Medical Eye Care Guide

More than 30-million Americans are affected by eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular generation

Let’s Take Better Care of Your Vision

Whether you need care for an existing condition, or you’re concerned about changes in your vision, we’re ready to help. Just book an appointment today to see one of our eye doctors.


What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition typically caused by a build-up of fluid in the front of your eye.

This build-up of fluid causes increased pressure in your eye, and that increased pressure can damage your optic nerve, resulting in a loss of vision.

Glaucoma is a serious condition that represents a leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60, but visual loss from glaucoma can often be prevented or minimized with early treatment. There is no way to reverse damage from glaucoma to the optical nerve once it occurs, so glaucoma treatment instead focuses on preventing pressure in the eye that could cause damage.

In its earliest stages, glaucoma has no symptoms. That’s why regular eye exams that check your eye pressure are essential to early detection and effective treatment.

Medical Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma Eye Drops

Prescription eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma. These eye drops work to manage pressure in your eyes by either reducing the amount of fluid your eyes produce, or by helping the fluid in your eyes to drain better. They’re most often applied once or twice daily, and most patients find them painless and easy to apply.

Some commonly prescribed glaucoma eye drops include Xalatan, Travatan Z, Timolol and Lumigan. It’s important to develop a relationship with an ophthalmologist who can work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your eyes.

Other Glaucoma Medication

In some cases, glaucoma medication can be prescribed as a pill. These oral glaucoma medications work in similar ways to glaucoma eye drops, and can often be combined with glaucoma eye drops to treat more advanced cases.

Surgical Glaucoma Treatment

Hydrus Microstent Glaucoma Surgery

The Hydrus Microstent is a surgical treatment for glaucoma that was recently approved by the FDA in the summer of 2018.  Dr. Hoehn is one of the first surgeons to perform the procedure in our region. 

The Hydrus Microstent is designed reduce eye pressure in three ways.  First, by enhancing outflow by allowing fluid to flow through the Microstent.  Second, by expanding the eye’s natural fluid pathway, and finally by spanning a full 90° of the eye, to ensure that fluid can reach the eye’s dranage system.

In clinical trials, 78% of Hydrus Microstent patients remained medication free at 2-years.  

The Hydrus Microstent procedure is typically performed alongside cataract surgery. 

 iStent Glaucoma Surgery

FDA approved since 2012, the iStent is a tiny medical implant that’s designed to restore your eye’s natural ability to drain fluid out of the eye to reduce glaucoma pressure.

The iStent is usually implanted during cataract surgery, and works to create a permanent bypass that can improve your eye’s natural outflow to safely lower intraocular pressure, and work continuously to mprove the natural flow of fluid in your eyes.

At Pullman Family Eye Care, we’re pleased to be able to offer iStent micro surgery, right here on the Palouse.

If you think the benefits of iStent micro surgery might be right for you, book an appointment with our eye surgeon, Dr. Alyssa Hoehn, today.

Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration, or more specifically, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is caused when damage occurs to a part of your retina, called the macula.

This typically results in blurred vision at the center of your vision.

The earliest signs of macular degeneration are blurred or wavy vision, at the center of your vision. For example, if you are having a conversation with a friend, you might be able to clearly see their ears and the things around then, but have trouble seeing their eyes, nose and mouth.

There are two types of macular degeneration: ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ AMD.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet AMD is the less common, but typically more serious form of macular degeneration. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels can leak, and cause scarring of the macula.

You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD, and while it’s much less common than dry AMD, it’s responsible for 90% of all AMD-related blindness. The good news is that there are now several injectible drugs, called anti-VEGFs that can be effective in slowing the damage caused by wet AMD.

At Pullman Family Eye Care, we’re happy to offer our patients a local option for Avastin, Lucentis and Eyelea injections that can help to effectively treat wet macular degeneration.


Dry macular degeneration is the more common, and more gradual, form of AMD. Dry AMD is caused by a breakdown or thinning of cells in your macula, the back part of your eye.

While there aren’t yet any effective medical treatments for Dry AMD, there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of getting Dry AMD, and help to fight its progression.

Diets high in fruits and veggies, as well as fish with lots of Omega-3 fatty acids, can lower your risk of Dry AMD.

If you have Dry AMD, certain supplements can help to slow its progression.

If you notice changes in your vision, the most important thing is to make an appointment right away.

Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease linked to diabetes.

High blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the back of the eyeball, called the retina. The blood vessels can swell, leak or close, or new abnormal blood vessels can grow. Any of these changes can result in a loss of vision.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs in two stages.

Stage 1: NPDR

The first stage is non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or NPDR. During the NPDR stage, blood vessels in the back of the eye leak, and cause swelling. When swelling occurs in the central part of the retina called the macula, it’s called macular edema. Macular edema is a leading cause of vision loss during the NPDR stage of diabetic retinopathy.

NPDR-stage diabetic retinopathy can also cause the blood vessels in the back of the eye to close off. This is called macular ischemia, and can also cause blurring and vision loss.

Stage 2: PDR

The second, more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or PDR. This stage starts when new blood vessels begin to grow in the retina, a process called neovascularization. As these blood vessels grow, they can bleed into the central part of your eye called the vitreous. They can also form scar tissue, which could even cause a detached retina.

PDR-stage diabetic retinopathy is a very serious condition, and can quickly lead to permanent vision loss.

Treatment Options

Medical Options

Controlling Blood Sugar & Pressure

Effective treatment of diabetic retinopathy is often the same as effective treatment of diabetes: controlling your blood sugar and pressure. Not only can this often prevent vision loss, it can even bring some vision back.

Medications for Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two types of medication that are commonly used to treat diabetic retinopathy: anti-VGEFs and steroids. Both are administered as injections, that work to reduce swelling in the back part of the eye, and slow vision loss or even restore some vision.

Surgical Options

Laser Eye Surgery

A type of laser surgery called laser photocoagulation targets abnormal or leaking blood vessels with heat that can seal, or destroy the blood vessels.

The procedure can reduce swelling, shrink blood vessels and help to prevent them from growing again.


Advanced PDR can sometimes require a surgery called a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, the opthalmologist will remove vitreous gel, blood and sometimes scar tissue from leaking vessels in the back of your eye.

The procedure is designed to allow light to properly pass through the eye, and once again focus effectively.

Dry Eyes

What are Dry Eyes?

Your tears play an important role in our ability to see.

Every time we blink, our eyelids spread tears over the surface of our eyes. These tears lubricate, nourish and protect our eyes. When our body doesn’t produce enough tears, or the right kind of tears, it’s a condition called dry eye.

It’s easy to think of dry eye as just an inconvenience, but at Pullman Family Eye Care, we recognize that dry eye syndrome can be a serious medical condition that can negatively affect your quality of life, and your ability to see. We work with each of our dry eye patients to develop and implement effective treatments for their needs.

Tear Duct Plugs

Tear duct plugs, also called punctal plugs or lacrimal plugs, are tiny plugs that are inserted into your tear ducts to block drainage. In many patients, this can help to retain more moisture in the eye, and reduce dry eye symptoms.

Inserting tear duct plugs is a quick, typically painless procedure we perform in our office.

Prescription Dry Eye Treatment

Prescription eye drops, like Restasis®, work to increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears. Other medications can target inflammation around your eyes that can keep oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Reducing this inflammation can help to improve the quality of your tears, and reduce your dry eye symptoms.

LipiFlow Dry Eye Treatment

As an advanced dry-eye treatment center, our Pullman office is equipped with a LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. 

LipiFlow is a drug-free, proven approach to dry eye treatment.  During treatments, the LipiFlow activator provides heat and pressure therapy to your eyelids.  This treatment is designed to target blocked eyelid glands, allowing them to produce the lipid layer of tear film that’s essential to fightuing dry eye. 


Other Medical Eye Conditions

Comprehensive Medical Eye Care

At Pullman Family Eye Care, we offer treatment for a comprehensive range of medical eye conditions.

Our skilled ophthalmologist and optometrists are trained to effectively treat and manage any conditions you might have. We also work closely with sub-specialists in our region to coordinate care to ensure that you receive the best care possible.

A Partial List of the Conditions We Treat

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Amblyopia
  • Anisocoria
  • Astigmatism
  • Bacterial Keratitis
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Black Eye
  • Blepharitis
  • Blocked Tear Duct
  • Blood in Eye
  • Bloodshot Eye
  • Blurriness
  • Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO)
  • Burning Eyes
  • Cataracts
  • Cellulitis
  • Central Retinal Vein Occlusion
  • Central Serous Retinopathy
  • Chalazia and Stye
  • Choroidal Neovascular Membranes
  • Coloboma
  • Color Blindness
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections
  • Corneal Abrasion
  • Corneal Dystrophies
  • Corneal Erosion
  • Corneal Laceration
  • Corneal Ulcer
  • Crusty Eyelid or Eyelashes
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis
  • Dark Spots in Vision
  • Detached or Torn Retina
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dilated Pupil
  • Discharge From Eye
  • Distorted Vision
  • Double Vision
  • Drooping Eyelid
  • Drusen
  • Dry Eye
  • Dryness
  • Enlarged Pupil
  • Eye Allergies
  • Eye Cancer
  • Eye Lymphoma
  • Eyelid Spasm and Twitching
  • Eyelid Turns Out
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • Feeling of Something in Eye
  • Flashes of Light
  • Floaters and Flashes
  • Floaters in Vision
  • Fuchs’ Dystrophy
  • Fungal Keratitis
  • Giant Cell Arteritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Graves Disease
  • Grittiness
  • Halos Around Lights
  • Hemangioma
  • Herpes Keratitis
  • Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
  • Heterochromia
  • Histoplasmosis
  • HIV/AIDS and the Eye
  • Hyphema
  • Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome
  • Irritation
  • Ischemic Optic Neuropathy
  • Itchiness
  • Juvenile Macular Degeneration
  • Keratitis
  • Keratoconus
  • Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Limited Movement of Eyelid
  • Limited Movement of Eyes
  • Low Vision
  • Lump on Eyelid
  • Macular Edema
  • Macular Hole
  • Macular Pucker
  • Macular Telangiectasia
  • Marfan Syndrome
  • Microvascular Cranial Nerve Palsy
  • Migraines
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myopia
  • Nevus
  • Night Vision Problem
  • Nystagmus
  • Ocular Hypertension
  • Ocular Melanoma
  • Onchocerciasis (African River Blindness)
  • Optic Neuritis
  • Pain Around Eye
  • Pain in Eye
  • Photokeratitis
  • Pigment Dispersion Syndrome
  • Pinguecula and Pterygium
  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
  • Pink Eye (symptom)
  • Posterior Vitreous Detachment
  • Presbyopia
  • Ptosis
  • Red Eye
  • Reduced Vision
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • River Blindness (Onchocerciasis)
  • Scleritis
  • Shadow or Dark Curtain in Vision
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
  • Sjögren Syndrome
  • Spasm/Twitching
  • Spot on Eye, Brown
  • Spot on Eye, Cloudy or White
  • Spot on Eye, Red or Pink
  • Spot on Eye, Yellow
  • Spot on Eyelid, Colored
  • Starbursts Around Lights
  • Stargardt Disease
  • Stickler Syndrome
  • Strabismus
  • Stroke Affecting the Eye
  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
  • Swelling Around Eye
  • Tearing
  • Trachoma
  • Trichiasis
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Usher Syndrome
  • Uveitis
  • Vision Loss, Central
  • Vision Loss, General
  • Vision Loss, Peripheral (Side)
  • Vitamin A Deficiency

Meet Our Eye Doctors

Alyssa Hoehn, MD

Ophthalmologist & Eye Surgeon

The Moscow native who decided that when it comes to settling down and opening an ophthalmology practice, there really is no place like home.

Nevada Sweeney, OD

Optometrist & Family Eye Doctor

The native of Alberta who went to school in Portland, then decided life on the Palouse was a pretty great life to have.

Tanya Reid, OD

Optometrist & Family Eye Doctor

The established , local eye doctor who decided that joining our practice was a great way to continue delivering the personal care her patients deserve.

Let's Take Better Care of Your Vision

Whether you need care for an existing condition, or you’re concerned about changes in your vision, we’re ready to help.  Just book an appointment today to see one of our eye doctors.