Why Do I need an Eye Exam?
How often should I visit my optometrist?
Our eye doctors in Mississauga recommend an eye exam every year in order to monitor the health of your eyes and ensure the health of your eyes and vision.
When should my children have an eye exam?
As early as six months. Trillium Eye Care Optometrists in Missisauga can check infant vision to ensure proper eye and vision development. Most people wait until children are much older before having their first eye exam. The risk of having permanent eye conditions increases as children get older. Children cannot distinguish between impaired vision and clear vision after living with the impairment. Start early and visit often – it’s the best way to care for their vision.
I don’t wear glasses so I don’t need an exam, right?
I don’t have any vision issues, so I really don’t need an eye exam, right?
Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. Most people are often unaware that problems exist. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems are important for maintaining good vision and eye health, and when possible, preventing vision loss. Many conditions can be easily treated when caught early enough.
Children’s Eye Exam
When should children have their first eye exam?
As early as six months. We recommend that parents proactively manage the development of their children’s eyes and vision by scheduling early and frequent eye exams. It’s never too early to start!
Only my one child wears eye glasses, so my other children do not require an eye exam, right?
Parents should schedule all of their children for yearly eye exams. In many cases, children who do not wear eye glasses, go years without ever having their eyes tested, only to discover health and vision conditions that were entirely preventable. Its very important to monitor and check the eye and vision health of all of your children to ensure their proper development.
My child is not performing well in school, is there anything an optometrist can do to help?
In many cases, under achievement in school can be caused by poor vision. Children may not be aware that they are experiencing vision problems, which can lead to reading deficiencies.
As you enter into your 60’s, you will find that some age related changes to your vision are normal. Changes in structure include: reduced pupil size, dry eyes, decreased colored vision and vitrous detachment.
Cataracts are often associated with aging, and while they are common among seniors, they can be easily corrected with surgery. Some changes to vision can be serious, resulting in deterioration of vision quality. Very serious conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts which have a higher prevalence in seniors can all cause reduced vision.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a condition where the natural crystalline lens of the eye is no longer transparent. There are different types, but the three most common are all age-related:
- nuclear (where the lens becomes more yellowed, particularly in the center);
- cortical (where portions of the lens become opaque, usually starting from the periphery);
- subcapsular (where a small central area at the back of the lens becomes clouded).
- Cataracts grow at different rates, typically they develop slowly, so from the time your eye doctor notices a cataract in your eyes to when it requires surgery is usually several years
- There are also less common types of cataracts:
- congenital cataracts – present at birth or in early childhood
- traumatic cataracts – from eye or head injuries
- secondary cataracts – caused by other conditions, such as diabetes, chronic steroid use and retinal surgery
Do all cataracts require surgery?
No, not all cataracts require surgery immediately.
There are some people who can still read the 20/20 line on the eye chart (with some difficulty) that would be good candidates for cataract surgery; there are others whose vision is substantially worse that don’t find their vision is impaired enough to affect everyday activities and don’t want surgery.
However, if vision with cataracts does not meet the standards for driving (20/30 for commercial drivers, 20/50 for everyone else), then you’ll need to either have surgery done or stop driving.
Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?
That will depend greatly on the patient and the surgery; some people just want the cataract removed and to go back to how things were before; others want to try and get away from glasses entirely.
- OHIP covers the basic cataract surgery, including a basic lens implant and basic lens calculations (to determine the best strength of intraocular lens implant for the surgeon to use).
There are lots of options including:
- more advanced lens calculations (typically a few hundred dollars) to new lens implants,
- including those that correct astigmatism or have multifocal optics, which can be a few thousand dollars each.
So, if you are or were considering laser surgery to reduce your dependence on glasses, we typically recommend considering the upgrades to the basic cataract surgery; the costs are similar, and the results are usually similar or better uncorrected vision after surgery.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. There are also several types of glaucoma:
The most common is called primary open-angle glaucoma; primary because it isn’t caused by something else (like an injury or medication), and open-angle because the fluid in the eye still has an open area to drain.
- Traditionally glaucoma has been characterized by elevated pressure in the eye, but newer research suggests that the intraocular pressure isn’t the cause of glaucoma so much as it’s an aggravating factor in the nerve damage associated with glaucoma.
- But since the only treatments we have for glaucoma involve lowering the eye pressure to slow or halt the damage to the optic nerve, the “high pressure = glaucoma” mentality persists.
- Elevated eye pressure does not always mean a diagnosis of glaucoma
- There are people with eye pressures in the normal range whose nerves are more delicate and can become damaged, a condition called “normal tension glaucoma”.
- There are also people with higher-than-normal eye pressures but absolutely no damage to the nerve; this is called “ocular hypertension” but doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will develop glaucoma.
Dry Eye Syndrome
What causes dry eye syndrome?
Your eyes normally are covered in tears, which contain a lot more than just water.
Natural tears contain a balance of mucins, oils, enzymes, and other components, as well as water. These come from various glands in and around the eyes and eyelids. When the nerves in your cornea realize they’re dry, the only component of the tears that your body can make on demand to help is the watery part. In most people, adding more water without mucins (to thicken it) and oils (to prevent it from evaporating), the eyes only dry out faster. That’s why your eyes usually feel dry after you’ve been crying – they’re off balance.
Which eyedrops are best for dry eye?
That depends on what type of dry eye you have, i.e. what’s missing from your tear film.
Different brands of eye drops have a mixture of several different ingredients:
- Lubricants to provide moisture
- Electrolytes – potassium and sodium to help heal the surface of the eye
- Guar gum – found in oily drops (helpful for people with fast evaporating tears)
- Preservatives – to stop bacterial growth in the eye drop bottle
Why are eye drops not helping my dry eyes?
If you use most artificial tears more than a few times a day, the preservatives in them can irritate the eyes more than the relief they would otherwise provide. There are preservative-free artificial tears available that can be used ten or more times a day without causing these problems.
Is there anything I can do for my eyes to be less dry?
- Perform proper lid hygiene and use warm compresses
- Most people benefit from keeping the eyelids clean; reducing irritation from the bacteria that lives on everyone’s skin
- Hot compresses on the eyelids, which allows the oil in the glands to flow out more easily
- Avoid dry, dusty, or windy environments, or use protection like safety glasses or wraparound sunglasses
- Some medications can cause or aggravate dry eyes
- Discussing your options with your doctor and potentially changing medications can help alleviate symptoms
- Certain diseases like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis;
- Controlling these conditions and following your healthcare practitioners prescribed treatment plan can help to reduce dry eyes
- Take more frequent breaks while using screens and digital devices
- People blink substantially less often while using screens and digital devices