Our Blog

Information about common eye questions

COVID-19 and Contact Lenses

23 April 2020

You may have seen countless social media posts about the safety of contact lens wear and coronavirus exposure. But researchers have found that, so long as you engage in proper lens hygiene, wearing contact lenses is safe.

Of course, if you are actively unwell, contact lenses should not be worn at that time, as illnesses suppress our immune system, alter our tear chemistry, and make us more prone to eye discomfort or infections.

So what can you do during this pandemic to ensure your contact lenses stay safe to wear? First, just like they have been telling us daily in the media, wash your hands! Also, make sure you have a clean work area, a clean contact lens case, and are using your rinsing and disinfecting solutions as prescribed. Do not top-up or reuse solution and make sure you are replacing your contact lens cases monthly or more frequently.

Soft contact lenses are available as daily, bi-weekly, or monthly disposables. Be sure to dispose of your contact lenses as prescribed and never sleep in your contact lenses.

Though we are postponing the normal necessary annual eye exams during the COVID-19 crisis, we are here to help you when you need it. If you need to re-order contact lenses, given us a call and we will be happy to get you a new supply.

Pregnancy and the Eye

7 April 2020

Women experience a myriad of physical changes during pregnancy like body tenderness, water retention, and nausea – but few women know about how pregnancy affects their vision. The hormonal and physical changes experienced by expectant mothers might include dry eye, blurred vision, or severe changes to vision. These may also be the first sign of a more serious condition like gestational diabetes. While pregnant, here are three vision conditions to keep an eye on:

1) Blurred Vision. Slight vision changes are common for pregnant women to experience. If you notice that your vision has steadily changed or is periodically different, you’re likely experiencing refractive changes (changes in eye structure/shape) caused by fluid retention. Not to worry, for most women these changes are temporary and return to normal after delivery. In some cases, these changes are permanent and may require a trip to an optometrist for a new prescription. Doctors of optometry recommend that women wait between six and nine months after delivery before making changes to their prescription to ensure their eyes have fully adjusted.

2) Dry Eyes. The hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy can decrease natural tear production, resulting in dry eye for some women. Chronic stinging, gritty, scratchy and uncomfortable feeling eyes are all common signs of the condition. After delivery, these symptoms often go away but in some cases, it can be permanent and needs to be managed with a prescription. If dry eye is left untreated, it can be harmful and could lead to tissue damage and scarring that can impair vision. If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, your optometrist can prescribe artificial tears, gels, and ointments to reduce discomfort.

3) Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing serious eye conditions that often worsen during pregnancy and can lead to permanent damage to the blood vessels in the eye. Watch out for severe blurring or fluctuating vision, double vision, flashes, floaters within the eyes, and partial vision loss. Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes should see their doctor of optometry once per trimester to monitor the blood vessels in the eye and to ensure steps are being taken to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy, diabetes-induced retinal damage that can lead to permanent blindness.

 Information from: https://opto.ca/health-library/how-pregnancy-impacts-your-vision

Floaters

3 March 2020

Most people experience eye floaters in their vision at least once in their lifetime. They may look like black or grey flecks, strings, or cobwebs that appear to float away any time your try to look at them. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes to the jelly-like substance that fills our eyes called the vitreous. The vitreous becomes more liquid over time and, as this happens, microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and cast shadows on the retina in the back of the eye. These shadows are the floaters that you see.

Floaters typically will eventually settle down and drift out of the line of sight. They can be more obvious on bright sunny days or if you are looking at a bright white wall. Usually these floaters are completely harmless, but there are a few changes to watch for. Any significant increase in the size or number of floaters, flashes of light in the same eye as the floaters, or shadows forming in your peripheral vision can all be symptoms of a retinal detachment or tear. These retinal issues can be urgent, and so it is a good idea to book a same day appointment with your optometrist to investigate these changes.

Makeup and Eye Health

21 February 2020

Usually when we are buying or applying makeup, the last thing we tend to think about is the effects that these products can have on our eye health. Often, makeup can cause different ocular complications including dry eyes, allergic reactions, redness eyelid infections, or contact lens complications. There are many ways we can avoid these complications:


1) Never share your eye makeup. There can be bacteria on brushes and 

     tools from another person’s eye that you do not want in your own eye.

2) Avoid applying eyeliner to the inner lash line. This can block the oil 

     glands that we have in this area that are responsible for producing the 

     oil that is in our tear layer. Blocking these important glands can lead to 

     dry eyes or styes.

3) Avoid expired makeup products. Bacteria love to grow on creamy and 

    liquid makeup.

4) After an eye infection, be sure to throw away all of your makeup. The  

    bacteria that causes the eye infection can stay on your makeup 

    products and can re-infect your eyes.

5) Introduce only one new eye makeup or care product at a time, 

    especially if you tend to have allergic reactions easily. Don't add 

    another new product until you know you're not reacting to the first one.

6) Be sure to remove all makeup before bed. Residual make up can lead to

     eye irritation and dryness.

7) Always apply contact lenses before applying makeup. This helps 

    prevent excess makeup sticking to your contact lenses.


If you have questions about your makeup products or want tips for healthy eyes, book an appointment and we will be happy discuss any concerns you may have.

Eyelid Twitching

14 February 2020

We’ve all experienced it before. You are trying to concentrate on something and then all of a sudden you start to feel a slight twitch in your eyelid. It may go on for a minute or two, sometimes even off and on for days.

Eye twitching is nothing you need to worry about in most cases and is not an indication of something more serious. These small muscle twitches are usually caused by a lack of sleep, increase in stress, overconsumption of caffeine, or often a combination of all three. Often, gentle massage or cold compresses can help to relax the twitching muscle. Ultimately, getting a little more sleep, controlling stress levels, and consuming less caffeine will address the underlying issue.

If this twitching is occurring forcefully in both eyes simultaneously, this can indicate a neurological condition called Benign Essential Blepharospasm. This condition is relatively harmless and is more annoying than anything. The treatment for this condition is using Botox on the affected muscle, which blocks the nerve impulses responsible for the forceful blinking. This is done by a neuro-ophthalmologist as needed, often every 3-4 months.

If you are concerned about eyelid twitching that you are experiencing, book an appointment with our clinic. We will happily discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

Blue Light and Our Eyes

7 February 2020

 Have you heard all the hype lately about blue light?

Before electricity, the only natural source of blue light we had was from the sun. This blue light gives us energy, helps our memory work better, and overall makes us feel better. It is the signal to our brain that it is time to be awake. In the absence of this blue light, our brain starts to produce chemicals called melatonin that tell us that its time to sleep.

The trouble with this system is that, thanks to computer and smartphone screens becoming a part of our daily lives, we continue to get blue light from our screens long after the sun has gone down. This prevents melatonin from being produced and, ultimately, makes it harder to fall asleep and impacts our sleep quality.

Blue light is right next to UV radiation on the spectrum of light, so many people are concerned that it may be harmful to our eyes. The good news is that our screens don’t emit nearly as much blue light as the sun. Extended exposure to the blue light from the sun has been found to increase the likelihood of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

While many may experience symptoms of digital eye strain such as headaches, dry eyes, eye strain, or blurred vision after screen time, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that artificial blue light will cause any permanent damage to your eyesight. Digital eye strain is thought to occur because, while our screens generate blue light at a much lower intensity than the sun, we are exposing ourselves to them for longer periods of time and at much closer distances. Blue light scatters more in the eye and is not focused as easily as lower energy wavelengths, leading to “visual noise” that reduces contrast and can cause strain.

If digital eye strain is a problem for you, computer glasses or a computer screen filter could help. We also recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your computer at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

To keep blue light from affecting our sleep cycles, it is recommended to avoid screen time for 1-2 hours before bed. This is not always possible though so it may be beneficial to try the night mode on your phone to reduce some of the blue light you are exposed to.

If you have any concerns about your eyes and the effects of blue light, book a visit with our optometrist. We will make sure that your eyes are healthy and answer any questions you may have about digital eyestrain or other problems.

Cataract surgery: Then vs. Now

1 February 2020


The natural crystalline lens in our eye is a clear structure that is held in place by fibers called zonules just behind the iris, the colored part of our eye. Functions of the lens include refracting light to focus a clear image on the retina and providing accommodation. A cataract is when this lens starts to get cloudy which can be caused by aging, UV light, certain medications, or uncontrolled diabetes. The first cataract treatments involved using a needle to break the zonules of the eye, causing the clouded lens to dislodge and allow light into the eye again. Due to the lack of aseptic techniques, this often lead to blindness. Those that did not go blind required a very thick lens in their glasses to be able to see clearly.

In modern day cataract surgeries, a procedure called phacoemulsification is used in which an ultrasound device emulsifies and aspirates the nucleus of the lens through a small (3-4mm) incision, leaving an empty capsule. A folded up artificial lens is then inserted into this capsule where it can unfold. These artificial lenses are carefully measured by your eye surgeon before the surgery so you likely will not need a glasses prescription for distance vision afterward.

If you have concerns about cataracts developing in your eyes, give our clinic a call. We will assess your eyes to determine if you have cataracts and make any referrals necessary to get them treated.