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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.

Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment

As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. This condition is called presbyopia and eventually it happens to everyone who reaches old age to some extent.

To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. Trying to performing tasks at close range can sometimes cause headaches, eye strain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition.

Causes of Presbyopia

During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty.  As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge.

Presbyopia is a natural result of the aging process and not much can be done to prevent it.  Its onset has nothing to do with whether you already have another vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.  Everyone will notice some degree of loss of near vision focusing power as they age, although for some it will be more significant than others.

Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia

Presbyopia is characterized by:

  • Difficulty focusing on small print
  • Blurred near vision
  • Experiencing eyestrain, fatigue or headaches when doing close work or reading
  • Needing to hold reading material or small objects at a distance to focus properly
  • Requiring brighter lighting when focusing on near objects

Presbyopia can be diagnosed in a comprehensive eye exam.

Treatment for Presbyopia

There are a number of options available for treating presbyopia including corrective eyewear, contact lenses or surgery.

Eyeglasses

Reading glasses or “readers” are basically magnifying glasses that are worn when reading or doing close work that allow you focus on close objects.

Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses such as progressive addition lenses or PALs are a common solution for those with presbyopia that also have refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Bifocals have lenses with two lens prescriptions; one area (usually the upper portion) for distance vision and the second area for near vision. Progressive addition lenses or PALs similarly provide lens power for both near and distance vision but rather than being divided into two hemispheres, they are made with a gradual transition of lens powers for viewing at different distances.  Many individuals prefer PALs because unlike bifocals, they do not have a visible division line on the lens.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

For individuals that prefer contact lenses to glasses, bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties.

Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction - up, down and to the sides - with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance.

Another option for those that prefer contact lenses is monovision. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant  eye for near vision. Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision.  Your St. Marys eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

Surgery

There are surgical procedures also available for treatment of presbyhopia including monovision LASIK eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty (CK), corneal inlays or onlays or a refractive lens exchange (RLE) which replaces the hardened lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) similar to cataract surgery.

Since it affects so much of the older population, much researc and development is going into   creating more and better options for presbyopes.  Speak to your eye doctor about the options that will work best for you.

Astigmatism Diagnosis & Treatment

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that's easily corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses and on some occasions, surgery.

Astigmatism is caused when your eye is not completely round. Because our bodies are not perfect, astigmatism occurs in nearly everybody to some degree but for some, not to the degree that it causes blurring. Your eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Under normal circumstances, when light enters the eye, it bends evenly, creating a clear picture on the back of your eye. In a person with astigmatism, their eye is shaped more like a football and light entering the eye is bent more in one direction than the other. This causes only part of the picture to be in focus at any given time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy. For vision problems due to astigmatism, glasses or contact lenses, and sometimes even vision correction surgery are all possible treatments.

People with undetected astigmatism often have blurred vision which can be associated with fatigue and eyestrain. While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more symptoms.

Our eye doctor can diagnose astigmatism with a thorough eye exam. Astigmatism may occur in combination with other vision problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness or even presbyopia. Because astigmatism gets worse over times, visit our eye doctor whenever you notice changes in your vision.

Click here to read more about Astigmatism.

Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

Red, Pink or Sore Eyes?

We are ready to look after ALL of your eye care needs in one location. In addition to the services you already rely on us for such as routine eye exams, surgeries, contact lenses. designer frames and eyeglasses - think of your Optometrist first for:

  • sore, red, or itchy eyes
  • treatment of "pink eye" and other bacterial infections
  • removal of foreign bodies from the eye (such as wood or metal)
  • treatment of eye allergies or burns
  • emergency eye care

This is convenient and cost effective for your whole family and you can be sure you are receiving the attention of an eye care specialist.

Eye Emergencies

We are always willing to help, should you ever experience an eye emergency. Our St. Marys eye care centre provides emergency services for eye infections, eye injuries and other eye urgencies.  State of the art equipment allows us to examine the front surface of the eye and also digitally scan inside the eye for infection or damage We accommodate many eye emergencies such as:

  • Eye infections
  • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
  • Eye trauma
  • Scratched eyes
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Flashes of light in the vision
  • “Floaters” in the vision
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Dislodged contact lenses
  • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes

Studies have shown that an overwhelming number of emergency room visits could have been treated by an optometrist. These ranged from foreign bodies to severe eye allergies to eye infections as the most common reasons for emergency room visits. It is not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Optometrists are equipped to treat the majority of eye emergencies.

We understand the importance of eye care when you encounter symptoms such as those listed above. These are signs that an immediate evaluation or consultation is necessary - please call us to set one up if you are experiencing an eye emergency of any kind.

Foreign Body Removal

A foreign body is something such as an eyelash, sawdust, sand, or dirt can that gets into the eyes. The main symptom is irritation or pain. Depending on what it is and how the injury happened, the foreign body may pierce the eye and cause serious injury or it may simply go away with no long-term problem.

The foreign object may set off an inflammatory cascade, resulting in dilation of the surrounding vessels and subsequent edema of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. If not removed, a foreign body can cause infection.

If anything is stuck in your eye for more than a period of a couple of hours, you must immediately cease all attempts to remove it yourself. Keep in mind that the eyes are an extremely delicate organ and any attempts to try anything extra ordinary with them can only have negative and adverse results. If the foreign body you are talking about is not bothering you too much, then you are advised to visit an eye doctor to take care of it. If not you may need to call to emergency service of your region.

If there is a foreign body in your eye, such as a piece of grit, your eye doctor may try and remove it. They will put anaesthetic eye drops in your eye first, in order to numb it and prevent any pain.

If the foreign body is easy to get to, it may be possible to remove it by simply rinsing your eye with water, or by wiping it away with a cotton wool bud or triangle of card. However, if this is unsuccessful, your eye doctor may try and remove the foreign body by lifting it out with the tip of a small metal instrument.

The foreign body could be stuck underneath your upper eyelid, especially if you can feel something there, or you have scratches or grazes (abrasions) on the top half of the transparent outer layer of your eye (cornea). If this is the case, it may be necessary to gently turn your eyelid inside out in order to remove the foreign body.

Once the anaesthetic eye drops have worn off, your eye may feel a bit uncomfortable until your abrasion heals.

Whatever is happening with your eyes or if you suffer or even suspect that a foreign body has penetrated the outer eye layer better go without delay to the nearest treatment center. Doing nothing can lead to loss of vision, premature cataracts and damage to the retina so do not take any chances, delay is dangerous.

 

Source: Removing a Foreign Body from Your Eye, article by CareEyeEasy.com. All rights reserved.  Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited.

Pediatric Eye Exams

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected.  This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight.  To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 to 9 months, 2 years, at the start of school, and then every year following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly.  Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.

Eye Exams in Infants: Birth - 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They have to learn to focus and move their eyes, and use them together as a team.  The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. With the development of eyesight, comes also the foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye exam at 6 months.  At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus (misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism).

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, our St. Marys eye doctor may require more frequent visits to keep watch on his or her progress.

Eye Exams in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is a period where children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills.  During this time they will develop the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting or building.  This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) - when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) - when one or both eyes turns inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays having to do with object, number or letter recognition, color recognition or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual.  If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

Eye Exams in School-Aged Children: Ages 6-19

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally.  If your child is having trouble in school or afterschool activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration, and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Headaches
  • Frequent blinking
  • Avoiding reading
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Losing their place often while reading
  • Double vision
  • Poor reading comprehension

The Eye Exam at St. Marys Optometry

In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Colour Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye disease  or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as a premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty. Since some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

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 Macular Degeneration

Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old.

While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. It’s important to have an open discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and limitations of AMD treatments.

Types of Macular Degeneration:

There are 2 basic types of AMD, the wet form and the dry form.

  • Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of AMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of zinc and antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
  • Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of AMD. It occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.

Learn More

AMD is an age related eye disease that runs in families, and is a leading cause of blindness in our aging population. There is no cure for this ocular disease, and AMD related vision loss is cannot usually be recovered. There are treatments, and preventative measures that can be taken, if detected early, so routine eye exams are essential.

Read more about macular degeneration symptoms and treatment.
Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

Glaucoma Testing & Treatment

Glaucoma - Why Miss Anything?

What is Glaucoma exactly?

Glaucoma IllustrationIt's often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and you should get yourself checked if others in your family have been diagnosed with this disorder. Over time, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision and without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.

Are you at high risk for Glaucoma?

  • If you are over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of glaucoma.
  • GRF recommends that African-Americans get a thorough check for glaucoma every one to two years after age 35.
  • Talk to family members about glaucoma. If family members have glaucoma, then your glaucoma risk is increased.
  • If you have diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Hispanic Americans in older age groups are also at greater risk for glaucoma.
  • Steroid Users - adults who require approximately 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler to control asthma have an increased incidence of glaucoma.
  • Eye Injury - Injury to the eye may cause secondary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later.
  • Eye disease such as macular degeneration will also increase your chances of having glaucoma.
Book Your Eye Exam Now Learn More on Glaucoma

Maybe you need a Glaucoma Test?

What is a Glaucoma test? Glaucoma testing involves measuring internal eye pressure and a detailed scan of the retina for signs of disease.

  • Only a comprehensive eye exam can reveal whether or not you have glaucoma.
  • Increased pressure inside the eye is often a key indicator of glaucoma, though not exclusively so.
  • Glaucoma QuoteEye doctors can use a number of tests for eye pressure but will, by default, check for signs of glaucoma as part of a detailed exam
  • An examination of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images is only the true way you will know you have Glaucoma.

How Does Glaucoma Testing Work?

There are two types of Glaucoma tests that measure the internal pressure of the eye but one is much more accurate than the other.

One glaucoma test involves measuring what happens when a puff of air is blown across the surface of the eye. (A puff test) Another test uses a special device (in conjunction with eye-numbing drops) to “touch” the surface of the eye to measure eye pressure.
While increased eye pressure is a key indicator of the disease, it does not necessarily mean you have a glaucoma diagnosis. In fact, the only way to detect glaucoma is to have a detailed, comprehensive eye exam that often includes dilation of the pupils.
So “true” glaucoma testing actually involves examining the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye for signs of the disease.

Learn More

Glaucoma can cause slight to severe vision loss, and is often discovered only after the disease is present—that’s why glaucoma testing is so important.

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

Cataract Surgery Co-Management

Cataracts is a disease of the eye that results in the clouding of the lens of the eyeball. Cataracts prevent clear images from appearing on the eye’s retina; causing mild, moderate, even severe blurred vision.

Typically an eye disorder associated with aging (over half of the people in America over age 80 have either had a cataract or cataract surgery), cataracts generally occur later in life as the lens structure within the human eye changes and gets older.

During the evaluation of your eye health we will carefully examine your lens for signs of cataract formation. If a cataract is noticed and the clouding is causing visual disruption, the optometrist will refer you to a trusted and respected surgeon for surgery, which is the only known cure for cataracts. St. Marys Optometry will be there for you providing pre and post cataract surgery care.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the removal of the natural lens of the eye (also called "crystalline lens") that has developed an opacification, which is referred to as a cataract. Metabolic changes of the crystalline lens fibers over the time lead to the development of the cataract and loss of transparency, causing impairment or loss of vision. During cataract surgery, a patient's cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens to restore the lens's transparency.

Following surgical removal of the natural lens, an artificial intraocular lens implant is inserted (eye surgeons say that the lens is "implanted"). Cataract surgery is generally performed by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) in an ambulatory (rather than inpatient) setting, in a surgical center or hospital, using local anesthesia (either topical, peribulbar, or retrobulbar), usually causing little or no discomfort to the patient. Well over 90% of operations are successful in restoring useful vision, with a low complication rate. Day care, high volume, minimally invasive, small incision phacoemulsification with quick post-op recovery has become the standard of care in cataract surgery all over the world.

Learn More

cataracts iconThe more you know about cataracts, the better prepared you will be to deal with them – or help prevent them in the first place!

Learn more about Glaucoma Testing and treatment.

Click HERE to learn more.

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