The eye is a complex unique organ that gives us the gift of sight which is easy to take for granted.
Unfortunately, like all parts of the body, there are many diseases and conditions of the eye that can lead to problems with our vision.
A comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist will help determine if you have risk factors or signs of any eye disease and can provide treatment, explanations, and referrals to specialist or surgeons if needed.
Refers to a group of disorders that are characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is crucial to our vision as it brings the information from the eye to the brain.
This progressive change is thought to be due to increased pressure of the fluid inside the eye and how the optic nerve, and the small blood vessels that supply the nerve, can withstand this pressure.
Most importantly, because of Glaucoma's slow, painless progression, by the time vision loss is noted, the disease is often far progressed and vision loss is permanent.
Regular eye health exams can catch glaucoma in the early stage much before there are noticeable symptoms. At this stage treatment is available that can help prevent and largely minimize the vision loss that would occur if not detected.
A group of condition that affects one's central or high-detail vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss for canadians over the age of 55 and its affects can range from mild blurring to severe blindness.
The macula is the central portion the retina of that allows us to see fine detail we use to do such activities as to read, see road signs and see people's faces. Macular degeneration is a breakdown of this highly metabolic area. Smoking, high cholesterol, UV exposure, a diet low in anti-oxidants, age, and a family history of the condition all put one at a higher risk for AMD.
A cataract is a clouding of the originally clear crystalline lens inside the eye. The natural lens sits behind the pupil and its job is to focus light on the retina, the sensory layer which acts as the "film" of the eye.
A cataract decreases and alters the focusing of light on the retina, resulting in a gradual loss of vision. A cataract is not a film that grows over the surface of the eye, as is often misunderstood.
is a complex condition, but is one of the most common causes of fluctuating and decreased vision with age. It is also the most common cause of redness and discomfort of the eyes especially with concentration tasks such as reading or computer work. It can be caused by the tear glands that moisturize the eye not producing enough tears, or from the glands not producing the right combination of tear components, causing the tear layer to evaporate too quickly.
Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:
As a part of the natural aging process.
As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills.
Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a visual defect in which objects in the distance are blurr. Due to the shape of the eye objects at a distance are focussed in front of the retina when the focussing muscles at rest.
Symptoms are blurring in the distance. Glasses are required to improve distance vision. Depending on the magnitude of the myopia, close up vision can remain clear without eyeglasses throughout life.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a visual defect in which near objects are blurrier than distance objects. Due to the shape of the eye objects are focused behind the retina when the focussing muscles are at rest.
The need of glasses for hyperopia depends on age and magnitude of hyperopia. Glasses are required for near work more than distance, and the need of glasses for both distances increases with age. Symptoms can be blurriness, eyestrain, and headaches.
Astigmatism creates a decrease in vision at both distance and near. Images of objects fail to come to focus on the retina, most often from an irregularity of curvature of the cornea. The curvature of the cornea is "toric" more like a football as opposed to being spherical like a soccer ball. Symptoms may include blurry, tilted, or shadowy images.
A lazy eye most often develops as result of an eye turn or a high prescription in one eye that is left untreated. Treatment is most successful until age 6, and if not treated by this age there may be permanent vision loss in one eye. It is important to bring your child in for a routine eye exam starting at 3 years or earlier if an eye turn or abnormality is noted, and annual from then on.
Even though a child may not have a lazy eye or a turned eye, there could be an eye co-ordination problem, which can lead to double vision or focusing problems. This could lead to inattentiveness at school and frustration in playing sports
People with diabetes are at more risk for eye complications. Unfortunately, diabetes can affect the eye and one's vision in many different ways. In some cases it can cause large fluctuations of ones' eyeglasses prescription due to fluid retention in the eye's crystalline lens. Most concerning is the risk for diabetic retinopathy.
Retinopathy refers to the damage done to our retina, the sensory area of the eye, due to damage to the fine blood vessels that supply the retina. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy there often can be no changes to the vision and that is why people monitoring or treating Diabetes are recommended to have more frequent eye exams to help catch changes early to attempt to prevent worsening of the vision.
Also, those with diabetes are also at a higher risk for cataracts and glaucoma and can cause paralysis of the eye muscles leading to double vision.
Visit The Canadian Diabetes Association website for more info!
Retinal blood vessels are evaluated for any changes as a result of high blood pressure. This includes early changes where there are no symptoms, such as a change in the relative size of the arteries to veins, to much more serious changes such as a retinal artery or vein occlusion, which drastically impacts vision.
Many medications cause a vast variety of complications and side effects that can affect your vision. It is important to advise your optometrist the medications you are taking so we can watch for associated side effects such as cataracts, dry eyes, or retinal damage.
If you think you are having an eye emergency, please call our office as soon as possible. Our office will ensure that you receive an appointment in a timely manner. Examples of eye emergencies include red eye, sudden vision loss, flashes and floaters and eye injuries.
Flashes and floaters, although not always, may be the symptoms of a retinal detachment, hole, or tear. Immediate assessment with a dilated eye exam is required to rule this possibility.
A red eye can be caused by one or many different factors. Some causes can be simple like allergies, and some can be quite serious like a corneal ulcer. At Nelson Family Eyecare, we recommend that you call our office if you are concerned about a red eye.
Our doctors have the expertise to diagnose the cause of your red eye and prescribe the appropriate treatment if needed. We will follow your eye condition carefully until it has resolved and can refer appropriately and timely for a serious eye condition.
A superficial foreign object in the eye may cause mild to severe pain, with red and watery eyes. It must be removed and treated in a timely manner to ensure the eye heals properly, and that an infection does not develop.
There are many causes of a sudden vision loss. All of them are an eye emergency, and most need to be examined immediately to determine the cause and the best treatment.
Some causes include a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a temporary blockage of the blood supply to the eye, an artery or vein occlusion to the eye or a retinal detachment. Please call our office immediately if you experience a sudden loss of vision.