What is it?

A cataract is the clouding of your eyes natural lens, which leads to a decrease in vision.

What causes a cataract?

Most cataracts occur as part of the aging process from a change in the chemical composition of the lens. Although they are typically found in older individuals, they may occur at any age depending on your genetic make-up and environmental exposures.

How can I tell if I have a cataract?

You may have noticed a gradual blurring or dimming of vision. Some people see a halo around lights or have glare at night. This can make night driving especially difficult. Other symptoms include trouble reading or experiencing double (or multiple) vision.

Is it possible to have a cataract and not notice it?

Yes. If the cataract is small, it may not cause any symptoms at all. Even a dense cataract may not be noticed if the other eye is providing clear vision. In fact, you might not be aware of the blurred vision unless you happen to cover the normal eye. Unless it is very dense, a cataract is not visible to the naked eye of an observer.

What is the treatment for cataracts?

The only effective treatment is surgical removal of the cloudy lens. Dr. Thurston will remove the natural lens that has become clouded, and replace it with an artificial lens known as an IOL, or intraocular lens.


What is it?

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which fluid pressure within the eye rises, causing optic nerve damage. If left untreated, the patient may have diminished vision or even become blind. It may be perceived by the patient as a decrease in peripheral vision.

What are the risk factors for developing glaucoma?

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African-American descent
  • Age greater than 60 years old

Can glaucoma be prevented?

No, but early detection and treatment can control glaucoma and reduce the chances of damage to the eye.

How is glaucoma treated?

Glaucoma is usually effectively treated with prescription eye drops and medicines that must be taken regularly. In some cases laser therapy or surgery may be required. The goal of treatment is to prevent additional loss of vision by lowering the fluid pressure in the eye.

Will my vision be restored after treatment?

Unfortunately, any vision loss from glaucoma is usually permanent and cannot be restored. Therefore, it is important to have routine eye examinations in order to catch and treat this disease as early as possible.


What is it?

A chalazion is a blocked oil gland on the eyelid margin.

How is it treated?

Initially, it is treated with warm compresses, topical antibiotics, and sometimes oral antibiotics.

What if it persists after conservative treatment?

Incision and drainage in the clinic can be performed.


What is it?

Pterygium (pronounced "tur-RIDGE-ium") is a benign thickening of the white portion of the eye, or conjunctiva, that grows onto the clear portion of the eye, or cornea. This is most commonly caused by sun and wind exposure. As a pterygium grows it may become red and irritated. It may also cause visual disturbances by disrupting the normally smooth surface of the cornea. In severe cases, a pterygium can block a patient's vision altogether.

How is it treated?

Small pterygiums can be observed or treated with topical steroids if inflammation is present, but definitive treatment is surgical removal with placement of a graft. The graft is adhered to the eye using modern tissue adhesive composed of clotting proteins normally found in human blood, eliminating any need for stitches. After about one week, the tissue adhesive dissolves and the eye heals comfortably.

Punctal Plugs

What do they treat?

Dry eye syndrome.

How do they work?

Punctal plugs are microscopic silicone plugs that block the tear drainage system, thereby creating a moister environment for the eyes.

Does the procedure hurt?

No. At most, you may feel a slight pressure on the eyelid for a few seconds.

How long does the procedure take?

Less than 1 minute in the clinic.

Can they be removed?


Does insurance cover this procedure?

Although each insurance plan may be different, most plans cover this procedure. Medicare does cover this procedure.


What is it?

The refraction is the portion of your eye exam that measures your ability to see an object at a specific distance.

How is it performed?

From the exam chair you look through a phoropter toward an eye chart. The phoropter contains lenses of different strengths and types that can be moved into view. Our technician or doctor will ask you which view is clearer as they place different lenses in front of the eye (“better one or two”). When you are able to read the chart clearest, the technician or doctor will make notes of the lenses used. The process takes time and patience due to the interaction required for the most accurate outcome.

Why is it performed?

The refraction numbers are not only used for eyeglass and contact prescriptions, but also helps determine if your vision is reduced by a medical disease, such as cataracts or macular degeneration.