Common Eye Conditions
Common EYe conditions
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens and can result in blurred or cloudy vision. Some of the causes of cataracts include: U.V. exposure, ageing, diabetes, trauma, and steroid use. Ultraviolet (UV) protection is recommended for all daylight weather conditions to protect the eye. Dr. Sciberras will monitor the condition and make recommendations for improving your eyesight and to delay the need for cataract surgery, or arrange for it as required.
Glaucoma usually causes a slow, painless loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma is dubbed “the silent thief of vision”, because the person is often unaware they have the disease, as symptoms are not common. It is most often caused by elevated eye pressure that progressively damages the optic nerve. It can lead to blindness. Glaucoma can be treated and vision loss slowed or halted if detected early. It is therefore recommended all adults have their eyes examined every 18 to 24 months, and yearly if there is a family history of glaucoma.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that damages the macular area of the retina (the retina is the photographic film of the eye). As the disease progresses, it begins to blur the person’s central vision. It is caused by a slow breakdown of the protective photopigment and light sensitive cells of the macula. In the “wet” and most severe form, abnormal blood vessels can grow below the macula, which can lead to a sudden loss of central vision.
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%. Dr. Sciberras 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. Click on the link to self-monitor your vision using the Amsler Grid if you have been diagnosed or suspect macular degeneration.
Check out this comprehensive article to read more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME
Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, can consist of any of the following symptoms while working on a digital device or computer screen: tired, sore eyes, burning or gritty sensation, blurred or strained vision and watery eyes. Proper screen ergonomics, prescription lenses, and ocular lubricants are some of the tools we have available to alleviate symptoms. A good rule to follow is known as the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes in front of a digital screen, take a 20 second breaking while looking at something 20 feet (i.e. far) away.
Watch how office/computer lenses can relieve eye fatigue.
DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry eye is a multi-factorial condition that may have no early symptoms, but typically consists of any or all of the following: gritty or foreign body sensation, red eyes often worse by end of day, fluctuating vision, tired and watery eyes. It is the most common presenting complaint and should be considered a chronic, inflammatory condition that requires monitoring and maintenance. With increased screen time, we are seeing more prevalence of dry eye syndrome and more at younger and younger ages. There are a number of treatment options that we offer, including new innovative pharmaceutical (Restasis and Xiidra) and medical procedures (punctal plugs and eyelid debridement) to relieve symptoms and minimize ocular tissue damage. Watch the video below to learn about punctal plugs- can be made of silicone (permanent) or collagen-based (dissolvable and temporary).
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that can lead to discomfort, redness, tearing, lid deformity/itching and frequent styes or chalazions. It is also commonly associated with dry eyes.
AMBLYOPIA OR LAZY EYE
A lazy eye never reaches its full visual potential. Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus (i.e. a turned eye), congenital cataracts, or due to dissimilar refractive errors between two eyes. People with amblyopia are at a greater risk to lose vision in their dominant eye. Having a lazy eye can limit a person’s choice of careers, such as pilots or law enforcement. If detected early, amblyopia 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.
To learn more about children’s vision and its importance to learning, click here.
POSTERIOR VITREOUS DETACHMENT (PVD)
A common condition in the elderly, it represents aging and shrinking of the gel-like substance (i.e. vitreous humor) within the eye. Symptoms of a posterior vitreous detachment 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 retinal detachment, which is a much more serious condition. However, both have very similar symptoms. An eye care professional should be seen immediately to determine which condition you have.
Retinal detachment 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.
Watch video explaining retinal detachment.
NEARSIGHTEDNESS / 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. View animated video on myopia.
Myopia Control Therapy
FARSIGHTEDNESS / 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 on the retina. Astigmatism can cause blurred vision at all distances. This can result in headaches, eyestrain and squinting. Astigmatism can be corrected with either glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery.
Presbyopia is the loss of focusing ability that naturally occurs with age, usually around 40. It results in difficulty reading. It also can lead to headaches and having to hold reading materials at a further than normal reading distance.
Learn about some of the eye care products we carry to treat some common eye conditions by clicking here.
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 their 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.
WHAT IS AN OPTOMETRIST?
Optometrists are clinically trained to provide front-line vision care. Optometrists must have completed at least 7 years of university education in order to receive their license and must participate in continuing education courses throughout their career. Optometrists can diagnose and treat eye focusing problems, eye coordination problems and diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.