OCULAR DISEASE MANAGEMENT
There are many eye conditions that develop without obvious symptoms. Using cutting-edge technology, Dr. Wendy Ng offers thorough eye exams to diagnose eye diseases in their early stages, before your vision is affected. Routine eye exams can catch many of these conditions, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Affecting around 250,000 Canadians annually, glaucoma is the second most common cause of vision loss in those 65 and older. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye, and can cause damage to the optic nerve, which sends vision signals from the retina to the brain. Glaucoma often develops slowly, without symptoms. As it progresses, it can cause a loss of peripheral vision. Routine eye exams are the best way to detect and stop the progression of glaucoma.
AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, can happen as the macula (the part of the eye that controls straight-ahead vision) gradually breaks down. With over 1 million Canadians affected by it, AMD is the leading cause of adult blindness in Canada. Most of these people are individuals 50 or older.
Symptoms of AMD include:
Decreased contrast sensitivity (for example, having a hard time seeing coffee in a black cup)
Trouble seeing in low lighting or over longer distances
A blind spot in the center of your vision
Mild blurriness in your vision
Straight lines appearing wavy or crooked
There are many treatments available for AMD, and annual eye exams are the best way to catch it early.
If you have diabetes, then you probably know that it can affect your vision; in fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in North America. Over time, high blood-sugar levels often found in diabetics can damage the blood vessels of the retina, causing blood and fluid leakage, swelling, and blurred or distorted vision. If this is not treated, blindness can result.
Dr. Ng uses advanced imaging technology to detect diabetic retinopathy at early stages, before it can cause permanent damage. Most people with diabetes should have eye exams at least once per year; however, some may require checkups more frequently.
Cataracts happen when the eye’s natural lens, behind the iris and pupil, becomes clouded, causing diminished vision. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in adults over age 40, and the leading cause of blindness worldwide. They can form in either a single eye, or both eyes at the same time.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
Blurred vision that is not improved with a new glasses prescription
Glare or halos from sunlight or artificial light (especially oncoming headlights when driving at night)
Difficulty reading or doing other activities in lower-light conditions
Fading or washing out of colors
Double vision or “ghost” images that do not go away when you cover one eye
Common causes of cataracts include:
Genetics (cataracts present at birth)
Injury to the eye
Heavy alcohol intake, smoking, obesity, poor diet
Excessive exposure to sunlight
Long-term use of corticosteroid medications
High blood pressure
While medications are not available to treat cataracts, they can be surgically removed. This is usually recommended when the cataract becomes significant enough to interfere with your activities of daily living. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.
Regular checkups with an eye care professional are the best way to detect cataracts. Dr. Ng will help you decide when it is time to be referred to an eye surgeon for cataract removal, and what type of procedure will give you the best results for your specific situation.