Vancouver Optometrists & Eye Doctors

4466 West 10th Avenue
Call: 604-224-3937

Common Eye Disorders

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. At some point they come into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes. Commonly, there is eyelid swelling, watery or mucous discharge from the eyes, redness of the eyes and the feeling of itching. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision.

Amblyopia many times can go unnoticed and thus early detection by routine eye examination of children is so important.

Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision herapy and eye patching. Vision therapy teaches the two eyes how to work together, which helps prevent lazy eye from reoccurring.

Cataract

A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. The lens is located inside the eye behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. The lens focuses light on the back of the eye, the retina. The lens is made of mostly proteins and water. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers.

Signs and symptoms of a cataract may include:

  • Blurred, hazy, or vision
  • Reduced intensity of colors
  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night
  • Increased difficulty seeing at night
  • Change in the eye’s refractive error

Cataract surgery is a procedure used to remove the natural lens in the eye when it becomes clouded, and replace it with an artificial lens in order to restore clear vision. Cataract surgery is indicated when the cataract impairs vision to the extent that it interferes with normal daily activities. Cataract extraction is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the world.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. It is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the result of damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. They leak blood and other fluids that cause swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
Better control of blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes also slows the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Often there are no visual symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, that is why we recommend that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the tears and eye surface that results in eye discomfort, visual disturbance and potential damage to the eye’s surface and may be accompanied by inflammation. Symptoms commonly include burning eyes, gritty/sandy feeling to the eyes, transient vision blur, and watering in dry conditions ie. windy days, airconditioned or circulated air environments.

Some causes of dry eye may include:

  • Age – dry eye is a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over age 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Gender – women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
  • Medications – certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eyes.
  • Medical conditions – persons with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.
  • Environmental conditions – exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying of the eyes.
  • Other factors – long term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development of dry eyes. Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can cause decreased tear production and dry eyes.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissuThe most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms. Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred. It initially affects peripheral or side vision, but can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant loss of vision in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness.

The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers. Vision loss may result. Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness. Glaucoma cannot currently be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early it can usually be controlled and managed.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.

Common signs of farsightedness include difficulty in concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, aching or burning eyes, irritability or nervousness after sustained concentration.

Common vision screenings, often done in schools, are generally ineffective in detecting farsightedness. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for farsightedness.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ADM) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative.

Some common symptoms are: a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no specific treatment, but nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega 3’s and zinc to reducing the risk of dry macular degeneration. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures, injections if diagnosed and treated early.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.

Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Some research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects.

Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.

Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia. To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably.

Spots and Floaters

Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Spots can result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries. Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems, and you should see your optometrist for a comprehensive examination when you notice sudden changes or see increases in them.

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Crossed eyes, or strabismus as it is medically termed, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It occurs when an eye turns in, out, up or down and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness.

Maintaining proper eye alignment is important to avoid seeing double, for good depth perception, and to prevent the development of poor vision in the turned eye. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images. At first, this may create double vision and confusion, but over time the brain will learn to ignore the image from the turned eye. If the eye turning becomes constant and is not treated, it can lead to permanent reduction of vision in one eye, a condition called amblyopia or lazy eye.

Treatment for strabismus may include eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, or eye muscle surgery. If detected and treated early, strabismus can often be corrected with excellent results.