Have you ever been referred to an eye specialist’s office for additional testing? One of these tests may have been an OCT. Have you ever wondered why your eye doctor has recommended this test and what it is for?

OCT, or Ocular Coherence Tomography, is a non-invasive and painless diagnostic instrument used to create an image of your retina and optic nerve. While similar to a CT scan in the way that it produces images of your internal body structures, the OCT uses light—instead of radiation—to rapidly scan the layers of your retina and create a 3D cross-section of the area. What that scan reveals about the condition of your retina can be interpreted by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.

Flowers are blooming and spring is in the air! As pollen spreads, people afflicted by seasonal allergies begin to suffer. Allergens can cause redness, swelling, itching and watery eyes due to histamine. Although histamine is a normal component of the body, when released, it causes an inflammatory response.

Seniors are not exempt from bothersome allergy symptoms and often have complicating factors such as chronic diseases, making it difficult to manage and treat. Avoid planning outdoor activities when outdoor allergens are particularly high. If you must go outside, remember to wear sunglasses to avoid eye irritation.

Over 3 million people in Canada are diabetic and over 5 million are pre-diabetic. Diabetes can affect the eyes in many ways, although the first symptom diabetics may encounter is fluctuation in vision. As the blood sugar levels in the body increase, it may cause a temporary hyperopic shift in a person’s prescription. While that may not seem too serious, every time it occurs it causes the lens within the eye to fill with water, which changes the uniformity of it. Eventually, this may lead to a cataract or opacity of the lens as well as a permanent decrease in vision. The only way to restore vision would be through surgery.

Often times I hear people say, “How could I have dry eyes? My eyes water all the time!” If your eyes tear excessively, it may be a sign of dry eyes. As our eyes become dry, our brain gets a signal and tries to help by producing more tears. Unfortunately, it will sometimes cause an overproduction of tears, giving us watery eyes. There may also be other symptoms associated with dry eyes like burning, decreased vision, redness, light sensitivity and the feeling of having something in your eyes all the time.

There are a few reasons why we get dry eyes, but age is a big one. Our tear production decreases as we get older. Health conditions, like autoimmune and thyroid diseases, and medications, like antihistamines and acne treatment, can all cause dry eyes.

Presbyopia is an eye condition where the eye loses its ability to focus on nearby objects. It is an age-related change that typically begins in the early 40s. What happens is the crystalline lens within the eye gradually loses its ability to flex. That makes it difficult for the eye to focus light onto the retina.

You can tell if you have the early signs of presbyopia when you start holding objects further away to see them and/or if you are experiencing eye fatigue and headaches.

Diet and nutrition play an important role in the overall health of the eyes and may even help prevent macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Omega-3, a fatty acid which can be found naturally in fish, flaxseed and walnuts, is one of the most popular supplements people take today—and for good reason! Your body can’t make them.

Many studies have shown omega-3 may help in treating dry eye syndrome. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory agent which supports good heart health.

You may have heard that fluorescent lighting can be bad for your eyes, but did you know why? In recent years, studies have shown that Blue-Violet light can be damaging to the retina, and therefore has the potential to cause Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is a disease of the eye that causes central vision loss.

So, what does this have to do with fluorescent lighting? Higher amounts of blue light are emitted with the use of fluorescent lights, but that’s not the only source. High amounts of blue light are also emitted through the use of LEDs which are found in electronic devices including computer monitors, TVs, and personal devices like tablets and smart phones.