Family Eye Care in Duncan & Mill Bay, BC
Discover Our Trusted Family Eye Care Clinic Today!
At Eye Design Optometry, we have been providing a Lifetime of Family Eye Care for over 23 years. What many people don’t realize is that the procedures we utilize and the areas of vision and eye health we focus on, varies considerably from infancy to later in life.
Regular eye exams throughout life is one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard the future of your family’s vision. Have a ‘look’ to see how every step of the way matters!
INFANTS (0-1): a child’s first exam should be by 6 months of age, as recommended by the Canadian Association of Optometrists. Many parents will often ask “But what can you see?” Actually, we can determine quite a lot! At this age, one of our primary concerns is to determine that the eyes are working together AND working equally. Taking a careful family history for conditions such as ‘lazy eye’ (amblyopia), ‘turned eye’ (strabismus) or a high prescription is important as there is an inherited component to these conditions and thus increased risk to your child. Using an instrument called a retinoscope, we will be able determine if there is any prescription out of normal range (such as higher than normal astigmatism). Examination of the external and internal health using mobile microscopes helps us ensure the eyes are developing together, equally and are on the right track.
The importance of early examination of your child before the age of 5 cannot be stressed enough as it is in these early years that the pathway of normal vision for each eye to the visual cortex in the brain is being established. Often called the ‘plastic phase’, this is the critically important window where correcting any eye problem with glasses, patching or surgery (if necessary) can help the eyes develop equally and achieve normal vision. After this period, correction of any type is generally not as effective and may lead to permanently reduced vision, known as amblyopia
It is truly heart-breaking for all concerned when a child presents for their first exam after 5 years of age with no concerns by parent or child only to discover that the child has only been using one eye up to that point. The parent is unaware of the problem and the child has no idea that seeing mostly out of one eye is abnormal.
As your youngster returns for their annual eye check, we will be able to build on the level of testing for any uncorrected vision issues, development of proper eye co-ordination and that the eyes remain healthy.
CHILDHOOD (6-12): 80% of learning comes through your child’s eyes and so during the school age years, we will continue to look for any changes in eye development and focus on any individual issues that may arise. As your child’s eyes are receiving more information than ever before, complaints of headaches, delayed reading and cognitive concerns often present themselves for evaluation. By examining for proper eye tracking, depth perception (stereopsis) any significant prescription, we will be able to determine any visually-related condition that can be treated with glasses or eye exercises.
This is often the age where a child comes home from school with what is believed to be an eye infection commonly called ‘pink eye’. Pink eye is often used as a catch-all term and can have causes varying from bacterial (normal cause), viral, allergic or even environmental. Our office recognizes that a potential eye infection needs quick and accurate diagnosis which is best achieved by examining the eyes behind an instrument called a biomicroscope. We are then able to prescribe the appropriate drops for treatment and monitor as necessary. Any form of red eye is considered acute care and is scheduled by our office for urgent, same day assessment and is fully ensured under BC medical.
TEENAGERS (13-18): We will often tell parents that as the body goes through rapid growth changes through the teen years, so can their eyes, particularly if there is a family history of high prescription for near-sightedness or astigmatism. It is also the time when there are discussions about contact lenses. Parents will often ask ‘what is the age when my child can safely wear contacts? ‘. The answer is basically, any time can be appropriate during this age group (and occasionally younger) IF the parents and teen feel they have the level of responsibility to adhere to instructions on wearing time and care. After assessing the eyes for compatibility, we generally recommend contact lenses that are of a frequent replacement type, either monthly, biweekly, or daily. Compared to historical problems with eye infections, over-wear or poor care, this wearing schedule has greatly reduced the problems encountered and allows the teenagers freedom from glasses when engaged in sports or other daily activities. Ensuring that your teen still has a proper pair of reasonably up to date glasses to use when not wearing their contact lenses is equally important for future success and eye health.
And remember, under the BC medical plan, all children under the age of 19 have coverage for their eye exam in both our Duncan, and Mill Bay offices. We also continue to serve patients from Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake, Chemainus, and Lake Cowichan.
ADULTS (19-64) This is an obviously very large demographic age group that can encounter an equally large list of vision and eye health related issues, some of which can cause permanent vision loss if not diagnosed early.
In this ‘Digital Age’ we now routinely see adults present with symptoms related to near point stress from hours of unavoidable ‘screen time’, either on a computer or digital device. During the eye exam, we will determine if there is any underlying visual concern and make recommendations if needed. In some cases, we may recommend new lens technologies that have been specifically developed to eliminate glare, filter out harmful BLUE LIGHT and prevent fatigue and eye strain. In other cases, the eyes may be functioning perfectly well in which case we can counsel on the latest information on proper lighting, working distance and other eye ergonomic tips!
After the age of 45, our near vision generally declines so that many people need to consider some form of near correction, whether it be readers or progressive lenses for full time use. For our contact lens patients, don’t despair as moving into multifocal contact lenses is a great option in many cases and can provide good vision at BOTH distance and near. Just ask Dr. Anderson or Dr. Kirsch, who successfully wear this type of lens all day at work themselves!
For patients wanting freedom from both glasses or contact lenses, the option of laser eye surgery can be discussed. We will assess for a stabilized prescription (a key factor to proceeding), examine the cornea and tear film as well as make sure all questions are answered so there is reasonable expectation of success. Our office has been involved in this area of eye care since this procedure was first introduced to the public over 20 years ago, and are well-equipped to manage all aspects of pre-and post-operative laser eye surgery care.
For many adults, the feeling sometimes is ‘I see well so all must be well’ and many years can pass between proper, comprehensive eye exams. The reality is that many eye diseases can advance undetected until visual loss becomes significantly affected.
By using advanced imaging technology, we can take cross-sectional views of the back of the eye which gives us the ability to diagnose eye conditions much earlier (often years earlier) than by standard microscope exam alone. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal holes and tears are just some of the conditions we routinely diagnosis during exams where patients present with ‘no concerns’.
In addition, as the eye is the only part of the body where we can view the blood vessels of the body non-invasively, we can detect many undiagnosed medical conditions particularly diabetes and hypertension. For individuals already diagnosed with a medical condition or who are taking ‘at risk’ medications (such as certain rheumatoid arthritis and blood thinner medications) regular exams will allow us to monitor for any eye-related complications.
In terms of vision, one of our main goals is to ensure that we provide our 65+ patients with the best vision possible, especially for driving, so that they may maintain their independence. We discuss night driving issues as well and current options available to maximize their visual comfort in those demanding situations. Active living means pursuing passions like golfing, music or painting which can be optimized by specific glasses for those important avocations.
Our ‘snowbirds’ will often visit our office in the fall for an update to their prescription sunglasses before heading south to sunnier climes to either read in the sun or engage in outdoor pursuits. Whatever the need, we are committed to fulfilling each patient’s specific requirements for their on-going enjoyment!
The main risk factor for many eye diseases is in fact, age. Thus, regular, comprehensive eye care as recommended by one of our optometrists is the best way to ensure early diagnosis and treatment. Our advanced imaging uses scans that are non-invasive, painless and are like ultrasounds in providing an image except that they use light instead of sound waves. For the retina, this provides us with a cross-sectional view of all 10 retinal layers as well as the underlying tissues where disease happens first. This allows for much earlier detection as well as monitoring of macular degeneration.
In glaucoma, OCT scans also provide far more detail and analysis of the depth of the nerve fibers around the optic nerve itself. This allows us to see changes that occur far earlier than by normal ‘microscope views’ of the optic nerve alone. This is invaluable for early detection of glaucoma as well as for effective monitoring and management/treatment of the disease itself.
Our doctors will take the time to review these multiple scans with each patient so that they may better understand their condition as well as review the on-going plan for further monitoring or treatment recommendations.
For most patients in this age group, the term cataract is not unusual. The clarification comes in determining when a cataract becomes clinically significant. Over the age of 65 everyone has some type of cataract development as this only indicates that the lens structure inside the eye is becoming cloudy. As your optometrist, it is our role to diagnose and advise the patient of several factors about their cataract including: it’s effect on best vision, it’s likely rate of progression, if spectacle update is worthwhile or if surgical removal with implant replacement is the best option. Today’s cataract surgery is done on a hospital day-patient basis with local anaesthesia and enjoys minimal risk while generally providing excellent visual outcomes.
Dry eye is another condition which can affect seniors in a higher percentage than other groups. Paradoxically, patients can present to the office with complaints of ‘runny or teary’ eyes. The tears themselves are a composition of several layers including mucous, aqueous (water) and lipid (oil) and it is either a deficiency or imbalance of one or more of these layers that can cause the burning, gritty, gravel-like symptoms of dry eye. The good news is that with proper diagnosis of the ‘type of dry eye’ during your comprehensive eye exam, new treatment options can be discussed that are far and beyond the effectiveness of the standard artificial tear supplement. Our doctors stay abreast of the latest dry eye diagnosis and treatment options as we routinely observe the tremendous impact this condition can have on patient’s daily comfort and vision.
At Eye Design Optometry, we are committed to providing family eye care that protects and enhances their quality of life for optimal living!