Medical Treatment of Eye Diseases



Just as your family physician is your primary health provider for your body, an optometrist is your primary health provider for your eyes. At Bell Booth Sirkka, our optometrists are able to prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (eye drops and oral medication) to treat numerous eye conditions.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane covering the eyeball and interior eyelid. This condition is most commonly caused by dry eyes, allergies, bacterial infection, or viral infection. Some strains of conjunctivitis are very contagious, so it is important to avoid busy public spaces until your optometrist has established a diagnosis and provided further instructions.


  • Redness
  • Itching or burning
  • Swelling
  • Watering
  • Light sensitivity
  • Green, white, or yellow discharge
  • Crusty eyes upon waking


Treatment for conjunctivitis varies greatly depending on the type. While antihistamines relieve symptoms associated with allergic conjunctivitis and antibiotics cure bacterial conjunctivitis, neither are effective against dry eye or viral conjunctivitis. This is why only an eye doctor can accurately diagnose and appropriately treat your particular type of conjunctivitis.

Dry Eye Disease

The eye requires moisture to function properly and comfortably. When the eye does not consistently have adequate moisture, it is known as dry eye disease. This condition typically appears for one of two reasons:

  1. The body does not naturally produce enough tears.
  2. The body does not produce quality tears.


Dry eye symptoms are typically intermittent and may include:

  • Redness
  • Irritation (burn, grit, itch)
  • Watering
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye fatigue
  • Contact lens discomfort


Bell Booth Sirkka performs specialized diagnostic tests to evaluate the quality and quantity of your tears to help properly manage the type of dry eye disease you have. We understand there are more effective treatments than just eye drops!

Read more about different dry eye treatment options.


Glaucoma is a disease that causes permanent damage to the optic nerve which impacts your peripheral vision. This damage is usually associated with intraocular pressure, also known as IOP. There are three main types of glaucoma:

Normal Tension Glaucoma

Normal Tension Glaucoma is when OP appears normal, but the optic nerve still sustains damage. This is the least common and most baffling form of the disease.

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma is when the angle between the iris and cornea suddenly closes and the aqueous humour is no longer able to drain, causing an abrupt increase in IOP. This type of glaucoma causes noticeable symptoms, including nausea, intense headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, and sudden loss of sight. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-Angle Glaucoma is when the angle between the iris and cornea is wide enough to facilitate proper drainage of the eye fluid (aqueous humour) but the IOP continues to rise. This form of glaucoma is the most common, building slowly over time.


Because glaucoma does not usually present symptoms, the best way to detect glaucoma early and preserve vision is through regular ocular health assessments with an optometrist and the use of advanced diagnostic equipment.


Glaucoma can be treated, preventing or delaying further damage with the regular use of medication. If medication does not have the desired effect, an optometrist may refer patients for laser surgery or other surgical treatments.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The macula is the small area of the retina responsible for detailed central vision. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that results in poor macular function, decreasing vision over time.

Permanent damage to the macula can be caused by deposits (drusen) collecting on macular tissue (Dry AMD) or by irregular blood vessel growth invading the macular tissue (Wet AMD).


AMD does not typically present symptoms until the disease has already caused significant damage and vision loss. Early detection and treatment is possible through regular ocular health assessments with an optometrist.


The most effective way to treat Dry AMD is to take supplements specifically tailored to your DNA (genetics). This test can be performed at Modern Eyes Optometry. Patients with Wet AMD will be referred to an ophthalmologist for medical treatment involving injections into the eye.


Cataracts are a common part of ageing. In fact, most patients over 40 years of age have some level of cataract development.

Over time the proteins in the lens of the eye start to restructure, grouping closer together and becoming cloudy. This condition can be made more severe by long- term exposure to UV rays without protection (i.e., sunglasses). A cataract can make it difficult to see clearly and cause colour to appear washed out or faded.


  • Cloudy or dim vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes


Once a cataract reaches a certain level, optometrists will refer patients to an ophthalmologist who will surgically replace the natural, cloudy lens with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Patients will notice a significant improvement in the colour saturation and clarity of their vision shortly after surgery.


Diabetes can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, even before you begin to exhibit noticeable symptoms. That’s just one of the many reasons you should be visiting your optometrist regularly. Routine eye exams are a critical component of your overall health care strategy.

Individuals with diabetes have a higher chance of developing a variety of serious conditions that, if left untreated, could compromise their vision. These conditions include:

  • Diabetic Macular Edema: In its advanced stages, diabetes can cause fluid to accumulate under the macula, slowly damaging these delicate cells and leading to central vision loss.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes damages the small, delicate blood vessels in your retina, causing them to become weak and leak blood and fluid. Your retina may try to compensate for this by growing new blood vessels, but these are generally not robust and are also prone to leakage. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, the damaged blood vessels are no longer able to provide your retina with the oxygen it needs, leading to vision loss.
  • Cataracts: Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age than individuals who do not have diabetes.
  • Glaucoma: Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those without diabetes.


Diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma don’t typically exhibit symptoms until their more advanced stages, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect without a comprehensive eye exam. If these serious conditions are allowed to progress, they can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness.

Individuals with diabetes are also more likely to experience double vision and blurry vision, as well as frequent fluctuations in their prescription.


Early detection is key. If caught early enough sight saving treatments are available.

Anti-VEGF Medicine

Anti-VEGF medicine, such as aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab. These medicines block the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Anti-VEGF medicines can also stop fluid leaks, which can help treat diabetic macular edema. Anti-VEGF treatments can stop further vision loss and may improve vision in some people.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment, also called photocoagulation, creates tiny burns inside the eye with a beam of light. This method treats leaky blood vessels and extra fluid, called edema. Your doctor usually provides this treatment during several office visits, using medicine to numb your eyes. Laser treatment can keep eye disease from getting worse, which is important to prevent vision loss or blindness. But laser treatment is less likely to bring back vision you’ve already lost compared with anti-VEGF medicines.

There are two types of laser treatment:

  • Focal/grid laser treatment works on a small area of the retina to treat diabetic macular edema.
  • Scatter laser treatment, also called panretinal photocoagulation (PRP), covers a larger area of the retina. This method treats the growth of abnormal blood vessels, called proliferative diabetic retinopathy.


Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the clear gel that fills the center of the eye, called the vitreous gel. The procedure treats problems with severe bleeding or scar tissue caused by proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Scar tissue can force the retina to peel away from the tissue beneath it, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. A retina that comes completely loose, or detaches, can cause blindness.

During vitrectomy, a clear salt solution is gently pumped into the eye to maintain eye pressure during surgery and to replace the removed vitreous. Vitrectomy is done in a surgery center or hospital with pain medicine.

Cataract Lens Surgery

In a surgery center or hospital visit, your doctor can remove the cloudy lens in your eye, where the cataract has grown, and replace it with an artificial lens. People who have cataract surgery generally have better vision afterward. After your eye heals, you may need a new prescription for your glasses. Your vision following cataract surgery may also depend on treating any damage from diabetic retinopathy or macular edema.