8555431365

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Okotoks, AB

(403) 938-4300

Eye Disease Diagnosis & Management Hero

Eye Disease Diagnosis & Management

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If left untreated, some eye diseases can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial for detecting eye disease in its early stages. If you have an eye disease, you should begin treatment as soon as possible so that you can slow or even prevent vision loss.

Many eye diseases do not exhibit symptoms until it is too late.

The only way to detect eye disease and prevent vision loss is by undergoing a comprehensive eye exam. Regular exams ensure that we have the opportunity to identify and track subtle changes in your vision that may signal you are developing an eye disease.

Once an eye disease has been detected your optometric team can begin treatment right away.

Your vision is invaluable; do not put it at risk. Request your next appointment today.

Common Eye Diseases

Spots, Flashes, and Floaters

Most floaters and spots are perfectly normal and are caused by tiny pieces of protein and other tissue floating around in the vitreous (clear, gel-like fluid) that fills the inside of our eyes. As we age, the vitreous becomes less viscous, allowing the floaters to move around more easily and making them more noticeable.

However, if you experience bright flashes of lights followed by a shower of floaters you may be experiencing a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in North America in adults over the age of 55. AMD occurs in the macula, which is a small portion of our retina responsible for detailed sight and colour vision. As AMD progresses, your central vision is slowly lost.

There are two forms of AMD:

  • Dry AMD: Dry AMD is the most common form and is typically milder than its wet counterpart. Dry AMD occurs when drusen (lipid deposits) accumulate under the macula. This causes the light sensitive cells in the macula to become damaged causing permanent vision loss or even blindness. Though there is currently no cure for Dry AMD, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) conducted by the National Eye Institute suggests that Dry AMD’s progression can be slowed by consuming nutritional supplements and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.
  • Wet AMD: Wet AMD is less common, and is more sudden and debilitating than Dry AMD. With Wet AMD new blood vessels grow beneath the macula and leak blood and fluid. This leakage can permanently damage the light-sensitive retinal cells, causing them to die and creating blind spots in the central vision.

AMD can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, so if you notice changes in your central call us as soon as possible.

Cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process. They occur when the proteins in our natural lenses become opaque over time, causing cloudy vision. Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Reduced colour vision
  • Increased sensitivity to glare, particularly during nighttime driving

Though most of us will develop cataracts at some point during our lives, factors such as diabetes, UV exposure, smoking, and consuming alcohol can increase your chances of developing cataracts at a younger age.

If your cataracts are only mildly disruptive, your optometrist may suggest workarounds such as a magnifying aid for small print, more light while reading, or wearing glasses treated with an anti-glare coating to minimize the effect your cataracts have on night driving. However, if your cataracts begin to seriously impede your vision, preventing you from doing the things you enjoy, you may require cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing your natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens, which will not become cloudy.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye”, occurs when the conjunctiva (the thin, transparent film that covers the white of our eye) becomes inflamed. When this occurs the blood vessels in our eyes dilate, becoming red and bloodshot, giving pink eye its name.

There are three main forms of conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection and requires treatment. One of the main symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis is a significant amount of yellow or green discharge. This condition usually affects both eyes and is highly contagious. Even once you have started treatment, it is vital for you to stay home from work or school until your bacterial conjunctivitis has fully cleared up.
  • Viral conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, and like the common cold, does not typically require treatment. This form of conjunctivitis should clear up on its own in a few days, but it is contagious so you should stay home from work or school until it is gone. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include watery eyes as well as significant discharge. Either one or both eyes can be affected.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens such as dust, pollen, and animal dander. Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include itchy, watery eyes and a small amount of stringy white discharge. Sufferers may also experience a runny or stuffy nose. Both eyes are affected by allergic conjunctivitis, and this condition is not contagious. Depending on the triggering allergen, this form of conjunctivitis may be seasonal (in the case of pollen) or year round (in the case of pet dander or dust).

If you suspect you may have conjunctivitis, you should make an appointment with your optometrist right away so that they can determine which form of conjunctivitis you have and prescribe any necessary treatment.

You should avoid wearing contact lenses while suffering from conjunctivitis.

Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve becomes increasingly damaged as a result of high pressure inside the eye. Our optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from our eyes to our brain. Though glaucoma is typically caused by high intraocular pressure, in some cases, it can occur even when our the intraocular pressure is within the normal range. This type of glaucoma is called normal tension glaucoma.

Glaucoma does not typically exhibit symptoms in its earliest stages, so people with glaucoma may not even know they have it. The lack of symptoms makes glaucoma particularly dangerous because by the time you begin to notice changes in your vision, you may have already suffered irreversible vision loss.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada.

There are a variety of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing glaucoma. These include:

  • Your family history: Individuals with a family history of glaucoma are significantly more likely to develop glaucoma themselves
  • Your age: People over the age of 60 are more likely to develop glaucoma, and that risk factor increases every year.
  • Having diabetes: Individuals living with diabetes may have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Other medical conditions: Thoses who experience variations in blood pressure, or have heart disease, are more likely to develop glaucoma.
  • Previous eye injuries: Severe trauma, such as being hit in the eye, can immediately raise your eye’s intraocular pressure, and may even cause it to spike long after your injury has healed. Eye injuries can also cause lens dislocation, which can impact your eye’s ability to drain fluid, increasing your intraocular pressure.
  • Anatomical factors: Your eye’s anatomy, including having thin corneas, can increase your risk of developing glaucoma. Conditions such as retinal detachment, eye inflammation, and eye tumours can also increase your risk.
  • Severe nearsightedness: People who are severely nearsighted may be more likely to develop glaucoma.
  • Corticosteroid use: Patients who use ocular or systemic corticosteroids for prolonged periods of time may be more likely to develop glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a treatable condition, but early detection is crucial. All comprehensive eye exams performed at Okotoks Eyecare include glaucoma testing. To help us detect glaucoma as early as possible, our optometric team uses a variety of tests including non-contact tonometry (the air puff test) and applanation tonometry, using our iCare Tonometer.

Non-contact tonometry involves exposing your eye to a small puff of air. Applanation tonometry involves gently pressing a small, blunt probe against your cornea. Both tests are used to measure the amount of resistance in your eye, which can be used to gauge its intraocular pressure.

As we spend more time on our smartphones, computers, and tablets, our eyes are finding themselves under an increasing amount of strain. Digital eye strain is caused by a variety of factors, including increased exposure to harmful blue light, focusing on screens at near distances for prolonged periods of time, and decreased blinking. A reduced blink rate can also lead to dry eye.

To avoid digital eye strain, it is important to follow the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your gaze on an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. This gives your focusing muscles a chance to relax. You should also organize your work environment so that you can reduce glare and avoid shoulder, neck, and back pain.

If you suspect you may be suffering from digital eye strain, you should speak to your optometrist.

Regular eye exams are critical for catching eye diseases before they become problematic, and safeguard your vision. Untreated eye diseases can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Do not put your vision at risk. Request your next eye exam today.

Visit Us in Cimarron Common

Address

  • 201 Southridge Drive, Unit 115
  • Okotoks, AB T1S 2E1

Located next to Starbucks in the Cornerstone Shopping Complex.

Contact Us

  • Monday8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Friday8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Saturday8:30 AM - 2:00 PM
  • SundayClosed
  • Statuatory HolidaysClosed

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