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Your Health

Eyes are important indicators of overall health, and comprehensive eye care goes beyond a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. At Revelstoke Optometry Centre, we take the time to get to know you, your eye care history, and your vision needs. 

Comprehensive Eye Exams

For both adults and children alike, eye exams are an important part of one’s general health maintenance and assessment. Routine, annual eye exams are important to maintain optimal vision sharpness, treat new or existing problems, and detect eye conditions or other serious health conditions.

During a comprehensive eye examination, your eye doctor will be looking for initial signs of these diseases. If a problem with your eyes arises such as red eyes, eye allergies, dry eyes, eye swelling, eye pain, always seek an eye doctor as your first doctor to call since they are specifically trained to treat eye diseases.

Eye Exams over 40

Just like the rest of our bodies, our eyes begin to weaken as we age. There are a number of common age-related eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration that can begin to affect your vision and your daily life. While some of these conditions are more of an inconvenience, others could lead to vision loss and dependency.

Eye Exams for Infants

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye exam at 6 months. At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision such as strabismus(misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism.

Eye Exams for Children

If your child is having developmental delays or trouble in school there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but your eyes functioning together.

Eye Library

Seeing clearly is just one part of your overall eye health. It’s important to have regular eye exams whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, and even if your vision is sharp.

The articles below explain what problems can be spotted with an eye exam and what’s involved in a comprehensive exam.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens of the eye. This prevents the lens from properly focusing light on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in a loss of vision.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a disease that effects a persons central vision. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes.

Coming Soon

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes' ability to focus on nearby objects. It's a natural, often annoying part of aging. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s.

Coming Soon

Astigmatism

If you experience a distortion or blurring of images at all distances -- nearby as well as far -- you may have astigmatism. 

Coming Soon
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GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve in the eye which can result in irreversible vision loss. It is one of the leading causes of blindness, affecting more than 450,000 Canadians.

There are several types of glaucoma that present different symptoms. By far, the most common type of glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. It is known as the silent theft of sight because there are no symptoms in its early stages.

Who is at risk of developing glaucoma?

Individuals with the following are at an increased risk for developing glaucoma: Elevated eye pressure, increased age, family history of glaucoma, physical injury or surgery to the eye, cardiovascular conditions (such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, heart conditions, etc.), certain eye-related conditions (such as decreased optic nerve tissue, retinal detachment, eye tumors, eye inflammation, etc.).

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

People with early stage glaucoma are often not aware of it themselves until it progresses to the later stages. However, early stage glaucoma can be detected during a routine eye exam. Early detection and treatment is crucial in preventing progression towards vision loss. As the condition progresses, it leads to a loss of side vision or peripheral vision and eventually tunnel vision which may interfere with daily activities such as driving. If left untreated, permanent vision loss may occur.
Depending on the type of glaucoma, other symptoms include: blurry vision, eye redness, eye pain, light sensitivity, halos around lights, tearing, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid progression to vision loss.

How is glaucoma detected?

Without telling symptoms, a routine eye exam is often the only way to detect glaucoma. During an eye exam, the pressure inside the eyes is measured. Using special equipment, the optometrist looks directly inside the eye to inspect for any damage to the optic nerve and retinal layers. Other imaging and testing may be conducted to measure any functional vision loss and structural changes in the eye.

How is glaucoma treated?

Medication - A number of medications are available to treat glaucoma. Generally, it is in the form of eye drops intended to reduce the elevated eye pressure. A single medication may be prescribed or a combination of medications. The type of medication may change if it is not providing enough pressure reduction or due to its adverse effects.
Surgery - A number of procedures are available to reduce eye pressure. Surgery may help lower eye pressure when treatment with medication is not enough. Some surgical options include laser trabeculoplasty, trabeculectomy, drainage implants and laser peripheral iridotomy.


Information courtesy of CAO Eye Library - visit for referenced studies. 

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CATARACTS

A cataract forms when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. It can affect vision and generally develops as people get older. Cataracts can develop slowly over many years or rapidly progress over a few months. In Canada, when a cataract is “ripe”, it can be easily treated with cataract surgery.
 
Cataracts may affect vision in the following ways: Blurry or foggy vision (for example it feels like there is a film covering the eye that does not go away with repeated blinking), Double vision, Halos or ghost images, Dull or faded colour vision, Increased sensitivity to light and glare (for example to sunlight or oncoming headlights), Trouble with night driving, Trouble seeing and reading at night (You need for extra lighting).

Prevention and Screening of Cataracts 

Wearing UV protective glasses has been shown to be helpful in slowing down the development of cataracts. In individuals with diabetes, it is important to maintain tight blood sugar control. Some research evidence suggests taking antioxidants may be helpful in preventing cataract progression. Examples of antioxidant-rich food are berries, beans, pecans, prunes, and dark green vegetables. Quitting smoking may also prevent cataract development as smoking has been linked to cataracts. Cataracts are diagnosed with an eye exam. Contact us to schedule your routine eye exam.

 

Causes of Cataracts
 

There are many causes to cataracts, of which the most common is age. Cataracts are a part of the normal aging process and are most often found in those over the age of 60. When the proteins in the lens of the eye are disrupted and break down, it causes the lens to become cloudy leading to a cataract. 
 

Other causes of cataracts include UV damage, trauma, systemic conditions, certain medications, and congenital conditions. Prolonged UV light damage from not wearing sunglasses while being outdoors is a common cause of cataracts. Trauma to the eye including injuries, surgeries or radiation treatments can cause cataracts. Systemic conditions such as diabetes can cause cataracts as a buildup of sorbitol results in cloudiness of the lens. Individuals with diabetes should keep tight blood sugar control.

Other systemic conditions that can cause cataracts include hypertension, obesity, chronic kidney disease, and autoimmune disease. Certain medications can cause cataracts to develop early, such as corticosteroids, chlorpromazine, amiodarone, phenytoin. In some cases, people are born with cataracts. These are called congenital cataracts. They may be inherited or result from an underlying health condition.

 Treatment of Cataracts
 
In the early stages of a cataract, symptoms are generally mild and vision is minimally affected. Your optometrist may prescribe updated glasses or contacts to give you the sharpest vision possible. As the cataract progresses, it may start to interfere with your daily activities and glasses may no longer work to improve your vision. At this time, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist who may recommend surgical removal of the cataracts. In Canada, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed. It is an effective low-risk procedure. The process involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with a new clear lens implant. Generally, the lens implant will provide you with clear distance vision. Your near vision may still be blurry and will likely require reading glasses.

Information courtesy of CAO Eye Library - visit page for referenced studies. 

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MACULAR DEGENERATION

What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?


Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects central vision. As the name suggests, age is a major risk factor for this disease and it is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over the age of 50. The central vision is affected as a result of waste build up at the center part of the back of the eye called the macula. The macula is responsible for detailed vision necessary for activities such as reading, driving, and recognizing people’s faces. AMD can progress slowly in some individuals and rapidly in others. Therefore, it is important to get routine eye exams to detect it early on.

 

There are two types of AMD, dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD accounting for 90% of all cases. It is the milder form resulting in degeneration of the central macular tissue that generally develops slowly over time. Dry AMD can develop into wet AMD at any time. Wet AMD is less common and accounts for 10% of all cases. It is characterized by leakage and bleeding of weak blood vessels under the macula and symptoms progress rapidly.


What are the symptoms of AMD?


AMD is a progressive disease, often accompanied by worsening symptoms over time. In the early stages, AMD may be symptom-free and can only be detected in an eye exam. As the disease progresses, the most common initial symptoms include blurred central vision, particularly noticeable while performing tasks that require seeing detail, such as reading. Glasses cannot correct for this blurred spot. In the intermediate stages, the blurred area may increase in size and interfere with various daily activities such as driving. Other symptoms of AMD include straight lines appearing wavy or distorted, and dark spots or missing areas in vision. In its later stages, there is a complete loss of central detailed vision. Patients experience no pain with AMD.

Who is at risk of developing AMD?

Individuals with an increased age are at an elevated risk for developing AMD. Other risk factors include smoking, extensive UV light exposure, family history of AMD, and cardiovascular disease.

 
How can I prevent AMD?
 

  • Lifelong UV protection by wearing UV protective glasses and smoking cessation can reduce the risk of developing AMD.

  • Living a healthy lifestyle with healthy diet and routine exercise will reduce the risk of AMD.

  • Keep your blood pressure in control and reduce your intake of fatty foods.

  • A diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega 3 fatty acids may help prevent AMD. These antioxidants can be found in fruits and leafy green vegetables.

  • Routine eye exams are important in the early detection and prevention of AMD. Early signs of AMD can be found during an eye exam even if no symptoms are noticed. Upon detection, the optometrist will discuss ways to minimize the possibility of vision loss.

How can I treat AMD?

In the early stages of AMD, treatment options include dietary supplements, self-monitoring of vision at home with an Amsler grid, and routine eye exams to monitor for progression. An Amsler grid is a test provided by the optometrist that allows you to monitor for vision changes at home between routine eye exams. AMD is an eye disease that can cause sudden changes in vision when it turns into the wet form. If changes in vision are noticed, contact your optometrist, as timely treatment can limit the extent of vision loss. 

In the later stages of AMD, treatment options include eye injections to prevent further leakage of blood vessels in order to minimize vision loss. Patients with vision loss due AMD can benefit from low vision aids. Your optometrist can prescribe magnifying devices to enhance your distance and near vision. These aids will not restore sight, but will allow people to maximize their remaining vision and provide improved functional vision to help people go about their daily activities.

Information courtesy of CAO Eye Library - visit for referenced studies. 

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