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COVID-19 Office Updates

June 18th 2021 Update: The health and safety of patients and staff remains our top priority. As federal, province and local guidance permit, we remain open for routine eye exams to meet your eye health needs.
 
As we’ve been monitoring this rapidly changing nature of COVID-19, we want you to know that we are doing our best to navigate. We wanted to reach out with an update on how we are handling our business to best support the health and safety of both you and our team.
 
We’ve enhanced our protocols for our patients’ health and safety, which is our number #1 priority. Before arriving, please let us know if you are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus or if you have been in close contact with someone that has COVID-19. Symptoms can include coughing, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell.
 
Additionally, for the safety of everyone within the office, please come alone or limit the number of people that accompany you to one person, if possible. Also, please wear a cloth face covering or facemask as this is mandatory by our governing body for anyone above the age of 2 yrs. We’ll ask that you clean your hands with hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the office and try to maintain a 6 foot distance from other patients and customers.

 
 
 
Mask Policy
 
Please bring with you a cloth face covering or facemask as this is mandatory by our governing body for anyone 2 yrs of age and older.
 
 
Sanitary Protocols
 
Enhanced measures have been taken to thoroughly sanitize between patients with medical grade disinfectants. Patients must also sanitize your hands upon entering and exiting our clinic.
 
 
One Person Per Visit
 
Families with children are to enter with 1 child and 1 parent or guardian per visit only. We ask that any remaining members wait in their vehicles.

 

We look forward to serving you!

For any further questions kindly contact us at 905 845 5653 or send us an email to info@drpateloptometrist.com

We are open 7 days per week.

Emergency Eye Care and Eye Injuries

Emergency Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Emergency Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

What are Eye Emergencies?

Eye trauma refers to an eye injury caused by a direct blow that causes damage to the eye, adjacent tissue, or surrounding bone structure. Eye traumas can occur in a number of ways, such as punches, a blow from a ball, or flying objects. The severity of eye trauma can range from minor to emergency. However, in all cases, one should seek medical attention and call Dr. Fallon Patel as soon as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Eye Trauma?

When the eye is forcefully impacted, blood collects underneath the affected area, potentially causing any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Troubled vision
  • Visible blood in the eye
  • Protruding eye
  • Reduced mobility in the injured eye

Other eye trauma symptoms include:

  • Cut in the eyelid
  • Unusual size or shape of the pupil
  • Something embedded in the eye or underneath the eyelid

If you’ve suffered an eye trauma, make sure to immediately seek medical attention. In the event of minor eye trauma, there are several things you can do to prevent more damage until examined by your eye doctor.

Home Care For Ocular Traumas

While you await medical attention, it’s important to prevent further damage and thus further harm.

  • Never touch, rub, or apply any pressure to the eye
  • Don’t attempt to remove a foreign substance from the eye
  • If the eye has been cut or an object is stuck in the eye, place something protective (such as a paper cup) on the surrounding bone of the eye
  • Do not apply ointments or medications to the eye – they can often exacerbate the condition
  • In the event of a black-eye, a cold compress may be applied to decrease swelling and promote healing
  • Never use dry cotton (cotton balls or swabs) or sharp objects (such as tweezers) near the eye area

Emergency Treatment For Eye Trauma

We can’t stress this enough – call Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates to have Dr. Fallon Patel examine your eye injury. When you call, make sure to tell us about the injury and please ask any questions you may have.

Our staff is trained to assess the patient’s condition in specific ways and offer specialized care that one wouldn’t receive in an ordinary urgent care facility. We can help with extracting foreign objects, prescribing medicine, bandaging the eye, and if necessary, refer you to another practitioner for surgery or other procedures.

Don’t delay calling – the earlier you seek treatment, the better your chances are for recovery and preserving your vision. Call us at Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville for any eye emergency – we’re here to help.

What Does a Scratched Eye Feel Like?

Eye Care & Eye Exams in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Eye Care & Eye Exams in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

A scratch on the cornea (or corneal abrasion) is one of the most common eye injuries. It can happen without anyone noticing because it doesn’t take a major accident to scrape or scratch the cornea.

If you suspect your child may have scratched his or her eye, seek the help of an eye care professional near you immediately. A corneal abrasion can quickly get worse and lead to serious eye infections unless it receives professional treatment. An experienced and qualified optometrist such as Dr. Fallon Patel in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario can offer effective treatment.

Symptoms of a Scratched Eye

Is your child rubbing its eye and complaining that there’s something in it? Make sure he/she stops rubbing and washes out the eye with clean water. If the feeling prevails, there’s a good chance he or she may have scratched the eyeball.

Check for additional symptoms:

  • Tearing
  • High sensitivity to light
  • A red spot or red line in the white part of the eye
  • General redness of the eye
  • Blurry or decreased vision
  • Headaches
  • Sometimes even nausea

These are signs of a possible corneal abrasion, a scratch on the outer protective layer of the cornea (the round dome covering the front of the eyeball). This layer is called the corneal epithelium.

What Can Cause a Scratch on the Cornea?

This is the tricky part. Almost anything can scratch an eyeball, from a fingernail to a piece of paper, from a branch to sand or dust. In many cases, the child will not feel anything when it happens, but develop symptoms a few hours later.

When a child plays outside, it may fall and get some dirt on his face and a tiny sharp rock or wooden splinter into the eye. This is enough to scratch the sensitive cover on the eyeball.

A sudden blow of strong wind can carry sand and dust particles, which sometimes are sharp enough to cause a scratch on the cornea. Such dirt and sand particles may also hide in a pile of snow your child is using to build a snowman.

If your child is playing with others or with a pet, a fingernail can accidentally get into the eye, even for a brief moment without causing any pain.

How to Treat a Scratched Cornea

There is nothing you can do to treat a scratched eye by yourself. An eye care professional needs to diagnose the severity of the damage and prescribe treatment.

Make sure you or your child do

  • NOT rub the eye
  • NOT use eye drops to relieve redness
  • NOT patch or bandage the eye

To minimize discomfort and risk do

  • Rinse the eye with a sterile saline solution or multipurpose contact lens solution
  • Encourage the child to blink frequently to ensure sufficient moisture
  • Let the child wear sunglasses

What Will the Optometrist Do?

The eye doctor will examine the eye to determine the severity of the injury and assess treatment. Lubricating drops may be used to support the eye’s natural healing process. In many cases, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic drops as a preventive measure against infections.

A scratched cornea will heal within a few days. Typically, it takes less time to heal than a cut to the skin would. If you are not sure about whether your child has injured its cornea, consult Dr. Fallon Patel at Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario now.

Are There Different Types of Contact Lenses?

Contact Lenses & Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Contact Lenses & Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

For those who need vision correction but don’t want to wear glasses or undergo LASIK surgery, contact lenses are a great option. Yes, there are many types of contact lenses to choose from. The list below will take the guesswork out of navigating the various options. Speak with Dr. Fallon Patel and the friendly staff at Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates to select the best contact lenses for your eyes.

4 Contact Lens Categories

  • Soft lenses are made from hydrogels (water-containing plastic) that are very thin, soft, pliable, and easily hug the surface of the eye.
  • Silicone hydrogel lenses resemble regular soft lenses, though they’re more porous, allowing for more oxygen to reach the eye. These are by far the most commonly prescribed contact lenses in the United States and Canada.
  • Gas permeable (GP) lenses are rigid lenses. They allow for the passage of oxygen, rendering them more comfortable than regular hard contacts. These lenses tend to be as comfortable as soft lenses (after the initial adjustment period) and often provide better optics.
  • Hybrid contact lenses have a rigid center with a flexible outer rim that tend to provide the same sharp vision offered by GP lenses, but with the comfort of soft lenses.

Apart from their material composition, contact lenses can also be categorized by wear-time and other features.

Contact Lens Wear Time and Replacement Frequency

Contact lenses are often selected according to preferred wear time and replacement frequency.

Daily contact lenses are removed at night, while the extended-wear contacts are worn day and night without removal, usually for a period of 7-30 days.

All contact lenses require proper hygienic care and need to be replaced periodically to avoid irritation or infection.

  • Daily disposable lenses are worn during the day and discarded before bedtime. A new pair is inserted the next day.
  • Weekly/ Monthly disposable lenses are to be replaced every two weeks at the latest. Others can be replaced every month or quarter.
  • Traditional/reusable lenses are discarded every six months.

Contact Lenses For Every Eye Type

Contact lenses come in several design features that accommodate almost every eye condition.

  • Certain contact lenses, such as scleral lenses, can help treat dry eye syndrome (DES) and benefit those with corneal irregularities, all the while providing comfort and sharp vision.
  • Those with astigmatism or farsightedness (presbyopia) may choose bifocal contact lenses.
  • Multifocal contacts help to slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in children.
  • Prescription colored contact lenses are great for those who wish to experiment with different eye colors.
  • Spherical contacts are used to treat hyperopia, myopia, and presbyopia.
  • Toric lenses can also benefit patients with astigmatism and provide clearer vision than standard contact lenses.
  • Varifocal lenses can also be worn by those that are farsighted, thus eliminating the need for reading glasses.
  • Monovision lenses are used to treat presbyopia by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

Schedule a contact lenses eye exam and fitting to achieve clear and comfortable vision with contact lenses. Our eye doctor and professional eye care staff at Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville will happily help you choose comfortable contact lenses that best suit your eyes and lifestyle.

Visit Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Our office is located at 240 Leighland Ave, Spc 124Oakville, ON L6H 3H6. Please enter your zip code or city, state below for door-to-door directions.

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Smart Hygiene Habits to Care for Your Contact Lenses

Swimming in a pool with your contacts on or topping off your solution may seem harmless, but they could compromise your contact lenses and your vision.

Below are daily habits to adopt for optimal contact lens care:

Wash Your Hands Regularly

Whether you use daily or monthly contact lenses, make sure to first wash your hands. Placing your finger on some clear tape and seeing the mark you leave will give you some indication of what you’re putting on your contact lenses if you don’t wash and dry your hands beforehand. Avoid using scented or oily soaps, as their residue might stick to the lens surface. Similarly, avoid creams and lotions prior to inserting contacts into your eyes. 

This one simple and easy habit can make a massive difference in your eye health and can potentially prevent eye irritation and infections. 

Clean Your Contacts Daily

You must clean and disinfect your contact lenses on a daily basis, unless you use daily disposables, of course. There are several cleansing systems and solutions available — the choice depends on the type of lens you use. Speak with Dr. Fallon Patel to determine the best cleaning solution for your lenses and eyes.

Avoid Contact with Water

It might seem harmless, but we advise against using tap water, as it contains impurities and microorganisms that can cause infections. Furthermore, tap water can lead your contacts to swell and change their shape. If you must swim with your contact lenses on, make sure to wear protective goggles and clean them with solution when you come out of the pool.

Never Ever Use Saliva 

Your mouth is filled with germs, which are fine for your teeth but not for your eyes. Avoid using saliva to “clean” or moisten your contact lenses.  

Do Not Top off Solution

Just as you shouldn’t mix spoiled food with fresh foods, you should not top off yesterday’s solution in your contact lens case with fresh solution. The concoction might not contain enough disinfectant to kill off organisms and clean your lenses. 

Routinely Change the Contact Lens Case

Many people don’t know about this one, but it’s recommended to change your contact lens case every 2-3 months, as microscopic dirt may linger in the case, leading to contamination and eye infections. 

Don’t Sleep with Your Lenses On

It’s important to give your cornea a chance to breathe; sleeping with your contacts may cause redness, soreness and infections. So make sure to remove your contact lenses before you get some shut-eye, unless they’re specialty lenses which are intended to be worn overnight. 

If you’re using orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses to reshape your cornea, do wear them at night or as instructed by your eye doctor. 

Get That Annual Eye Exam

Don’t forget to book your yearly eye exam at Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, as your vision can change. You can’t purchase new contact lenses with an expired prescription anyway, so you’ll need an updated one when your contact lens supply is running low. Furthermore, getting an exam is also an excellent opportunity to ask Dr. Fallon Patel any questions you may have.

How to Keep Glasses from Getting Foggy

Whether you live in a cold climate or have visited one in the winter, you have probably seen someone who just walked in from the cold outdoors sporting glasses that are no longer transparent, or perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself.

Why Do Glasses Fog Up?

There are several factors that cause your glasses to fog up — one of which is ambient heat, in other words, the actual temperature in your surrounding environment. Eyelashes that touch the lens can cause fogging, as well as tight-fitting frames that touch the cheeks (many plastic frames cause this problem), which impede proper airflow. Lastly, high humidity and the sweat and moisture that accompany overexertion/ exercise can also trigger foggy lenses. 

Ultimately, glasses cloud over due to moisture in the air condensing on the cold surface of your lenses. 

Now that you know the most common reasons why your glasses fog up, it’s time to read about some possible solutions. Below are a few tips to help keep your lenses clear year-round.

6 Tips to Steer Clear of Cloudy Specs 

1. Invest in Anti-Fog Coating

Anti-fog coating blocks out moisture that would normally stick to your lenses, by creating a surface layer that repels water and mist. An optician applies the treatment to both sides of the lens in order to prevent fogging so you can see clearly in any climate or environment.

Ask us about our proven anti-fog treatment for your glasses and be on your way to clearer vision, all the time.

2. Use Anti-Fog Wipes, Sprays, or Creams

Commercial anti-fog products are an alternative to lens coatings. These products, typically sold in either gel or spray form, are specially designed to prevent condensation and moisture from building up on your lenses. Apply the product as directed on the packaging and remove it with the supplied cloth, wipe or towelette. If a cloth wasn’t included in the box, use a scratch-free cloth.

Aside from the gel or spray, you can use anti-fog wipes. These pre-treated napkins are perfect for those who are on the go. 

3. Move Your Glasses Further Away from Your Face

Eyeglasses tend to trap moisture and heat, particularly if they are positioned close to your eyes or face, which increases the buildup of fog on your lenses. Consider adjusting the position of your eyewear by pushing your glasses slightly further down your nose. It will stimulate proper air circulation, thereby reducing fog accumulation.

4. Wear Your Seasonal Accessories Wisely

If the weather cools down, try not to wear too many layers, to prevent overheating and producing sweat, which can make your glasses to fog up more. Wear only the necessary amount of clothing to stay warm. If you’re wearing a scarf, consider one with an open weave or a more breathable material to let the air pass through. 

5. Avoid Abrupt Temperature Changes

Allow your eyewear to acclimate to changes in temperature. If you are moving from an environment that is cold into one which is warm and humid, try to let your glasses adjust accordingly. 

For instance: 

  • As you enter a building, stand in the doorway for a minute or two as the temperature slowly transitions from cool to warm. 
  • When in the car, gradually adjust the heat, particularly when your hands aren’t free to simply remove your glasses and wipe off the fog.

Fogged up glasses are not only irritating but can also be dangerous, especially for those who drive, ski, or operate machinery. So make sure to take the necessary precautions, especially as the weather changes. 

6. Swap Glasses for Contact Lenses

If contacts are an option for you, you might want to wear them on those cold days, to avoid foggy glasses syndrome (yeah, that’s a made-up term).

 

Want to keep your glasses from fogging up? Speak with Dr. Fallon Patel. At Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, we can advise you about a variety of contact lenses, anti-fog treatment and other solutions to help you see clearly— any day. 

Summer Heat Wave and Your Eyes

This summer, heat waves with scorching temperatures have hit communities nationwide, making an already hot summer even hotter. With high temps and heat waves in certain areas, it’s now more important than ever to protect yourself.

For best practices and tips for maintaining healthy vision in the summer heat, talk to the Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates.

How Can Heat Affect Vision?

Staying out in the sun too long can give you a sunburn and make you feel exhausted. Did you know that it can affect your vision, too?

If you get dehydrated, lack of moisture can make it hard for your eyes to naturally produce enough tears, which can contribute to seasonal dry eye. If you already have dry eye, extremely dry heat can exacerbate your symptoms of itchy, red, sore, and irritated eyes.

Do you sit in front of a fan or air conditioning system? That may feel great, but it can also contribute to dryer and less comfortable eyes.

To give your eyes some temporary relief, keep artificial tears on hand. If your eyes still feel dry or uncomfortable, contact Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates.

If You Love the Sun, Read This

Golden sunshine may sound dreamy, but too much isn’t a good thing.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be very harmful, and your eyes are no exception. UV radiation, which can gradually contribute to eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Dr. Fallon Patel recommends that you always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection. There’s no shortage of trendy and sunglasses, designed with a flair for fashion, so you won’t have to compromise on style while protecting your eyes from dangerous UV rays.

Excessive sun exposure can cause headaches, blurry vision, eye pain, and eyestrain. So while you’re out at the pool, hanging out at the beach, sunbathing, or at a backyard barbeque, pay close attention to how much time you’re outside.

If you love the sunshine, you just need to protect yourself. Wear hats, sunscreen, and, of course, 100% UV protective polarized sunglasses. But if you experience discomfort or symptoms that don’t go away on their own, then it’s time to visit your eye doctor.

Computer Vision Syndrome in the Summer

There’s nothing quite like a family road trip or flying to a vacation getaway over the summer. Yet something about being stuck in the backseat of a car or inside of an airplane makes kids feel closed in and restless. It’s then that many kids will play on a smartphone, iPad, or gaming device over many hours to help pass the time.

When it comes to kids and computer use, they’re just as susceptible to the effects of digital eye strain, also called Computer Vision Syndrome, as adults are. In fact, studies show that 25% of children spend more than 3 hours each day on digital devices.

In the summer, when the heat is sizzling, it’s tempting for kids to spend more time than usual watching TV, using a computer, or playing games on their smartphones. To help ease the effects of digital eyestrain, Dr. Fallon Patel suggests following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away. It’s a great way to counteract the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome and let the eyes rest.

This summer, however you choose to beat the heat, don’t forget to protect your vision and keep your eyes strong and healthy. The Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates is always here to help if you have any questions.

Have a great summer!

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million. 

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.  

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring. 

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. 

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness. 

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages. 

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. 

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision. 

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss. 

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids. 

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes. 

 



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