Common Eye Problems
Digital Eye Strain
Eye Infections & Injuries
Protecting Your Eyes From The Sun


Our eyes continue to change, which makes an eye exam an important part of our annual check up. 

Many common eye diseases have no early signs or symptoms, regular eye exams are the only way to ensure your eyes are healthy.  During an eye exam, your doctor of optometry will examine the tissues and structures inside the eye, looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, as well as tears in the retina, bleeding and tumours.  They will also look for early signs of serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease during an exam.

Based on the results, your doctor of optometry will advise you about corrective lens options most suited to your personal needs, the treatment options, or will refer you to a specialist if further evaluation or treatment is required.

Common Eye Problems

Your eyes are the windows to your overall health, and an eye exam can also uncover underlying, and sometimes life-threatening, health issues.  Early detection is always important in treating eye disease and health issues. 

The most common eye problems among adults include:

Presbyopia is a natural effect of aging, usually occurring after the age of 40, in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time.  It can cause headaches, blurred vision, tired eyes and the need for more light. This can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Cataracts exist when the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy and opaque.  Cataracts are a function of aging and are most often found in people over the age of 60, although they are occasionally found in younger people, including newborns.

Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye, and can cause changes in vision. Detection during an eye exam is often the first indication that a person may have the disease, or that a person with diabetes does not have adequate blood sugar control.  The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.

Macular degeneration affects the macula­–the central most part of the retina.  It causes the centre of your vision to blur or distort while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected.  It is generally related to the aging process, and is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over the age of 55.  While there is no cure, early detection and prevention measures can delay or reduce vision loss.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada.  It is a progressive disease that most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, with the risk of the disease increasing with age.  There is a greater risk of developing glaucoma for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of eye injuries or a family history of glaucoma.

Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain is caused by a number of factors, including staring at digital screens for extended periods of time and exposure. Another cause is insufficient blinking.  People typically blink 12 times a minute, but when they stare at a screen, they tend to blink only five times a minute, which means their eyes are not being lubricated properly.

There are every-day preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the risks of digital eye strain:

  • Just walk away.Take a break for a few minutes and give your eyes a rest.Focus on something in the distance.
  • Eliminate screen glare by reducing overhead lighting.
  • Position the computer slightly below eye level and at arm’s length.
  • Increase text size on digital devices.
  • Adjust screen brightness.

Based on your digital device habits, a doctor of optometry can help prevent the adverse effects of digital eye strain.

Eye Infections & Injuries

All Albertans are covered by Alberta Health* for medically necessary and urgent care visits to their doctor of optometry.  They have the proper knowledge, tools and equipment necessary to diagnose, treat or refer to a specialist, if needed.  This includes things, such as:

  • eye infections or injuries
  • foreign objects in the eyes
  • sudden changes in vision
  • monitoring for diabetes issues, glaucoma and retinal disease
  • post-operative care for cataract patients

You do not need a referral.  Discuss your eye problem with the doctor of optometry prior to your appointment to ensure you understand what is covered.  Most clinics keep a few daily appointments available for these services.

Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is just as important as putting on sunscreen to protect your skin, and it is an issue through every season of the year.  The glare from snow can be just as harmful as the glare from water.  Many age-related eye diseases may be partially caused by UV exposure throughout your life. 

Speak to your doctor of optometry about your best options.  In addition to appropriate sunglasses, wearing a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap can provide further protection.

*Check with your doctor of optometry to determine if there are any additional costs prior to your appointment.