Computer Vision Syndrome
As our society becomes more dependent on computers, we find ourselves spending more time each day in front of a screen. This can lead to a myriad of symptoms referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, eye pain and head and neck strain.
Treatment for computer vision syndrome includes proper spectacle prescription, even for small refractive errors. Binocular vision is also important with computer use so correcting binocular vision problems can make computer use more comfortable. Having a properly fitted lens design and frame can make a big difference with symptoms.
The following points may help to reduce computer vision syndrome:
• Set your screen at arms length from your eyes and approximately 20 degrees below eye level.
• Wear spectacles with anti reflective and blue light protective lenses.
• If you wear bifocals or progressive lenses and find yourself tilting your head back to see the screen, you need to be fit with a task specific computer lens to avoid head and neck muscle strain.
• The room lighting should be about the same brightness as your computer screen.
• Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from the computer for 20 seconds and blink your eyes several times. You may find that using artificial tears may help as well.
If you are experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome, book an appointment with one of our Doctors of Optometry.
Glaucoma is an eye disease where the optic nerve inside the eye becomes damaged, causing loss of vision over time. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. High pressure doesn’t always cause glaucoma but it is a risk factor. Damage to the optic nerve slowly causes blind spots to form in one’s side vision, eventually leading to blindness if not treated.
Risk factors for glaucoma include family history, high intraocular pressure, African decent, thin corneas, increased age, very near-sightedness or very far sighted eyes and eye injuries or surgeries.
Glaucoma and glaucoma risk factors are diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. A Doctor of Optometry will assess the eye pressure, look at the optic nerves and may do extra
testing such as pachymetry, Visual field testing, gonioscopy and optical coherence tomography to look for the development of glaucoma.
There are different kinds of glaucoma.
Primary open angle glaucoma develops very gradually. There are no symptoms of vision loss from glaucoma until the condition is very advanced and significant vision has already been lost.
Acute angle closure glaucoma can cause symptoms of blurred vision, a red painful eye, haloes around lights and nausea.
Primary Open Angle glaucoma is treated with eyedrops to lower the pressure inside the eye to a safer level to prevent further damage to the optic nerve. One may sometimes need to be on several different glaucoma drops to keep the pressure at a safe level. Laser surgery is also used when the glaucoma eye drops cannot keep the pressure at a safe level. In very advanced cases, filtering surgery with special valves are inserted into the eye to lower the pressure.
Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is treated by using a laser to create a hole in the iris to allow fluid to drain from the back to the front of the eye to the filtration system.
Glaucoma responds best to treatment when it is diagnosed early. Comprehensive eye examinations are important to find early signs of damage to the optic nerve and will reduce your risk of losing vision from glaucoma.
Adults should have regular eye exams every 2 years and seniors should be examined annually.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, or any of the risk factors listed, book an appointment with one of our Doctors of Optometry.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is an age related condition affecting the macula. The macula is the area of the retina that provides us with our central vision, allowing us to see detail such as reading vision and recognizing peoples faces. There are 2 forms of macular degeneration:
Dry macular degeneration presents with yellow spots under the macula called DRUSEN or colour changes in the macula. In it’s early form AMD does not have a noticeable effect on one’s vision. In advanced stages of Dry AMD, one may notice distortion in their near vision or blind spots in their central vision.
Wet AMD is responsible for up to 90% of severe vision loss due to macular degeneration. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels below the surface of the macula. These abnormal blood vessels leak causing distortion. As scar tissue forms from the leaking blood vessels, loss of central vision occurs.
Risk factors for AMD include:
• Age: 36% of people age 75 and over have AMD
• Family history
• Female gender
• Blue or light coloured irises
• Light skin colour
• Smokers are 6 times more likely to develop AMD
• Diet low in vitamins and minerals
• Excessive sunlight exposure
• Excessive weight
Both forms of AMD are detected through a comprehensive eye examination. Special testing such as Optical Coherence Tomography and Retinal images may be taken to monitor Dry AMD or confirm diagnosis and treatment effect of Wet AMD.
There is no treatment available to reverse macular degeneration. Numerous studies have shown that the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin can slow down the progression of macular degeneration. Sun protection is also important to reduce ultraviolet radiation and smoking should be avoided.
Treatment for Wet AMD involves stopping the growth of abnormal blood vessels below the surface of the macula. Anti-VEGF therapy involves injecting a medicine into the eye which causes the abnormal vessels to stop leaking and shrink. It involves multiple treatments usually 4-5 weeks apart to be effective. Faster diagnosis and treatment will improve vision outcomes.
If you have a family history of macular degeneration or have any risk factors listed, book an appointment with one of our Doctors of Optometry.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high glucose in the blood over time causes weakening of the tiny blood vessels inside the eye. The blood vessel walls become leaky, causing blood and cholesterol to leak out of the blood vessels and into the retina. The retina can begin to swell causing tissue damage and vision loss. New abnormal and leaky blood vessels can form which can cause severe bleeding and sudden vision loss.
In its early stages, there are no symptoms of diabetic retinopathy but in its advanced stages diabetic retinopathy can cause severe vision loss. Other symptoms of diabetes are blurred or fluctuating vision and double vision.
Treatment for advanced diabetic retinopathy can involve injections with Anti-VEGF medication, laser therapy or retinal surgery.
Changes in the eye due to diabetes can be detected during an eye exam. Optimal blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol control are the best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy from occurring or advancing.
Annual comprehensive eye exams are essential to prevent vision loss from diabetes. If you have diabetes, book your annual exam with one of our Doctors of Optometry.