COVID-19 Precautions and Safety Measures

During this COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we are closely monitoring the impact of it on our community.
Our priority is to continue to care for our patients, to support our referral partners while ensuring protect the health and safety of our patients, staff, doctors, and the public.
During this challenging time, we will take precautionary steps to promote safety. This may include reducing or canceling bookings for non-urgent office visits as and when advised by the Alberta Health.
Thank you for your cooperation If you, a family member, or close contact have had a recent illness, such as a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, do not come into the office for your appointment. Instead, please call our office at +1-780-652-2033 or email info@stellareyecare.ca to advise us of your symptoms and reschedule your visit. Our office is continuing to review the latest guidelines and recommendations surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and update our policies accordingly.

Vision as well as eye health can change without drastic symptoms during the early and later stages of life. Annual eye exams are recommended for children and seniors. Comorbidities caused by other health conditions may require you to get more frequent eye exams. Your ophthalmologist will advise you accordingly.

We open early and can accommodate you during your pre-work hours. Bringing your glasses, medication list, previous or current prescriptions will help our team serve you better. If you are a senior, or may need a procedure, you may need a driver to come with you. Alberta authorities consider it unsafe to drive with one eye patched.

Various advanced tests and technologies have made it easier to diagnose without dilatation in multiple situations, however, if your eyes need to be dilated, you would need a driver. Expect to spend anything between 1-1.5 hours at the office as different tests take different amounts of time to perform, and most procedures also require some pre and post testing.

For a pediatric patient, we require a cycloplegic eye exam if it has not been done already. Children have strong accommodation muscles and assessment may not be possible without the cycloplegic eye drops. Expect to spend 1.5-2 hours in the office, bring toys or snacks for your child and schedule an appointment at a time that your child will not be tired or sleepy. If the child has an important assignment or exam at school, cycloplegia can hamper the ability to read up-close for several hours and can be scheduled on some other day. Rarely,cycloplegia will not work and we ask you to use Atropine eye drops for 3 days at home and follow up on day 4 for the eye exam.

We may have to schedule your child for an orthoptist assessment on the same day or a different day.

Yes. We have a facility for glasses/eyewear as well as contact lens fitting. Good vision is as much about a good fit of glasses or contact lens, as much about the right prescription measurement. It is essential that eyeglasses fit both your face and head so that the lenses are properly aligned with your eyes. Frames that are too large can slip, misaligning the optics, which in turn can cause headaches. Frames that are too small can pinch, scratch, and/or irritate the sides of your face. Improperly sized frames can also cause discomfort behind the ears or on the bridge of the nose. Contact lenses that fit well, will allow for clear vision while allowing your cornea to breathe. The opticians who share space with us are proficient at helping you with these needs.

We do not do LASIK or other refractive surgeries but we do the pre-LASIK and post-LASIK assessment to make sure you are a good fit or the procedure. We have advanced technologies to do measurements and aid our specialists in the assessment of your eligibility as well as the right procedure for your eyes. We refer our patients to other trusted specialty LASER vision correction centres.

Most of our eye care services are covered by Alberta health if you fall in the eligible age groups. Every medical condition we help you treat, monitor or manage is covered by Alberta health care. Our services may also be covered by WCB, Alberta Refugee plan or Alberta Blue cross. For those situations where the services are not covered by any of these bodies, you may be able to pay through your insurance or out-of-pocket.

For your convenience, we direct bill most major insurance providers like Sun Life, ManULife, Alberta Blue cross, Great West Life, Green Shield, Industrial Alliance, Quikcard and others. Check with our front desk if you don’t find your insurance company listed here. We want to help make your basic right of accessing eyecare and vision care services simple and stress-free.

Most common eye problems

and when you need to see your ophthalmologist

See if any of these common problems sound familiar. This list of common conditions from WebMD is comprehensive of common eye-related symptoms. Always check with your ophthalmologist/optometrist if you have any of these symptoms

Eyestrain

Anyone who reads for hours, works at a computer, or drives long distances knows about this one. It happens more commonly when they have been dry or exposed to extreme weather. They get tired and need to rest, just like any other part of your body. Taking frequent breaks, blinking frequently and using cold or warm compresses can relieve these symptoms.


Red Eyes

Ocular surface is covered in blood vessels that expand when they’re irritated or infected. That gives your eyes the red look. Sometimes the bloodshot look could be a result of a broken blood vessel. As scary as that looks, it is a benign, self-resolving condition.
Eyestrain can do it, and so can a late night, a lack of sleep, or allergies. If an injury is the cause, get it checked by your doctor.
Red eyes could be a symptom of another eye condition, like conjunctivitis (pinkeye) or dryness, or recently because of COVID infection as well.


Night Blindness

Is it hard to see at night, especially while driving? Is it tough to find your way around in dark places, such as movie theaters?
That sounds like night blindness. It’s a symptom, not a problem in its own right. Nearsightedness, cataracts, keratoconus, and a lack of vitamin A all cause a type of night blindness that doctors can fix.
Some people are born with this problem, or it might develop from a degenerative disease involving the retina, and that usually can’t be treated. If you have it, you’ll need to be extra careful in areas of low light.


Lazy Eye

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, happens when one eye doesn’t develop properly. Vision is weaker in that eye, and it tends to move “lazily” around while the other eye stays put. It’s found in infants, children, and adults, and rarely affects both eyes. Treatment needs to be sought immediately for infants and children.
Lifelong vision problems can be avoided if a lazy eye is detected and treated during early childhood. Treatment includes corrective glasses or contact lenses and using a patch or other strategies to make a child use the lazy eye.


Cross Eyes (Strabismus) and Nystagmus

If your eyes aren’t lined up with each other when you look at something, you could have strabismus. You might also hear it called crossed eyes or walleye.
Sometimes vision correction and ensuring both eyes get equal stimulation resolves the problem. Sometimes certain exercises help strengthen the weak eye muscles. Often, you’ll likely need to get an ophthalmologist-strabismus specialist, to correct it surgically.
With nystagmus, the eye moves or “jiggles” all the time on its own.
A detailed eye exam to find the cause and to see which treatment might work best for you is needed.


Color Blindness

When you can’t see certain colors, or can’t tell the difference between them (usually reds and greens), you may be colorblind. It happens when the color cells in your eye (the doctor will call them cone cells) are absent or don’t work.
When it’s most severe, you can only see in shades of gray, but this is rare. Most people who have it are born with it, but you can get it later in life from certain drugs and diseases. Your doctor can tell you what’s to blame. Men are much more likely to be born with it than women.
Your eye doctor can diagnose it with a simple test. There’s no treatment if you’re born with it, but special contacts and glasses can help some people tell the difference between certain colors.


Uveitis

This is the name for a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the uvea. That’s the middle layer of the eye that contains most of the blood vessels.
These diseases can destroy eye tissue, and even cause eye loss. People of all ages can have it. Symptoms may go away quickly or last for a long time.
People with immune system conditions or connective tissue disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, or ulcerative colitis may be more likely to have uveitis. Symptoms may include Blurred vision, Eye pain, Eye redness, Light sensitivity. See your doctor if you have these symptoms and they don’t go away within a few days. There are different kinds of treatment for uveitis, depending on the type you have.


Presbyopia

This happens when you lose the ability, despite good distance vision, to clearly see close objects and small print.
After age 40 or so, you may have to hold a book or other reading material farther away from your eyes to make it easier to read. Sort of like your arms are too short.
Reading glasses, contact lenses, LASIK, which is laser eye surgery, and other procedures can be used to restore good reading vision. Learn more about LASIK eye surgery and presbyopia.


Floaters

These are tiny spots or specks that float across your field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day.
Floaters are usually normal, but they sometimes can be a sign of a more serious eye problem, like retinal detachment. That’s when the retina at the back of your eye separates from the layer underneath. When this happens, you might also see light flashes along with the floaters or a dark shadow come across the edge of your sight.
If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes you see or a new dark “curtain” in your peripheral vision, go to your eye doctor as soon as possible.


Dry Eyes

This happens when your eyes can’t make enough good-quality tears. You might feel like something is in your eye or like it’s burning. Rarely, in severe cases, extreme dryness can lead to some loss of vision. It is one of the most common problems affecting Albertans. Some treatments include:
1. Using a humidifier in your home
2. Special eye drops that work like real tears
3. Plugs in your tear ducts to lessen drainage
4. Procedures that uses heat and pressure to treat dry eyes
6. Nutritional supplements with fish oil and omega-3
If your dry eye problem is chronic, you may have dry eye disease. Your doctor could prescribe medicated drops like cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra) to stimulate tear production.


Excess Tearing

It has nothing to do with your feelings. You might be sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes. Try to protect your eyes by shielding them or wearing sunglasses (go for wraparound frames — they block more wind than other types).
Tearing may also signal a more serious problem, like an eye infection, dry eyes or a blocked tear duct. Your eye doctor can treat or correct both of these conditions.


Cataracts

These are cloudy areas that develop in the eye lens.
A healthy lens is clear like a camera’s. Light passes through it to your retina — the back of your eye where images are processed. When you have a cataract, light can’t get through as easily. The result: You can’t see as well and may notice glare or a halo around lights at night. With time and age, more and more cells in the lens lead to clouding of the lens.
Cataracts cause blurry vision, glare or light sensitivity and difficulty focusing. Like greying of hair, it is an age-related and not a preventable condition.
When they do progress and affect your vision, surgery to remove cataract and implant an artificial intraocular lens is needed.


Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name for a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerves because they are not able to handle the pressure inside the eyes. This pressure could be high, normal or low and still cause glaucoma.
A common form is primary open angle glaucoma. Most people who have it don’t have early symptoms or pain. So it’s important to keep up with your regular eye exams.
It doesn’t happen often, but glaucoma can be caused by:
1. An injury to the eye
2. Blocked blood vessels
3. Inflammatory disorders of the eye
4. Treatment includes prescription eye drops or surgery.


Retinal Disorders

The retina is a thin lining on the back of your eye that is made up of cells that collect images and pass them on to your brain. Retinal disorders can damage the retinal cells and block this transfer. Most common conditions affecting the retina:
1. Age-related macular degeneration refers to a breakdown of a small portion of the retina called the macula.
2. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the blood vessels in your retina caused by diabetes.
Retinal detachment happens when the retina separates from the layer underneath. It’s important to get an early diagnosis and have these conditions treated.


Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

In this condition, tissue that lines the back of your eyelids and covers your sclera gets inflamed. It can cause redness, itching, burning, tearing, discharge, or a feeling that something is in your eye.
People of all ages can get it. Causes include infection, exposure to chemicals
and irritants, or allergies. Wash your hands often to lower your chance of getting it.


Corneal Diseases

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped “window” at the front of your eye. It helps to focus the light that comes in. Disease, infection, injury, and exposure to toxins can damage it. Signs include – Red eyes, Watery eyes, Pain, Reduced vision, or a halo effect
The main treatment methods include – A new eyeglasses or contacts prescription, Medicated eye drops, Surgery.


Eyelid Problems

Your eyelids do a lot for you. They protect your eye, spread tears over its surface, and limit the amount of light that can get in.
Pain, itching, tearing, and sensitivity to light are common symptoms of eyelid problems. You might also have blinking spasms or inflamed outer edges near your eyelashes. Eczema of eyelids and rash is a common problem.
Treatment could include maintaining eyelid hygiene or medication. Conditions like heavy eyelids, droopy eyebrows, in-turning or out-turning of eyelids require corrective surgery.


Vision Changes

As you get older, you may find that you can’t see as well as you once did. That’s normal. You’ll probably need glasses or contacts. You may choose to have refractive surgery (LASIK) to correct your vision. If you already have glasses, you may need a stronger prescription.
Eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, can cause vision problems. Symptoms vary a lot among these disorders, so keep up with your eye exams.
Some vision changes can be dangerous and need immediate medical care. Anytime you have a sudden loss of vision, or everything looks blurry — even if it’s temporary — see a doctor right away.


Problems With Contact Lenses

They work well for many people, but you need to take care of them. Wash your hands before you touch them. Follow the care guidelines that came with your prescription. And follow these rules:
1. Never wet them by putting them in your mouth. That can make an infection more likely.
2. Make sure your lenses fit properly, so they don’t scratch your eyes.
3. Use eye drops that say they’re safe for contact lenses.
4. Never use homemade saline solutions.
5. Never sleep with contact lenses in your eyes. Even though some lenses are FDA-approved for sleeping in them, doing so raises the risk of a serious infection.
If you do everything right and still have problems with your contacts, see your eye doctor. You might have allergies, dry eyes, or just be better off with glasses. Once you know what the problem is, you can decide what’s best for you.