Keeping a Close Eye on Your Health
Your optometrist will check your eyes for any signs of eye disease at your comprehensive eye exam, which is a key reason why it’s important to have your eyes checked regularly.
The sooner your optometrist can diagnose eye disease, the better chance we will have at managing the symptoms and preventing long-term vision issues.
Common Eye Diseases & Conditions
Some eye diseases are more common than others, and you may be at a higher risk for eye disease depending on existing medical conditions, family history, and age.
Our optometrists will perform OCT and visual field testing to help diagnose eye diseases as early as possible. The sooner we are able to diagnose an eye disease, the more likely we will be able to prevent further damage.
Our OCT takes photos of your retina and scans the layers of your retina. It provides information that can’t otherwise be seen, and is used to diagnose and monitor conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Our automated visual field analyzer is used to diagnose and monitor glaucoma, neurological disorders, provide driving assessments, and more.
These tests provide objective results to compare to information gathered at a regular eye exam.
The blood vessels in your eye could be affected by diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can cause these blood vessels to swell, leak, or close off due to prolonged high blood sugar levels. Eventually, diabetic retinopathy may lead to macular edema, and cause eye damage and permanent vision loss.
Cataracts typically develop later in life as a result of aging, but they can happen for other reasons, including eye injuries, glaucoma, and diabetes.
The crystalline lens in your eye is normally clear, but developing cataracts will start to make it cloudy. Your optometrist will be able to help you compensate for the initial vision changes with prescription glasses or contact lenses, but eventually, you will likely require cataract surgery—which will often fully restore your vision.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurry or foggy vision
- Decreased night vision
- Halos around lights
- Dull or muted colour vision
- Feeling like there’s a film covering your eyes
- Light sensitivity
Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because most people don’t notice the initial symptoms.
As glaucoma progresses, it typically begins in the peripheral vision and works its way inward. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that deteriorate the optic nerve, which is responsible for sending the image you see to your brain. If glaucoma is diagnosed early enough your optometrist may be able to prevent further vision loss.
Your macula is responsible for clear straight-ahead vision. Macular degeneration—also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD)—affects the centre of your sight and comes in two forms: dry and wet.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD. It occurs slowly, deteriorating your vision over time, and can often be managed with healthy lifestyle changes. Wet macular degeneration is more severe, affecting your sight quickly. Vision loss from macular degeneration is permanent.
Symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Blurred centre vision
- Difficulty reading or recognizing faces
- Straight lines appearing wavy or distorted
- Dark spots blanking out part of the middle of your vision
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis is a viral or bacterial inflammation in one or both eyes that affects the whites (sclera) of the eye and the eyelids.
Some forms of conjunctivitis are contagious, so it is important to practice increased hygiene and handwashing and to avoid sharing cosmetics or other products that are applied close to or on your eyes.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis can include:
- Red or itchy eyes
- A gritty sensation in one or both eyes
- Yellow or dark mucus and discharge
- Crusty eyes when waking up
- Excessively watery or tearing eyes
Your optometrist will prescribe a treatment that may include:
- A cool compress to help alleviate discomfort
- Medications or antihistamines to reduce inflammation
- Steroidal prescription eye drops and/or ointments
Protect Your Vision
Regular eye exams will help detect early warning signs of many eye diseases. The sooner an eye health problem is identified, the sooner your optometrist can begin treating it and preventing irreparable vision loss.
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