Eye Health: Diseases

Macular Degeneration

The macula is a region of the back of the eye (retina) where we use to focus images to. It helps us see fine details. Macular degeneration (also referred to as age-related macular degeneration) occurs when there are disturbances at the level of the macula. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. In dry macular degeneration yellow deposits called drusen accumulate at the macula. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal leaky blood vessels start to grow around the macular area. Both types can result in loss of central vision.

Symptoms

Loss of central field of view and blurry vision, some people will notice straight lines look wavy.

Treatment

There are laser surgery treatments for wet macular degeneration. For dry macular degeneration, it is important to take eye vitamins to try and slow the progression of dry macular degeneration. Our Optometrists will recommend the specific eye supplements that are best suited for your eyes. Sun protection is an absolute must for either type of macular degeneration.

Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding, yellowing or opacification of the lens in the eye. There are different types of cataracts but the most common is caused by UV damage to the lens. Early cataracts can often affect night vision, especially while driving. We often see cataracts at an earlier age in people who smoke.

Symptoms

Blurred vision and night glare and/or a change in glasses prescription.

Treatment

Cataract surgery is when the natural lens is removed and replaced with a lens implant. Our Optometrists will be able to monitor your cataracts and refer you for a cataract consult if it is warranted.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is caused by an unstable tear film which leads to irritation and inflammation of the eye. Dry eyes are common in Alberta and worsen with age, computer use and contact lens wear.

Symptoms

Stinging or burning sensation, grittiness, watery eyes, pls change to Blurry vision, fluctuating vision, painful eyes, burning or itchy eyes, red or watering eyes.

Treatment

Artificial tears are often used to relieve symptoms of dry eye, however not all artificial tears are the same. Our Optometrists will design a customized dry eye treatment plan to mange dry eyes. Other treatments include gels and ointments, prescription eye drops, punctual plugs, vitamin supplements and lifestyle changes and modifications.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the eye that can occur in patients with Diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to damaged retinal blood vessels and the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

Symptoms

Changes in vision, fluctuating vision, change in prescription and sometimes there are no symptoms.

Treatment

In severe cases of Diabetic retinopathy, an eye surgeon may use a laser to treat bleeding in the retina. It is imperative that everyone with Diabetes are seen annually with a dilated fundus examination by an Optometrist to monitor their ocular health. Good blood sugar control can often prevent Diabetic Retinopathy.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve head. The optic nerve head is an important pathway connecting the information collected by the eye and relays it to the brain where that information is processed. In glaucoma, the fibers that make up the optic nerve head start to degenerate over time. In some cases glaucoma is associated with higher intraocular pressure.

Symptoms

None in its early stages and gradual peripheral visual field loss in later stages.

Treatment

Depending on the type of glaucoma it may be managed with prescription eye drops and/or with surgery. Since this disease is often silent, or asymptomatic it is necessary to have routine eye exams to monitor any glaucoma risks.