1705 Park Street ● Regina, SK. ● S4N 2G3
Phone: 306-719-2020 ● Fax: 306-719-2021
EYE HEALTH MONTH BLOG
May is Eye Health Month
According to the CNIB, every 12 minutes a Canadian experiences vision loss1. Thus, with May representing “eye health month”, we remind you to keep your eyes healthy! Just as routine physicals are important to your overall health, routine eye exams are important to keeping your eyes healthy – and can be just as important! A number of potentially life threatening conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
The National Eye Institute makes the following recommendations for keeping your eyes healthy and protecting your vision2:
Comprehensive dilated eye exams
Choosing a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing chronic health conditions and not smoking
Know your family history
Use protective eye wear
Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays
The major causes of vision loss in Canada are:
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD): This is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada3. In the beginning stages of macular degeneration, there are often few symptoms. Macular degeneration affects the central vision and the ability for the eye to see detail.
Cataracts: Cataracts are a normal part of the aging changes that occurs to the lens inside our eye. As cataracts begin to develop, the most common symptoms are increased glare with night driving and difficulty seeing low contrast objects. Some indications that a cataract has started to form include hazy vision that cannot be corrected with an updated glasses prescription or the feeling of having a film over your eyes that does not go away with blinking.
Diabetic retinopathy: According to Statistics Canada, over 2 million people across the country have been diagnosed with diabetes and this number continues to rise4. Diabetes can cause a number of problems with vision including earlier cataracts, blurred or distorted vision that cannot be corrected with glasses, and retinal detachments, if severe.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma results in total blindness and can affect people of any age. Since glaucoma is almost always symptomless, it often goes undiagnosed until the later stages of the disease. By the time you notice symptoms of vision loss related to glaucoma, serious and permanent vision loss has already occurred. A simple and painless procedure performed during a routine eye exam screens for glaucoma and should be performed at least every 2 years with your routine eye exam.
Dilation is the standard of care when it comes to monitoring ocular health. The reason is that examining the eye through a dilated pupil gives the doctor the best view inside the eye. When you receive a dilated eye exam, you can expect some visual changes that last about 2 hours. First, because the pupil is dilated, it can make you more light sensitive so wearing sunglasses, especially on very sunny days, is recommended. Additionally, the dilation drops relax the muscles responsible for your focusing system so vision can be blurry, especially near vision.
Get Your Eyes Examined Today!
The first step in prevention is having your eyes examined by a doctor of optometry. Be sure to keep your eyes health and get your routine dilated eye exam by calling 306-719-2020. In Saskatchewan, there is medical coverage for a diabetic eye exam once per year through Saskatchewan Health. Additionally, children age 18 and younger are eligible for an annual eye exam.
In Saskatchewan, there is medical coverage for eye emergencies with a valid health card, which include everything from chemical in the eye and foreign body in the eye to sudden vision loss and allergies. Therefore, be sure to get your eyes examined if you have any problems or concerns with your eyes or vision!
Macular degeneration: http://www.cnib.ca/en/about/media/vision-loss/pages/default.aspx#canadians
Diabetes Stats Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/health53a-eng.htm