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Between Church and Wellington on Queen St.

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Comprehensive Eye Exams

eyechart - Eye Exams in St. Marys, ON Regardless of your age or physical health, it's important to have regular eye exams.

During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.

Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.

Eye Exams For Kids in St. Marys, ON

Some experts estimate that approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists(CAO), all children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age, and again at the start of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye or vision problems should then continue to have their eyes examined every year throughout school.

Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:

  • premature birth
  • developmental delays
  • turned or crossed eyes
  • family history of eye disease
  • history of eye injury
  • other physical illness or disease

The CAO recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor's instructions. Read more about Pediatric Eye Exams.

Visit Our St. Marys Eye Care Centre For Your Annual Eye Exam

The CAO also recommends an annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don't normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an impact on vision and eye health.

If you are over 40, it's a good idea to have your eyes examined every one to two years to check for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration. Read more about Vision After 40.

Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually. Read more about Vision After 60.

Dry Eye Treatment

Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.

Some people with dry eyes also experience a "foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye's tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don't produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills.
  • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.
  • As a side effect of any pre-existing condition such as astigmatism.

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren's Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.

Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

Treatment for Dry Eye At St. Marys Optometry

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.

Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.

If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.

LASIK & Refractive Surgery Co-Management

eye with laserThe doctors at St. Marys Optometry have extensive experience in the pre-operative evaluation and post-operative care of LASIK and other vision correction procedures.

We will evaluate your eyes and discuss your visual goals to help determine if you are an appropriate candidate for LASIK, PRK or Cataract Refractive Technology. If you have appropriate goals and there are no contraindications for the procedure, we will recommend a pre-operative evaluation to determine suitability for refractive surgery. This evaluation includes:

  • Counseling on refractive surgery options
  • Eye dominancy testing
  • Review of eye history and refractive stability
  • Medical evaluation of the cornea and eye
  • Current refraction status

If after the pre-operative evaluation, the decision is made to proceed with surgery, your information will be forwarded to the surgeon, a pre-surgery consult with a surgeon will be scheduled. Post-operative management will be provided by our St. Marys eye doctors, and includes multiple visits over a period from the date of surgery to include medical evaluation and management of the vision and corneal healing. Evaluation of any additional needs such as reading glasses, sunglasses, treatments or enhancement laser procedures is also included.

LASIK is currently the most popular vision-correcting or "refractive" surgery available. But there are other options as well. We will help you find the ideal solution for your problem and partner with the best surgeon to perform your procedure.

Introduction to LASIK

LASIK is the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. You may hear people calling it "LASIX," but the correct name is LASIK, which is short for "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis."

Why is it so popular? LASIK has advantages over other vision correction procedures, including a relative lack of pain afterward and the fact that good vision usually is achieved by the very next day.

An instrument called a microkeratome is used in LASIK eye surgery to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea. Another, newer way of making the flap is with a laser.

The surgeon folds the hinged flap back out of the way, then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The excimer laser uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove ("ablate") very tiny bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it.

When the cornea is reshaped in the right way, it works better to focus light into the eye and onto the retina, providing clearer vision than before. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.

Both nearsighted and farsighted people can benefit from the LASIK procedure. With nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the too-steep cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.

Learn more about Vision Surgery including LASIK, PRK, Corneal Transplants and more.

Eye Care Services

At St. Marys Optometry, we provide comprehensive eye health and vision exams for all ages. We recognize that patients of different ages have different concerns regarding their vision, and our exams are designed accordingly, whether patients are infants, children, teens, adults or seniors.

We have an extended network of vision care professionals. When your eye health requirements fall outside of our scope of services, we will either co-manage with or refer to the appropriate eye health specialist in our network.

Thorough Eye Exams in St. Marys, ON

Comprehensive eye exams for adults and children, co-management of laser vision correction surgery, caring for eye emergencies and so much more. Dr. Carol Venn provides comprehensive eye care to patients of all ages including treatment for a range of conditions including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Learn more about what problems can be spotted with an eye exam, what’s involved in a comprehensive exam, and special considerations for kids and contacts.
  • Early identification of a child's vision problem is crucial.
  • Including Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Cataracts.
  • We use the most up-to-date technology to ensure the best eye care possible. Learn about the different types of tests and equipment you may experience on a visit to St. Marys Optometry.
  • Our eye doctors have the latest technology and lots of experience with eye infections, scratched eye, something stuck in your eye, painful or stinging eyes and many other types of eye infections.
  • Did you know your optometrist can help you with red eyes, pink eye, or sore eyes, foreign body removal and eye emergencies?
  • If you're ready for an alternative to glasses and/or contacts look to us for co-management of LASIK, cataract, and other ocular surgery.
  • Dry eyes result from the chronic lack of lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, which can cause minor irritations, an inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.
  • Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that's easily corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses and on some occasions, surgery.
  • Does holding a newspaper farther from your face help you see the words? For this reason, presbyopia is sometimes called "long-arm syndrome."
  • Vision plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. Yet many parents don't understand how vision helps their children develop appropriately.
  • Sports eyewear can give you the performance edge you're seeking for just about any sport (tennis, racquetball, etc.) or recreational activity (hunting, fishing, etc.). It can also provide the safety and eye protection you need as well.

Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that only affects diabetics. It occurs when the fragile vascular network that supplies the retina – the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that helps us see – begins to swell or leak. During the beginning stages of the disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms, so it’s important to have your eyes checked at least once a year, if you have diabetes.

Once symptoms of diabetic retinopathy do develop, they can include: dark or black spots in your visual field, or blurry vision, and it increases over time. This is a result of bleeding at the back of the eye, which prevents a clear image from being transmitted from the retina to the brain.

Whether you have type 1, type 2, or even just gestational diabetes, you are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had the disease, the greater the risk. It is essential to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent vision loss, and this may require a trip back to your primary care physician.

Treating diabetic retinopathy can include vitrectomy, replacing the inner gel-like substance that supports the eyeball structure, advanced tests and laser surgery.

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

Click HERE to learn more.

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