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Inside the Baker Street Professional Centre (formerly the Cranbrook Mall)

Inside the Baker Street Professional Centre (formerly the Cranbrook Mall)

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Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Girl with Pink Eye in CranbrookConjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a very common eye condition, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, known as the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. Conjunctivitis can be identified by eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye comes in three main categories: viral, allergic and bacterial.

Viral pink eye is usually a result of a similar virus to what produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The symptoms of viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. It is possible to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels while symptoms persist. If your child has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

The allergic version of pink eye is not contagious, and is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

Glaucoma is “The Sneak Thief of Sight”

Man with Glaucoma in Cranbrook

Glaucoma can cause serious issues with your eye health!

Knowing the risks and signs of glaucoma can save your vision!

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide! It has earned the nickname “The Sneak Thief of Sight,” because often there are either no symptoms or a sudden onset of serious symptoms that can quickly lead to vision loss if proper vision care isn’t sought immediately.

Glaucoma-related vision loss is usually caused by optic nerve damage due to elevated pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). The damage cannot be reversed however there is treatment for glaucoma, particularly when it is caught early before nerve damage has occurred.

While anyone can develop glaucoma (children are sometimes even born with it) there are risk factors that increase the chances of developing the disease. These include:

  • Age over 60 (over 40 for African Americans)
  • Family history of the disease
  • High eye or blood pressure
  • African American, Japanese, or Hispanic descent
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Diabetes
  • History of corticosteroid treatment
  • Severe myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)

There are several measures that can help prevent glaucoma or reduce the risks. These include maintaining a healthy diet and weight, regular exercise, refraining from smoking and protecting your eyes from UV exposure.

Main Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma, open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle is the most common, and accounts for approximately 70-90% of cases. Open-angle refers to chronic cases of the disease that progress slowly over time. These cases are usually caused by high intraocular pressure. Angle-closure glaucoma can be chronic or acute and is often caused by an inherited condition or the result of an injury to the eye.

While each of these types of glaucoma has subtypes the major differences between them have to do with the way the disease affects the eye and the symptoms. Open-angle often has no early symptoms, yet may eventually cause loss of peripheral vision, whereas angle-closure glaucoma is often characterized by more obvious signs such as blurred vision, pain, headaches, tunnel vision, halos that appear around lights and even nausea and dizziness. These symptoms can be a medical emergency and must be treated immediately!

Detecting Glaucoma

Since there are often no symptoms as glaucoma develops, regular glaucoma screenings are key to early diagnosis and treatment. Such screenings should include an exam of the optic nerve, measuring the inner eye pressure and visual field screenings. Some cases of glaucoma occur with normal or even low eye pressure (low tension glaucoma) and therefore people should not rely on any vision screenings where all they do is an “airpuff” test.

Newer technologies such as OCT, can painlessly scan the optic nerve and determine if there is glaucomatous damage even earlier than visual field tests or other exams might show.

Treatment for Glaucoma

While vision that is lost from glaucoma’s damage to the optic nerve can’t be restored, the eye can be repaired (and intraocular pressure returned to normal) to prevent further damage and loss. Treatments include eye drops and surgery, depending on the type of glaucoma, the cause and the severity of the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma and prescribed eye drops, it is important to keep using the eye drops as directed even if the drops irritate your eyes or you do not notice improvement in vision. The eye drops prevent eye pressure spikes that can damage the optic nerve. Since the vision loss from glaucoma is not reversible, if you have concerns with the eye drops, ask your eye doctor to try out a different brand instead.

Childhood eye injuries, such as a ball hit or puncture, particularly one which altered the internal structures of the eye or allowed fluid to flow out of the eye can cause problems later in life. Glaucoma that results from such long-forgotten injuries may not be detected until years after the injury, so it is important to have routine eye checkups if you have ever sustained an eye injury.

The best way to protect your eyes and vision from this devastating disease, especially if you have heightened risk factors, is to ensure you have regular comprehensive eye exams to look for signs of glaucoma inside the eye. Since symptoms often don’t appear until damage is done, the best course of action is preventative.

If you have any of the risk factors listed above, when you come in for your yearly comprehensive eye exam, speak to your eye doctor about glaucoma and what you can do to prevent it.

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!

Eyeglasses – Plenty of Great Choices

Woman trying on eyeglasses in Cranbrook BCDeciding on new pair of eyeglasses can be a difficult task. Whether it’s your very first pair or you’ve worn eyeglasses nearly all your life, the huge selection of eyeglass choices can be impossible to work your way through.

There are many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but beyond that one also has to consider advances in technology that have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses. This makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly, but also makes the work of choosing what you need and want out of your eyeglasses even harder! Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and “memory metal” for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.

For help with how to choose the perfect eyeglasses for you, take a look at our Eyeglass Basics section, and come see us for even more tips!