Cataracts

Simply put, this condition is the clouding of the eye’s lens and causes blurred or misty vision through glare, or challenges seeing in dark settings.

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 optician will gain a full history of your medical well-being and optical health. Sometimes, for contact lens wearers, our doctor will request that you stop wearing them prior to the treatment. 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 optician 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.

Surgical Procedure

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.

Post-operative Care

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.

Ocular allergies

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:

  • Pollen

  • Dander (pet hair and more)

  • Dust and debris

  • Certain medications

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Perfumes and strong odours

  • Vehicle exhaust

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:

  • Congestion

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

Diabetic retinopathy

This condition is the most frequent eye issue resulting from diabetes and is also the leading cause of blindness amongst adults in America. It causes damage to the retinal blood vessels which weakens them. They bulge and leak fluid into the surrounding tissue, which can cause the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which then leak fluid into the eye thereby blocking 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.

Detached Retina

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

  • Blurry vision

  • Blind spots

  • Watery 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.

Dry Eye

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

  • Excessive tearing

  • Blurred vision

  • Ocular irritation

  • Scratchy 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:

  • Myopic (nearsighted)

  • 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.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys central vision. The two kinds of AMD are:

Dry AMD

In this disease, macular cells break down slowly, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. This condition, wherein the cells slowly begin to break down, is diagnosed in 90% of cases. These deposits are problematic debris and are indicative of compromised cell metabolism in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Eventually, this causes spotty vision loss when looking straight ahead.

Wet AMD

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 symptoms of this issue differ between people, where sometimes only one eye loses vision, and in other cases, both will degenerate at the same pace. In order to actively prevent damage caused by this issue, it is important to undergo routine eye exams. Our optician can screen for this issue using an Amsler grid, a chart with lines, and a central dot. Using this tool, you can check your vision in each eye daily, or as frequently as your doctor advises.

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

  • Reduce cholesterol

  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection

  • Eat sufficient leafy greens

  • Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke

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.

Glaucoma

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:

  • Open-angle

  • Closed-angle

  • Secondary glaucoma

  • Normal-tension

  • Congenital

  • Pseudoexfoliation syndrome

  • Juvenile

  • Neovascular

  • Pigmentary

  • Irido-corneal-endolitheal syndrome

Early Detection

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.

Treatment Methods

Though there is no cure for this disease, there are many treatment options to slow progression and improve the quality of life. Usually, treatment starts with medications such as pills, drops, and ointments. There are also numerous laser surgical and incision-based surgeries that offer relief and assist in treating the issues.

 

Research continues to advance, and new developments are being pursued in efforts to find innovative methods to treat this common issue.

Low vision

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.

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