Are a clouding of the eye’s internal lens and can result in a clouding of vision. Some of the causes of cataracts are UV exposure, aging, diabetes, eye trauma, and steroid use. UV protection is encouraged in all daylight weather conditions to protect the eye and your optometrist can monitor the condition to make recommendations for improving your eyesight until cataract surgery is required.
Causes a painless loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma is dubbed "the silent thief of vision" because the person is unaware of early vision loss. It is caused by an increase in eye pressure that slowly damages a person's optic nerves leading to blindness. Glaucoma can be treated and vision loss slowed or halted if detected early. It is therefore recommended all adults have their eyes routinely examined every 18 to 24 months, and yearly if there is a family history of glaucoma.
Is an eye disease that damages the macula of a patient’s retina (the photographic film of the eye). As the disease progresses, it begins to blur the patient’s central vision. It is caused by a slow breakdown of the light sensitive cells of the macula. In severe forms, abnormal blood vessel growth under the macula can lead to a rapid loss of central vision and blindness. The age-related eye disease study found that a certain combination of high dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals, taken orally, can reduce the risk of progression to the most severe form of the disease by 25%. Your optometrist can determine if you have risk factors for this disease and provide a means of prevention and treatment. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50.
An inflammation of the eyelids that can lead to eye discomfort, redness, tearing and frequent styes.
AMBLYOPIA OR LAZY EYE
An eye that never reaches its full visual potential. Amblyopia can be caused by a turned eye (a.k.a. strabismus), cataracts in infancy, or due to unequal vision disorders, such as myopia or hyperopia in one eye that is much greater than in the fellow eye. People with amblyopia are at a greater risk to lose vision in the healthy eye due to below normal binocular vision. Having a lazy eye can limit a person’s choice of careers, such as restricting them for applying for positions in the police force. If detected early, a lazy eye can be treated and its effects can be reversed through visual training. Visual training has the best prognosis of visual recovery if started before the age of eight years old. It is important for parents to know that a child cannot reliably report poor vision until the age of about 9, and therefore all children, even in the absence of vision complaints or symptoms, should have their vision tested from the age of 6 months and then yearly from the age of 3.
POSTERIOR VITREOUS DETACHMENT
A common condition in the elderly, it represents aging and shrinking of the gel-like substance within the eye. Early symptoms may include the appearance of flashing lights or floaters. Floaters are often described as flies or cobwebs that may move as the eye moves. A vitreous detachment can lead to a retinal detachment, which is a much more serious eye condition. However, both conditions can have very similar symptoms. An optometrist should be seen immediately to determine which condition you have.
Is an ocular emergency that, as its name suggests, is a detachment of the eye’s retina. It can lead to sudden and permanent vision loss. Early symptoms may include the appearance of flashing lights or floaters. Optometrists can detect risk factors before the onset of the condition and prevent permanent vision loss through early detection and treatment.
NEARSIGHTEDNESS OR MYOPIA
The inability to see distant objects clearly. Myopia can cause difficulty driving, poor night vision, learning difficulties and headaches. People will often squint in an attempt to see well. Severe cases require a person with myopia to hold reading material at a very close distance in order to see.
FARSIGHTEDNESS OR HYPEROPIA
The inability to focus on near objects and in severe cases can also cause distance objects to appear blurry. It is frequently accompanied by headaches, reading difficulties and learning difficulties in children. To compensate, a person with farsightedness may have to hold objects at a further than normal reading distance.
Can accompany nearsightedness or farsightedness. It is the result of an eye that is shaped like a football. It causes light to be focused at two points within the eye instead of one. The one place light should be focused in order to have clear vision is at the retina. Astigmatism can cause distorted vision at all distances, leading to headaches, eyestrain and squinting. Astigmatism can be corrected with toric lenses.
Is the eye’s natural loss of focusing ability with age. It results in difficulty reading and often appears in a person’s forties. It also can lead to headaches and having to hold reading materials at a further than normal reading distance.
2. Diabetes and the Eye
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that affects the retina and its blood vessels in the eyes of people with diabetes. It is North America’s leading cause of preventable blindness in people aged 30 to 69 years of age, and the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 74. The damage of the eyes tiny blood vessels can occur without pain or vision loss, until new abnormal blood vessels grow and bleed with in the eye, finally causing cloudy vision and ultimately blindness. To minimize the risk, patients with diabetes should control blood sugar levels well through proper diet and regular exercise, follow their doctors prescribed drug therapy and have their eyes examined at least once every year by their eye care professional. A 10-year study showed that people with insulin-dependent diabetes who strictly managed their blood glucose levels experienced 76% less eye damage.
3. The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Vision is a gift and should never be taken for granted. However, there is a common misconception that if a person sees well, then there eyes must be healthy. In reality, many sight threatening eye diseases have no early warning symptoms. Optometrists can detect eye disease in the absence of symptoms and can determine risk factors for future eye disease. Early intervention through regular eye exams is the best way to maintain healthy eyes and good vision. Many general health conditions first appear as signs within the eye and therefore can be detected within the course of a routine eye exam.
4. What is an Optometrist?
Optometrists are clinically trained to provide front-line vision care. Optometrists must have completed at least 6 years of university education in order to receive their license and must participate in continuing education courses throughout their career. Optometrist can diagnose and treat eye focusing problems, eye coordination problems and diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.
5. Children, Their Vision and Its Importance to Learning
One in 4 children has a vision problem. Since 80% of what a child learns is through their eyes, children with poor vision can have difficulty learning or have to work extra hard to overcome their poor vision. Children lack the experience before the age of 9 or 10 to know what normal vision is. Many children are misdiagnosed as learning disabled when in fact, they have an easily correctable vision disorder. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that children have a complete eye examination by an optometrist before the age of 3 years and then every year thereafter. Children as young as 6 months of age can be examined. School vision screenings should never take the place of a complete oculo-visual exam by a trained optometrist. Parents that do not have their children’s eyes tested may cause the child to develop a life-long visual disability known as lazy eye or amblyopia.
What you should know after your child's eye exam:
1. Are my child’s eyes healthy?
2. Can my child see well at all distances, see well without eyestrain?
3. Does my child see colors normally?
4. Does my child have normal binocular vision and depth perception?
Here are some symptoms that may indicate your child is having vision problems:
* sits close to the television
* has trouble reading or avoids reading
* has trouble seeing street signs or recognizing familiar faces
* squints often
* tilts their head frequently
* seems clumsy or bumps into objects frequently
* displays anti-social behaviour
* experiences headaches
* is having difficulty at school