Cataracts: Directly behind your iris (the colored part of your eye), there is a structure called the lens. When we are born, the lens is perfectly clear allowing all of the visible light to the back of our eye so that we can see, but it filters out the harmful UV light. After several years of acting as our UV filter, the lens begins to get a little cloudy or colored, this is what we call a cataract. This process generally occurs very gradually. As this develops it can make it more difficult to see, vision may seem hazy or unclear, you may notice more trouble with glare, and colors may seem less vibrant. If cataracts develop to a level where you feel that you are unhappy with your vision or that your lifestyle is being compromised, you can have a surgical procedure to remove your natural lens and have an artificial one put in it’s place. It sounds much worse than it is!
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the optic nerve (the nerve taking information from your eye to your brain) gets damaged. This condition is often, but not always, associated with high eye pressure. This is why we check your eye pressure with the little puff of air. If glaucoma goes on long enough untreated, it can affect your peripheral vision. This is why we will sometimes ask you to play the little video game with all of the colored dots. Most of the time there are no symptoms of glaucoma, this is why it is important to come in for regular checkups with your optician. If you do have glaucoma, often times the treatment can be as simple as using eye drops daily. The treatments are so good now that most of the time they can almost completely stop the progression of the condition.
Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration is an eye disease that results in a permanent vision loss or distortion of vision which cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. It occurs because there is damage to the area of the eye which provides your best detail vision, you macula. The macula is an area of the retina (the tissue that covers the back part of your eye). The best things you can do to protect your eyes and your maculas are:
1. UV protection, hats and sunglasses
2. a good balanced diet including lots of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables of all colors (this ensures that you get a good variety of vitamins and minerals), and omega 3s which can be found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
3. Not smoking, this is the biggest controllable risk factor which can lead to macular degeneration, it also increases the development of cataracts
Hormones: Through-out your life you may also have vision and eye comfort changes as hormones fluctuate. This is perfectly normal, but it is important to have your eyes checked regularly for this reason so we can make sure your eyes are as healthy as they can be. Please watch our video below to find out what is normal.