Ocular Diseases: Prevention and Intervention Treatments

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GLAUCOMA DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma affects 250,000 Canadians, but only half of them know they have it. It is the second most common cause of vision loss in people over 65. There are several different types of glaucoma, all characterized by damage to the eye’s optic nerve which connects the retina to the brain. If the optic nerve is damaged, it cannot send electrical impulses to the brain to produce a proper image.

Early Detection and Treatment Are Key

It is important to detect and treat glaucoma early. Waiting until it is too late can lead to the development of tunnel vision. It is not possible to cure or reverse glaucoma, but if discovered early, it can be treated to prevent further damage. Because your risk of developing glaucoma increases with age, annual eye exams are recommended for adults over the age of 65.

What Glaucoma Tests Are Available?

There are a variety of tests available for glaucoma. At our office, our optometrist measures the pressure inside of your eye, takes photos and scans of your optic nerve, checks your peripheral vision, and does a thorough examination of your ocular health.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

The exact cause of glaucoma has not been found, though several factors have been determined to increase your risk of developing glaucoma, including:

  • Increased age
  • High pressures inside of the eye (intraocular pressure)
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Ethnicity: people of African or Hispanic decent are at a greater risk of developing a type of glaucoma called open angle glaucoma. Asian or Inuit descent has an increase risk of developing other types of glaucoma

DRY EYE TREATMENT

Types of Dry Eye

Aqueous deficiency: This type of dry eye refers to the condition where our lacrimal gland does not make enough of the watery part of our tears. As a result, the ocular surface can be compromised. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD): With MGD, our oil glands of our eyes are blocked, leading to tears that do not have enough oils. Without enough oil, our tears evaporate too quickly, causing dry eye.

What Causes Dry Eye? 

There are many different causes of dry eyes. Some of the many causes include:

  • Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and high blood pressure medication
  • Advancing age. Dry eye is much more common in individuals over the age of 50
  • Rosasea (an inflammatory skin disease) or blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease)
  • Autoimmune disorders such as Sjogrens syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Windy, smoky, or dry environments
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Prolonged screen time
  • Eyelid abnormalities causing incomplete blinking

Dry Eye Treatment 

Depending on what causes are responsible for your dry eye, our eye doctor will customize the most suitable dry eye treatment plan for you. For aqueous deficiency dry eye, treatment may include topical ointments and eye drops (both prescription and non-prescription), punctal plugs to block tear drainage, hydration masks, warm compresses, and Omega-3 supplements.


For meibomian gland dysfunction we may recommend manual expression of your oil glands, lid scrubs, hydration masks, lubricating eye drops, omega-3 supplements, or Radiofrequency therapy to stimulate your oil glands.

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. AMD occurs when your macula – the central part of your retina – beings to deteriorate. There are 2 forms of macular degeneration: Dry, which typically presents as yellowish spots in the macula and wet, which is the results of abnormal blood vessel growth underneath the macula. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are available treatment options to delay the onset and effects of AMD.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Factors

Risk factors for macular degeneration include:

                • Family history
                • Smoking
                • High blood pressure


  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diet

While there are some risk factors that cannot be controlled, many can be. When you visit our office, we will perform a complete eye exam to diagnose and determine the severity of your macular degeneration. From there, we will create a personalized treatment and management plan to help you better live with AMD and its impacts.

CATARACT ASSESSMENT

What Is a Cataract?

A cataract is a very common eye condition in which the lens inside of your eye, which is usually clear, becomes cloudy or opaque. For some, cataracts are barely noticeable. For others however, cataracts can become severe and significantly reduce your vision. People with severe cataracts will notice a decrease in the clarity of their vision that cannot be improved with glasses. They may also notice a loss of sensitivity to color, shadows, and
disturbing glare.


Cataracts are typically not treated unless they are impacting your vision. If treatment is necessary, your optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist (an eye surgeon) to have the cataract removed.

DIABETIC EYE EXAMS

How Does Diabetes Affect the Eye?

Diabetes can significantly and severely affect the eyes, causing temporary or permanent vision loss. An eye examination can detect the presence of diabetes, as well as diabetes-related eye problems such as:


Diabetic Retinopathy: This occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the blood vessels inside your eye. This can lead to hemorrhages, swelling, and other changes inside of your eyes.


Cataracts: Increases in blood sugar can cause swelling of the lens inside of your eye and cause clouding over time.


Full or Partial Paralysis of Eye Muscles: Diabetes can affect the nerves that control eye muscle movement. Paralysis can lead to eye misalignment and double vision.


Decreased Corneal Sensitivity: Diabetes can damage the nerve ending in our cornea, which affects its ability to respond to stimulation such a scratch or something in your eye.


Vision Problems: Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause fluctuations in vision. Other complications can lead to loss of vision
or blind spots.


Comprehensive eye exams are recommended annually. If diabetic changes are detected early enough, often the signs can be reversed with proper blood sugar control and monitoring.