We have listed some of the more common eye conditions below. If you think you or one of your family members has one of these conditions, please contact Dr. Fydell's office for a comprehensive eye exam and recommendations.
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia happens when the vision in one eye doesn't develop properly in the first 7-9 years. You can’t see a lazy eye in your child. The child looks completely normal and usually sees well with their good eye. A child’s vision is usually fully developed by age 9, so amblyopia must be treated early in life, preferably before the age of 6 as it is hard to reverse it after that age. A comprehensive eye exam will usually discover it.
Treatment may involve glasses to correct blurred vision or help straighten the eyes and patching of the good eye to force the lazy eye to work is the typical therapy. If amblyopia isn't treated, it will lead to a lifetime of poor vision in one eye. This puts your child at higher risk if the “good” eye is injured. The earlier the treatment is started, the sooner it is likely to be successful. It is recommended that all children have a comprehensive eye exam by the age of three and sooner if there is a family history of any eye condition or disease.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens, which progressively leads to a "smudging" of vision. It is the leading cause of decreased vision with age.
Through life, your lenses naturally harden and turn cloudy which blocks light from reaching the retina and interferes with your vision. A cataract initially has little or no effect on vision and is painless. As the cloudiness progresses, clear vision decreases. They are detected during routine eye exams and initially, your optometrist may recommend stronger eyeglass prescriptions; however, when they disrupt your daily life, your doctor may recommend cataract surgery by an ophthalmologist. Fortunately, the cloudy lens can be removed and replaced with an artificial implant which restores your vision. Cataract surgery is low risk, safe and highly successful. More than 95% of patients have improved vision after surgery and quality of life is enhanced. Most often glasses are still needed to optimize vision after surgery but many people manage quite nicely without eye glasses for distance vision. Cataracts may form in one or both eyes, at the same time or at different times.
Colour deficiency is a condition that makes seeing colours and shades, specifically red, green or blue, or a mix of these colours more difficult. The term “colour blind” is often used, but usually incorrectly. Very few people are completely unable to identify any colour at all. A color vision problem can be life changing. It makes it harder to learn and it may limit certain career choices. Children and adults with color vision problems can learn to make up for their problems. Colour deficiency is more common in males (approx. 5%) than females (approx. 0.5%).
Colour deficiency is usually inherited, but can also result from certain diseases, trauma or as a side effect of certain medications. A complete comprehensive eye examination, including a test for colour vision, is recommended. Children should be checked for colour deficiency if they are not learning at the expected norms for their age or it there is a family history of color deficiency. It is important to detect colour deficiency early because colour coded learning materials are used extensively in the primary grades. Colour deficiency may affect an individual’s choice of career since the ability to distinguish colours is an important aspect of some occupations such as pilots, electricians, police officers, etc.
Dry eye is the result of a breakdown in the quantity or quality of tears to moisten, cleanse and protect the eye. Good comfortable vision is not possible without enough tears spread over the eye by blinking and protecting the surface of the eye by washing away dust and microorganisms.
Symptoms of dry eye include stinging or burning eyes, scratchiness, stringy mucus around the eyes, irritation from smoke or wind or difficulty wearing contact lenses and ironically, excess tearing. It is more common in women, particularly after menopause.
An examination by an optometrist can usually detect dry eye. Please ensure you inform the doctor of all medications you are on since people with dry eye are more prone to toxic side effects of eye medications.
Over the counter artificial tears or lubricants can be used to moisten the eyes for symptomatic relief and warm compresses can be used to optimize the tear film until you are able to schedule an appointment with the doctor.
Crossed-eyed, medically known as strabismus, is a condition in which the eyes are misaligned. It is usually detected during childhood and affects about 4% of children. Commonly, it occurs when the muscles that control eye movement or not properly working together causing one or both eyes to turn inward, outward, upward or downward, or one or both eyes are moving irregularly.
Strabismus can run in families. It can also be caused by a serious problem inside the eye, such as a tumour or a cataract, which leads to poor vision. If any member of your immediate family has had strabismus or amblyopia, it puts your child more at risk for the same. In this case, even if your child's eyes seem straight, he or she should be examined by an optometrist early. Premature birth, neurological diseases, or a family history of severe eye diseases are also reasons to have your child’ vision assessed to see whether his or her eyes are properly aligned.
Glasses may help for eyes that are out of focus, especially when one is much worse than the other. They may also help straighten the eyes. Vision therapy is a program of eye exercises, patching, focusing lenses or special prismatic lenses to help establish binocular use of the eyes. This can make a huge difference in various lifestyle activities like driving, reading, sports or certain occupations.
Surgery on the eye muscles may be necessary in certain situations, especially when glasses are not enough to straighten the eyes. The results of treatment can be excellent. If treatment is delayed too long, it may not be possible to completely restore your child's vision. This kind of vision problem can be effectively prevented, so it is important to seek professional advice as soon as possible.
All information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant as a substitute for advice from your optometrist. Therefore, we assume no responsibility for any omissions or errors in the content.