Monday, July 24, 2017

Underwater Eye Safety

Summer is the time for fun in the sun and in the water, but it’s definitely not the time to take a break from eye safety.

Whether you love river rafting, surfing, water-skiing, deep sea diving, synchronized swimming, or just enjoying a leisurely swim at the local pool, you’re probably going to end up underwater at some point. Here are some tips to make sure your eyes stay safe and healthy when that happens.

Swimming Without Goggles Is Risky


It’s not the chlorine that makes your eyes sting in a swimming pool. What stings your eyes is the compound chloramine, which forms when chlorine reacts with dirt, urine, and the fats and oils that wash off of us in the pool.

As unpleasant as the thought of how chloramine forms is, it will only cause mild, temporary irritation in most cases. Because it’s harder to see underwater, though, you’re also at higher risk for eye injury than you are out of the pool. Goggles ensure your safety from all these hazards.

Swimming Pools And Contact Lenses Don’t Mix

We aren’t the only ones who enjoy a refreshing swim; unfortunately, so do many species of microorganism, none of which you want near your eyes. Public pools are treated with chlorine to make the water an inhospitable environment for many types of microorganisms, but it doesn’t kill all of them.

Without contact lenses, there still isn’t much to worry about. With contact lenses in, however, it’s a different story. Losing your lens in the water is an obvious risk, but not the worst that could happen. Soft contact lenses in particular are not meant to be in water at all, because it causes them to shrink, tightening around the eyes and causing significant irritation.

Contact lenses also act as petri dishes, trapping those microorganisms against the eye and providing them with a warm, wet space where they will happily multiply. The most dangerous is acanthamoeba, which can cause permanent blindness and lives in all bodies of freshwater, no matter how clean. If you do wear contacts in the pool, make sure you wear goggles too.

For a few more fun facts about water and our eyes, watch the video below:

Swim Prepared!

The best way to keep your eyes safe while you swim is by wearing goggles and leaving your contacts at home. Bring glasses to wear when you’re out of the pool, and you could even get prescription goggles so that you don’t even miss your contacts. Knowing your eyes are safe will make it much easier to enjoy yourself while you swim!

Wishing all our patients a fun and eye-safe summer!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sun Protection Tip Sheet

To help reduce UV radiation damage to your eyes, consider the following tips:

1) Be conscious of the daily UV index and the many sources of UV radiation, including direct sunlight and reflections from snow, water, sand and pavement.

2) Wear sun protection such as sunglasses, UV-blocking contact lenses and a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap, when outdoors.

3) Never look directly into, or stare at, the sun.

4) Keep out of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

5) Keep children younger than six months out of direct sunlight. Use a canopy or umbrella as a sun-shield when outdoors.

6) If you require prescription glasses, consider:

  • Variable tint or transitions lenses that darken when exposed to UV light
  • A separate pair of glasses with tinted lenses and UV400 protective coating for outdoor use
  • Contact lenses with UV protection in combination with non-prescription sunglasses (check out the selection of high-quality prescription and non-prescription sunglasses offered by your Doctor of Optometry)
7) If you do not require prescription glasses, choose over-the-counter sunglasses with:
  • A close-fitting, wrap around style frame
  • 100% UVA and UVB blocking lenses
  • Impact resistant lenses

Monday, July 17, 2017

Vacation Tips To Keep Your Eyes Healthy!

Summer is here and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips!

Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. But we also want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you continue practicing the good habits that keep your eyes healthy! Follow these tips to protect your peepers, even while traveling.

Schedule An Eye Exam Before Leaving Town

You’ve bought airline tickets, booked a hotel and planned your itinerary–your vacation is scheduled! But is your eye exam? If you are someone who requires vision correction, then you know that a vacation would not be nearly as enjoyable if you couldn’t see clearly!

If your prescription has expired or you’re due for an eye exam, you should schedule it before your trip. Prescriptions can change without you even noticing, so it’s important make sure it’s up-to-date before leaving home. With a current prescription, you’ll be able to get glasses or contacts in case of an emergency. And, of course, you’ll be able to take in all the new sights and attractions on vacation with clear, crisp vision!

Remember Your Eyes When Packing

Whether you wear glasses or contacts, always pack a spare pair of specs. An extra pair will come in handy if your eyes need a break from contacts or you happen to lose or break your glasses. If you prefer contact lenses, always take a backup pair, especially if you’re traveling to a place where it may be difficult to find a replacement.

Quick tip: Take a photo of your prescription on your smartphone! That way, even if you lose your luggage or you’re just in a pinch, you’ll be able to get the eyewear that you need to have fun and enjoy.

Are you flying to your vacation destination? Make sure to pack artificial tears or rewetting drops. Cabin pressure and low humidity on airplanes can cause dry, irritated eyes. If you’re flying for several hours, those eye drops will definitely come in handy and make the flight more comfortable. They’ll also help after a long day of driving if you’re on a road trip, or just doing fun things like swimming, golfing, or hiking!

Having trouble packing for your trip? Check out this video for a few helpful packing tips:

Don’t Leave Your Shades Behind

Sunglasses are a must-have on your packing list. Your eyes need protection whether you’re going to the mountains of the Swiss Alps or the beaches of Mexico, so don’t forget them! Remember to buy sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays or some that are labeled UV 400. We recommend wearing bigger or wraparound style frames as well as a wide-brimmed hat to provide maximum coverage!

Bon Voyage!

We hope these tips will help you protect your eyes, even when you’re traveling. A little time and planning to make sure your eyewear and vision needs are taken care of before embarking on your trip will allow you have a fun and worry-free vacation! We wish all of our amazing patients a safe and wonderful summer!

Thank you for the trust you place in us!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Risks Associated With Sun Exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is an invisible component of sunlight that is most commonly known to cause sunburns and skin cancers. While some UV is filtered by the ozone layer, increasing amounts are reaching the earth as the ozone layer steadily diminishes. Because exposure to UV is cumulative, direct contact with sunlight for even short periods of time can cause several long-term eye health problems, many of which begin symptom-free.
To help reduce UV radiation damage to your eyes, consider the following tips:
  • Beware of high sources of UV exposure in the workplace. The Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety indicates examples of workers at potential risk from exposure to UV radiation including outdoor workers, construction workers, paint and resin curers, plasma torch operators, welders, farmers, food and drink irradiators, hairdressers, laboratory workers, lighting technicians, lithographic and printing workers and police.
  • Recognize sources of man-made ultraviolet radiation. Examples include various types of UV lamps, arc welding torches and mercury vapour lamps. In dental and medical practices, UV radiation can be used for killing bacteria, creating fluorescent effects, curing resins and phototherapy. Sun tanning booths also use UV radiation.
  • Wear sunglasses, prescription or safety glasses with anti-UV coatings. Sunlight is by far the greatest source of UV radiation.
Exposure to its UVA and UVB rays, as well as man-made sources of UVC rays, can lead to long-term eye damage including:
  • If you wear corrective contact lenses, consider wearing UV-blocking contact lenses for an added layer of UV protection. Sunglasses are important, but aren’t always enough. Depending on the frame size, shape and position, as much as 45 per cent of UV rays can still reach the eyes of people wearing some sunglasses. Contact lenses with UV protection are an effective way to block light that gets in the sides and protects from harmful UV radiation reaching the cornea and into the eye. Not all contact lenses offer UV protection so check with your doctor of optometry to find out which ones are right for you.
  • Recognize symptoms of UV eye damage, including immediate pain, inflammation of the cornea and an aversion to light. UV burns are commonly known as welder’s flash, snow blindness, ground-glass eyeball, or flash burn, depending on the UV source. Should you experience these symptoms, see your doctor of optometry right away.
While the symptoms listed above indicate eye damage caused by UV exposure, many long-term problems caused by UV exposure are symptom-free. To learn about the UV damage your eyes may already have, visit your doctor of optometry for a thorough eye examination.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Online Vision Tests Can’t Match Your Eye Doctor

You can do just about anything online nowadays. Whether you’re buying new clothes or earning a degree, if you have an internet connection, you can accomplish it online!

But what about your regular eye exams? Is an online test sufficient enough for that? Put simply, the answer is no!

Online Eye Exams Aren’t All What They Seem

Several online services offer the opportunity to take an eye test from the comfort of your own home. Using a series of lines, shapes and letters, they claim to provide an assessment of your vision in as little as 30 minutes. Many of these services even offer to have your test results verified by an optometrist who can then issue an eyeglass prescription.

Although online vision tests may seem convenient, they only measure visual acuity and refractive error. Some branch out and test for other vision problems such as color blindness and light sensitivity, but none have the ability to focus on what’s most important—your eye health. A comprehensive eye exam from your optometrist is the only way to identify signs for serious vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Self-Examination Poses Certain Risks

Conducting a vision test without the aid of a qualified optometrist poses certain risks.

Undiagnosed Vision Problems

If vision problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma exist, they will remain undiagnosed. Other overall health conditions can even present symptoms in the eyes. In fact, blurred vision is often one of the first warning signs of diabetes. If you are experiencing drastic changes in your vision, make an appointment with your optometrist.

For more information about what we learn during a comprehensive eye exam, watch the video below!

Incorrect Prescription
Even though some services have their vision test results verified by an optometrist, without an eye care professional present while you take the online test, it’s difficult to ensure that the test is administered properly in the first place. Inaccurate test results may lead to receiving an incorrect prescription.

Cost

Online tests aren’t usually covered by vision insurance. If you do have insurance, your co-pay is likely less expensive than the fees associated with online vision services.

We Care About Your Vision AND Overall Health

We value our patients’ time and understand why the convenience of online vision tests may be alluring—but we also value your health! We want to ensure that you’re not only seeing clearly, but that you’re on the path to whole-body health as well. If you have any questions about the benefits of an in-office exam, let us know! Click here to book an appointment today.

Your health is our priority. We love our patients!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Loaded Spinach Salad Recipe

Eating a nutrient-rich diet may help to shield your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. Foods rich in antioxidants —specifically vitamins C (found in citrus fruits) and E (in nuts and avocados)—lutein and zeaxanthin (in egg yolks and dark leafy greens like spinach) and omega-3s (in fatty fish) all help to protect our eyes against age-related macular degeneration.

Loaded Spinach Salad Recipe

Like many spinach salads, this one features lots of chopped-up hard-boiled egg. But since most of the calories in an egg are in the yolk, this recipe uses just two whole eggs, plus the whites from six additional eggs, for a satisfying spinach salad that keeps the calories in check.

Ingredients

    • Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
    • ⅓ cup low-fat mayonnaise
    • ⅓ cup buttermilk or nonfat milk
    • ⅓ cup nonfat plain yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
    • Salad
    • 8 large eggs
    • 6 cups baby spinach
    • 4 tablespoons Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing, divided
    • 1 8-ounce can beets, rinsed and sliced
    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)

Directions

  • 1To prepare dressing: Whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk), yogurt, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Add cheese and stir, mashing with a spoon until the cheese is incorporated.
  • 2To prepare salad: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at the lowest simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cooled. Peel the eggs; discard 6 of the yolks. Chop the remaining yolks and whites.
  • 3Toss spinach and 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a large bowl. Divide between 2 plates. Top with the chopped eggs, beets, carrots and pecans. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons dressing. (Refrigerate the extra dressing for up to 1 week.)
  • Make Ahead Tip: The recipe makes 1¼ cups dressing (Step 1); cover and refrigerate extra dressing for up to 1 week. Stir before using.
  • Tip: To toast chopped nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

UV damage you can’t see, but impacts your vision

Summer is officially upon us and Canadians across the country are excited to get outside and enjoy the sun. While most Canucks recognize the importance of sunscreen to prevent sunburns and skin cancer, many are unaware that UV light can cause serious eye damage. In fact, overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a variety of eye problems, one of which is cataracts, a condition where the normally clear lens of the eye become cloudy and opaque.

June is Cataract Awareness Month, and with an estimated 3.2 million Canadians living with the eye condition[1], Doctors of Optometry are urging residents to book an annual eye exam with an optometrist and take the necessary precautions to protect your vision from the sun’s harmful rays.
 
What can you do?
  • Avoid sources for UV radiation. Don’t stare directly at the sun and be aware of reflections from snow, water, sand and pavement. If you’re a welder, hairdresser, lighting technician, paint and resin worker, or work outdoors, be sure you’re in the know about potential risks and how to avoid UV exposure.
  • Protect your peepers. Wear sunglasses that are 100% UV blocking against both UVA and UVB rays, and are close-fitting with a wrap-around style frame to help keep light out. If you wear corrective contact lenses, consider wearing UV-blocking contact lenses for an added layer of UV protection. In addition to cataracts, these steps help protect against:
  • Stay informed. Get regular eye exams to monitor eye health, maintain good vision and keep up-to-date on the latest in UV protection (Check out the UV Canada smartphone app for up-to-date info on UV radiation in your location).
  • 10-4. Keep out of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Children are at high risk. It’s estimated that 50% of lifetime exposure to UV happens before the age of 18. Keep children younger than six months out of direct sunlight, ensure children of all ages wear sunglasses and sun hats when outside and consider using a canopy or umbrella as a sun-shield when at the beach or in the back yard.
  • Recognize the symptoms. If you’re experiencing immediate pain, an inflamed cornea, or an aversion to light, see your Doctor of Optometry right away.
Your Doctor of Optometry can make specific recommendations to ensure your eyes are well-protected and to fit you with your perfect pair of sunglasses. Booking a comprehensive eye exam can identify early onset of eye-health conditions related to UV that may not have apparent symptoms.