The main symptoms of AMD include rapid or slow central vision loss, seeing straight lines as wavy and noted changes in color and contrast perception. These symptoms occur due to a build-up of “drusen” or metabolic waste product 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 (ie: fish) have been shown to help prevent the onset of AMD.
There are two types of AMD: dry (slow onset) for which vitamins and 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. The new Optos Daytona camera serves a great role in monitoring changes of AMD. Be sure to inquire.
Young eyes need equal visual stimulation in order 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 there is nothing 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.
This is when the lens of the eye progressively opacifies. How this affects your vision will depend on the type of cataract it is. Some progress rapidly, while others can take months or even years to have any affect at all. You may start to notice glare from on-coming headlights, reduced color perception, and blurring of vision. Not to worry, however, as you can be referred for a cataract extraction. This is when the ophthalmologist takes out the opacified lens, and replaces it with a clear one.
Patients with diabetes may experience ocular signs or symptoms over the course of their lifetime. This is mainly due to changes that occur at the level of the blood vessels at the back / sensory portion of the eye. Over time, the blood vessels may become leaky, causing haemorrhaging and fluid build-up to occur. These changes can be subtle, and without due attention these changes can lead to a loss of vision. Therefore, it is advisable to have your eyes checked routinely. Monitoring even the smallest change in the far out periphery of the retina has now been made even better with the new Optos Daytona camera that we have added to our office. By increasing our field of view from 45 degrees to 200 degrees, we can more effectively track any changes due to diabetes.
Commonly described by patients as “spiders”, “dark spots”, or “floaties”. These “worm-like” shadows that tend to move across your vision are the shadows cast by particles floating in your vitreous (the jelly substance in the back of your eye). They are a common annoyance among patients. Eventually, your brain learns to ignore them with no further complications. However, sometimes floaters can be a sign of a retinal tear or hole. If you are concerned of any changes in your vision, especially with regard to these floating bits, call your optometrist immediately.
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 fibers in charge of taking the information from the images falling on your peripheral retina are affected first. Slowly, these nerve fibers begin to die.
It has been recorded that you will not notice any changes until 40-50% of these fibers are already gone. 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 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 which, 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 on a regular basis!
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This is a very common symptom, and can be related to a variety of ocular health conditions ranging from over wear 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 back up 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!
In every comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will check for a change in prescription. These are the numbers given to the power of the lenses needed to be put in your glasses. As you go through life, your prescription and visual demands will change. Below is a list of visual types… which one are you?
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. Having said that, many patients remain symptomless, and it's only at their routine exam that we find a hole or tear in their retina. These are serious, and if not referred promptly for treatment can, and most likely will turn into a full blown retinal detachment! The best thing you can do is get your eyes check regularly. Holes have been found in both the young and old, with no other indications.
234 Lethbridge Centre
200-4th Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4C9
Monday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Thursday 8:30am - 6:00pm
Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Sat., Sun., Holidays: Closed