PETERBOROUGH OPTOMETRIC HAS EXPERTISE CARING FOR THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
What is it: This condition is known as Hyperopia. Individuals with hyperopia exert effort to see in the distance and extra effort to see up close. After looking at near objects for an extended period of time, you may experience blurred vision, headaches, and eyestrain. Children who are farsighted may find reading difficult.
What causes it: Being farsighted means that light rays bend incorrectly into your eye causing blurry images to be sent to the brain.
How is it treated: Farsightedness is best corrected with glasses or contact lenses made to the individual’s prescription. Glasses or contact lenses bend the light at a correct angle to clear the images sent to the brain.
What is it: This condition is known as Myopia. Individuals with myopia often have difficulties seeing objects at a distance (e.g., road signs).
What causes it: Being nearsighted means that light rays bend incorrectly into your eye causing blurry images to be sent to the brain.
How is it treated: Nearsightedness is best corrected with glasses or contact lenses made to the individual’s prescription. Glasses or contact lenses bend the light at a correct angle to clear the images sent to the brain.
What is it: Astigmatism usually occurs when the front surface of the eye (i.e., the cornea) has an irregular curve.
What causes it: Normally, the cornea is smooth and equally curved in all directions and the light entering the eye is focused equally on all directions as well. With astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like an oval and the light that hits your cornea focuses more clearly along one direction, but is blurred along the other. This causes only part of what is being viewed to be in focus at a time. Having astigmatism may result in vision that is much like looking into a distorted wavy mirror. Astigmatism is not a disease nor does it mean that you have “bad eyes”, it simply means that you have a variation in the shape of your cornea.
How is it treated: Astigmatism is best corrected with glasses or contact lenses made to the individual’s prescription. Glasses or contact lenses bend the light at a correct angle to clear the images sent to the brain.
What is it: Presbyopia is the loss of the ability to see up close.
What causes it: This condition is related to aging and everyone who lives long enough will experience it. The first symptoms of presbyopia often manifest in your early 40’s.
How is it treated: Presbyopia is treated with glasses based on the individual’s need for magnification when they are looking at things up close.
What is it: Red eyes can be caused by many different things, some of which are harmless and others that are serious enough to lead to permanent vision loss.
What causes it: The most common causes of red eyes are allergic reactions and bacterial/viral infections. It is always advised that any red eye be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, as it is very difficult to determine the difference between a harmless red eye and one that could be potentially threatening to one’s sight.
How is it treated: Treatment for red eyes is based on the specific cause of each individual case. Treatments can be as simple as hot compresses and eye drops or as complicated as prescription antibiotics.
What is it: Dry eyes can manifest in different symptoms such as excessive watering or a sensation that there is something in the eye.
What causes it: Dry eye symptoms can result from the normal aging process, exposure to environmental conditions, medications (e.g., antihistamines, oral contraceptives, anti-depressants). Dry eyes can result from general health problems or disease (e.g., Sjogren’s syndrome), but can also be the result of more severe damage from chemical or thermal burns.
The natural tears that your eyes produce are composed of 3 layers:
- Outer oily layer (prevents or slows evaporation of the tears)
- Middle watery layer (moisturizes and nourishes the front surface of the eye)
- Inner mucus layer (helps maintain stable tears)
Dry eye may also occur because the volume of tears produced is inadequate. As we get older we all produce fewer tears. Dry eye may also occur because the quality of the tears has changed, causing them to evaporate more quickly; this can cause eyes to water more frequently because the body is compensating for quality with quantity.
How is it treated: The treatment options for dye eyes ranges from daily hot compresses and eye drops to more extensive regimens that include massaging the eyelids and medicated eye drops.
Flashes and Floaters
What is it: The sudden appearance of dark floating objects in your vision and/or bright flashing lights.
What causes it: Flashes and floaters are often related to normal changes that occur in the eye’s structure with age. However, they could also be a sign of serious damage to the retina (i.e., the eye’s light sensing structure located at the back surface). It is advised that any appearance of new flashes or floaters be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to rule out serious retinal problems such as a retinal tear or retinal detachment as soon as possible.
How is it treated: The treatment for a retinal detachment is very serious surgery and should be preformed as soon as possible after diagnosis.
What is it: A cataract is the gradual clouding over of the lens inside the eye. Cataracts are a normal age related process and anyone who lives long enough will eventually develop them.
What causes it: Cataracts are most commonly associated with aging. However, they can also be associated with certain medication use (e.g., steroids), systemic diseases (e.g., diabetes) and in rare situations, at birth (i.e., congenital).
How is it treated: Cataracts are surgically removed by an ophthalmologist when they begin to significantly impair vision.
What is it: Uncontrolled diabetes can cause serious damage to the eyes and vision, including premature cataracts and serious retinal damage.
What causes it: The most common cause of vision loss from diabetes is due to leaky blood vessels on the back surface of the eye (i.e., the retina). Uncontrolled diabetes causes the retinal blood vessels to leak blood and other material into the eye causing vision loss. It is recommended that all diabetic patients have an annual Vision and Eye Health Evaluation.
How is it treated: There are various ways to treat diabetic damage to the eyes depending on the severity of the damage (e.g., laser treatments and injections by an ophthalmologist). However, the best way course of action is preventative care. Taking care of your health now with regular monitoring of your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, as well as regular diet and exercise are the best ways to help protect your eyes against diabetic eye damage.
What is it: Glaucoma is a disease characterized by the progressive degeneration of the eye’s optic nerve. Glaucoma results in peripheral vision loss in its early stages and can eventually lead to total blindness.
What Causes it: The most common cause of glaucoma is raised pressure inside the eye (i.e., intraocular pressure, IOP). The inability of the eye to maintain a balanced IOP can cause excessive pressure on the optic nerve, causing the shortened lifespan of nerve fibers and in turn, vision loss.
How is it treated: Glaucoma has very few early symptoms and progresses so slowly that individuals often do not notice problems until there is permanent vision loss. Early detection of glaucoma by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is vital to preserving vision in individuals with this disease. Treatments vary depending on the patient’s type of glaucoma. For some patients it is as simple as prescription eye drops taken daily, where for others, surgical treatment by an ophthalmologist is necessary to control pressures.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
What is it: Macular degeneration is a disease of the macula. The macula is located on the retina (i.e., the back surface of the eye) and it is responsible for giving a person their central vision. With macular degeneration, waste deposits known as drusen begin to build-up on and around the macula causing distortions and vision loss; this damage is often irreversible. There are 2 types of macular degeneration, dry and wet, with wet being the most detrimental to one’s sight.
What causes it: There are many causes of macular degeneration and unfortunately, heredity is one of them. It is likely, however not guaranteed that if your parent or sibling has been diagnosed with macular degeneration that you will as well. Other causes of macular degeneration include smoking and a decrease in the amount of pigment in the macular region.
How is it treated: Unfortunately, treatments for macular degeneration are very limited at this time and focus on maintaining present level of sight and preventing and slowing further damage.
Our optometrists recommend MacuHealth, a vitamin supplement with a patent blend of macular pigments, which is designed to restore macular pigment levels back to their optimal levels. As a result of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature of its patented combination of macular pigments, lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, MacuHealth is also designed to potentially protect against macular degeneration.
We also offer genetic testing to assess your risk of vision loss from macular degeneration. This test can also determine what combination of supplements you should be taking specifically based on your DNA to protect and preserve your sight.