Monday, March 27, 2017

Digital Eye Strain

Research is showing a rise in the detection of visual problems because of the number of hours spent in front of a computer. Uncorrected hyperopia or myopiaastigmatism and wearing multifocals can all make computer use less comfortable and efficient. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra focusing effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen. Even people with perfect vision may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eyestrain and headaches with improper computer use. To ensure comfortable and efficient computing, visit your doctor of optometry for a thorough eye exam. Your doctor of optometry will need to know:
  • How many hours a day you use a computer
  • The distance from your eyes to your screen
  • The overall set up of your workstation and your main work tasks
  • The type and location of lighting in your computer area
A doctor of optometry will advise you if you suffer from digital eye strain, or if your ocular discomfort is the result of a more serious vision or health problem. To help reduce the risk of digital eye strain, consider the following tips:
  • Position your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level.
  • Set colour and contrast tones to suit your eyes and match the brightness of your screen with your surroundings.
  • Minimize reflected glare on your screen by using dimmer switches on lights and a protective anti-glare screen cover. Also consider positioning your screen so that it sits perpendicular to windows and other bright light sources. If you are having trouble locating the source of the glare, turn off your monitor to reveal a darkened screen and tilt/swivel your monitor until the reflection disappears.
  • Keep your screen free of fingerprints and dust, as both can reduce visual clarity.
  • If you alternate between looking at your screen and paperwork, consider obtaining a clipboard that attaches alongside your monitor so that the two are at the same working distance.
  • Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away (the water cooler, possibly?). This will give your eyes a much-needed break and reduce some of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
  • Remember to blink! Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute, but when we’re on the computer, we only blink five times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial teardrops or gels and remembering to blink. Consult your optometrist to determine which eye drops are best to relieve your dry eyes.
  • Ask for anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses, which can be applied at the time of manufacturing, which allow for more comfortable viewing of screens, fluorescent and LED lights. Your doctor of optometry will talk to you about eyewear designed specifically for computer use.
Symptoms of headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes and excessive blinking or squinting are all common effects of digital eye strain. Any time you experience these symptoms, you should visit  one of our Doctors of Optometry for a comprehensive eye health examination to rule out a more serious vision problem.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Seasonal Allergies

What causes seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are caused by specific allergens such as ragweed, grass or tree pollen. When these allergens come in contact with your body, they are considered foreign particles. The allergens bind themselves to mast cells that are loaded with histamine. In response, your immune system starts to release large quantities of histamine and other chemicals from these mast cells to combat the allergens. It is the histamine action that produces the symptoms of sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, red, itchy, and watery eyes. Seasonal allergic reactions can begin at any age. Areas that have poor air quality can result in more intense symptoms.

How do you prevent seasonal allergies?

Unfortunately, seasonal allergy symptoms can be difficult to completely eradicate. The first step in the management of this condition involves avoiding the specific allergen you are allergic to. This can be difficult especially if you are active outdoors in the summer. There are simple ways to get some relief, such as keeping the windows of your home and car closed and turning the air conditioner on, remembering that pollen release is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon, and making sure the filters in your furnace are clean.

How do you treat seasonal allergies?

Remedies to relieve ocular symptoms of seasonal allergies can involve oral over-the-counter anti-histamine medications taken during your particular allergy season. For those who suffer from severe seasonal allergies, allergy shots may be the treatment of choice. This is usually preceded by tests performed by an allergist to determine exactly what substances you are allergic to. You can achieve additional comfort by placing a clean face cloth soaked in ice-cold water over closed eyes. Over-the-counter artificial teardrops and antihistamine eye drops can also help reduce red, itchy, and watery eyes. Prescription medications that combine an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer work best by providing immediate and long-term relief. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, the ocular symptoms can be very uncomfortable. Despite all the different remedies out there to deal with seasonal allergies, there is no cure. It is not recommended to diagnose and treat your symptoms yourself. Consult one of our Doctor of Optometry to recommend the best therapy to provide relief from seasonal allergies.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Prevention Information

Good vision is about making good choices. Your best choice is to see your doctor of optometry for a routine eye exam to ensure good vision and eye health. Early diagnosis and treatment are keys to preventing vision loss. Don’t assume that red eyes, pain or unusual visual symptoms will go away on their own. You can never be sure: some eye diseases only show symptoms when the condition is advanced and difficult, or even impossible to treat.

It’s about making smart decisions at home. Everything from sitting at a distance equivalent to at least five times the width of your TV screen; eating the right foods to help deter the onset of certain eye conditions; taking a 20 second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focusing your eyes on something at least 20 feet away; wearing proper protective eyewear when undertaking most major indoor or outdoor work; to the simple habit of having your child wear sunglasses outside when the sun is shining. Good vision and eye health means making smart choices at work, too. At the office, being farsighted, nearsighted, or having astigmatism can all make computer use less comfortable.

Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra focusing effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image on the screen. We provide expert eye health and leading prescription safety eyewear to industries as diverse as forestry and IT, offering comprehensive eye examinations, professional consultation and individually tailored programs to help employees work safely and effectively. Through comprehensive eye health services, such as visual field assessments and vision training, your doctor of optometry can detect, manage and treat conditions such as job-related eyestrain, age-related vision change and disease. Talk to one of our doctors of optometry to ensure you are making the right choices.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Don’t Let Your Job Be a Pain


Millions of Canadians are affected by computer eyestrain, a symptom of computer vision syndrome (CVS), according to Dr. Pavan Avinashi.

“March is Eye Safety in the Workplace Month, and as our nation has moved from a manufacturing society to an information society, computer vision syndrome has become a workplace concern,” Dr. Avinashi said. “While prolonged computer use will not damage vision, it can make you uncomfortable and decrease productivity.”

CVS is caused by the eyes constantly focusing and refocusing on the characters on a computer screen. These characters don’t have the contrast or well-defined edges like printed words and the eyes’ focus cannot remain fixed. CVS can be partially alleviated by changes in the ergonomics of the work area.

“Symptoms of CVS include headaches, loss of focus, burning or tired eyes, blurred vision, and neck or shoulder pain,” Dr. Avinashi said. “Proper lighting and monitor placement can go a long way toward reducing CVS, as can giving your eyes frequent ‘breaks’ from the computer. But the underlying cause of CVS – the ability of the eyes to focus on the computer screen – may only be remedied by specialized computer glasses.”

Dr. Avinashi said a comprehensive eye exam, including questions about a person’s computer-use habits, is the first step. If it is determined that vision correction for computer use is required, an eye doctor can prescribe computer lenses that are designed to improve your vision in the 18” to 28” range, the optimal distance between your eyes and the computer monitor.

Dr. Avinashi is the owner and practitioner of Hollyburn Eye Clinic conveniently located on the North Shore in both North and West Vancouver. For more information, call 604.913.0135 or visit www.hollyburneyeclinic.com.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Optical Illusions: More Than Meets The Eye

As you stare at an optical illusion you may wonder… are your eyes playing tricks on you?

To fully understand how optical illusions work, it’s important to grasp that the visual system is made up of more than just our eyes. In fact, optical illusions don’t necessarily trick our eyes—they trick our brains.

The Visual System Is Made Of Many Moving Parts

While your eyes play an important role in vision, they are only one component of a larger visual system that includes many different parts such as the optic nerve, the optic chiasm and the visual cortex of the brain, to name a few.
We see when light enters our eyes and is focused onto the retina. The cells in the retina turn light into electrical signals that are then sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This visual information is interpreted by our brains allowing us to form an image in our minds. So, technically, we “see” with our brains. This complex process takes only one-tenth of a second!

Optical Illusions Take Advantage Of The Brain’s Shortcuts

As you can imagine, our eyes take in a lot of visual stimuli throughout the day. To make sure our brains aren’t overloaded with visual information, they often take shortcuts, filling in gaps or creating an image based on past experience.
For the most part, these shortcuts work well for us and we never notice them. The exception is when we’re looking at an optical illusion. Optical illusions take advantage of these shortcuts and fool our brains so that our perception of an image doesn’t necessarily match reality. Optical illusions may trick us, but they actually reveal a lot about how our visual system works.
Watch this video to understand more optical illusions!

Don’t Let Your Eyes Fool You

It’s easy to be fooled by optical illusions, but as your eye care providers, we make sure you’ll never be fooled by your eyes! By visiting your optometrist for regular eye exams, you can be sure that your vision is healthy and strong as well as be on the lookout for early signs of disease. If there’s anything you’ve learned from optical illusions today, it’s that things aren’t always as they appear. The same goes for your vision health. Call us or visit us online at www.hollyburneyeclinic.com to schedule an appointment today so we can make sure your eyes are in peak condition!

We love our patients. Thank you for the trust you place in us!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dry Eye

What is dry eye?

The tears your eyes normally produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or produce tears that do not have the proper chemical composition. Dry eye may also be due to excess tear evaporation.

What causes dry eye?

Dry eye symptoms can result from the normal aging process, hormonal changes, exposure to certain environmental conditions, decreased blinking when concentrating or using a computer, problems with normal blinking or from medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives or antidepressants. Dry eye can also be symptomatic of general health problems, such as arthritis, or can result from UV exposure and environmental irritants.

What are signs/symptoms of dry eye?


The common signs and symptoms of dry eye include stinging, gritty, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes, fluctuating vision, and sometimes having a burning feeling or a feeling of something foreign within the eye. Some people experience tearing as a result of dry eye. This is a natural reflex of the eyes to create more tears to comfort the eye in response to dryness, but these excess tears do not have the correct composition.

How is dry eye diagnosed?

During the examination, your doctor of optometry will ask you questions about your general health, your use of medications and your home and work environments to determine any factors which may be causing dry eye symptoms. This information will help your doctor of optometry decide whether to perform additional dry eye testing. The use of a high-powered microscope known as a slit lamp, in conjunction with special dyes, will allow your doctor of optometry to evaluate the quality, the amount and the distribution of tears to detect signs of dry eyes.

Can dry eye be cured?

Dry eye is usually chronic and cannot be cured, but your comfort can be improved and eye health maintained through use of artificial tears. For more severe dry eye, gels and ointments can be used, especially at bedtime. Your doctor of optometry is the best source to advise the best drops for you. In some cases, small plugs may be inserted in the corner of the eyelids to slow drainage and loss of tears. Treating any underlying systemic disease, or a change of diet to include items such as fish or flax seed oil can also be helpful at times. New prescription medications are now available to help your body produce more of its own tears. A therapy involving heat and pressure is available to clear any poorly functioning oil glands and allows the body to return to the natural production of oils required for proper tear composition. Your doctor of optometry can assess your tear film and its deficiencies and recommend the best treatment options for you.

Will dry eye harm my eyes?


If dry eye is left untreated, it can be harmful. Excessive dry eye can damage tissue and possibly scar the sensitive corneal tissues of your eye, impairing vision. Dry eye can make contact lens wear more difficult due to increased irritation and greater chance of eye infection. To keep dry eye symptoms in check, you and your doctor of optometry need to work together. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. If you have increased dryness or redness that is not relieved by the prescribed treatment, let your doctor of optometry know as soon as possible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Causes of Conjunctivitis or “Pink Eye” and How to Treat it

Redness and irritation in one or both eyes is generally a symptom of conjunctivitis, sometimes known as “pink eye.”

The conjunctiva is the thin mucous membrane lining over the white portion of the eye ball (sclera) and the inner aspect of the eyelids. Inflammation of this normally clear tissue results in redness, swelling and increased secretion of mucous, and can be caused by a number of conditions:

A virus
Any variety of cold viruses can cause a red, mucous-filled eye. In the same way that the offending virus may cause nasal congestion, a sore throat and/or cough, the conjunctiva becomes irritated and makes your eye congested as well. If you have cold symptoms accompanying your pink eye then it is almost certainly due to a virus and will resolve without any antibiotic drops.

Bacteria
A bacterial eye infection is a more serious matter and is often preceded by overuse of contact lenses, sometimes leading to a corneal ulceration. There is often pain and any discharge may be thicker and gray-yellow in color. This requires a prescription for antibiotic drops and immediate attention from an eye doctor.

Allergies
Seasonal or environmental allergies to pollen, pet dander, dust mites or other allergens are the most common cause of conjunctivitis, and often accompanies typical allergic symptoms such as a stuffy nose, scratchy throat or sneezing. Over-the-counter antihistamine tablets and drops may effectively reduce or relieve these symptoms, which are usually chronic and recurrent in nature.

Chemicals
Any substance that splashes or is accidentally rubbed into the eyes may cause irritation and conjunctivitis. This may include hand sanitizer residue or moisturizing hand creams that inadvertently rub off of your fingers into your eyes. Washing out any known or suspected substances is the first line of treatment. Any persistent irritation after a known exposure, or involvement of a caustic substance (acid, etc.) should be cared for as soon as possible in a hospital ER or ophthalmologist’s office.

Dry eyes
As we age, the eyes often secrete fewer tears that may result in redness due to drying of the conjunctiva. There are a number of artificial tears and lubricating drops for daily use to prevent development of redness from dry eyes.

Treat it
General care for any source of pink eye may include warm water to wash away any mucous or crusting, and cool compresses to relieve itching or burning. Over-the-counter drops may be helpful in getting relief from allergies or chemical conjunctivitis, but are of no value in treating infections.

The same viruses that cause colds are similarly contagious by contact or via respiratory inhalation and can spread pink eye from person to person. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, don’t shakes hands and wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant. As long as you have symptoms, you are likely contagious.

See an optometrist
Regardless of the source of your pink eye, always seek immediate attention from an optometrist if you have eye pain, a foreign body sensation or if your vision is compromised. Contact us at 604.984.2020 or www.hollyburneyeclinic.com