Vision loss and blindness are the most severe eye conditions that affect vision health in Canada. Common eye diseases include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and other corneal and retinal diseases. Most eye disorders appear at midlife, but pediatric eye conditions and eyelid disorders are also seen frequently in Canadians.
Vision Health in Canada
Some common eye diseases and serious vision disorders present no symptoms until it is too late. Your doctor of optometry can detect and treat eye problems early on through a comprehensive exam. All Canadians should visit their ophthalmologist on a routine basis, even those with perfect vision. To maintain good eye health, more frequent vision screenings are recommended for citizens ages 45 and over, as most common eye diseases develop at this point in life.
Most Frequent Eye Conditions
- Myopia: It is estimated that 25 percent of older Canadians are burdened with myopia, an eye condition that prevents far vision. Symptoms of myopia include blurry vision and difficulty viewing objects at a distance, problems reading, watching television and driving. There is usually a family history on one or both sides. Eye treatment is typical with eyeglasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery.
- Farsightedness: Babies are often born with minor hyperopia, but the eye condition tends to correct itself as the child develops. People who can’t see close objects, experience blurred vision. There is a familial factor involved. Symptoms of nearsightedness include headaches, blurry vision, and poor night reading. This eye disorder is also treated with prescription glasses, contacts or sometimes, surgery.
- Presbyopia: If you are suddenly having trouble reading a book or a sign, and are over the age of 40, you are likely experiencing presbyopia. A good pair of reading glasses is usually the solution. Bifocals or progressive lenses will correct both far- and nearsightedness. Contact lenses are also available to solve this vision problem.
- Astigmatism: If the vision in one or both eyes is impaired at a distance, due to a corneal deformity, this is astigmatism. Headaches, fatigue and blurred vision are also common signs. Eyeglasses or contact lenses are the traditional eye treatment, but corrective surgery is also a good measure.
- Glaucoma: This silent vision thief, robs the afflicted of their eyesight slowly, and without warning. There are usually no clear signs of this common eye disease until loss of vision has occurred. Glaucoma causes abnormally high eye pressure that leads to the destruction of the optic nerve. It is very important to keep up with regular eye exams. For Canadians over 40, and patients with a family history of glaucoma, it is vital you see your doctor of optometry as recommended.