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Measles Outbreak in BC: Connecting Measles and Eyesight

With the recent measles outbreak in the Greater Vancouver area, measles awareness has increased dramatically in the past couple of months.  With Spring Break coming up, and more families travelling to foreign countries that have lower levels of measles immunization, so we wanted to spotlight the connection between eyesight and measles, especially for children.

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Botox: Not Just For The Rich And Famous Anymore!

Did you know that Botox is more than a cosmetic procedure to make the skin of the rich and famous more youthful? Before it was a popular skin procedure, Botox became available in Canada as a treatment for crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrolled blinking (blepharospasm). Eye specialists or ophthalmologists have come to rely on Botox to help patients improve their vision and quality of life, both cosmetically and functionally.

In this article, we explore the uses of Botox for cosmetic and esthetic purposes, especially related to the area around our eyes (oculofacial area).

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Sports Eye Safety

Do you love to play hockey, squash, baseball or golf? If you play any sport that involves balls, pucks, racquets, sticks or bats, the risk of serious eye injury is very real. In fact, about 40% of eye injuries over the last few decades, are from playing ice hockey, with racquet sports being the second most common cause.

Studies also show that 1 in 3 sports eye injuries involves children, and are a common cause of blindness in kids. (Before you ‘sideline’ your athlete, know that 90 percent of sports eye injuries can be prevented with the right eye protection.)

As better eye gear has been developed for these sports and more players have been wearing it, fewer serious injuries have occurred. However, over the last 20 years in Canada, over 4000 eye injuries were reported, with 449 resulting in blindness.

Here are five ways you can protect your eyes and prevent sports eye injuries.

 

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Diabetes Awareness Month: The Link Between Diabetes And Your Eye Health

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and today, November 14, is Diabetes Awareness Day. This month, the health community is joining forces to raise awareness for this disease and how it’s more than just being aware of what you’re putting in your body.

Most of us associate diabetes solely with nutrition and fitness, when in fact diabetes affects many of your body’s systems and processes, including your vision. It also contributes to a higher incidence of a group of eye conditions commonly found in patients with diabetes.

Diabetic eye disease includes diabetic retinopathy (including diabetic macular edema), cataracts, and glaucoma. If not diagnosed or treated by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, these can lead to severe vision loss or even blindness.

As eye care specialists, we want to focus on the important link between diabetes and your vision so you are aware of the risk factors, conditions, and preventative measures you can take to mitigate your risk or progression of eye diseases.

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Retinal Exams: Early Detection Of Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy? This is a medical condition caused by diabetes where the tiny blood vessels in the retina are damaged by chronically high blood sugar. This damage causes bleeding, which distorts vision and, eventually, leads to blindness if untreated.

This disease affects 80% of the people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher their chances of developing this condition.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people 20 to 64 years old.

But at least 90% of the new cases could be reduced if there was proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes.

And this is why retinal exams are a critical part of a diabetic’s health care routine. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, whether it’s Type I or II, you need to start thinking about regular retinal exams to make sure your vision is healthy.

Retinal exams are fairly simple procedures, with the eye care professional dilating the pupils so they can see into the eyes. The patient’s vision may be a little blurry for a couple of hours, but that’s the only side effect.

If Diabetic Retinopathy is discovered, there are a few effective treatments that we can suggest, from something as non-evasive as taking medication to surgery or laser treatments to cause coagulation in the blood vessels.

Diabetic Retinal Exams are strongly recommended for anyone who has diabetes and has been living with that condition for a longer period of time. We recommend getting a comprehensive retinal exam every year because diabetic retinopathy often has no warning signs until blindness occurs.

So if you’re currently living with diabetes and want to take early steps to prevent losing your vision, come see us at Fraser Valley Cataract & Laser. Our team can diagnose and monitor this condition.

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What Is Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking?

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a procedure which uses riboflavin drops and ultra-violet light to treat progressive and irregular changes in corneal shape, known as ectasia. The combination of the drops (which contain vitamin B2) and the UV light causes the chemical bonds in the cornea to strengthen and cross-link.

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Early Symptoms Of Glaucoma

Most ophthalmologists agree that there is usually very little warning or early symptoms for glaucoma. In fact, a large number of people don’t even know they have it. It’s best to be aware of what early symptoms there are, and what risk factors contribute to glaucoma, so you can begin management of glaucoma, if you end up suffering from it.

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What Is Micro- Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (Migs)?

Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is the latest, most advanced treatment for glaucoma. Instead of performing invasive surgery to relieve the buildup of naturally-occurring fluids within the eye, the physician implants a stent that allows the eye to continuously drain.

In Canada, it can be done as a standalone procedure at the hospital. For patients who are having cataract surgery, MIGS is done at the same time and offers a number of impressive additional benefits:

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Treating Young Glaucoma Patients

When most people think about glaucoma, if they know what it is at all, they picture an elderly person struggling with their vision. This isn’t something that affects young people and is usually viewed as “an old person’s disease”.

Even though it is more common with older people, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect many young people. Juvenile glaucoma usually refers to patients under the age of 30, which means that it’s common enough to have a name.

Detecting it is even more difficult since most young people or their parents wouldn’t even think to consider it if their child started complaining about vision problems. In fact, there are almost no symptoms in the beginning—most people adapt to the loss of their peripheral vision by simply tilting their head slightly. They probably don’t even know how they’re doing it.

This is why bi-annual eye exams are so important. An ophthalmologist can detect glaucoma in patients of all ages and start the treatment. And yes, age is a common factor in glaucoma, but other risk factors are the person’s ancestry (Asian people have a slightly higher chance than Caucasians), the family history, among other factors.

Regardless of age, glaucoma treatment is the same. You start with eye drops or pills, anything to reduce the pressure inside the eye that may affect the optic nerve. Exercise is important, as anything that can help reduce your blood pressure may help. Sometimes that’s not enough, and glaucoma surgery is necessary. Laser surgery can be very effective as it may help increase the eye drainage and reduce the pressure.

No matter what course of treatment someone gets, always remember to think about the emotional impact of someone young being diagnosed with “an old person’s disease”. Be supportive, do your best to empathize, and be positive so they can live with this incurable disease.

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Vancouver’s Winter Can Be Tough For Your Eyes

The winter months can take a surprising toll on your eye health. For most people, their eye health is probably one of the last things on their mind during the long winter months – but winter eye care is more important than most people realize. Damaging sun reflections off snow and dry indoor air conditions can irritate your eyes and impair your vision – follow these precautions to keep your eyes healthy and happy this winter!

 

Indoor Air Conditions

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Once of the most common complaints for our eyes in the winter is dryness, and subsequent burning or itchiness. The winter usually causes lower humidity levels in your home or work when the heat is on and the windows are closed. Those who wear contact lenses are more likely to experience this problem, but it can affect anyone. Sometimes, people with this issue complain initially of eyes that water too much – this is cause because their eyes are not tearing as they should when they get dry and irritated, and are therefore watering too much. Over time, dryness can cause blurred vision or can damage the cornea.

To avoid this issue, you can follow a few steps:

  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated;
  • Use an air humidifier;
  • Carry eye drops with you;
  • Try blinking more often.

 

Outdoor Glare

If you plan to spend several hours outdoors in the winter – whether that be skiing, skating, or shovelling snow – exposure to UV light from the sun’s reflection on the snow or ice can cause damage to the eye’s surface, and cause an inflammation of the cornea. This can make the eyes red, sore, sensitive, and may require antibiotics to prevent infection. Too much exposure to UV light also plays a key role in the development of cataracts, which affect vision.

To avoid damage from outdoor glare, follow these steps:

  • Wear sunglasses that protect against the UV light;
  • When skiing, wear goggles with polycarbonate lenses;
  • Limit your time outdoors – especially if you’ve forgotten eye protection and it is sunny or bright outside.

Additionally, getting laser vision correction ahead of the winter season can be a great idea to improve your enjoyment of the winter activities that you love, as it would mean no rain or fog on your glasses – just clear vision so you can focus on your favorite winter sport.

If you plan to spend time outdoors this winter, plan ahead to help avoid eye problems. They may not be bothering you now, but protecting your eyes from the winter weather can help to avoid long-term issues.