Common Eye Conditions Explained
Simply put, this condition is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens and causes blurred or foggy vision. Other common symptoms include glare, starburst appearance around lights, and difficulty driving at night time.
Reasons for Surgery
According to the National Institute of Health, cataract surgery is the most common treatment undergone by millions of people annually. Reasons to choose surgical treatment for cataracts are wide-ranging, and include:
Decreased vision: hard time seeing street signs, print, instructions, and more
Blurry sight: cloudiness in the field of vision
Haloes surrounding lights: challenges accurately placing headlights, streetlights, and more
Challenges with night driving: issues with night vision and identifying road conditions
Glare in bright situations: difficulty with a field of vision in bright conditions
Difficulty reading: issues seeing print
Struggles completing daily tasks: trouble with medications, issues with recreational activities like cards and golf
What to Expect
Pursuing cataract surgery requires an initial examination to ensure that you are, in fact, a surgical candidate. During this appointment, our optometrist will gain a full history of your medical well-being and optical health. It is important that you are entirely honest with your doctor while they endeavour to learn the following:
Medications being taken (over the counter, prescription, and supplements)
Any allergies or allergic history
Pre-existing eye conditions
Any previous eye surgeries
Any existing medical conditions
Our optometrist will help you understand the risks, benefits, and alternative courses of treatment. You will gain an understanding of what to expect surrounding the surgery, preparation, and postoperative care, as well as what your responsibilities will be relating to the surgery itself.
The procedure to treat cataracts is done on an outpatient basis, taking roughly half an hour. Generally, improvement is observed the following day; or, at least within the week. Your doctor will administer a sedative along with an anesthetic agent. From there, using the latest treatment methods, your doctor will make an incision smaller than 1/8 inch and remove the cataract. After this, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) replaces the cataract lens, restoring your vision. You can generally resume your normal life quickly after surgery.
Once the surgery is completed, you will be transferred to a recovery area for a short period and the post-op instructions will be reviewed. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice to reduce the complications and improve the overall success of the procedure.
There are numerous allergies that affect your eye health, from itchiness and redness to watering and inflammation. These issues are increasingly frequently amongst the population, with theorized causal factors ranging from pollution to reduced childhood exposure to allergens.
Some of the most common triggers for these conditions, either direct allergies or related irritations, include:
Dander (pet hair and more)
Dust and debris
Perfumes and strong odours
It is not uncommon for histamine reactions to be accompanied by nasal issues (rhinitis), given how closely connected the eyes and sinuses are. Rhinitis symptoms include:
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes. High blood sugar levels or fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels in the body and the retina. These blood vessels can swell or leak thereby reducing vision.
The damage caused by retinopathy is slow-acting, though it can cause irreversible vision loss, making timely treatment essential to eye health. As the disease progress, the condition worsens, leading to issues such as seeing floating spots, darkness, and blurriness. Given enough time untreated, the swollen vessels form scar tissue which leads to retinal detachment. Contact your team of eye care professionals to stay current with your annual examinations and learn how to mitigate the issues related to diabetic retinopathy.
Your retina is critical to proper vision. When the retina detaches, it pulls away from the inside wall of the eye, causing blurry, shaded, and distorted images. Symptomology includes:
Flashing light in one eye
Floating spots in visual field
Dark shadow over field of vision
Retinal detachment and tears may be caused by eye injury, aging, tumours, cataract surgery, eye disease, or extreme nearsightedness. If left untreated this condition leads to permanent loss of vision; so, if you experience symptoms indicative of this issue, it is important to pursue emergency care.
This issue often presents through the sensation of “foreign body in the eye”, usually experienced when dust, allergens, or other debris enters the eyelid or body of the eye. Symptoms may include the following:
Dry, red, or uncomfortable eyes
Burning sensations in the eyes
Feeling of something foreign in the eyes
Treating Your Dry Eyes
Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears. Typically, this issue gets more common with age, though it can also be induced by issues blinking, certain medications, dry air, arthritis, and other health concerns. The sensation of dryness, burning, or sandpaper feeling cannot be treated over the counter and requires optical attention.
The risk associated with dry eye is the resulting damage to the eye’s tissue since this problem irritates the surface of the eye and can degrade vision. They can also cause secondary infection and chronic inflammation, especially if not treated promptly. If you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eye, it is important to speak to our eye care team so that treatment can be administered in a good time.
Floaters and Flashes
Floaters and flashes refer to tiny lights or small moving spots in a person’s vision that are caused by shadows cast onto the retina. These issues are common, especially amongst the aging population, and are frequently considered minor and thus disregarded.
Mostly, everyone can see floaters, though as we get older they are generally observed more regularly. They are caused by posterior vitreous detachment, and are quite common amongst people in the following categories:
Post-operative cataract patients
Post-operative laser surgery patients
Those with ocular inflammation
Because floaters may indicate a serious health concern, it is important to reach out for emergency care in the following situations:
Seeing floaters for the first time
Noticing increased size or quantity of floaters
Sudden onset of flashes
Typically, these do not denote a serious problem; however, due to the risk, a thorough eye exam is necessary to identify potential issues related to the retina. Contact our eye care team to book your appointment.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. It is a disease associated with aging that causes blurry vision or loss of central vision. The two types of AMD are:
Dry AMD might first be noticed during a routine eye examination by your eye doctor or you have symptoms of blurry/distorted vision. Either way routine eye health exams are critical for early detection and preservation of your vision. The most common form is the dry form diagnosed in roughly 90% of AMD cases.
Wet AMD occurs due to the growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the macula, beginning when these vessels bleed. This causes a breakdown of the membrane that supports the retina, generally near to drusen deposits. The ‘wet’ namesake comes from the fragile vessels, which leak fluid and blood, causing scarring of the macula, and thus the rapid loss of straight-ahead vision.
Straight-ahead vision can become distorted or lost entirely during a short period of time. Wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10% of cases of macular degeneration. Unfortunately, this issue results in legal blindness almost 90% of the time.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The retinal health is evaluated during the clinical exam and often an optical coherence tomography (OCT) picture is taken. An OCT shows more details about the retinal layers and progression of macular degeneration. People with macular degeneration can check their own vision with a test called the Amsler grid. If the gridlines appear to change or seem more distorted, it may be a sign that the macular degeneration is progressing and needs evaluation.
Early detection of AMD is very important because treatment can delay or reduce the severity of the disease.
Mitigating the Impacts
In order to slow the progression of this disease, there are some simple measures that can be taken, including:
Eat a low-fat diet
Wear sunglasses with UV protection
Eat sufficient leafy greens
Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
Vitamin supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin
By following the advice of our eye care team, you can take measurable steps to improve your overall optical welfare. It is important to stay current with eye examinations; so, to keep ahead of the curve, contact your optometrist to book your appointment today.
There are two main forms of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle. This incredibly common disease impacts over 66.8 million individuals, causing visual impairment, and resulting in loss of vision in roughly 10% of those with a glaucoma diagnosis.
There are several types of glaucoma, including:
Numerous tests are able to detect glaucoma, including the following:
Visual acuity test
Visual field test
Dilated eye exam
Tonometry (testing intraocular pressure)
Pachymetry (ultrasonic testing of corneal thickness)
By identifying this disease early, there is the opportunity to control the issue before the potential vision loss or blindness occurs. If you are a high-risk patient for developing this disease, our optical care team will discuss the possible ways to address and resolve your issue.
Vision loss that occurs from glaucoma is irreversible – but treatment is necessary to prevent further damage. In majority of cases glaucoma is controlled with eye drops to lower the intraocular pressure. Laser surgery can also be done to lower the eye pressure. In more serious cases glaucoma surgery is performed that creates a new drainage channel for fluid to leave the eye and subsequently lower the eye pressure.
A person is considered as having a low vision when their eyesight cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 with lenses. Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be fully restored through medical or surgical intervention, or with conventional glasses and contacts. Though the impairment can be significant, low vision is not blindness. Thanks to modern innovations, this issue can be managed through proper care. There are many helpful tools to improve quality of life; so, if you are concerned about low vision, contact our optometric team to discuss your needs.