A Glossary Of Optometry And Eye Health Terms
Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific sector, and the eyecare business is no exception.
To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when having your eyes checked by an optometrist, Opsis Eye Care has created this handy reference guide.
Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your eyecare needs effectively.
It is a common condition where near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects appear blurred. Myopia can occur at any age.
It is a condition where distant objects are easier to see than near objects. The extra effort required to see clearly at close range can cause blur, fatigue, muscle tension, discomfort, and headaches.
It is a natural effect of aging usually occurring after the age of forty, 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.
It’s the clear tissue that covers the iris and pupil and focuses light on the eye. It comprises five parts: the epithelium, Bowman’s layer, the stroma, Descemet’s membrane, and the endothelium.
It is the opening in the iris that controls the amount of light that reaches the inside of the eye. The response of the pupil to light can also indicate brain processes or functions.
The tissue that lines the back of the eye and contains special light-sensitive cells. It’s composed of ten layers that help convert light into neural signals that are then transmitted to the brain for visual recognition.
This is a safe and gentle vision correction option involving gas permeable hard lenses that correct vision while sleeping so clear vision can be enjoyed during the day. These customized lenses reshape the surface of the eye so that light focuses appropriately on the retina. In the morning, once the lenses are removed, it will be easy to see clearly all day long.
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
This is a laser surgical option where the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is gently removed, and a laser is used to reshape the cornea. The epithelium regenerates over the treated area within approximately three to five days. PRK achieves excellent results, especially for patients who may have a thinner than average cornea. Following healing, the corneal integrity is well maintained, and the visual acuity is usually good. The main drawbacks to PRK are that there is some eye pain or irritation for the first few days after surgery while the epithelium heals, and the prescription may take up to three months to stabilize.
Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
It’s a laser surgical procedure where patients experience faster visual recovery and minimal eye discomfort from the minor operation. A tiny blade or laser is used to create a thin flap of corneal tissue. The flap gets folded back, and the laser is applied to the exposed inner corneal tissue. The flap is then repositioned, where it bonds tightly without the need for stitches. Rarely have there been instances where the flap has come dislodged, such as while playing sports.
Normal eye floaters are caused by the vitreous (gel-like substance in the eye) becoming more liquid. You will then see pieces of gel/fibers that cast shadows on your retina. Sometimes floaters can be an indication of a retinal issue such as a retinal tear or detachment. When that happens, the body will produce pigment to try to repair the retina, making floaters visible.
A cataract is formed when the clear lens within the eye becomes cloudy and opaque. Cataracts vary from minimal areas of cloudiness to large opaque areas that cause a noticeable blurring of vision. They are a function of aging and are most often found in people over the age of sixty, although they are occasionally found in younger people, including newborns.
Glaucoma refers to a family of diseases that damage the optic nerve, usually from elevated pressure within the eye, and is one of Canada’s leading causes of blindness. It is a progressive disease that most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of forty. 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.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the Macula -- the central part of the retina (the inner layer at the back of the eye responsible for detailed central vision). The Macula is used to read, drive, and recognize people’s faces. AMD causes the central vision to blur or distort while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected. It is the leading cause of blindness in North America in adults over the age of fifty-five.
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
This can manifest in people with diabetes (a chronic disease that prevents your body from making or using insulin). Diabetic retinopathy (DR) occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels inside your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels, and other changes. If DR is left untreated, blindness can result. Diabetic retinopathy can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
This is when either the cornea or the lens inside the eye is slightly irregular or cylindrical in shape, resulting in vision being blurred or distorted at all distances.
We hope these terms made you feel more confident about conversing with an optometrist. If you’re looking for more information about the eyes, reach out to the experts at Opsis Eye Care. We are a team of friendly optometrists in Markham, Ontario, dedicated to providing the best patient experience through our range of services. Our services include eye exams, contact lens fitting, Optomap, and Ortho-k (orthokeratology). We also offer laser (LASIK) eye surgery consultations to our patients. We have patients visiting our eye clinic from Markham, Richmond Hill, North York, Scarborough, Vaughan, Thornhill, and the surrounding areas.