Common eye conditions
The following information gives a brief overview of some of the common eye conditions people can suffer from. If you suffer from any eye problems, or, for early detection of any of the below conditions – visit Vision Care Centre – Langley, or call to book an eye exam today to have a professional consultation with one our Optometrists who will be happy to explain any eye condition in detail.
If you are having difficulty focusing, have an eye that wanders inward or outward without control or you get abnormal results on your vision screening tests, it’s quite possible that you have a lazy eye or Amblyopia. Although it is common in all ages, amblyopia is the leading cause of vision loss in people under the age of 20. If detected in the first decade, children can have full resolution of this condition, with only partial resolution between ages 12 and 18. It occurs when the eye is not coordinated with the brain, causing loss of vision and depth perception.
What is a Lazy Eye or Amblyopia?
In this condition, the brain is unable to fully acknowledge the images seen by the affected eye. It typically affects one eye – hence the term “lazy eye” – but may reduce vision in both eyes. About 3% of children under six are known to have some form of amblyopia. The condition has emotional repercussions as well as physical. It can make the person highly self-conscious and prone to social and psychological disorders. The condition emerges in the early stages of childhood, hence early diagnosis and timely treatment plays a crucial role in treating it. Medical professionals say that it becomes increasingly difficult to cure the ailment after the first decade of life.
How to Treat Lazy Eye?
Physicians recommend treatment as soon as the condition is diagnosed. If there is a delay, vision can rapidly deteriorate, even leading to blindness. It becomes more difficult to improve the lazy eye in the teen years, with very low probability of any improvement in vision after 20.
Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, a condition where the eyes are misaligned. The strabismic eye is turned in, out, up or down so it does not focus on the object you are looking at, which can lead to amblyopia it not treated. Depending on the severity and type, both amblyopia and strabismus can be treated by glasses, patch therapy or surgery. In the case of surgery, there are two options to correct a lazy eye:
- By detaching the eye muscle and then re-attaching it a little further away from the front of the eye to weaken the muscle and help align the eyes.
- By resection or removing a part of the eye muscle to strengthen it and encourage proper alignment.
An effective way to treat the condition is by starting young (under age 6) through special glasses or eye patches. As the child gets older, it gets harder to reduce it significantly.
Dr. Damanjit Johal Optometry, BC Vision Care
Early detection offers the best cure. Make sure your children are taken for timely vision examination right from infanthood and early preschool years. It takes more than a general eye chart screening to detect amblyopia and other visual conditions that are mistaken for lazy eye.
Whether you are looking for special glasses, fashionable luxury and designer eyewear or sunglasses, our consult experts at Vision Care Centre can help you choose the right frames and lenses to fit your specific needs. We have an impressive collection of eyewear including frames, glasses, lenses and contact lenses from all manufacturers available in the marketplace at some of the best prices in Langley. We also have a highly experienced fully qualified team of Optometrists, Dispensing Optician and Optometric Assistants who are committed to meeting all possible ocular needs promptly and efficiently. Call us to schedule an appointment for a check-up or to check out any eye condition.
Myopia is a very common eye condition. Objects in the distance appear more blurred, while closer objects are clearer. This is because either the power of the eye is too strong, or that the eye itself is too long. Either way, the image of the object you see is formed before it reaches the retina and so is blurred. Myopia is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Hyperopia is another very common eye condition. Objects in the distance appear generally clearer, while closer objects are blurred. This is because either the eye is not powerful enough, or the eye itself is too short. Either way, the image of the object you see is formed after it reaches the retina and so is blurred. Hyperopic people can increase the power of their eyes by accommodating and making the image clear, although this becomes more difficult as you get older or if you do a lot of concentrated work. Hyperopia is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Astigmatism is an eye condition that can occur in conjunction with myopia, hyperopia, or on its own. Astigmatism occurs when the front of the eye (cornea) is not perfectly spherical (often described as ‘football shaped’). It causes the image of the object you see to be focused at two different points and so is blurred. Astigmatism is easily corrected using glassesor contact lenses.
Presbyopia is caused when the eye gradually loses its ability to see objects up close. It happens to everybody from around the age of 40 and gradually continues from then on. The main reason for it occurring is that the lens in the eye becomes less flexible and harder to change shape, and so makes close objects look blurred. As the changes happen so gradually, the effects are often not noticed immediately. But over time, headaches may occur and reading may become more difficult – unless you hold a book further from you. Presbyopia is easily corrected using reading, progressive, or bifocal glasses. Contact lenses are now also available.
Amblyopia is when 1 eye has poorer vision than the other perhaps due to anisometropia (assymetrical prescription), uncorrected prescription, or strabismus (eye turn) causing the connection between the eye and the brain to deteriorate. To prevent permanent vision loss it is imperative to give vision correction, vision therapy, patch treatment, or surgery before the age of 7/8 years of age as it is difficult to retrieve vision after this age even with glasses.
Dry eye is a condition where either the eye does not produce enough tears, or the tears do not lubricate the eyes sufficiently. This makes the eyes feel uncomfortable, gritty, burning, and sometimes makes the white of the eyes appear very red. Dry eye can affect anyone at any time, although it is more common as we get older and as a side effect from medication. Confusingly one common symptom is the eyes watering excessively, especially in windy weather. Often, symptoms can be relieved by treating the glands in the eyelids and by using artificial tears to lubricate the eyes better, although long term dry eye may need further investigation to rule out any general health problems.
A stye is an infection on the edge of the eyelid that appears slightly red, swollen and feels tender. Vision is not affected. Usually styes heal on their own, however a hot compress can help, and if recurring then antibiotic ointment can be used.
Cataract is a term used to describe the gradual aging and cloudiness of the lens in the eye software task management. When we are born the lens is perfectly clear and supple, but as we age the lens becomes more opaque and less flexible. This has the effect of us needing more light in order to see as we get older, and objects generally appearing a little hazier or sensation of a film over the eyes. Sometimes the lens can become so opaque that it affects the vision, and causes problems such as glare (especially at night). Initially the vision can be improved by new eyeglasses but eventually a short surgical procedure will be required to replace the opaque natural lens with a clear artificial lens. There is evidence that suggests wearing UV protection outdoors; and a diet rich in vitamin A,C, E & selenium; avoidance of smoke, alcohol & pollution have preventative benefits.
Diabetes is caused when the body is unable to properly regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Symptoms can be very mild and so can be very difficult to spot. Long term poor control of diabetes can affect the eyes by causing retinal blood vessels to leak. The blood vessels become more prone to bleeding, causing risk to the sight of the eye. Generally speaking, the earlier any diabetic retinopathy is noticed in the eyes the better the outcome after any treatment. People with diabetes are also more prone to cataract and macular changes causing a reduction in vision. Because of this, diabetic patients are advised to have regular eye exams. At Vision Care these are covered with a BC care card yearly.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of diseases which cause progressive gradual degeneration of the optic nerve and eventually blindness. Glaucoma is caused by a number of factors which can include high internal pressure of the eye, poor blood flow to the eye, over 35 years of age, and genetic factors. Glaucoma affects the peripheral vision, and often goes unnoticed by the patient. Very rarely, glaucoma can affect people very suddenly making them feel sick and causing pain to the eyes – in these cases immediate urgent assessment is advised. If left untreated, vision loss cannot be restored only halted. As there are usually no early warning signs, regular eye exams are crucial especially for over 35 year olds and people with a family history of glaucoma.
Macular degeneration (or ARMD) affects the area of the retina (macula) that deals with sharp central vision. It generally affects people over the age of 75, and causes deterioration in central vision. There are two main types; dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is far more common, progresses slowly and affects the vision more mildly. Wet macular degeneration is less common, but has far more drastic changes sometimes causing total loss of central vision in extreme cases. Prevention is key as treatment is limited depending on the type. Much research has been put into UV protection, nutrition, and dietary supplements such as Vitalux and PreserVision which contains vitamins A, C, E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, & omega-3 to help delay ARMD. These can be purchased at Vision Care Centre.
Inside your eye, there is a watery jelly-like fluid called the vitreous. Tiny specks in the vitreous swirl around as you move your eyes which are more noticeable on bright days or when looking at light coloured objects, e.g. a page of a book. Most people notice floaters in their vision at some point in their lives. Myopic people often notice them more, and they are more common with age. Most of the time, these floaters are perfectly normal. But if you suddenly notice a large increase in floaters, or notice any flashes of light, or even a shadow across your vision, you should book an eye exam as soon as possible because this may indicate a more serious problem such as a retinal detachment.
Please Note: The above content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of an Eye Doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Caring for your Eyes
With conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration on the rise, it is important to take precautions to help prevent damage. During your eye examination your Optometrist will go through advice & precautions, and explain to you how diet & supplements can help preserve your eyesight for life.
- Have your eyes examined regularly. Our eye exams are extremely thorough and can pick up eye conditions and other health problems.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, sweetcorn, orange and yellow peppers, kiwi fruits, oranges and mangoes are all great sources of the substances lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against some eye conditions. If your busy lifestyle means your diet isn’t always as healthy as you’d like it to be, ask about eye-health supplements next time you’re in.
- Protect your eyes from the sun & indoor tanning beds. Over-exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause a number of problems, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygium and certain lid cancers. Nowadays there is an increase in UV penetration in our atmosphere even on a cloudy day. Often people forget that UV protection is just as important in water and snow environments. In these environments, always wear sunglasses or UV Blocking eyewear which provide 100% UVA & UVB protection.
- Stop smoking. Smokers are up to three times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers – another good reason to quit.
- Take short, frequent breaks from the computer to prevent eyestrain and tiredness. Even if you don’t get up, an ‘eye break’ – when you look away from the screen and focus on objects at varying distances will help.
- If you play a lot of sport, buy protective sports goggles to shield your eyes. This is especially important if you’re keen on racquet sports; squash is the main cause of serious eye injuries. We carry Rx and non-Rx sportswear at Vision Care.
- Eye injuries at home are common. Always wear safety goggles to avoid injuries caused by flying wood chips or metal shards. If your job requires you to wear protective eyewear enquire about the OVP (Occupation Vision Plan) Program which we participate in. We work with the BCAO and certain Employers to provide their workers with low cost or no-charge safety glasses. Talk to your employer to see if you qualify.
- If you get dust or grit in your eye, don’t rub it. Pull the upper eyelid down over the lower lid and blink frequently to help the lower lashes and tears sweep and wash away the foreign object. If you have difficulty, come in to see us or your local emergency department if we are closed.
- If you wear contact lenses, regular aftercare check-ups are vital to ensure your lenses remain comfortable and your eyes stay healthy. At Vision Care unlimited aftercare is built into the price of the contact lenses..
- If you notice any changes in your vision, pain in or around your eyes or if you keep getting headaches, book an appointment to see an Optometrist at Vision Care.
Caring for your Spectacles
- Always use both hands when putting your glasses on or off
- Always store in a clean case when not in use. At Vision Care we provide you with a complimentary case with every eyeglass purchase
- Do not place your glasses lens side down – this causes scratches
- Do not use paper tissues or paper towels – these cause scratches
- Rinse the lenses [with or without a mild soap] under the tap prior to cleaning to remove debris, or, use a lens spray on both sides of the lens
- Remove your eyeglasses before using hairspray as it can damage the coating on the lenses.
- Use a clean soft lens cloth to wipe the lenses. We provide a complimentary cloth with every purchase that can be washed and reused [avoid fabric softener when washing]
- Avoid solvents, petroleum-based cleaners, etc, as they can damage certain lenses.
- Do not leave your glasses exposed to high heat, sunlight and humidity such as in your car, as this can cause the frame & lenses to distort and damage the coating.
- Have your eyeglasses adjusted regularly.
At Vision Care, with our complimentary aftercare our commitment to service continues long after you collect your new eyewear from us. Although we have a variety of cleaning kits for the home, work or purse – we would be happy to clean, adjust, or re-align your eyeglasses free of charge – even if you haven’t purchased them from us !! For a small fee we can also replace the nose pads or temple tips if damaged or discoloured.
We want you to carry on getting maximum satisfaction and comfort from your glasses – so feel free to pop in at any time with them. We’ll check that they’re still ‘roadworthy’: inspecting the fit and adjusting them if necessary, and giving them a thorough clean and polish.