Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can have serious impacts on your vision. Let us help you address and manage it.
The best way to detect AMD is by having regular eye exams. As we age, it is important to practice preventative eye care. Vision quality lost to an eye disease like AMD cannot be restored. The best way to maintain a high quality of vision is to be proactive with your optical care.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among Canadians age 65 and older. Currently, there is no cure for AMD (though there are promising studies and treatments in development).
There are two types of AMD:
Approximately 9 in 10 cases of AMD are the atrophic variant. Also called “dry AMD”, this version of AMD places yellow deposits (called drusen) on the macula. As the drusen grows in size and quantity, your vision will become increasingly dim and distorted.
Also called “wet AMD”, exudative AMD is marked by blind spots and distorted vision that is the result of blood and other fluids leaking onto the retina.
Signs and Symptoms of AMD
AMD generally forms without specific symptoms to denote its progression. Unlike the flu, which is generally accompanied by symptoms (such as a fever or a runny nose), age-related macular degeneration is marked only by its impacts on your vision.
As the AMD develops you will notice changes to your central vision. As drusen is deposited on the retina, you will begin to notice areas of blurry, hazy, dim, or colour-deficient vision. As AMD progresses these areas will get larger and more numerous.
AMD has no cure. Treatment generally comprises of delaying further vision loss as much as possible (via diet/lifestyle controls). People with exudative AMD have a few treatment options available. Laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and treatment with Macugen can destroy or control the growth of the abnormal blood vessels in the macula- this is helpful for some people who have wet AMD.
We Can Help Manage the Progression of Your AMD
The first step in properly managing AMD is identifying the type and progression of your AMD. We will work with you to implement a beneficial diet and management program to help preserve your vision.
We can also help with:
- Vision impairment coping strategies
- Adapting to low vision
- Maintaining excellent eye health with diet and lifestyle changes
Call to schedule an appointment for a day and time that is convenient for you.
Cataract Exam & Management
Are you looking at cataract removal surgery? Our optometrists can help you manage your cataracts and determine surgical candidacy?
No longer simply a “part of getting older”, cataracts can be safely removed and your vision restored. If your cataracts are impairing your personal or professional life, ask us about whether or not you’re a candidate for cataract removal surgery.
Most commonly a result of aging, cataracts can also be influenced by UV radiation (from the sun) and by certain medications (such as medications used to treat diabetic retinopathy). Quite common, no one actually knows for sure why cataracts develop or what prompts them to begin developing.
Over time, as we age, the lens of the eye becomes discoloured and clouded. To date, the only approved and effective treatment for cataracts is cataract removal surgery.
Are Cataracts Impairing Your Lifestyle?
If your cataracts are beginning to impair you (personally or professionally), you may be a candidate for cataract removal surgery. This safe surgical procedure is routine, with millions being performed in Canada and the United States every year.
Call to book an appointment to determine your candidacy.
More Information About Cataracts & Cataract Removal Surgery
Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts:
Cataracts usually develop without pain. Symptoms include:
- Cloudy, blurry, hazy vision- like looking through a foggy glass;
- Certain colours, and especially dark blues/purples, appear faded or washed out;
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Glare from light sources, such as headlights or table lamps
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
Cataracts are generally diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. During the eye exam we can detect the development of cataracts using several different tests:
- Visual acuity test – This tried and tested procedure assess your visual acuity at various distances
- Dilated eye exam – Using special eye drops that dilate your pupils, we can then take detailed images of your eye and its structures
- Biomicroscope Test – This test has been implemented to allow the Optometrists to visualize the cataract in greater detail.
Surgical Removal of Cataracts:
In the cataract removal surgery, your eye’s natural lens is removed and a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) is fitted in its place. The IOL takes over all functions of the old lens; it is not seen or felt once inserted.
There are several variations of the cataract removal surgery. They all follow the same general process:
- Your eye and surrounding tissues are numbed – The procedure is relatively painless thanks to the use of local anesthetic.
- The lens will be prepped for removal. Depending on the variation of the surgery being performed, it may be broken into smaller pieces via ultrasound waves or removed in one full piece.
- The intraocular lens is inserted in place of the natural lens.
- You are observed for a few hours and then sent home to recover. Note that you will not be able to drive immediately after the surgery and will require a safe way to get home.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of conjunctivitis (AKA Pink eye or Red Eye), visit us for quick diagnosis and treatment.
Certain forms of conjunctivitis can be extremely contagious. When booking your appointment, please specify that you are coming in for treatment for your pink eye. Until diagnosis, we recommend staying away from crowded areas as you may be contagious.
Conjunctivitis has many causes, from environmental factors to pathogenic causes. Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause. During the diagnosis we will work with you to determine what is causing your pink eye and provide treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
Pink eye that is the result of an allergen or environmental cause (such as smoke or wind) can not be “cured” via treatment. In these cases of conjunctivitis we will provide treatment for the symptom and provide direction on how to asses the root cause.
Don’t Suffer From the Frustrating Symptoms of Pink Eye
If you have pink eye, visit us for prompt diagnosis of its cause and our recommended treatment. Call to book an appointment and let us know you are coming in for conjunctivitis treatment.
More Information About Conjunctivitis
What Causes Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis has several causes:
- Environmental – Think of things such as pollen, dander, smoke, and other allergens or environmental factors that you may come into contact with. In the case of smoke, eliminating your exposure to areas of smoke (and poor air quality in general) will likely reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
- Chemical – Many chemicals found in everything from soaps to cleaning agents can cause conjunctivitis.
- Pathogenic – Certain viruses and bacteria cause pathogenic conjunctivitis
Signs & Symptoms of Conjunctivitis:
Conjunctivitis has several symptoms, though the most obvious is also its nickname: pink eye. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Itchy eyes that persist even when scratched
- A burning or stinging sensation of the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Redness of the eye and surrounding areas
How Is Conjunctivitis Treated?
There are different treatments for conjunctivitis depending on the cause. Viral conjunctivitis will clear up on its own after one to two weeks, as will most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis. We may prescribe antibiotics if your case is serious.
In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, we recommend that you have an allergy test done. While it’s possible to determine the cause of your reaction without an allergy test, having the test done speeds the process along considerably.
Tips To Help Prevent Conjunctivitis:
Pathogenic conjunctivitis is contagious and can quickly spread to multiple people. If you or a family member has pink eye, follow some precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Use clean towels, blankets, etc.
- Wash your eye with warm water several times per day
- Avoid touching your face and eye
Flashes & Floaters
Visit us if you have concerns about or experience a sudden onset of eye flashes or floaters.
Eye floaters are not generally harmful. The result of aging and the routine processes that come along with it, most people have seen floaters at one point in their lives. Despite being relatively harmless, eye floaters are one of the most common reasons that people seek out eye exams.
What Causes Eye Floaters?
our eye is filled with a jelly-like substance called vitreous. This vitreous is clear and is present since birth. As we age, microscopic fibres inside the vitreous (called collagen fibres) clump together, forming structures that float inside the vitreous. When light enters the eye, these structures cast a shadow on the retina and form what we see as floaters.
When Should Eye Floaters Be Investigated?
The vast majority of people with eye floaters will never require treatment for it. As annoying as floaters are, most people simply choose to ignore them as best they can.
In rare cases, eye floaters may increase during the development of certain eye diseases. A sudden increase of eye floaters – especially if accompanied by small flashes of light – should be investigated by an Optometrist as soon as possible.
A sudden increase in floaters may be indicative of retinal detachment, a retinal tear, or of bleeding from within the eye.
Like floaters, in most cases eye flashes are harmless and no cause for concern. However, you should still investigate a new instance of flashes. Flashes are less common than floaters and are the result of some type of physical stimulation of the retina.
What Causes Eye Flashes?
Often described as small sparks of light, specs of lightning, or floating dots of light, eye flashes can be confusing the first time you experience them. Flashes are generally the result of physical stimulus of the retina; this often occurs when the vitreous becomes more gel-like and tugs on the retina.
Eye flashes may come and go for weeks or months at a time and may be more prevalent when transitioning from light to dark (such as to a dark bedroom from a light bathroom).
When Should Eye Flashes Be Investigated?
See one of our Optometrists if you notice eye flashes, especially if it is the first time. A sudden onset of flashes may be indicative of a retinal tear or detachment and should be investigated immediately.
We use advanced technology to diagnose and manage glaucoma’s development.
Glaucoma, arguably the most famous eye disease, is a serious condition that can have major impacts on your vision. With proper diagnosis and management, most people can successfully manage their Glaucoma and prevent further vision loss. We will work you in creating an effective management plan for your case of glaucoma.
More than 250,000 Canadians have chronic open-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma, though it is just one of several varieties of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a serious and frustrating disease because of its asymptomatic development. For most people, glaucoma will develop while they are totally unaware- it rarely presents obvious symptoms (such as pain or sudden vision loss). Instead, glaucoma chips away at your peripheral vision. By the time you notice something has changed, you may already have some level of tunnel vision.
Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. The only effective way to manage glaucoma is to detect it early and embark upon a management program before glaucoma robs you of your vision.
We Are Glaucoma Management Practitioners in Edson & Jasper
Glaucoma is a serious disease that requires diligence in identifying and managing it. We are your partners, guiding you every step of the way from diagnosis to management. Call to book an appointment for a day/time that is convenient for you and we will get the process started.
More Information About Glaucoma Management
Types of Glaucoma:
90% of glaucoma cases are of the open-angle variety. More than a quarter million Canadians live with chronic open-angle glaucoma. The most common versions of glaucoma in Canada are:
- Open-angle glaucoma – This type reduces your peripheral vision, usually without other symptoms. Many people first sense something is wrong after they begin to realize the immediate effects of glaucoma-caused tunnel vision.
- Acute angle-closure glaucoma – Also called “narrow-angle glaucoma” or “closed angle glaucoma”, this type of glaucoma produces sudden symptoms (eye pain, headaches, vision loss, nausea, vomiting). These symptoms represent a medical emergency- see us or visit a hospital immediately if you are experiencing them.
- Normal-tension glaucoma – This variant of glaucoma develops despite eye pressure being within normal ranges. As eye pressure is a primary indicator of glaucoma, this version of glaucoma is sometimes overlooked during initial screening.
- Congenital glaucoma – 80% of congenital glaucoma cases are diagnosed by age one. Present since birth, congenital glaucoma is the result of some type of defect within the eye drainage system.
During a comprehensive eye exam conventional testing and advanced imaging equipment is used to diagnose the type and severity of your glaucoma.
Specific tests include standard visual acuity and visual field testing, dilating your eye to allow for full inspection and imaging of the eye, tonometry (to determine eye pressure), and using optical coherence tomography (OCT imaging) to image and measure the optical nerve.
Treating & Managing Glaucoma
First, it’s important to understand that the goal of treatment is to prevent further vision loss and preserve as much visual acuity as possible. It is not possible to reverse vision already lost to glaucoma.
Glaucoma management usually centres around normalizing eye pressure. This is typically done via eye drops and oral medication, though surgical options are available as well.
Note: we have run into situations where a patient has discontinued their management program as prescribed due to a perceived lack of need. Successful management of glaucoma requires strict adherence to the treatment plan provided. If your eye drops or medication are causing uncomfortable side effects, see us prior to discontinuing use.
- Treating glaucoma with eye drops – Eye drops manage glaucoma by reducing eye pressure, reducing how much fluid is produced in the eye, or both. Eye drops are a safe and effective way to manage glaucoma, though a small percentage of people experience side effects (such as stinging/burning eyes, redness, etc.).
- Treating glaucoma with oral medication – Oral medications accomplish the same ends as eye drops, albeit using different means. Oral medication is often used alongside eye drops. While taking oral medication it is important to be cognisant of how other medications may interact with it. When seeing doctors, ensure that you inform them of the medication you are taking for your glaucoma management.
- Surgical glaucoma treatments – Most variants of surgery offered to treat glaucoma centre around helping the eye relieve eye pressure by encouraging drainage. A laser trabeculoplasty uses a powerful laser to stretch the drainage holes, enabling fluid to drain more freely. The conventional version of this surgery, called a trabeculectomy, creates a new channel for fluid to drain from.