!

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

If you are seeking LASIK eye surgery in the Des Moines area please contact us for a LASIK consultation or eye examination.

Eye Disorders

Chalazion

Overview

A chalazion is a localized, often tender, area of swelling in the eyelid. This swelling is due to inflammation in one of the small oil producing glands (meibomian glands) that line the superior and lower eyelids. The inflammation occurs as a response to trapped oil secretions.

Treatment

Warm compresses: Warm compresses help to heat the stagnant oil secretions to allow them to flow from the oil glands more freely. The warm compresses should be done over a closed eye 4 times a day for 10 minutes at a time when a chalazion is present. A warm pack can be used for the source of the heat. If you do not have a warm pack available, you can create one by placing a small amount of uncooked rice in a cotton cloth and heating in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

Antibiotics: Sometimes a topical or oral antibiotic is necessary if signs of infection develop.

Surgical excision: Larger chalazions that do not respond to other treatments can be removed surgically under local anesthesia.

Steroid injection: Injection of a steroid directly to the chalazion site can be helpful in eliminating the inflammatory response.

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Choroidal Nevus

A choroidal nevus (mole), is a pigmented area of the retina that develops as a result of an accumulation of melanocytes (pigmented cells). Choroidal nevi are quite common and can be found in approximately 30% of the population. It is important to see your eye doctor on a regular basis to observe the nevus and monitor for any signs of malignancy.

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Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis is the term used to describe inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye). The eye often appears red or pink in conjunctivitis because the blood vessels are dilated. There is often some type of discharge present, but vision is usually normal and discomfort is mild.

Conjunctivitis can have an allergic, viral or bacterial etiology. Each type of conjunctivitis is treated differently according to the suspected source of infection. In addition, some types of conjunctivitis are quite contagious while others are not.

In addition, there are several eye pathologies which can produce a red eye and can lead to vision loss if left untreated. Therefore, it is important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation to determine the etiology of a red eye, especially if symptoms are progressing or there is associated pain.

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Diabetic Retinopathy

Dry Eye Syndrome

Overview

Dry Eye Syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of people. This is a progressive condition where the eye’s ability to produce healthy lubricating tears is reduced. This altered tear film can cause painful corneal damage and blurred vision and can eventually lead to scarring of the cornea.

Symptoms

  • watering
  • foreign body sensation (feels like something is in your eye)
  • gritty or sandy feeling
  • burning or stinging
  • fluctuating vision
  • eye pain

Treatment

There are numerous treatments available for dry eyes. Dry eyes are often a chronic condition and the goal of treatment is not only to regain, but also maintain clear, comfortable vision. The doctors at Des Moines Eye Surgeons can discuss the treatment options that are most likely to help alleviate your symptoms based on your type of dry eyes.

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Fuch’s Dystrophy

Fuch’s Dystrophy is an inherited disorder of the cornea (the clear tissue at the front of your eye). Fuch’s dystrophy is characterized by problems with cells that make up the innermost layer of the cornea, the endothelium. Normally, these cells pump fluid out of the cornea back into the eye. In Fuch’s Dystrophy these cells begin to malfunction and the cornea begins to swell, resulting in blurred vision. The blurriness often fluctuates throughout the day and is dependent on the amount of corneal swelling that is present. In the early stages of the disease, your doctor can recommend daily treatment that will help minimize your symptoms and maintain adequate vision. In more advanced stages of Fuch’s Dystrophy, corneal surgery may be required to improve vision.

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Glaucoma

Herpes Simplex Eye Disease

Overview

Herpes simplex eye disease is caused by infection from the herpes simplex virus. There are two main types of the herpes simplex virus. Type I is the most common and is primarily expressed as a cold sore or fever blister. Type II is the sexually transmitted form of herpes, infecting the genitals. While both Type I and Type II can spread to the eye and cause infection, Type I is by far the most frequent type associated with herpes simplex eye disease. Infection of the eye occurs when the virus is transferred by touching an active lesion (cold sore or blister) and then touching your eye.

Once you have been infected with the herpes simplex virus, it will remain present in your system. Occasionally, the virus can reactivate and cause an active infection to occur. Reactivation of the virus can be triggered by stress, sun exposure, injury, surgery, fever or certain medications. It is possible for the infection to reoccur numerous times throughout one’s lifetime.

Symptoms

Herpes simplex eye disease most often infects the front surfaces of the eye. The infection has the potential to cause permanent scarring of the cornea or spread to deeper structures of the eye. Symptoms of infection include:

  • red eye (most often only in one eye)
  • eye pain
  • light sensitivity
  • blurring of vision
  • tearing

Treatment

There is treatment for herpes simplex eye disease. Early detection and treatment of the infection reduces the risk of permanent scarring and subsequent vision loss. It is important to see your eye doctor for evaluation of any red, painful eye to determine the correct etiology and before beginning any treatment because some medications can make a herpes simplex infection worse.

Herpes Zoster Eye Disease

Overview

Herpes zoster eye disease is caused by the herpes zoster visus. The herpes zoster virus is also responsible for causing chicken pox and shingles. Once a person has chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in your system. The virus can be reactivated later in life if your immune system becomes weakened by aging, stress, illness, fatigue or certain medications. When the virus is reactivated it results in a herpes zoster infection, commonly known as shingles. It is possible that the infection can reoccur numerous times throughout one’s lifetime.

Chicken pox and herpes zoster are both contagious; however, the virus can only be passed to those who have not had chicken pox or those who have not been vaccinated against chicken pox. If you have active chicken pox or shingles, it is important to avoid those who may be at risk.

Herpes zoster eye disease can lead to scarring of the cornea, glaucoma, cataract formation, double vision and permanent damage to the optic nerve.

Symptoms

  • pain, itching or tingling of the skin
  • rash comprised of fluid-filled blisters
  • red eye
  • light sensitivity

Treatment

There is treatment for herpes zoster eye disease. Early detection and treatment of the infection reduces the risk of the serious complications associated with herpes zoster eye disease.

Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a disease characterized by progressive thinning of the cornea. This thinning leads to a cone shaped corneal surface with high amounts of corneal astigmatism and nearsightedness. This irregular shape of the cornea causes significant blurring and distortion of vision. The thinning progresses slowly and in the early stages, the reduced vision can often be corrected with glasses or standard contact lenses. As the distortion of the cornea progresses, it is often necessary to wear a specially designed rigid contact lens to achieve best vision. In the advanced stages of the disease, the thinned areas of the cornea can rupture or significantly scar, necessitating a corneal transplant to regain vision.

Keratoconus is the most common corneal dystrophy in the United States. The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown. New treatment options to slow down or stop the progression of the disease are emerging and showing excellent preliminary results.

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Macular Degeneration

Overview

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States in adults over the age of 60. Macular degeneration is the deterioration or thinning of the macula. The macula is the small area in the retina (the back wall of your eye) that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving. This deterioration of the macula can cause your central vision to be blurry, distorted or even missing.

Macular degeneration primarily affects your central vision and therefore will not result in total blindness. Even in advanced macular degeneration, people often continue to have functional vision that allows you to take care of yourself and most of your daily needs.

There are 2 types of macular degeneration:

Dry macular degeneration: This is the most common form of macular degeneration. It is caused by aging and thinning of the macula. Vision loss is usually gradual. Dry macular degeneration does have the potential to progress to wet macular degeneration.

Wet macular degeneration: This is the rarer form of macular degeneration. It results when abnormal blood vessels develop underneath the retina at the back of the eye. These new blood vessels leak fluid and blood resulting in blurring or distortion of central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe.

Prevention

Vitamins: A specific formulation of vitamins may reduce the risk of macular degeneration progression. The AREDS study found that people at risk for developing advanced stages of macular degeneration lowered their risk by about 25% when treated with a high-dose combination of Vitamin C, E, beta carotene and zinc. These supplements did not appear to provide any benefit in those who have very early or no macular degeneration. If you currently smoke or have a recent history of smoking and you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you should be sure to take the supplements that do not include beta carotene. It is important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for macular degeneration, nor will they restore any vision that has already been lost. The goal with vitamin supplementation is to maintain your current level of vision. The doctors and staff at Des Moines Eye Surgeons can talk with you about your risk for developing macular degeneration and the specific supplements that would be most appropriate for you.

Ultra-violet protection: It is strongly recommended that you protect your eyes from the harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun by wearing sunglasses any time you are outdoors.

Smoking: Smoking is our number one modifiable risk factor related to macular degeneration. Quit smoking to reduce your risk of macular degeneration and the potential severe vision loss associated with the disease.Amsler Grid

Monitor your vision: Monitoring your vision on a daily basis to detect new distortions in your vision is an effective way for you to screen your vision at home. The prognosis of treatment for macular degeneration often depends on early detection of progression. Monitoring your vision at home with an Amsler grid will aid in early detection of macular degeneration progression. If you detect changes on your Amsler grid, contact Des Moines Eye Surgeons as soon as possible to set up an eye appointment.

Treatment

Certain types of wet macular degeneration are often treated with medications and/or surgery. Early detection and treatment is critical for the best prognosis and minimizes the risk for additional vision loss.

AMSLER GRID

We recommend you keep this grid in a convenient place and test each eye every day. If you normally wear glasses for reading, wear them for this test.

Cover 1 eye. Focus on black dot in the center of grid. Without moving your focus away from the center black dot, answer the following questions:

  • Do you see all four corners of the grid?
  • Do you see all four sides of the grid?
  • Do you see any blurred spots or interruptions in the lines of the grid?
  • Are the lines straight?
  • Do you see any wavy areas among the lines of the grid?

Repeat for the other eye.

If you see any new changes or distortion while monitoring the Amsler grid, you should call you doctor at Des Moines Eye Surgeons to set up a retinal evaluation as soon as possible.

Des Moines Eye Surgeons

(515) 225-3546
1-800-258-2508

Ocular Hypertension

Overview

Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure inside of the eye (intraocular pressure) is above normal levels. This increased intraocular pressure is a risk factor for developing glaucoma. Patients with ocular hypertension need to be followed on a regular basis to monitor for early signs of glaucoma. It is not uncommon for patients with ocular hypertension who are at greater risk of developing glaucoma to be treated with glaucoma medication to prevent glaucoma from developing.

Symptoms

There are usually no symptoms associated with ocular hypertension. Therefore, it is crucial to have regular ocular health examinations in order to detect disorders such as ocular hypertension before glaucoma and permanent vision loss develops.

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Ocular Surface Disease

Overview

Ocular surface disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the eyelids. Ocular surface disease is often associated with meibomian gland disfunction, blepharitis and dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of ocular surface disease:

  • red, irritated eyelid margins
  • itchy eyes
  • watery eyes
  • foreign body sensation (feels like something is in your eye)
  • gritty or sandy feeling
  • burning or stinging
  • fluctuating vision
  • eye pain

Treatments for ocular surface disease:

Lid hygiene:

Step 1: Wet a clean washcloth with as hot of water as you can tolerate. Place washcloth over your closed eyes. When washcloth cools, heat again with hot water. Continue to soak the eyelids for 2-4 minutes.

Step 2: Using an eyelid cleasing pad, such as Ocusoft Lid Scrubs, gently scrub the base of your eyelashes for about 15 seconds per eyelid.

Step 3: Rinse off any remaining residue with warm water.

Artificial tears:

The chronic inflammation associated with ocular surface disease results in an altered tear film that doesn’t function properly. Instilling artificial tears on a regular basis can help the discomfort caused by a poor quality tear film.

Topical and oral medication:

More severe forms of ocular surface disease will require prescription medication to help maintain clear, comfortable vision.

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Pinguecula

Overview

A pinguecula is a common, non-cancerous growth on the conjunctiva (the thin, clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye). A pinguecula appears as a yellowish nodule. The exact cause of pinguecula formation is unknown; however, it is believed that the primary cause is environmental elements such as wind, dust and ultraviolet light from the sun.

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with pingueculae can range from no irritation to mild or moderate symptoms. Most common symptoms include eye irritation, watering and redness.

Treatment

There is usually no treatment necessary for a pinguecula. It is important to protect your eyes from additional exposure with sunglasses anytime you are outdoors. Artificial tears frequently help reduce symptoms of eye irritation that may be associated with the pinguecula. Occasionally, mild steroid drops are necessary if acute inflammation occurs.

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Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Overview

The vitreous is the jelly-like material made up of water and proteins that fills the back 2/3 of the eye. The vitreous has normal connections to the retina (the tissue on the back wall of the eye). As we age, the vitreous begins to change in composition and pull away from the retina. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment.

Symptoms

A posterior vitreous detachment will often be accompanied with symptoms of flashes and/or floaters in your vision.

Examination and Treatment

It is important that anyone with a recent onset of flashes or floaters have a careful, dilated examination within one day of the onset of symptoms. The purpose of the examination is to identify the cause for the symptoms and specifically to rule out any retinal defects. Most of the time, signs of a vitreous detachment will be observed with no defects of the retina detected. However, between 5-20% of patients with a vitreous detachment may have an associated retinal defect that can lead to a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is a serious, sight-threatening condition requiring a major surgical procedure to repair. If the retinal defect is found before a retinal detachment has occurred, the surgical repair is much simpler and very effective.

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Pterygium

Overview

A pterygium is a non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva (the thin, clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye). A pterygium appears as a raised, white tissue with blood vessels present on the edge of the cornea. The exact cause of pterygium development is unknown; however, it is believed that the primary cause is environmental elements such as wind, dust and ultraviolet light from the sun.

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with pterygium can range from no irritation to mild or moderate symptoms. Most common symptoms include eye irritation, watering, burning, foreign body sensation and redness.

Treatment

Treatment often involves palliative measures to reduce any ocular irritation being caused by the pterygium. Surgical excision of the pterygium is available but necessary only if it begins to interfere with vision or cause intolerable symptoms.

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Refractive Errors

Refractive errors occur when light entering the eye does not focus perfectly on the retina (the back wall of your eye). This defocus causes vision to be blurred. There are different types of refractive errors which can include myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Glasses or contacts are prescribed to treat refractive errors and eliminate any blurry vision being caused by the refractive error.

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Retinal Detachment

Overview

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that the lines the inside of the eye and is responsible for sending visual messages to the brain. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from its underlying layers. A retinal detachment is an ocular emergency because without treatment, a retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss or blindness.

Symptoms

  • sudden or gradual increase in floaters (small specks or “cobwebs” that float about in your field of vision)
  • flashes of light in your vision
  • appearance of a curtain or shadow over your vision

Treatment

There are multiple treatment options available to repair retinal defects or a retinal detachment. It is crucial to see your eye doctor immediately for a dilated examination of the retina if you are experiencing any symptoms of a retinal detachment.

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Strabismus

Overview

Strabismus, more commonly known as “crossed eyes,” is a disorder in which the eyes do not look in the same direction at the same time. One eye may turn in, out, up or down while the other eye is focused on the intended target. The eye turn may occur constantly or intermittently.

When a strabismus or crossed eye is present, each eye may be seeing a different image. When your brain receives separate images from each eye, this causes confusion and results in the brain ignoring or “shutting off” the image from the weaker or blurrier eye. This is especially detrimental in young children because the visual pathways between the eyes and the brain are still developing during the early years of life. If the visual pathway from one eye is “shut off,” the eye never learns to see and the eye becomes amblyopic. Amblyopia, more commonly known as “lazy eye,” is the inability of the eye to see well despite an otherwise healthy eye. Amblyopia develops a result of an interruption in the visual pathway during the critical years of development in early childhood. This interruption can be a result of an eye turn (strabismus), an unequal refractive error or other pathology.

Treatment

There are many treatment options available to treat a strabismus and prevent development of amblyopia. The longer the strabismus is present, the more likely it is to result in amblyopia; children do not outgrow an eye turn. Click here to see recommended frequency of examination. If you see an eye turn in your child after 3 months of age or increasing in frequency in an infant that is younger than 3 months old, you should have the child evaluated by an eye doctor as soon as possible.

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Hordeolum/Stye

Overview

A hordeolum, more commonly referred to as a stye, is an infection of an eyelash follicle. A hordeolum usually presents as a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid.

Treatment

Warm compresses: The warm compresses should be done over a closed eye 4 times a day for 10 minutes at a time when a hordeolum is present. A warm pack can be used for the source of the heat. If you do not have a warm pack available, you can create one by placing a small amount of uncooked rice in a cotton cloth and heating in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

Antibiotic: Topical and/or oral antibiotics are often needed to eliminate the infection.

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