What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a progressive deterioration of the retina. The changes in the retinal tissue can affect central vision making it hard to complete normal daily tasks like reading, driving, and caring for loved ones.
In the dry form of the disease, deposits called drusen form on your retina. In the wet form, abnormal blood vessel growth can cause bleeding in your retina. Because the condition becomes more pronounced with age, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
What are the Stages of Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration has three stages: early, intermediate, and late.
- Early Stage: At this point, there are generally no symptoms or vision loss. The only way to diagnose the condition is with a comprehensive eye exam that checks for yellow deposits on your retina, called drusen.
- Intermediate Stage: In the intermediate stage, there may be minor vision loss, and an eye exam reveals larger drusen in the retina, as well as retinal pigment changes.
- Late Stage: At this point, most men and women develop noticeable vision loss. Because macular degeneration is irreversible, seeking treatment at this stage will not yield improvements in your vision.
How is Macular Degeneration Treated?
There is no treatment for the dry form of AMD, however there are supplements that have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. These supplements include Vitalux, Presservision and Macuhealth. Your optometrist can recommend which of these is most appropriate. Treatment for wet macular degeneration focuses the abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina.. For most patients with this form of AMD referral is made to local ophthalmolgists who can determine if injections of medication into the eye are appropriate.
Book a comprehensive eye exam today to learn more about your overall eye health and whether macular degeneration is a cause for concern. You can set up an appointment by calling our office.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition characterized by an accumulation of fluid within your eye, leading to pressure on your optic nerve and eventual vision loss. According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness across the globe, affecting nearly 60 million people. There’s no cure, but the right treatment path can help slow the progression of your vision loss.
One of the most troubling things about glaucoma is the fact that there are often no symptoms until the condition has advanced to a dangerous level. That’s why it’s so important to schedule routine eye examinations, which include screening for glaucoma.
What Types of Glaucoma Are There?
There are two different types of glaucoma, primary open-angle, and angle-closure glaucoma.
- Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common form of glaucoma and develops gradually over time. If your eye doesn’t properly drain fluid it may build up, creating pressure that slowly damages your optic nerve.
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma: In some eyes, the anatomy can create a sudden and nearly complete blockage of an essential drainage system, allowing the pressure in the eye to rise very quickly. This type of glaucoma attack is a serious matter and requires emergency care.
Routine eye exams not only allow your eye optometrist to check for signs of glaucoma, but also provides important information about your risk level for developing the condition.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Your optometrist has multiple treatment options to choose from in creating your customized glaucoma care plan. You’ll play an active role in determining which options to pursue, and you’ll be fully informed of the pros and cons of each path before making a decision.
All treatment efforts focus on relieving pressure on your optic nerve. Prescription eye drops can help. They work by either reducing how much fluid your eyes produce or increasing the volume of fluid that drains from your eyes. Laser surgery is another option for open-angle glaucoma. The procedure involves using laser energy to alter the tissues within your eye in a way that improves drainage.
To learn more about diagnostic and treatment options, book an appointment with us by calling the office today.
Cataract is a condition where the lens within the eye starts to become cloudy. It usually affects both eyes and commonly causes glare sensitivity and blurred vision. As we age, the normally clear crystalline lens within the eye can become yellow or opaque. Clinically significant cataract occurs when the patient is bothered by glare or blurred vision.
Most cataracts are caused by age and progress slowly. The following risk factors can increase the chance or progression of cataract:
- Accumulated exposure to ultraviolet radiation
- Some diseases of the eye
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Some medications
- Poor nutrition
Treatment and Management
In the early stages your optometrist will monitor your cataract(s). Often your vision can be improved by making a change in your eyeglass prescription. However, if the cataract progresses and causes a decline in vision, a referral to an ophthalmologist for cataract surgery will be arranged by your optometrist.
Prevention and Detection
- Wear proper eye protection to minimize trauma or radiation exposure.
- Wear sunglasses to protect against ultra violet rays.
- Have regular eye examinations with your optometrist.
Dry eye is a common condition which results in burning, itching or watery eyes. Its prevalence is increasing as a result of the regular use of computers, tablets and other electronic devices. The use of these devices and other activities like reading, decrease our blink rates resulting in quicker evaporation of the tear film. Dry eye disease is often found in conjunction with blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Both conditions are often chronic and sometimes difficult to treat. However, there are various treatments that help relieve the symptoms of blepharitis and dry eye. Some of these are detailed below.
Hot Compresses – There are between 20 and 50 oil glands (called Meibomian glands) in each eyelid. The oil from these glands lubricate the eye with each blink. When the glands are blocked, the oil does not flow freely. Generally, five minutes of constant heat, once or twice daily, will provide relief after just a few weeks of treatment. Use of a “Eye-Relief” eye-mask which provides a moist heat is recommended.
Omega 3 – Omega 3 supplements help improve the quality of oil released from the Meibomian glands. When the glands are working well, the “meibum” released is thin and clear like baby oil. When there is a problem the oil can become thick and opaque like toothpaste and stops flowing. Omega 3 fatty acids, taken as a supplement, help to improve the quality of the oil released. The recommended supplement is 2,000 to 3,000 mg of fish oil (preferably in the triglyceride rather than the ester form). We recommend Systane Omega 3.
Lid Wipes – These wipes help remove the crusts that build up on the eyelids. They also gently remove some of the bacteria that naturally live on the eyelid but are responsible for some forms of blepharitis.
Artificial Tears – Artificial tears are an important supplement in the treatment of dry eye. Systane Complete is a product which can help rebuild the oily layer of the tear-film and is generally used four times a day. A preservative-free tear such as HyloFresh or Hylo is recommended. Preservative-free drops do not contain chemicals that can be irritating to the corneal surface. They now come in specially designed bottles and can be used as often in a day as required.
Tea Tree Oil – There is a form of blepharitis caused by tiny demodex mites that live along the eyelashes and in the oil glands. This form of irritation is best treated by tea tree oil in a gentle lid wipe. We recommend using ILid n Lash Plus wipes once or twice daily for 6-8 weeks, followed by maintenance cleansing.
Lubricant Ointments – Some forms of dry eye require overnight lubrication with a long-lasting ointment. These are especially useful when the eyelids do not seal up tightly at night or when the corneal surface demonstrates significant inflammation or dryness. Ocunox is a preservative free ointment which contains vitamin A. Because of its tendency to blur the vision, it is best used at bedtime.
There are several other treatments available if the therapies listed above do not completely relieve the symptoms. Some of these treatments include punctal occlusion, prescription medications (like Restasis, pulse steroid treatments and steroid ointments) and Meibomian gland expression.
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between the Optic House and the Bun Shoppe
10 King George Rd, Brantford, ON N3R 5J7