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Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma


Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macula: The central focal point of the retina. Even slight damage to this area can cause significant loss of vision.

There are currently 2.1 million people with age related macular degeneration (AMD) in Canada, increasing by 180,000 new cases each year. Risk increases with age and currently 30% of Canadians 55-74 years of age, and 40% over age 75 have some form of AMD. AMD is responsible for 54% of the blindness in patients over 40 years old.

Early detection is the key to preventing or delaying vision loss. AMD has no symptoms until it reaches an advanced, visually permanent stage.

At Optomeyes we are dedicated to providing the most sophisticated diagnostic technology to our patients. We are the first practice in Western Canada to use an advanced instrument called the Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) scanner. This allows us to detect patients at risk for developing macular degeneration many years before retinal changes can be seen. Based on your results, we can make recommendations on diet, supplementation and lifestyle to reduce your risk of vision loss.

Optomeyes also provides Genetic Testing for macular degeneration. By taking a sample of your DNA from your inner cheek we can determine what genetic subtype of macular degeneration you have. Using this information and the data from the latest research, we can then recommend personalized vitamin supplementation to best reduce your risk of progression.

In certain circumstances, we may also use Preferential Hyperacuity Perimetry (PHP). This technology takes advantage of hyperacuity (aka Vernier acuity), which is the ability to identify trace misalignment of visual objects. In retinal conditions such as macular degeneration, this precise vision may be abnormal long before visual changes are noticed by the patient.

Remember, many of the AMD risk factors can be mitigated with proper treatment and counseling. This is one of the main reasons why regular eye examinations, especially after age 40, are so important to long term eye health.


Often referred to as the “silent thief of vision”, it’s important to remember there are often NO SYMPTOMS with glaucoma! You will NOT notice the changes taking place in your sight until vision loss is severe and in its advanced stages.

There are many types of glaucoma, which is damage to the optic nerve which causes loss of vision. It is often, but not always, associated with increased eye pressure. It occurs in 3–5% of the population and can occur at any age though prevalence increases greatly with age.

Glaucoma is treatable but must be detected early because previous damage is irreversible. Treatment may be as simple as a daily eye drop, but for some patients may also include laser or surgery.

Risk factors:

  • Age >50
  • (+) Family history
  • High myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Previous use of corticosteroids (including inhalers)
  • High (or low) blood pressure
  • Migraine headaches
  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease

There is no single test for glaucoma – it requires a Comprehensive Eye Examination and supplemental testing.

The following tests are required to properly diagnose and monitor glaucoma (all available at both Optomeyes locations):

  • Biomicroscopy – detailed examination of eye structures including the optic nerve
  • Gonioscopy – examination of the drainage system
  • Pachymetry – ultrasound measurement of corneal thickness (risk factor for glaucoma)
  • Digital imagining – pictures of the optic nerve that can be observed over time
  • Visual Fields - tests for peripheral (side) vision loss
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) - provides quantitative measures of nerve tissue damage over time

If you have a family history of Glaucoma or Macular Degeneration it is recommended by the Canadian Optometric Association to receive a Complete Eye Exam every year.

Visit Optomeyes in Squamish and West Vancouver for glaucoma and macular degeneration testing.