Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. It is something that we monitor for in every full eye health examination, as early detection is key to preventing vision loss. A full eye-health exam will catch signs of the condition, so we can help minimize the loss of vision associated with glaucoma, and provide treatment.

Watch this video from the BC Doctors of Optometry to find out more about Glaucoma, or continue reading below. Of course always feel free to call us with any concerns!

So what is Glaucoma, and how does it impact your vision?

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease in which increased intraocular pressure damages the optic nerve and supporting structures in one or both eyes. The optic nerve takes all of the information seen by the eye and transmits it to the brain. It is experienced as a slow loss of peripheral vision, which ultimately can lead to blindness.

Think of tunnel vision that gets progressively worse. The change is sometimes so slow that patients don’t realize they have lost vision until it is too late — this is why it is called the “silent thief of sight.” Early glaucoma can only be detected by an eye doctor.

At Oak Bay Optometry we have established protocols for detecting, treating, and monitoring glaucoma. For those patients with glaucoma, we will work to control the severity and progress of the disease. More severe cases will be referred to a specialist, which will provide a treatment plan that may involve our clinic monitoring the condition. Our care provides a personalized plan based on the most up to date research on Glaucoma treatment.

Our approach to Glaucoma care:

Our primary goal is to preserve and maintain your vision in a caring, patient-centered environment.

At Oak Bay Optometry, we have specialized equipment that is capable of detecting changes well before any vision loss is noticed. The disease is detected and monitored primarily by using that specialized equipment to assess:

  • Structural changes in the eye
  • Central corneal thickness
  • Eye pressure
  • Visual fields

During your initial glaucoma consultation, we will review your case and determine if you are a good candidate for exclusive care. If your glaucoma is too far advanced and/or surgery may be required, we will refer you to a glaucoma surgeon.

Patient-centered care means that you are always eligible to receive treatment from a surgeon while continuing to see our doctors at Oak Bay Optometry for your regular annual exam. A report will always be sent to your family physician to provide updates on the status of your treatment.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration, AMD for short, is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over the age of 55. It is something that we monitor for in every full eye health examination, as symptoms don’t show until the condition is quite progressed, and vision that is lost cannot be regained. A full eye-health exam will catch early signs of the condition, so we can help minimize the loss of vision associated with the condition.

Watch this video from the BC Doctors of Optometry to find out more about AMD, or continue reading below. Of course always feel free to call us with any concerns!

So what is AMD, and how does it impact your vision?

Your macula is the central part of your retina, which is the part of the eye that is responsible for detailed central vision. This includes your vision for driving, recognizing faces, reading, and more. Macular degeneration is damage to this area, which causes blurring in the central part of your vision.

The early stages of macular degeneration can only be detected by a full eye health examination. A common initial symptom is slightly blurred vision in the center of your focus when doing tasks that require detail. It can also cause straight lines to look distorted or wavy, and dark spots that blank out portions of vision. As the condition worsens your vision decreases.

There are two broad forms of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is much more common and is a gradual progression of the condition in which symptoms develop slowly over time. Wet AMD is much less common, and is a sudden bleeding from the macula and symptoms progress rapidly.

At Oak Bay Optometry we have established protocols for detecting, treating, and monitoring macular degeneration. For those patients with early AMD, we will work to slow the process down and save as much central vision as possible. More severe cases will be referred to a retinal specialist, which will provide a treatment plan that may involve our clinic monitoring the condition. Our care provides a personalized plan based on the most up to date research on AMD prevention.

What can you do to help prevent AMD progression?

Macular degeneration is an age related illness, and the treatment available is preventative lifestyle changes. Certain factors place you at a higher risk to developing AMD – smoking, extensive UV exposure, lack of certain vitamins and nutrients, and a lack of activity have been linked to the condition. Following a healthy lifestyle and having proper UV protection for your eyes are believed to play a central role in preventing AMD. A diet high in green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruit, fish, and whole grains all have important nutrients which can help your vision. A proper pair of sunglasses that is well fitted and offers UV exposure is also important to wear in all conditions – even on overcast days.

Macular Degeneration Prevention Program

If signs of macular degeneration is found during your eye health examination your optometrist may recommend monitoring with our macular degeneration prevention program.

A baseline image of your maculas will be obtained using a retinal camera and an Ocular Coherence Tomographer (OCT).

The retinal camera provides sharp digital images of the surface of the macula. The OCT provides more information about the macula by detailing all of the separate layers of the central retina. This advanced technology allows us to detect more subtle changes in the health of the macula, often before any changes in vision are noticed. This means that disease progression can be caught, and dealt with sooner.

Depending on our findings, a personalized care plan is proposed for your needs. The care plan will include follow-up appointments, retinal photos and/or OCT scans, and will be scheduled at 3, 6, or 12 month intervals to reassess the macula and give further counselling regarding macular health. We want to do everything that we can to protect your central vision.

Eye implant

Researchers at Caltech looked to nature for inspiration to design effective, longer-lasting eye implants.

Hyuck Choo, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, has been working on designing an implant that measure intra-optical pressure in glaucoma patients.

The tiny implant flexes as eye pressure changes, and this change can be measured using a handheld reader. The problem he ran into was that to get accurate measurements the reader must be held at exactly a 90 degree angle with respect to the implant.

The Glasswing Butterfly’s wings are coated in tiny pillars, about 150 nanometers apart and 100 nanometer in diameter. These pillars redirect light from any angle, greatly reducing reflections, a phenomenon known as “angle-independent anti-reflection.”

By creating a nanostructured coating in mimicry of the butterfly’s wings, the light from the reader will pass through the implant and give the correct reading independent of the angle.

“The nanostructures unlock the potential of this implant, making it practical for glaucoma patients to test their own eye pressure every day,” Choo says.

As an additional bonus, the nanostructures discourage fouling of the implant by trapping a layer of water around it. According to Vinayak Narasimhan, a graduate student at Calktech working on the project, “Cells attach to an implant by binding with proteins that are adhered to the implant’s surface. The water, however, prevents those proteins from establishing a strong connection on this surface.”

The results of this project were published in the April 30 edition of Nature Nanotechnology. This article is from Research Updates in Optometry. To read more about this interesting prospect check out: Caltechs Article