Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a visual defect in which objects in the distance are blurry because they focus in front of the retina. Symptoms are blurring in the distance. Glasses are required to improve distance vision.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a visual defect in which near objects are blurrier than distance objects. Objects are focused behind the retina. Glasses are required for near work more than distance, however some people may be able to focus through this type of refraction. A patient’s age and magnitude of the prescription will determine when glasses need to be worn. Symptoms are blurriness, eyestrain, and headaches.
Astigmatism creates a decrease in vision at both distance and near. Images of objects fail to come to focus on the retina, most often from an irregularity of curvature of the cornea. The curvature of the cornea is shaped more like a football as opposed to being spherical like a soccer ball. Symptoms may include blurry, tilted, or shadowy images.
Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. This begins to occur in your early 40s and is part of the eye’s natural aging process. Early signs of presbyopia include a decreased ability to read fine print as well as increased eye strain and fatigue. Our team of doctors will help you find the right eyewear solution to help you through these changes.
Childhood Eye Conditions
Eye Turn (Strabismus) and Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
A lazy eye most often develops as result of an eye turn or a high prescription in one eye that is left untreated. Treatment is most successful until age 6, and if not treated by this age there may be permanent vision loss in one eye. It is important to bring your child in for a routine eye exam starting at 6 months, at 3 years, and annual from then on.
Even though a child may not have a lazy eye or a turned eye, there could be an eye coordination problem which can lead to double vision or focusing issues. This could result in inattentiveness at school and frustration in playing sports.
Age Related Eye Conditions
A cataract is described as a clouding of the eye’s natural lens resulting in blurry or dimmed vision. The development of a cataract is a very common eye condition. Once there is a significant impact in vision (ie. driving and reading), a referral can be made for cataract surgery.
Glaucoma is caused by changes in the optic nerve that can cause gradual loss of peripheral vision. These changes could be caused by increased pressure within the eye. For many, there are no symptoms and therefore regular eye examinations are crucial in early detection.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Canada. It is an age related condition that causes damage to the macula, which is responsible for our most detailed, central vision. Early detection and prevention are essential and therefore the macula is carefully reviewed during every full eye exam.
Eye-Related Complications From Systemic Diseases
The most common eye related complication from diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes damage to the eye’s blood vessels leading to possible vision loss. Most people are unaware they have diabetic retinopathy, until some damage has already occurred. It is important to keep good blood sugar control and to see your optometrist annually to detect and prevent serious diabetic complications.
High Blood Pressure
Retinal blood vessels are evaluated for any changes as a result of high blood pressure. This includes early changes where there are no symptoms, such as a change in the relative size of the arteries to veins, to much more serious changes such as a retinal artery or vein occlusion, which drastically impacts vision.
Many medications cause a vast variety of complications and side effects that can affect your vision. It is important to advise your optometrist of the medications you are taking so he/she can watch for associated side effects such as cataracts, dry eyes, or retinal damage.
Arthritis has the ability to cause various types of inflammation, including in the eyes, and many patients with arthritis will also experience dry eyes. In addition, there are medications associated with the treatment of arthritis that may have a detrimental effect on the retina and need careful monitoring.
If you think you are having an eye emergency, please call our office as soon as possible. Our office will ensure that you receive an appointment in a timely manner. Examples of eye emergencies include red eye, sudden vision loss, flashes and floaters and eye injuries.
Flashes and floaters may be the symptoms of a retinal detachment, hole, or tear. Immediate assessment with a dilated eye exam is required to rule this possibility.
A red eye can be caused by one or many different factors. Some causes can be simple like allergies, and some can be quite serious like a corneal ulcer. At QOC, we recommend that you call our office if you are concerned about a red eye. Our doctors have the expertise to diagnose the cause of your red eye and prescribe the appropriate eye drops, if needed for treatment. We will follow your eye condition carefully until it has resolved and can refer appropriately and timely for a serious eye condition. Let us treat your red eye so you can continue your daily activities worry free.
A superficial foreign body in the eye may cause severe pain, with red and watery eyes. It must be removed and treated in a timely manner to ensure the eye heals properly, and that an infection does not develop. A penetrating foreign body, such as a metallic projectile from hammering or grinding, will also cause discomfort and required immediate assessment.
Sudden Vision Loss
There are many causes of a sudden vision loss. All of them are an eye emergency and most need to be examined immediately to determine the cause and the best treatment. Some causes include a stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a temporary blockage of the blood supply to the eye, an artery or vein occlusion to the eye or a retinal detachment
High Impact Injuries
This type of injury could be due to objects such as tennis or squash balls, a fist or a motor vehicle accident. This may cause superficial injuries such as a corneal abrasion or scratch, but the bigger concern is that they may cause a retinal detachment, or an orbital fracture which require immediate treatment.
Eye safety is essential in every part of our life, particularly at work. Eye injuries at work are surprisingly common, and may result in temporary or permanent vision loss. Depending on the work environment this may include safety glasses, goggles, welding helmets and UV protection.