Common Eye Diseases
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that causes the central-most part of the retina, called the macula, to deteriorate over time. The macula is responsible for our central vision, allowing us to see colour and subtle details. When it becomes damaged, our vision is hindered.
AMD is often related to the natural ageing process, but it has also been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and family history.
There are 2 types of AMD:
- Dry AMD is the more common of the 2, accounting for 90% of all cases. This type of AMD progresses gradually and is often related to drusen, protein deposits that collect behind the retina.
- Wet AMD is far less common but much more severe, accounting for 10% of all cases. It develops rapidly, causing weak blood vessels to suddenly rupture and leak blood or fluid into the macula. Because Wet AMD progresses so quickly, it carries a high risk of permanent vision loss and is considered a medical emergency.
In the early stages, cataracts are easily managed with eyeglasses or contact lenses. As the condition progresses, you may find that corrective eyewear no longer gives you clear vision. At this point, you may need cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery involves removing the opaque natural lens in your eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens.
During your eye exam, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding cataracts or the surgery.
Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,” is a condition that occurs when the whites of the eyes become irritated and inflamed, appearing pink or red. Some types of conjunctivitis are incredibly contagious, so it’s important to visit your optometrist if you experience any symptoms.
There are 4 types of conjunctivitis:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is contracted by direct contact with infectious bacteria. Bacterial conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and is often resolved with antibiotics.
- Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection often related to the common cold. It is incredibly contagious and can be contracted through an upper respiratory infection.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction to irritants such as dust, pollen, or animal dander. This type of conjunctivitis isn’t contagious, is usually seasonal, and can be controlled with antihistamines.
- Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to a harmful chemical or pollutant, like chlorine in a pool. Chemical conjunctivitis is not contagious.
If your eyes are swollen, itchy, sore, or have excess amounts of discharge, please visit your optometrist as soon as possible.