FAQs

Q?

What is Presbyopia?

A.

Presbyopia Usually begins around the age 45. Up until about this age, both the pulling action of the muscles and the elasticity of the lens allows the lens to focus on objects up close and at a distance. Eventually, the lens loses its elasticity and therefore “hardens” making it difficult to focus on near objects. Simultaneously, the muscles that adhere to the lens weaken, and the end result is blurring at near. Hence reading glasses or magnifiers need to be worn. People who are nearsighted will still undergo presbyopia when they are wearing their distance glasses, and so in order to see up-close, they actually remove the glasses and use their natural “near sighted” ability.

Q?

What is Astigmatism?

A.

Astigmatism IS NOT A STIGMA! And your eyeball is not shaped like a football! This is a common myth so please let it be known, astigmatism is simply a non-spherical curvature of the cornea or lens. It’s much like a cylinder where one radius is different from the other, and so to correct this, we create a lens to counter act that curvature and hence render an optically perfect spherical system essentially.

Q?

What is Hyperopia?

A.

Hyperopia 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.

In mild cases of farsightedness, your eyes may be able to compensate without corrective lenses. In other cases, your optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to optically correct farsightedness by altering the way the light enters your eyes.

Q?

What is Myopia?

A.

Myopia 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 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.

Generally, nearsightedness first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. However, nearsightedness may also develop in adults due to visual stress or health conditions such as diabetes.

Q?

Diabetes And Your Eyes

A.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a set of metabolic diseases in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar (specifically, glucose) in the blood. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, uncontrolled sugar levels can cause serious visual impairment and blindness.

Diabetes is seen in the eyes often times before the patient is even aware they have the disease. The retinal blood vasculature is abundant, so we can easily see the blood vessels and get a “glimpse” of what may be happening within the body. If diabetes is seen in the eye, it is known as diabetic retinopathy, and treatment is required.

Treatment is done either with a laser or via drug injections (Avastin or Lucentis). The misconception is that treatment always improves vision: treatment simply slows or stops the progression of the bleeding. It will not reverse any damage that has already taken place, and it will only improve vision in some cases. Hence the best way to preserve your eyesight if you are a diabetic is to control your blood sugar levels and be examined regularly by your eye care practitioner.

Q?

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

A.

For the surface of the eye to stay hydrated, nourished and protected from the elements, we require a tear film. A disruption in the tear film and ocular surface will result in symptoms of discomfort and visual disturbance. There are essentially 3 layers to the tear film, and the layers must be in perfect proportion to be stable and effectively produce clear and comfortable vision. Many things in life can alter the ocular surface and tear film such as : blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, chronic contact lens wear, history of foreign bodies in the eye, eye surgery, hormonal changes, dehydration, lack of sleep, too much TV/computer use, environmental conditions, medications, medical conditions (especially thyroid, or inflammatory conditions like arthritis), etc.

There are many therapeutic options to manage all aspects of Dry Eye syndrome; but often times the cause is multifactorial, where by there is not just one reason for the dry eye.

Our lifestyles, diet, and environment have caused dry eye to be one of most common concerns among the population today. There is much to learn about this condition, but one should not assume everyone’s dry eye is the same. There are many different ways to naturally increase tear production and tear efficiency, so an assessment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist will assess each person’s unique condition.

Q?

What Are “Floaters”?

A.

The vitreous humour is the gel-like substance that takes up most of the eyes space. It is clear and is made up of water, collagen fibrils, and proteins such as hyaluronic acid. There is a particular framework to these molecules to render a transparent medium, and so if the structure changes, we often see a “fly” or “thread like” particle in our vision. They often pass by our vision and we can follow them, especially when there is a bright background such as the blue sky or white wall. They don’t cause problems with the eye as they are naturally occurring in the eye. They can be present from a very young age or develop as we get older. The risks involved in the treatment of floaters far out weigh the benefits, and so no treatment is often done; they simply remain a nuisance and a distraction. Neural adaptation often allows us to not see them all the time as our brain “tunes them out”.

Any new floaters or sudden change in the current floaters however may not be “normal” and therefore need to be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. New onset of floaters may be the signs of something more serious occurring in the retina or vitreous. For example, retinal detachment, vitreous detachment, broken retinal vessels can cause a sudden onset of floaters.

Q?

What Are Cataracts?

A.

A cataract, by definition is the “clouding” of the natural crystalline lens in the eye which essentially reduces vision. Since the majority of people are born with lens that is perfectly clear, it is often as we age that the proteins within the lens begin to break down and cause the lens to cloud. This so called “age related cataract” is indeed the most common type, and it usually begins to develop after the age of 60 and continues to mature. Not all cataracts grow to the extent where they reduce or cloud vision enough to warrant surgery however; hence people can live with cataracts and have satisfactory vision.

Cataracts that develop before the age of 60 are not usually the age related type. There are in fact several different types of cataracts that can develop at any age, and from various etiologies including diabetes, trauma, inflammation, smoking, radiant energy, medications, or other health conditions. They can develop in one or both eyes, growing slowly or rapidly. The many varieties have differing symptoms which include difficulty seeing in the dim light, double vision with one eye, change in colour intensity, glare/haloes at night, sensitivities to light levels, etc.

The best way to prevent cataracts is to avoid the factors that are known to promote their formation (when possible). Wearing sunglasses for example is the simplest way to reduce the amount of UV light your eye is exposed to. Also, for patients who smoke cigarettes, quitting will decrease the risk.

Q?

What Is Retinal Detachment?

A.

The retina is a clear tissue that lines the inside back of the eye. The photoreceptors that make up the retinal tissue are responsible for capturing light and transmitting the electrical information down the optic nerve, leading to the visual processing center in the brain to essentially interpret what we see.

If you have a compromised retina, you will not have pain, but instead disturbances in your visual field. It may happen with trauma, but can very well occur with no cause. It has several symptoms such as flashing lights, sudden onset of floaters, visual disturbances, reduced vision or vision loss and/or shadows in your peripheral vision. These symptoms don’t always indicate retinal detachment, however if any suspicious changes occur in your visual field, call your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

Being proactive could save your sight, as this is considered a true ocular emergency that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Q?

How do you check kids eyes or adults who can’t communicate?

A.

It is actually easier than one would think for optometrists to assess the different aspects of the eye without the patient saying a word. Vision and the need for glasses, muscle movements (ie.turned eyes), binocular vision and ocular health can all be assessed in people of all ages! Different methods are incorporated of course, but do not fear if a person can’t “read the letters”. Everyone should absolutely have their eyes examined and it can be determined if glasses or another form of therapy/treatment is needed.

Q?

What extra tests do you offer besides the full comprehensive eye exam?

A.

As part of the glaucoma assessment during the eye exam I assess Intraocular Pressure of the eye using the Applanation technique instead of the “air puff” method. A Humphries Visual Field Analyzer is also on premises for further testing of the peripheral visual field of the eye. Digital Retinal Imaging with Nikon camera is available to provide a detailed photo of the back of the eye. As well I also offer Farnsworth D15 colour vision testing, and vision therapy.

Q?

There’s nothing wrong with my eyes, so why do I need an eye exam?

A.

A full oculovisual examination includes assessing not just a person’s visual status, but also their ocular health as it relates to the systemic medical health. It also includes assessing the muscular, neurological and binocular systems of the eye, as well as colour and perceptual vision. Although your vision may be “good” and you do not wear glasses, there are many instances in which a disorder or disease of the eye may not affect your vision but are discovered by optometrists first.

Q?

Does OHIP cover the eye examination?

A.

OHIP the Ontario Health Card, covers an eye exam once per year for patients under the age of 19 and over the age of 65. In some cases a medical condition will enable a patient to have their eye examination covered by OHIP.

Q?

How often should I get my eyes tested?

A.

We recommend a comprehensive eye exam every 24 months if you are between the ages of 19 and 65. Patients under the age of 19 and over the age of 65 should be tested annually, as should contact lens wearers.

Q?

What age should children be when they have their first eye examination?

A.

The Association of Optometrists recommends that children should have their eyes examined at 6 months, then at 3 years and annually afterwards to ensure early detection and prevention of eye or vision defects.

Q?

What do optometrists do?

A.

Doctors of Optometry are a single source for vision, eye-health and eyewear needs. Most Doctors of Optometry have earned a four-year Bachelor of Science degree or higher, followed by four years of professional study at a university-based school of optometry. Ongoing continuing education requirements ensure Doctors of Optometry remain current on eye health issues and technological advancements. Doctors of Optometry diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system, and also assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam. Doctor of Optometry recommended treatments for patients can include eyeglasses, contact lenses, special low vision aids, eye coordination, exercises, drug therapies, or referral to appropriate specialists for advanced medical, surgical or laser treatments. For more information: visit www.doctorsofoptometry.ca