Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How binge watching TV shows can impact your eyes

As we head into the long, dark and cold winter months, binge watching your favourite TV shows may become unavoidable. And let’s be honest, services like Netflix and Crave make it entirely too easy to do so.
Adults in Canada between the ages of 18 to 34 spend an average of 17.7 hours per week watching TV, that’s around 2.5 hours each day. However, many fail to acknowledge the negative effects the extended hours in front of the television has on the body, which in large part has to do with your eyes.
Overexposure to the TV can cause eye muscle fatigue, resulting in headaches and the reduced ability for our eyes to change focus when looking away from the TV. We also blink half as much while watching TV, causing our eyes to become dry, red and irritated. A lot of people will experience these common symptoms; however, many don’t recognize it’s due to eye strain. Instead, they’ll chalk it up to a simpler explanation, such as being tired.
Ironically, TV is a common contributor in people’s inability to sleep at night. Watching TV during the evening hours impacts our mind’s ability to unwind, and also suppresses melatonin production, which our brain produces to regulate our sleep cycle.
Too much TV time may also have other negative health effects, including a slowed down metabolism, muscle cramps, and poor blood circulation.
To discuss any recurring symptoms that might be the result of eye muscle strain, or perhaps a more serious vision condition, make sure to book regular appointments with one of our Doctors of Optometry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Did you know cold-water fish are a great source of omega-3-fatty acids?

For your eye health cold-water fish has protective effects against AMD, cataracts and dry eye syndrome because of its high concentration of omega-3-fatty acids (DHA and EPA).

Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory.
  • It’s all about balance, the ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 4:1 or less. The average North American has a ratio of 15:1 or higher. 
  • Avoid foods that are high in omega 6 fatty acid such as processed foods.
  • Look for foods high in omega 3 fatty acids – such as cold-water fish.
Eyefoods Fish Recommendations:
  • Eat cold water fish, 4 per week gives you 850mg of DHA and EPA per day.
  • One Eyefoods serving of fish is the size of a deck of cards.
  •  Small fish tend to have fewer contaminants such as mercury and PCB’s when compared to larger fish.
  • Eat wild salmon, sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel – they are high in omega 3 fatty acids and low in contaminants.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The cost of diabetes for Canadians

Diabetes currently affects more than five million people across Canada, and those who have been diagnosed understand that the chronic disease not only imposes a significant impact on their health, but their financial state as well.

In a report commissioned by the Canadian Diabetes Association, the costs directly associated with diabetes can range from $1,000 to $15,000 per year, including payment for treatment, care and rehabilitation.

Diabetes doesn’t only have personal financial consequences on those affected. The rapid rate in which Canadian’s are being diagnosed with diabetes has a costly impact on the workplace and economy as well. The economic burden of diabetes in Canada is expected to reach approximately 23 billion dollars by 2020, and a recent article by the Regina Leader Post indicated that diabetes can cost employers between $400 to $1,000 per person per year.

33 per cent of Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes and many are not aware of their condition. The longer diabetes goes undiagnosed, the greater the burden can become both financially and medically. Early diagnosis can be cost effective by reducing future medical complications. Diabetic retinopathy is currently the leading cause of one of these complications, legal blindness.

Doctors of Optometry along with the entire team of medical health professionals stress the importance of reducing risk of diabetes with lifestyle choices like maintaining a healthy body weight, consuming a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. It’s ultimately important to book yearly comprehensive eye exams. Eye exams allow optometrists the ability to look at the tiny structures within the eyes, which can provide indicators of various health complications.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Print vs. Digital: Which Is Better For Your Eyesight?

When it comes to reading, there are some key differences between computer screens, e-readers, and printed books and newspapers. The questions is, how does each affect our eyes?

Reading On A Screen May Make Our Eyes Work Harder

When it comes to reading, there are some key differences between computer screens, e-readers, and printed books and newspapers. The questions is, how does each affect our eyes?Computer screens, smartphones, and tablets display text and images differently than e-readers and print, using tiny pieces called “pixels.” Focusing on pixels makes our eyes work a little harder than if we were reading a traditional book. However, as screen resolution improves with advancing technology, reading on a screen will cause less strain.
Studies have shown that when reading on a screen we tend to blink less—sometimes causing eyes to become dry and sore. Glare on a digital screen is also a cause for concern as it can tire the eyes more quickly than normal.
To avoid digital eye strain, or Computer Vision Syndrome, you should follow the 20/20/20 rule. When reading, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This should help relieve symptoms of eye strain as well as prevent them.

E-readers And Printed Books Have Their Own Set Of Concerns

E-readers like the Kindle or Nook use a different type of display than computer screens, called E Ink. This type of display closely mimics the appearance of ink on printed paper and has shown reduced tendency to cause eye strain when compared to other digital screens.
The concern with traditional printed books is lighting. Reading in poor light makes it more difficult for the eyes to focus, thus causing eye fatigue. Reading in dim lighting also makes you blink less often than you normally would, leading to a temporary case of dry eyes.

Which Reading Medium Is Best For Your Eyes?

In the end, there are concerns for every type of reading medium. While there are differences between reading printed books, e-readers, or on your tablet, computer or phone, the take home message is this: you should rest your eyes no matter what.
You might be surprised to know the 20/20/20 rule applies to bookworms and e-reader enthusiasts alike! While reading on a computer may tire your eyes out more quickly, reading for prolonged periods of time without looking away is primary cause of eye strain, whether that be on paper or a screen.

Your Comfort Matters To Us

Whether you’re reading on your computer at work or curled up with a book at home, being educated about eye strain is the first step in preventing it. If you have any questions about the medium of your favourite books, please let us know! We want to help you continue to enjoy a lifetime of healthy, happy reading.

As always, thank you to our awesome patients! To make an appointment with one of our Doctors of Optometry, click HERE.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Eye-Healthy Deli-Style Kale Salad Recipe

Green vegetables, especially leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collard greens, contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments are powerful antioxidants that protect the retina from the damaging effects of UV rays and blue light.
Leafy greens also contain a lot of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and fiber. These additional nutrients help prevent the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Kale is the superstar of leafy green vegetables and is the feature of this eye-healthy recipe. This salad was inspired by the popular coleslaws that are served in delicatessens everywhere.
Deli-Style Kale Salad
Deli-Style Kale Salad
(serves 4)
4 cups raw kale, thoroughly washed and dried
1/4 cup chopped dried figs or dried apricots
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup roasted soybeans
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp vinegar (apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or rice vinegar)
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
salt and pepper
  1. Remove ribs from kale leaves.
  2. Roughly chop kale into bite-sized pieces (1-2 inches) and place into a large salad bowl.
  3. Toss together all ingredients of the salad except the roasted soybeans.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
  6. Sprinkle with roasted soybeans and enjoy. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Digital Eye Strain - Your Kids Can Get It Too

We’ve all felt it during a long day at our desk job or after a lengthy session of scrolling through social media on our smartphones–digital eye strain.

But did you know your kids may be suffering too? In today’s world, children are using various digital devices just as much, if not more, than their adult counterparts. Increased computer usage in school combined with the hours after school spent watching television, playing video games or on tablets and phones may be hurting your child’s eyes.

Children May Be More Susceptible To Eye Strain

Eye strain can be especially hard on a child’s developing eyes. It is characterized by headaches, neck and back pain, eye dryness and fatigue, blurry vision and difficulty shifting focus to objects at a distance.
There are a couple of factors that make children more likely to experience digital eye strain. For example, if a child is using an adult’s computer, the workstation might not be ideal. Difficulty reaching the keyboard or placing their feet to the floor can contribute to arm, neck and back discomfort. In addition, a child at an adult’s computer cannot achieve the optimal viewing angle, which is slightly downward at a 15 degree angle.

Holding tablets or phones too close to their eyes for long periods of time also contributes to eye strain. The ideal distance between a screen and your eyes is about an arm’s length away or more.

A child may also be unaware of problems or simply ignore them. They may not be aware of the hours they are spending in front of a screen and take few breaks, if any. Children are also more likely to have uncorrected problems with their vision which can further contribute to eye strain, especially after prolonged exposure to digital screens. Vision problems often go undetected because children assume that everyone sees the way they do.

Help Your Child Develop Healthy Vision And Avoid Strain

Recent studies have indicated that, on average, the more time children spend outside, the lower their risk of developing myopia, or nearsightedness. Long hours on digital screens can be hard on developing eyes. One thing that you can do to help your child’s vision is limit the amount of time you allow them to be on digital devices. Encourage them to play outside and have fun!

Another thing you can do to help your child avoid digital eye strain is make sure they take frequent breaks. We call this the 20/20/20 rule. Teach them to look at something 20 feet away from their screens for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This will give their eyes a much-needed break.

Regular Eye Exams Are Essential For Healthy Vision

Don’t forget to visit one of our Doctors of Optometry! Every child needs a regular eye exam so we can make sure that their eyes are developing properly and that their vision is correct. We want to ensure they have healthy vision for a lifetime!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I got my first pair of glasses when I was in grade 3. Once I put them on, my life changed, as I was able to see the world around me with a clarity I hadn’t realized I was missing out on.

When my 4-year-old, Keira, was born 11 weeks prematurely, the doctors worried about her eye health (among a multitude of other potential health issues.) As a result, Keira has been seeing a doctor of optometry (optometrist) regularly since she was born. By the time she turned two, she was prescribed glasses to correct her vision. We have continued to make annual trips to the optometrist, so when she started junior kindergarten this year, I was confident that she was ready to learn, unhindered by vision problems.

October is Children’s Vision Month and what better time to start taking your child’s vision more seriously. In fact, I just set up an eye exam for my 2-year-old, Ava as I want to ensure she is seeing the world as it is meant to be seen.


The answer is yes! This is why:
  • Children are Visual Learners. In fact, 80% of learning is obtained through vision.
  • Healthy visual skills enable your children to get the most out of play, learning and socializing.
  • Children don’t know what “normal” vision is, and won’t know there is a problem if they don’t have a comprehensive eye exam.
  • 1 in 4 school-age children has a vision problem with no easy-to-detect symptoms.
  • Your child’s eye exam is likely covered in some form by your province.
  • Eye exams are a part of keeping your child healthy. Even if your child doesn’t have any vision problems, an annual eye exam can help detect eye problems in their early stages.
  • An annual eye exam from a doctor of optometry is the very best way to ensure your child’s vision is problem-free and developing normally.
When Should You Start?

Children should have their first exam by 6 months of age, once between the ages of 2 and 5 and then annually once they start school. Of course, it’s never too late to start if you weren’t aware of this recommended schedule.

Simply book an eye exam with one of our Doctors of Optometry and help your child reach their full potential!