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Eye Disease

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration is a potentially visually devastating disease that affects your central vision. Your prognosis depends on the form and severity of the disease as well as your risk factors.

What is the macula?

The macula of the eye refers to the small central area of the retina which is highly specialized to resolve detail. This tiny area is our 20/20 sweet spot which we need to see any small detail including reading a book or seeing detail on a person’s face.

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a degenerative process which disturbs this delicate, highly specialized tissue. It is linked to smoking, genetics, diet, light exposure and poor health. Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old.

As you age it is important to check your eyes for the presence of macular changes. There are vitamins, diet and lifestyle changes that you can make to change the course of macular degeneration.

Cataract Exam & Co-management


A cataract is clouding that develops in the lens at the front of the eye. It is usually related to aging, but can also affect you at a much younger age.


Cataract progression is influenced by aging, genetics, UV/blue light exposure, trauma and non-optimal blood sugar levels.

Cataracts are caused by a clouding in the crystalline lens of the eye which is located just behind the iris. A cataract generally causes a gradual decline in your vision causing your vision to become blurry and dim. However, some cataracts progress very rapidly as well.

Cataracts are fairly easy to detect using a slit lamp evaluation during your comprehensive eye exam.

When your cataracts are compromising your vision enough to significantly affect your day to day visual needs or are causing annoying glare and difficulty seeing at night, they are ready to come out.

When your cataracts are ready to be removed, we will refer you to a local ophthalmologist for a surgical consult.

Ophthalmologists perform cataract extraction when they are ready to be removed. Cataracts are treated by small incision surgery in which your lens is replaced by an artificial lens. Although cataract surgery is usually successful, it is important to remember than it is not without risk.

We will perform an eye examination about 6 weeks after your cataract surgery to determine your new prescription and ensure that there are no complications from the surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that causes irreversible damage the optic nerve of the eye, resulting in vision loss. It is often asymptomatic in the early stages, and only a comprehensive eye exam can determine if you have or are at risk for developing glaucoma.

Early detection of glaucoma is key to having a successful outcome. Your optometrist will determine if you are at risk for glaucoma during your examination and may need to order additional specialized testing. Glaucoma is a complex disease, and baseline data is needed to monitor for progression over time.

At Summerland Optometry we have advanced technology to detect glaucoma at an early stage. To monitor our patients for glaucoma we measure their eye pressures, and their corneal thickness. We also obtain a detailed optic nerve scan (OCT), and test for peripheral vision loss (Visual field). OCT nerve scans and visual field testing are necessary for the diagnosis and management of glaucoma.

Diabetic Eye Exams Diabetes & Ocular Health

Diabetes is a very common condition in our society. Unfortunately, it can put you at increased risk for developing many eye conditions including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts.

If you are diabetic you know and understand how important it is to control your blood sugar levels to ensure they are stable. Because diabetes is a vascular disease, it is very important for diabetics to have annual exams.

In a comprehensive eye exam, we will look closely at your retinal blood vessels which reflect the state of your capillary circulation in your entire body. The retina is the only place in the body where capillaries can be easily viewed. With wide field retinal imaging (Optomap) and cross-sectional macular scans (OCT), we can pick up early vascular anomalies and alert your medical physicians of our findings. In fact, when we see a diabetic for routine examination, we always send a report to your family doctor of our ocular findings.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

If your diabetes is not optimally controlled or you have had the disease for many years, we often see diabetic retinopathy in your eyes. Blood vessels can leak blood and fluid into the eye and even grow new abnormal vessels. Diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss and often treatments are required.

What is Macular Edema?

Macular edema occurs when fluid accumulates at the macula from leaky blood vessels. Your macula is the central part of your retina responsible for central vision; therefore, damage to this area can be devastating. Macular edema is visualized on our cross-sectional macular scan (OCT). Referrals are often required to retinal ophthalmologists for treatment.

Does BC medical cover my appointment?

BC medical covers a portion of your eye examination if you have underlying systemic disease, such as diabetes, or ocular disease including cataracts or glaucoma.

Flashes and Floaters

The sudden onset of flashes and floaters is a common reason why patients report for urgent evaluations. These ‘flashes and floaters’ can be a very normal part of your eyes’ aging process, but any new symptoms can indicate a problem and need to be assessed in a timely manner.

  • What am I seeing?


    Flashes are odd perceptions of light usually in the side vision that seem to come out of nowhere.

    Floaters are shadowy forms that seem to drift in the vision. They are best observed when looking at a light background that has no detail such as a light wall or in dense fog.

  • What is a Vitreous Detachment?


    Flashes and floaters of acute onset are usually cause by an acute event called a vitreous detachment which is a normal age-related change.

    A vitreous detachment occurs when the jelly in the back cavity of the eye, the vitreous gel, shrinks and separates from the retina. The vitreal gel can sometimes pull on the retina, and this traction lead to flashes of light. The floaters are seen when you can view the back of the vitreous gel.

  • When should I be seen?


    If you experience any new symptoms of flashes or floaters you should have your eyes checked promptly. The tractional effect on the retina can cause a retinal tear and this needs to be treated ASAP. A retinal tear keeps progressing until treated with laser or surgery and can lead to a retinal detachment in worst case scenarios.

Please call our clinic to schedule an appointment
including pupil dilation and wide field retinal imaging.

Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action