13/12/2017 by Dr. Sarah Farrag, Family Vision Clinic
Actually… it’s not so clear what it means! Some people use this term to describe a droopy eyelid. Others use it to describe an eye that wanders, an eye that is crossed or doesn’t stay straight. Others use it to describe an eye that doesn’t see very well. These are all very different conditions - and as you can imagine, they are all managed very differently as well.
A droopy eyelid can occur congenitally (from birth) or be acquired later in life. If you notice a sudden onset droopy eyelid, this can be an eye emergency and you should book in with one of our optometrists in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville or Bedford (especially if you notice accompanying symptoms like double vision, a larger pupil, or if your eye becomes completely closed without the ability to reopen it). If your eyelid slowly becomes droopy over time (more common) and this is affecting your vision, be sure to mention this to the optometrist at your next scheduled eye exam.
A wandering or crossed eye has many potential causes. If you notice a sudden onset crossed eye or sudden onset double vision, this is an eye emergency and you should book in urgently with one of our optometrists. Many people will have a small eye deviation that doesn’t really cause much in the way of symptoms since it is able to be compensated for by their eye muscles. It can come to a point where the eye muscles become fatigued and can no longer compensate for the small deviation. This type of eye muscle weakness can cause many different symptoms but the most common would be eye strain, headaches, or intermittent double vision. Many of these eye muscle weaknesses can potentially be treated non-surgically by doing eye exercises prescribed by your optometrist.
An eye that does not see as well as expected is a condition called amblyopia. It can occur in one or both eyes, and can occur in adults and children. Notably, amblyopia can easily be missed in kids since it does not produce noticeable symptoms to the parents (if just one eye is amblyopic, the other eye that can see well ends up compensating). The treatment for amblyopia is non-surgical: it usually just requires either glasses and/or eye exercises and/or an eye patch for a period of time. The earlier that amblyopia is caught, the quicker and more efficient the treatment. Adult amblyopia can still be treated, but the eye and brain’s response to the treatment is much, much slower. The only prerequisite to detecting and treating amblyopia in ample time is an eye exam! All children in Nova Scotia are covered by MSI for a complete eye examination every two years until their 10th birthday. If your child has reached school age and has not been seen for a complete eye exam, now is a great time to book them in!
For more information about eye exams or any eye emergency, contact us and one of our optometrist in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville or Bedford are happy to answer any and all questions. Call us today!