Eye Conditions

Eye Conditions

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

What is it?

Myopia occurs when you are able to see things up close quite clearly and objects in the distance are blurry and difficult to focus on. It can be caused by an eye that is too long or by a highly curved cornea or lens. It typically starts in early childhood and may progress until your mid-twenties.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your vision and perform a refraction to determine the best prescription to correct your vision.


Treatment

Depending on how high your prescription is, your optometrist may prescribe glasses or contact lenses to use as part time wear for activities like driving and watching television, or for full time wear to help you see clearly at all times.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

What is it?

Hyperopia can be a little tricky in some situations. In moderate to severe cases, vision up close will be blurry and difficult to focus on, whereas distant objects appear clear. In other cases, the vision may be clear at all distances but you may be suffering from eye fatigue, headaches or migraines due to the extra effort your eyes must exert to focus on objects. Hyperopia can be caused by an eye that is too short, or by a flatter cornea or lens.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your vision and perform a refraction to determine the best prescription to correct your vision.


Treatment

Depending on how high your prescription is, your optometrist may prescribe glasses or contact lenses to use as part time wear for activities like reading and computer use, or for full time wear to help you see clearly and comfortably at all times.

Astigmatism

What is it?

Astigmatism can cause things to appear blurry or distorted. In some cases it can cause headaches. Astigmatism results from the irregular curvature of the front of the eye called the cornea. This results in a more oval shape to the eye versus a perfectly spherical eye. It is in no way an eye disease, but more of a vision problem just like nearsightedness and farsightedness.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your vision and perform a refraction to determine the best prescription to correct your vision.


Treatment

Depending on how high your prescription is, your optometrist may prescribe glasses or contact lenses to use as part time wear for activities like driving and watching television, or for full time wear to help you see clearly at all times.

Presbyopia

What is it?

Presbyopia is a normal part of aging. It typically starts in our mid 40’s, but can affect people at different ages. The lens inside the eye becomes more rigid and less flexible making it hard for patients to focus on near objects. This makes things like reading fine print and labels more difficult.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your near vision and perform a refraction to determine the best prescription to correct your vision.


Treatment

Your optometrist will prescribe you a pair of reading glasses, bifocal glasses, or progressive lenses to assist you with focusing up close and at the computer. You may even be a candidate for our multifocal contact lenses!

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

What is it?

Amblyopia, or lazy eye, occurs when vision in one or both eyes is reduced and glasses or contacts fail to improve the vision. It occurs when a patient has uncorrected prescription, or when there is a large asymmetry in the prescriptions of the two eyes. The uncorrected prescription results in a blurry image sent to the brain. Over time, the brain will begin to ignore the eye with the blurry vision compared to the better seeing eye. If the vision is not corrected, it can result in permanent reduced vision in one or both eyes.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your vision and perform a refraction to determine the best prescription to correct your vision.


Treatment

If diagnosed early, usually before the age of 6-8, the reduced vision can be reversed and improved with the proper glasses prescription. Since the brain is still developing during childhood, new connections can be formed between the brain and the weaker eye. In some cases of asymmetric prescriptions, your eye doctor may recommend patching the strong eye to help strengthen the weaker eye. Vision therapy may also help.

Strabismus (Eye Turn)

What is it?

Strabismus is a condition in which one of the eyes is turned in or out. This occurs due to the misalignment of the muscles of the eye. It is typically present early in childhood, but can develop in adults as a result of some eye disease. Patients may complain of seeing double. In longstanding cases, the brain learns to ignore the eye that is turned and therefore you may not notice any double vision.


Diagnosis

Your optometrist will check your vision and assess the function of your eye muscles to isolate the problem.


Treatment

Depending on the severity of the eye turn, there are many treatment options. Treatments can include prescription glasses, prisms, vision therapy, or eye muscle surgery in extreme cases.

Glaucoma

What is it?

Glaucoma is a progressive, chronic disease in which the intraocular fluid pressure is too high for the eye causing compression and damage to the optic nerve over time. This can happen if the fluid within the eye that’s responsible for keeping the eye round is being produced in excess, or if that same fluid is not being drained efficiently. Either one of these causes can certainly be age-related.


Symptoms

Glaucoma typically affects our peripheral vision, and in severe cases it can leave patients with tunnel vision. In the early stages of disease, patients have no symptoms since the damage to our peripheral vision is so subtle. Unfortunately the damage from glaucoma is permanent, which makes early detection especially important.


Diagnosis

Since glaucoma damages our peripheral vision, it is typically undetected in the early stages. Our optometrists can detect glaucoma based on the pressure of your eye being too high, or simply by the appearance of your optic nerve. Many tests are used to diagnosis and manage glaucoma, such as the visual field test and optical coherence tomography (OCT). The visual field test maps out your visual field to determine if there is any damage, and the OCT measures the thickness of your nerve fibers to monitor for any damage or progression.

Treatment/Prevention

Glaucoma is easily managed through the use of eye drops or laser surgery to reduce the intraocular fluid pressure to an acceptable level. The goal is to establish a safe pressure to prevent any further damage to the optic nerve. Routine eye exams are recommended to detect glaucoma in its early stages.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

What is it?

The macula is the central part of the retina (inner layers of the back of the eye) that helps us to see fine details such as reading and seeing people’s faces. It is the #1 cause of blindness in North America, and it is more prevalent in Caucasians over the age of 60. AMD is due to the aging of the cells responsible for keeping the macula healthy. As these cells age, they are unable to function efficiently and waste byproducts begin to build up in the cells causing them to become dysfunctional.


There are 2 different forms: dry and wet. The most common form (80%) is the dry variant. This form of AMD is the milder form and results in distorted and blurred vision. Wet AMD (20%) occurs when there is excessive degeneration of the macula, thus causing new, leaky blood vessels to grow in this area. This leakage of fluid and blood into the macula causes severe vision loss.


Symptoms

Damage from macular degeneration can result in blurred and distorted central vision, while preserving our peripheral vision. Patients will notice that things appear wavy or not straight in the early stages of the dry variant. In severe cases of wet AMD, patients will notice a central blind spot in their vision.


Diagnosis

Our optometrists evaluate the health of your macula at every comprehensive eye examination. While evaluating this area, they may see some deposits forming in the macula. AMD can be confirmed with the help of the OCT, which gives your doctor a 3D cross section of the macula allowing them to properly assess this area.

Treatment/Prevention

Unfortunately, most damage from AMD is permanent. There are no direct treatments for the dry variant. Those suffering from the wet variant may receive laser treatment to stop any leakage, or injections to reverse some of the new blood vessel growth. Our optometrist will recommend nutritional supplements that are important for the prevention or slowing of progression of AMD. Studies have shown certain nutrients are essential for preserving the health of the macula. Ask your eye care professional if you are at risk for development of AMD at your next eye exam.

Diabetes and the Eye

What is it?

Diabetes is a disease that prevents the body from making or using insulin. Insulin is an important hormone that allows the body to properly utilize sugars. Problems with insulin lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. High levels of sugar in the blood result in damage to the small and medium sized blood vessels throughout the body, causing them to become leaky and dysfunctional.


How does it affect the eye?

If blood sugar levels become elevated for an extended period of time, it can cause the lens in the eye to swell which in turn causes fluctuations in vision and your prescription. This can also result in the formation of early cataracts, double vision, and even paralysis of nerves controlling your eye muscles.


Retinopathy is the most common ocular complication secondary to diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels causes weakness in the blood vessels within the retina. This results in leakage of blood and fats into the retina leading to swelling and distorted vision. If left untreated, it can result in permanent vision loss.


Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy can cause blurred vision, fluctuations in vision, and even double vision in extreme cases. If you notice that your vision seems off, schedule an eye exam with us to have your eyes evaluated.


Diagnosis

If you are a diabetic patient, your optometrist will dilate your pupils yearly to assess the health of your retina. Dilating your pupils allows your optometrist to assess 100% of the retina, versus only being able to assess around 30% of the retina without dilation.


Treatment/Prevention

Depending on the severity of the retinopathy, there are various treatment options. Your optometrist may choose to monitor your condition closely if it is mild, or send you to a retina specialist for laser treatment or injections of medication in severe cases. The best way to prevent any ocular complications associated with diabetes is to simply closely monitor your blood sugar levels and keep them at the levels recommended by your family physician. Annual eye exams are recommended for diabetic patients to monitor for any changes.

Retinal Detachment

What is it?

The retina is the layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye. It is made up of many different cells that transmit the light we see to the brain where it is processed as vision. During a retinal detachment, some or all of the layers of the retina can separate from the back of the eye causing vision loss. Retinal detachments have many causes including trauma to the eye/head, diabetes, eye surgeries, and from high myopia (near sightedness).


Symptoms

Patients typically notice small flashing lights in their vision, black floating spots, or in severe cases a “black curtain” over their vision. Some cases do not present with any symptoms at all.


Diagnosis

A retinal detachment can be diagnosed by having your pupils dilated by our optometrists to allow assessment of the peripheral retina, which is the most common location of a retinal detachment.


Treatment/Prevention

If our optometrists find that you have a detached retina, or even a tear in your retina, they will refer you to a retina specialist. Surgery is required to try and re-attach the retina to restore vision. This is usually accomplished by treatment with a laser or by a freezing technique. Depending on the severity and how long the retina has been detached, vision is usually restored after treatment. Wearing proper eye protection during sports and other activities can help prevent trauma to the eye and thus retinal detachments. Early detection is important which is why yearly dilation is recommended to patients with high myopia (near sightedness) and diabetes.

Cataracts

What is it?

We are all born with a crystalline lens within our eyes that acts like a camera lens. It helps to focus all the light into a single point on the retina to allow for clear vision. The lens is typically clear our whole life, but as we age the lens ages with us, becoming cloudy and opaque.


Symptoms

Patients may notice an increase in glare with early cataracts, and eventually blurry vision that gets worse as the cataract progresses.


Diagnosis

Our optometrists can detect signs of cataracts during a comprehensive eye examination. In some cases, our optometrist may dilate your pupils to get a better assessment of the entire cataract.


Treatment/Prevention

In the early stages of cataracts, an updated glasses or contact lens prescription is all that is needed to improve vision. In more severe cases, surgery is the recommended treatment option. During surgery your natural lens is removed and is replaced by a new plastic lens within the eye that will improve vision. The best way to prevent cataracts or slow their progression is to protect your eyes from UV light and sunlight by wearing sunglasses, and eating a diet rich in antioxidants.

Blepharitis

What is it?

Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelid margin. There are various causes of blepharitis, but normal bacteria that are found all over our skin typically are the culprits.


Symptoms

Symptoms of blepharitis typically include dry itchy eyes, redness, irritation, burning sensations and in some cases mild blurred vision.


Diagnosis

Our optometrists will evaluate your eyelids, eyelashes and eyelid margins during your routine eye exam. Through their slit lamp microscope, our doctors can see flakes and debris along the eyelashes. They may also see the thickening of your eyelid margin, along with little blood vessels growing along the lid margin that could indicate chronic inflammation. We also have oil glands along this margin that produce oil important for our tears. With inflammation, these oil glands become clogged and dysfunctional, thus causing the symptoms of red, irritated eyes.


Treatment/Prevention

Depending on the type of blepharitis you suffer from, our optometrists may recommend some form of lid hygiene, warm compresses, or artificial tears, or a even a combination of the three. In severe cases, your optometrist may prescribe a short course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eye drops, or even special procedures aimed at combatting blepharitis like our in-office BlephEx procedure.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

What is it?

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, refers to the inflammation of the clear tissue overlying the inner portion of our eyelids and the outer portion of the white part of the eye. There are multiple causes of conjunctivitis including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or even foreign bodies.


Symptoms

Aside from the eye appearing a little red from the inflammation of the conjunctiva, you may have some irritation, itchiness, mucous discharge, tearing and light sensitivity depending on the type of conjunctivitis you may have contracted.


Diagnosis

Along with your symptoms and the appearance of your eyes, your eye doctor will use a detailed history to better understand the type of conjunctivitis you may have.


Treatment/Prevention

Our doctors may choose to treat you with an antibiotic eye drop, an anti-inflammatory eye drop, or even simply some artificial tears. Different types of conjunctivitis respond to different medications, so have an eye care professional examine you to determine the best treatment options.


If you are suffering from conjunctivitis, it is a good idea to discontinue wearing your contact lenses if you are a contact lens wearer, and switch to glasses until you have your eyes examined. It is also important to practice proper hygiene when suffering from conjunctivitis to prevent spread to others, as it can be quite contagious. This includes not sharing any towels, bedding, makeup, etc.

Uveitis/Iritis

What is it?

Uveitis/iritis is the inflammation of the iris, which is the coloured portion of the eye. This area has a complex network of blood vessels that when inflamed, begin to leak white blood cells and proteins into the front half of the eye. The muscles associated with the iris also can become inflamed. In most cases, an isolated episode of uveitis in one eye is known as idiopathic, or without cause. In cases of recurring uveitis or uveitis in both eyes, there is sometimes an underlying systemic condition that must be further investigated.


Symptoms

If you are suffering from uveitis, you may experience a throbbing pain in the eye, moderate to severe redness of the eye, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.


Diagnosis

Our optometrists can evaluate the eye and assess the front half of the eye for any signs of inflammation. In some cases, the inflammation may be coming from the back of the eye, and therefore our doctors may dilate your pupils for full evaluation.


Treatment/Prevention

Anti-inflammatory (steroid) eye drops are used to treat the condition. Our doctors will recommend a very specific treatment plan with these drops and you will require close monitoring while on the medication. In more severe cases, oral anti-inflammatory medications or injections of the medication may be necessary. In cases where an underlying systemic cause is suspected, our eye doctors may order blood work. Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis, inflammatory bowel disease and many others can cause uveitis.

Floaters

What is it?

Within the back of the eye there is a jelly called the vitreous. This jelly serves as a shock absorber within the eye and helps to maintain the round shape of the eye. With age, trauma, and some eye diseases, this jelly can decompensate causing proteins to clump together within the jelly. As light enters the eye, it can cast a shadow of these protein clumps onto the retina.


Symptoms

Patients that suffer from a floater will see a spot in their vision that they describes as cobwebs, grey spots, or even little bugs. You may also experience some flashes of light in your vision, which typically improve with time.


Diagnosis

Our optometrists will likely dilate your pupils to evaluate the back of the eye including the vitreous. They are able to actually see these “floaters” and can assess how severe they are.


Treatment/Prevention

There is no treatment for normal vitreous floaters. Over time the brain adapts and learns to ignore them. In very rare cases of severe floaters, some ophthalmologists may elect to perform a surgery called a vitrectomy. During this procedure they remove the vitreous from the back of the eye and replace it with a new salt-like solution.

Need an Eye Exam?

You can request an appointment online one of our team members will contact you within 1 business day to confirm your appointment time and date. You can also call us at 587 269-3239 during regular office hours to book your appointment.

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Get in Touch with Us

Emerald Hills Eye Care

#812, 8005 Emerald Drive
Sherwood Park, AB
T8H 0P1

Tel.: 587 269-3239
Fax : 587 269-3241

Hours of Operation:

Monday 10am to 6pm
Tuesday 9am to 5pm
Wednesday 9am to 8pm
Thursday Closed
Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday 9am to 4pm
Sunday Closed

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