Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. This disease damages the optic nerve due to an increased pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, with a greater risk to develop in individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure and those with a family history of glaucoma. Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief” since there are usually no symptoms until the individual experiences peripheral vision loss. Thus, a comprehensive eye exam with your Doctor of Optometry is the only way to detect glaucoma and prevent vision loss.
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which a person has high blood sugar. Annual eye exams are critical for those with diabetes since this disease can greatly affect one’s eyes. Blood vessels in the retina can become damaged due to diabetes; this is better known as diabetic retinopathy. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result. Moreover, diabetes can cause changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness and premature presbyopia. Cataracts and glaucoma can also be complications of diabetes. One should seek attention from an eye care professional if the experience blurring vision, double vision, and/or flashes and floaters.
Cataracts is caused by the clouding of the lens inside of the eye. This disease usually affects those over the age of 60 and leads to a decrease in vision. The severity of cataracts varies from extremely small areas to large opaque areas. This disease can be inherited or a result of smoking, excessive exposure to UV light, use of medications. Thus, precautions may be taken to help prevent this disease such as UV blocking sunglasses and a diet rich in certain vitamins.
A thin layer of tears coats the front surface of our eyes in order to keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. Dry eye occurs when this layer of tears is not produced enough or does not have the correct chemical components. Symptoms of dry eye include stinging, burning, irritated eyes. In some cases one may experience blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Your eye care professional will determine the cause of your dry eye and provide the necessary care.
This disease affects the most central part of the retina, the macula. The macula is responsible for detailed central vision and is used for tasks such as driving, reading and object recognition. Macular degeneration causes the center of your vision to blur, yet the periphery remains unaffected. This disease is usually related to the aging process. Although there is no cure, detecting macular degeneration in its early stages can reduce vision loss and even prevent blindness. Macular degeneration is symptom free in its early stages but can be detected by your Doctor of Optometry during routine eye exams.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin layer covering the inner surface of the eyelid, the conjunctiva. There are three types of conjunctivitis: infections, allergic and chemical. “Pink eye” is an infectious type of conjunctivitis caused by a virus or bacteria. A reaction to pollen, cosmetics, animals etc. is considered allergic conjunctivitis. Chemical conjunctivitis can be caused by chlorine, air pollution and much more. When affected by conjunctivitis eyes become red, itchy, watery and irritated. Discharge may be found around the eyelids and blurry vision may occur. This condition can develop into more serious conditions which may affect vision and thus, should be properly diagnosed and treated immediately.