Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Glaucoma – The Silent Thief of Sight
What is Myopia?
Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is a common refractive error. Approximately a quarter of the general population may be affected. Myopic individuals see better up close than in the distance. This is because the eye improperly focuses light too strongly, causing blurred vision in the distance.
Who Can Develop Myopia?
Approximately 1 in 3 Canadians developing this condition in their lifetime.
What Are the Symptoms of Myopia?
Myopia symptoms commonly present as:
- Difficulty seeing far away objects
- Headaches from straining to focus
- Eye strain from squinting to see distant objects
How is Myopia Treated?
Myopia can be effectively treated using easy, non-invasive methods.
- Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses – Typically the first form of treatment. You may need to wear them all the time, or only when you need clear distance vision (such as driving).
- This will be determined by the severity of your myopia as assessed by our Optometrist.
- Refractive (Laser) Eye Surgery – Has the potential to eliminate the need for any prescription eyewear.
- If surgery is a treatment option you are considering, book an Eye Surgery Consultation with our Optometrists to determine your candidacy.
- Orthokeratology – If it turns out you are not a candidate for eye surgery, or you would like to try something else besides prescription eyewear, this is an effective non-surgical form of treatment.
- It is the use of special rigid lenses that are worn overnight. The lenses allow your eye to breathe and retain moisture while you sleep while they reshape your cornea. When you wake up, your freshly shaped cornea will allow you to see distant objects clearly for most of your day. You will need to wear the contact lenses every night.
What is Hyperopia?
Hyperopia is a refractive error of the eye, often referred to as farsightedness. Those with hyperopia have difficulties focusing on objects near them. If the hyperopia is severe enough, distance objects can also be blurry.
Hyperopia is the result of your eyes bending light too weakly, causing near images to blur.
Who Can Develop Hyperopia?
Approximately 1 out of 4 Canadians will develop hyperopia in their lifetime.
What Are the Symptoms of Hyperopia?
Typical symptoms of hyperopia include:
- Close objects appear blurry
- Eye fatigue
- Eye strain, a result of squinting to see objects close to them
How is Hyperopia Treated?
Much like myopia, hyperopia is easily treated.
- Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses – The severity of your hyperopia will dictate if you need to wear your prescribed eyewear all the time or only occasionally.
- Refractive (Laser) Surgery – For the right candidates, this is an excellent option for treating hyperopia. A high amount of patients will find that refractive surgery will reduce or completely eliminate the need for prescription eyewear.
Curious about your surgery candidacy? Book an Eye Surgery Consultation with our Optometrist to find out if refractive surgery is right for you.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common refractive error of the eye, just as myopia and hyperopia are. A refractive error of the eye means that an imperfection is affecting the way light bends (refracts) as it enters your eye. The way your eye bends light determines how you will perceive objects both near and far.
For those who do not have refractive errors of the eye, their lens and cornea present as a round shape. If you have astigmatism, you will have an irregular eye shape (similar to a football). This is caused by differences in the growth and alignment of your affected eye.
Who Can Develop Astigmatism?
In most cases, astigmatism tends to develop at a young age. If it is detected and treated early on in childhood, the progression of this vision problem is more likely to be prevented.
Sometimes, astigmatism may develop:
- After a different eye disease develops
- Post eye surgery
- As a result of an eye injury
What Are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?
Symptoms commonly associated with astigmatism are:
- Distorted vision
- Difficulty with night time driving
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue or eye strain
How is Astigmatism Treated?
Astigmatism is an easily treated with:
- Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses – A typical course of treatment after your eye exam will be corrective eyewear. It’s purpose is to counteract the abnormal shape of your eyes’ cornea and lens, refracting light properly to allow for clear vision.
- Refractive (Laser) Surgery – A long-term treatment for those who have astigmatism. If you are wondering about your candidacy, book an eye surgery consultation with our Optometrist.
- Orthokeratology – A non-surgical form of treatment utilizing special rigid lenses that are worn overnight. The lenses allow your eye to breathe and retain moisture as you sleep, while simultaneously reshaping your cornea. When you wake up, your freshly shaped cornea will allow you to see distant objects clearly for most of your day.
What is Strabismus?
Commonly referred to as crossed-eyes, strabismus is an eye condition where the eyes do not work together to focus on the same object.
Strabismus is the result of the 6 muscles around your eye not working in unison. The result is 2 different images being relayed to your brain from each eye. As you can imagine, this is incredibly confusing for your brain. Ultimately, it chooses to focus on and process the images from only one of the eyes.
TThe eye ignored by your brain will weaken considerably over time, leading to decreased vision that eye. This can only be prevented by early detection and treatment (via regular eye exams).
Strabismus is classified by the direction the eye turns:
- Hypertropia – Upward turning
- Hypotropia – Downward turning
- Esotropia – Inward turning
- Exotropia – Outward turning
Who Can Develop Strabismus?
Most cases of strabismus occur in early childhood, for both girls and boys.
Potential causes for developing strabismus in adulthood include:
- Physical trauma to the head
- Traumatic eye injury
- Thyroid eye disease
What Are the Symptoms of Strabismus?
Proper eye alignment is important for having good depth perception, avoiding seeing double, and to prevent loss of vision in the misaligned eye.
Strabismus can present its symptoms occasionally or consistently. Common symptoms include:
- Double vision
- Eye movements that are uncoordinated and completely separate of each other
- Eyes that are not looking in the same direction
- Eye fatigue
- Eye strain
One eye may look straight ahead while the other eye turns inward, up, down, or outward. An eye turn may be consistent, or come and go.
How is Strabismus Treated?
- Eyeglasses – For strabismus cases that occur early in childhood, the first treatment prescribed is typically prescription eyewear. The severity and frequency of the affected child’s strabismus will dictate if vision therapy is also required.
- Vision Therapy – A non-invasive treatment method for strabismus. Primarily, an eye patch is used to retrain the weakened ocular muscles. The brain is forced to use the weaker eye, building the strength of the muscles up until they match the strong eye.
- Eye Muscle Surgery – Patients with a severe case of strabismus may be candidates for corrective surgery.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is commonly referred to as lazy eye, characterized by decreased vision in one or both eyes (bilateral amblyopia).
When we are born our vision is not fully developed. From birth through 6-9 years of age, our eyes develop drastically. If one of our eyes suffers from poor development during this period, the brain will begin to favor the stronger eye and ignore images from the other. Over time this results in poor vision without treatment.
Who Can Develop Amblyopia?
This eye condition presents itself in approximately 3% of Canadians. Amblyopia typically develops in infancy or early childhood.
What Are the Symptoms of Amblyopia?
Those with mild forms of amblyopia may not know they have the condition until they are tested later in life.
Symptoms of amblyopia present as:
- Decreased vision in one or both eyes
- Poor depth perception
- Crossed or misaligned eyes
It can be difficult to notice the signs of amblyopia when they present during early childhood or infancy. The most obvious symptom – misaligned eyes – is not always there, making it difficult for parents to know if their child has amblyopia. This difficulty is amplified by the inability for young children to properly articulate what they are experiencing with their vision.
The best way to know if your child has amblyopia is through an eye exam, the first one being before they are 18 months old.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
As is with many conditions that affect the eye, amblyopia is best addressed via early detection and treatment. If we can see your child early in their life (1-5 years old) for an eye exam, we can catch and treat amblyopia before vision damage is caused to the poorly developed eye.
- Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses – Mild cases of amblyopia can be treated through the use of only corrective eyewear.
- Vision Therapy – If the poorly developed eye is not responding well to prescription eyewear, our Optometrist will likely recommend vision therapy.
- An eye patch is used to force the brain to use the weaker eye. Over time, new pathways are developed from the brain to the underused eye. Your child will likely see complete vision correction by the end of their course of treatment.
- Corrective Eye Surgery – Depending on the severity of the underdevelopment in the weaker eye, this may be required prior to vision therapy.
If you are concerned you or your child has strabismus (or a vision issue of any kind), book an eye exam with one of our Optometrists.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is complicated, progressive eye disease, often referred to as the “silent thief of sight”. It is characterized by its lack of symptoms until vision damage has already occurred.
The fluid inside our eyes, known as aqueous humor, flows out of the eye via a mesh-like channel. Glaucoma is the result of this channel becoming blocked or the fluid building up quicker than it drains.. The fluids builds up in the eye, increasing the pressure inside. The optic nerve is not meant to handle pressure of this magnitude and ends up damaged, leading to vision loss.
If you are experiencing high pressure in your eyes, don’t worry. It is not always a sign of glaucoma, though you should schedule an eye exam as you may be at risk. Like many things in life, it is better to be safe than sorry.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Glaucoma?
The following increase your risk factor for developing glaucoma:
- Family medical history
- Myopia or hyperopia
- Age (40 years and older, with risk increasing significantly after the age of 60)
What Are The Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can steal your vision gradually without any warning signs. When the signs do show, the symptoms of glaucoma are:
- High eye pressure
- Tunnel vision, a result of the gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision
- Central vision loss, during the late stages of disease
How is Glaucoma Treated?
There are several options available for treating glaucoma. The type and stage of your glaucoma will determine the treatment prescribed by our Optometrist.
- Prescription eye drops
- Prescription oral medication (pills)
- Trabeculoplasty (Laser Surgery) – A laser is used to subtly change the way your eye drains fluid. This allows the eye’s drainage system to function properly, reducing IOP (intraocular pressure).
- Trabeculectomy (Conventional Eye Surgery) – A new opening is created in the eye to allow excess fluid to drain. IOP is lowered and pressure is taken off of the optic nerve.
If you are concerned about your risk for developing glaucoma, book an eye exam with our Optometrist. We would be happy to provide a comprehensive exam, answer all of our questions, and, if applicable, walk you through which course of treatment is right for you.