Tatebe Optometry believes in educating patients on various aspects of their eye health. If you or any member of your family has been diagnosed with an eye disease, learning about the condition can prove to be helpful. In an endeavour to share our knowledge about the various forms of eye problems, their symptoms and treatments, we have compiled a list of common eye issues. These include:
Young eyes need equal visual stimulation for binocularity and mature vision to properly develop. When one eye receives less input due to a difference in refractive error (prescription) from the other eye or a squint (turning in or out) or a significant ocular health problem (such as congenital cataract), binocularity cannot develop. Thus, it is important that all young children see their optometrist to make sure that nothing is inhibiting their ocular development. The younger the age of detection, the better the prognosis of correction. If left unattended and uncorrected, individuals will most likely endure poorer vision for the rest of their life.
A very uncommon word, but a very common condition resembling a blister-like form on either side of the cornea (the clear surface of the front of the eye). It may cause irritation and redness, but most don’t even know it exists! It is caused by exposure to the sun. Although it may not ever affect your vision, wearing sunglasses as a preventative measure is always a good idea.
This is a very common symptom and can be related to a variety of ocular health conditions ranging from overwear of contact lenses, to allergies, to infection, to something as simple as dry eye. If you are a contact lens wearer, be sure to take your contact lenses out and have a backup pair of spectacles. An irritated eye is one that does not need an irritable contact lens, especially in the case of infection. Your optometrist has the proper equipment to have a close look at what is going on and also has the qualification to prescribe the topical drugs necessary to assist in recovery. Eliminate the trip to your GP, and see your optometrist directly!
This is when the lens of the eye progressively opacifies. How this affects your vision will depend on the type of cataract. Some progress rapidly, while others can take months to years to have any effect at all. You may start to notice glare from on-coming headlights, reduced colour perception, and blurring of vision. You don't need to worry, as you can be referred for cataract extraction. This is when the ophthalmologist takes out the opacified lens and replaces it with a clear one.
This is a silent thief of vision. You may remain asymptomatic until the late stages of glaucoma, as most of us are not completely aware of our peripheral vision. In this disease, the nerve fibres in charge of taking the information from the images falling on your peripheral retina are affected first. Slowly, these nerve fibres begin to die.
It has been recorded that you will not notice any changes until 40-50% of these fibres are already dead. As such, it is important to see your optometrist on a regular basis, so any changes in your ocular health status can be detected early.
Tests for glaucoma include the well-known “puff” test, where a puff of air is sent toward the eye. This measures the pressure inside the eye. When pressures are higher than normal or have changed from your previous exams, this may signify advancing glaucoma. The photograph and OCT also provide a record of how the optic nerve is changing over time. Lastly, your optometrist may have you complete a visual field test to map out the expanse of your visual area.
If glaucoma is suspected, a referral to your ophthalmologist will be made. The ophthalmologist will start you on prescribed drops. After this, you will be under the shared care of both the ophthalmologist and the optometrist. Slowing down the progress of glaucoma is essential in maintaining your vision for as long as possible, so be sure to see your optometrist regularly!
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The main symptoms of AMD include rapid or slow central vision loss, seeing straight lines as wavy and noted changes in colour and contrast perception. These symptoms occur due to buildup of “drusen” or metabolic waste products under the retina. This is most commonly associated with age. However, there are other factors that have been shown to play a role: smoking and diet. That’s right, another risk of smoking and another side effect of poor diet is AMD. Eating green leafy vegetables and foods high in omega-3 (i.e.: fish) has been shown to help prevent the onset of AMD.
There are two types of AMD: dry (slow onset) for which vitamins and a healthy diet are the treatment and wet (fast onset) for which referral to the ophthalmologist for laser treatment and ocular injections are necessary. If you have the above symptoms, it is in your best interest to get this checked out as soon as possible.
If you detect flashes of lights and sudden floaters, a shadowing curtain moving over your vision or sudden vision loss (peripheral or central), see your optometrist immediately! These are classic symptoms of a retinal detachment, needing immediate attention. The retina can be reattached, but there is a small window in which the restoration of “normal” vision may be possible.
During every comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will check for a change in prescription. These are the numbers given to the power of the lenses to be put in your glasses. As we go through life, our prescription and visual demands change. Below is a list of visual types, which one is you?
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