4 Reasons You Should Have Your Eyes Tested

eye_examIs there a history of eye disease in your family? Two diseases of the eye can be inherited – and both can potentially cause blindness if left untreated.

1. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma and is caused when the drainage canals of the eye become clogged over time. This results in increased eye pressure. Early detection is the best way to prevent vision damage caused by glaucoma. Treating glaucoma before it progresses too far can prevent serious vision loss.

If you are at risk, it’s recommended you have your eyes tested:

  • Every 2 to 4 years if you are under 40
  • Every 1 to 3 years if you are between 40 and 55
  • Every 1 to 2 years between 55 and 65
  • Every 6 to 12 months if you are over 65

2. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that causes damage to the retina – the part of the eye that focuses images and sends that information to the brain via nerve signals. Left untreated, AMD can cause permanent loss of central vision, which is required for many activities of daily life including driving and reading.

Fortunately there are many effective treatments for AMD that can help prevent vision loss. But unfortunately AMD has no early warning signs – so regular testing is key to ensure early detection.

Experts recommend a baseline ophthalmologic evaluation at age 40. The results of that screening will allow your ophthalmologist to recommend how frequently you should have follow-up screenings.

3. Changes in your general health

The many different systems of our bodies are interconnected. So believe it or not, an eye exam can often reveal larger health problems, such as diabetes. Diabetes is a serious illness that can cause damage to tissues throughout the body. However, it often has no symptoms, or the symptoms can be so subtle that they are overlooked. An eye exam can reveal damage to the blood vessels in your retina that indicate high blood sugar (the hallmark feature of diabetes). Diabetes can be controlled very effectively with diet, exercise and medication. But left unchecked, it can cause blindness and other serious health consequences.

An eye exam can also help with the early detection of other illnesses such as high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, stroke and eye tumours.

4. Cataracts

Cataract_in_human_eye

Cataracts cause clouding of the lens of the eye. We rely on the lens to focus light and images onto the retina, which in turn sends the image to the brain for recognition. If the lens is cloudy, the image that the brain receives will be blurred.
Most cataracts are caused by age. As we age, the protein in the lens that is normally well dispersed may clump together and become a cataract. This can happen as early as age 40. If caught early, symptoms can be improved through new eyeglasses, using brighter lighting and wearing anti-glare sunglasses. However, when cataracts progress and begin to affect daily activities such as driving, surgery is the only effective option.

Cataract surgery is a common procedure that lasts about an hour and is almost painless.

Clearly, if you have regular visits to your optometrist, you’re not going to be in the dark or concerned about the “what if” factor. You’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly where you stand with regards to the past, present, and to some extent, the future of your overall eye health.

 

4 Signs You Have Eye Fatigue

  1. Trouble focusing
  2. Light sensitivity
  3. Dry or watery eyes
  4. Pain

tired-workIf you suffer from any of the symptoms above, then you most certainly have eye fatigue. But moreover, what you are really suffering from is fatigue in general. All of these symptoms are good indicators of your overall health. In other words, if your eyes are tired, then so is everything else.

That means, it’s time to get back to basics. By following these tenets of good health, you can beat fatigue and reap significant health benefits:

  • Nutrition: A well-balanced diet will ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. That means plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants that scavenge free radicals that can cause disease. Additionally, choose lean meats and non-meat sources of protein (such as beans), as well as whole grains.
  • Sleep: This may be a no-brainer, but sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health.  Adequate sleep ensures healthy brain function, emotional well-being, good physical health (as sleep is involved in the healing process), and it is critical for daytime performance and safety. Aim for eight hours  of sleep per day.
  • Exercise: Studies prove it time and time again – a half hour per day of any basic human movement that breaks a sweat (or comes close to breaking one) gives you a leg up on warding off nasty diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, among others. But it also gives you more energy and promotes a better sleep cycle. So even if you’re not engaging in a competitive sport, you win.
  • Minimize stress: Stress is the biggest monster of all in our lives. The problem is, it is a tricky, pervasive thing that only seems to get worse as we age. Recognizing it and dealing with it long-term is what will see you through in the long run. The good news is, the strategies for avoiding fatigue (exercise and sleep, specifically) will also help to reduce stress. But it’s also important to take time for yourself, have adequate down-time, and avoid things that add to your stress (whether it’s people or bad habits).
  • Get regular checkups: Fatigue is a health concern, so make sure it’s something you discuss with your doctor – including your eye doctor. Healthcare professionals are in the best position to give you reliable advice on combatting fatigue.

Our eyes are working hard most of the time that they’re open. So to minimize the stress on them, we must follow the general rule of common sense and moderation. This approach would prove to be your best bet in terms of prevention. And don’t forget the importance of regular visits to your optometrist.

 

4 Signs You Need a New Prescription for Your Glasses

A_pair_of_smashed_glassesYou’ll go to your doctor when you have a cough that won’t go away, or when you have an injury that needs to be treated. But perhaps you’re a little fuzzy on when you need to see your eye care professional. It’s important to know the signs that tell you to stop procrastinating and get in for an eye examination.

1. Headaches

Headaches are common and they can be caused by a number of things. But if you wear glasses and have been experiencing headaches (especially headaches that arise after you’ve been using your eyes, such as reading or using the computer) it might be a sign you need a trip to your eye care professional. Headaches are an early warning sign for vision-related problems.

2. Blurry vision and squinting

readingIf over time you find yourself moving the paper closer or farther away from you, squinting and trying to re-focus your vision, it’s definitely time for an eye exam to evaluate your current prescription. Having the right prescription can help for practical reasons (such as improve productivity, greater comfort). But also think of the purely selfish reasons for having the right prescription. For example, if you don’t need to squint, you won’t be accelerating the development of those unsightly crow’s feet around your eyes!

3. Two years is too many

If you wear glasses and you have gone longer than two years without a regular exam, it’s safe to say you probably need your prescription tweaked. Not only will a visit to your eye care specialist reveal the need for a new prescription – it can reveal a whole lot more, such as other underlying conditions that need to be addressed.

4. My glasses are so scratched I cant see (visual) Old worn out and scratched glasses

scratched_glassesSeems pretty obvious, but not everyone realizes how important it truly is to keep up on your eye exams. So, if you can’t remember the last time you’ve had your eyes checked, or that your glasses are so scratched you can’t see, It’s definitely time to get that exam booked.

 

 

5 Eyewear Looks for Function and Fashion

glasses-trendsJust because eyewear is necessary doesn’t mean it has to be boring. In fact, even people who don’t require corrective lenses have been known to wear frames with non-prescription glass simply because glasses have an ability to instantly transform your look. Of course, this isn’t the most important reason for wearing glasses, but it’s definitely a bonus!

Here are 5 eyewear looks that are enjoying popularity right now:

The Hipster

You see them everywhere, hipster is a trend now and has its own look associated with it. Simply put, these are traditional looking glasses characterized by a thick frame. Love it or hate it, the look is definitely here to stay.

Rounds

You don’t have to be a hipster to be on-trend. A really cool vintage look right now is a complete throwback to the days of John Lennon, and others icons of the 70’s who inspired us with their round glasses. And let’s not forget Harry Potter.

Cat’s eye

Few eyewear looks suggest allure quite the way the cat’s eye does. After all, they were the frame of choice for Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire. And Marilyn is not alone; the cat’s eye has been a long-time staple for celebrities and fashionistas alike. It’s an ultra-feminine look that always popular in the fashion world. Look for animal print frames and tinted lenses to be a hot commodity this year.

Colour

Bright neons, bold reds, and light pastel shades are what’s hot in-colour right now. This is especially true if you tend to wear a lot of muted or neutral colours.

Unusual shapes and sizes

If you’re the daring and attention grabbing type, then why not adventure into the most fashion forward eyewear trend in Europe right now?

If you’ve got the stones to wear some of these off-the-wall shapes and sizes (think octagons and stop sign frames) then more power to you. They’re not for everyone, but it sure will draw some attention that’s for sure.

Looks aside, a recent survey of eyeglass wearers suggested that most people view eyewear as a medical necessity, as opposed to a fashion accessory. Fortunately, modern eyewear is designed with comfort in mind. So there’s no reason to sacrifice fashion for function or function for fashion.

Most lenses can be made with anti-reflective treatment for enhanced functionality. You can also opt for transition lenses that automatically darken when exposed to light.

Visit your eyewear specialist who can give you advice on:

  • Which frames best suit your face
  • Lens features that address your lifestyle needs
  • Other eyewear features that you might not have considered

I Wear: 6 Different Personalities. 6 Different Eyewear Looks

Creative

  • Vintage
  • Thick frame

Martin_Scorsese

It could be said that the creative mind has a keen eye for flair. If that’s the case, then this personality type has no problem Jumping into the deep end of style and design where eyewear is concerned. Creative types often have to think “outside the box” and take risks in their professional lives in order to achieve success. The same goes for their specs, thinking “outside the frame” if you will, can further solidify the creative types personality by making a bold statement in terms of eyewear.

Look for These folks to embrace new, not yet trendy styles, thick, retro type frames, and architectural designs for the guys.

Business

  • Simple and not distracting.

bill-browderPeople in the business world tend to have their careers molded out for them in a more “left brain” type of way. Additionally, the importance of eye contact in business relations is well known. Simple yet sophisticated seems to rule the day in this market.

Clean lines, lots of glass, and little contrast to the frame allows your eyes to pop through the glasses giving an almost invisible look.

Small, lightweight, strong, yet invisible rules the day here.

Sporty

  • Transition lenses
  • Rugged/durable

sportsThis is where things often take a detour from fashion. Not always – but sometimes.

The functionality must outweigh the fashion for obvious reasons. In many cases contact lenses are a more practical choice. If you’re a goalie on a hockey team for instance, glasses would not be a wise choice. However, mountain bikers, tennis players, and even basketball players can wear glasses. Usually these frames are tough, scratch-resistant and made of bendable plastic and rubber compounds.

Fun

  • Colourful

colourful-glassesThis is when you get to play around with your glasses like you do in your choice of clothing. Like you would match a tie to your shirt, or a purse to your dress, so too can you match your eyewear to your clothing. Yes, it’s about functionality, but fashion is the key here.

You might not wear your vintage inspired retro cat’s eye frames to the office, but out for drinks after work ,martini in hand you could easily sway yourself into that mindset. Same goes for guys. When you hang up your suit and head out for an evening with the boys, your eyewear can help your personality shine through. Talking sports and movies whilst in your coolest pair of Martin Scorsese glasses, or your most old school-inspired Nicholson Aviators can be a great vehicle for you to exude the personality you want to get across.

Techy

  • Technology-inspired glasses

Google_GlassThis is where the past doesn’t necessarily meet the present. It’s more about the future, and it’s not too far off in the distance. Google has already started marketing their “smart glasses” and other tech firms are following suit. I’m sure it won’t be long before Apple has some sort of product available too. If you take the U.S. military for example, fighter pilots, tank drivers and naval personnel all have some sort of visual work-related eyewear. It’s only a matter of time before those looks will trickle down into the general public.

Fahionista/Fashionisto

  • Designer names

A lot of us love fashion and try to keep up with trends, or make our own mark with certain fashion statements. Eyewear is probably the first thing anyone will pay attention to when they meet you. It’s safe to say that your glasses will define your fashion sense even more than your shoes or your hairstyle.  For that reason, those of you who deem yourselves “fashionitas” or “fashionistos” will have no problem wearing a bold designer frame, usually with the company logo prominent somewhere on the frames themselves.

Of course, if you’re not sure what look works best for you, it’s always fun trying on different looks. Set aside enough time to try (and retry) several different styles. Your optical specialist is also a valuable resource for helping you find the right look.

8 Important Tips for Caring for Contacts

contact-lens-caseContact lenses are very safe when proper care is taken. But when it isn’t, the consequences can be dangerous enough to permanently harm your eyes.

That’s why it’s so important to follow your doctor’s guidance on caring for and wearing contact lenses. But for those who need to brush up on the basics, here are eight recommendations that will ensure you keep your peepers in good health.

 

  1. wash-handsClean your hands the right way
    Wash your hands with a mild non-cosmetic soap. In other words, avoid using soaps that contain perfumes or moisturizers as these can transfer to the contacts and result in blurred vision. Also, dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel.
  2. Put your beauty routine in order
    Hairspray should be used before you put your contacts in, and makeup should be applied after you have your contacts are in your eyes so it doesn’t get on your lenses. It’s also a good idea to keep your nails short and smooth so you avoid damaging both the lens and your eyes.
  3. Use the right solution
    Your eye care professional is the best person to recommend the right solution for your particular lenses. After all, different types of contact lenses require certain types of products. So make sure you use the disinfecting solution, eye drops and enzymatic cleaners that have been recommended to you.
    Using tap water directly on lenses or putting your lenses in your mouth to clean them are big no-no’s. Both can introduce germs that may harm your eyes.
  4. Hygiene is key
    Almost as important as cleaning your contact lenses is cleaning your contact lens case. Gently rubbing the contact lenses in the palm of your hand can remove buildup on the surface of the lens. Clean your contact lens case every time you use it with sterile solution and allow to air dry. You should also replace your case at least every three months.
  5. Learn your limit
    Only wear your contacts for as long as your eye care professional has recommended each day. Also, don’t sleep with your contacts in unless you have extended wear contacts.
  6. Replace your contact lenses on time
    Your doctor will recommend how frequently your lenses should be replaced. He or she may be able to provide you with a replacement schedule chart. Or if you’re more technologically inclined, you can get an app that will remind you when to replace your lenses and more!
  7. swimDon’t swim with contact lenses
    This goes for hot tubs too! Always remove your contact lenses before entering a pool, or wear goggles for swimming. There are some microorganisms that live in pools and hot tubs that can cause eye infections. Additionally, exposing your contacts to water can change the way they fit, which can in turn cause eye problems.
  8. Don’t wear your lenses if you have any eye irritation
    The moment you experience eye irritation, remove your contacts and don’t put them back in until you’ve seen your eye care professional. If the cause of irritation is an eye infection, then you’ll just prolong it by continuing to wear your contacts. Once your eyes are better, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to prevent future infections.Most eye care professionals consider disposable lenses to be the safest soft contact lenses available. These require the least care, whereas conventional soft lenses require a lot of care. But if you have trouble following the guidelines for contact lens care, you should talk to your doctor about simplifying the steps or using a different method of vision correction.

 

 

Eye Exam 101

It’s important to have regular eye exams for detecting problems related to eye health.

His eyes are in great hands

Children should have their vision tested at 6 months, 3 years and before first grade. The schedule for adults varies depending on the age of the adult and their overall health.

A comprehensive eye exam requires a number of tests and can take up to an hour or more – depending on the condition that is being evaluated. To make the most of this time, here is what you need to know.

How to prepare

Think about how to best describe the vision problem you’re having so you can clearly communicate the issue to your optometrist or ophthalmologist. List questions you’d like to ask the doctor in advance and be ready to discuss any drugs you may be taking, as well as your eye health history and your family’s eye health history. Remember, some eye diseases are hereditary.

Be sure to bring your current eyeglasses or contact lenses with you, as well as sunglasses for the trip home, as your pupils will be dilated.

What to expect

A routine eye test requires several procedures that test both your vision and the overall health of your eyes. You can expect most or all of the following tests during your visit:

  • Cover test
    This is a simple test that shows how well your eyes work together. Your doctor asks you to focus on a target that is placed at a distance and then covers and uncovers each eye to see how much your eyes move. If the uncovered eye needs to move to focus on the target (known as strabismus) then you may have a vision problem that can cause eye strain.
  • Visual acuity test
    This test is used to measure the sharpness of your vision for distances and up-close. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart that is placed at a distance to measure your visual acuity for distances, and a smaller hand-held chart to determine the acuity of your near vision.
  • Retinoscopy
    This test is used to get a general idea of your eyeglass prescription. During the test, your doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip different lenses in a machine as you stare at large target. Your doctor will be able to determine the approximate prescription you need based on the way the light reflects from your eyes.
  • Slit-lamp examination
    This test is used to evaluate the health of your eyes. First you put your chin on the chin rest of the slit-lamp. The doctor then shines the lamp on your eyes and looks through the oculars to view the structures of your eye. This procedure allows your doctor to see both the outer eye structures such as the lid, cornea, and iris, as well as the inner structures such as the retina and macula. The slit-lamp examination helps to diagnose a broad range of eye diseases.
  • Retinal examination
    Your doctor will administer eye drops to dilate your pupils and prevent them from closing when light is directed at your eyes. During the procedure, your doctor will use an ophthalmoscope to examine the structures at the back of your eyes including the retina, blood vessels and the optic nerve.
  • Refraction testing

Refraction testing can determine your exact lens prescription. It can be performed using a computerized refractor, or manually by simply comparing results as different lenses are tried out.

  • Glaucoma testing

To diagnose glaucoma, your doctor must test for pressure in your eyes. This can be done two ways:

  1. The tonometer test: after giving you special eye drops to numb your eyes, your doctor touches the surface of each eye with a tonometer to detect pressure.
  2. The non-contact tonometer test: a puff of air is delivered into each eye. Your doctor will be looking to see whether your eyes resist the air, which indicates pressure.

You may have more extensive testing if a particular problem is detected during a routine exam, but your doctor will be able to advise you if this is the case. Otherwise, most people require an eye exam every two years. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health!

Is Laser Surgery for Me?

eye scan

This is a great question, and deserves an informed answer that only a qualified ophthalmologist can truly answer. Having said that, there are several factors that must be considered. Let’s first explore what LASIK is and If you are a good candidate for surgery.

What is LASIK?

LASIK, which is also referred to as laser eye surgery, or refractive surgery, is a frequently performed elective surgery. It’s highly effective for restoring vision.

What types of vision problems can LASIK correct?

  • Hyperopia: also known as farsightedness, hyperopia is a condition in which you can focus on objects at a distance, but have trouble seeing objects up close. It occurs when the eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so that light entering your eye is not focused correctly.
  • Myopia: also known as nearsightedness, myopia allows you to see objects up close, but be unable to focus on objects at a distance. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
  • Astigmatism: this condition is characterized by an irregular front surface of the eye. This irregularity means that when light rays enters the eye, they do not focus on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.

What does the procedure involve?

  1. Anesthetic eye drops are applied to the eye
  2. A protective flap is created by the surgeon to access the corneal tissue
  3. Controlled pulses of laser light are used to re-shape the inner corneal layer of the eye, effectively correcting vision.
  4. After surgery patients feel some minor pain and discomfort

Most people are fine after a short rest and can resume daily functions within a few hours.

Health Considerations

Patients should be in good overall health and should not have certain problems. These include diabetes, autoimmune diseases, vascular disease, or any eye conditions such as- cataracts, glaucoma, corneal disease, or any optic-retinal or nerve disease. Nursing and/or pregnant women also aren’t eligible for LASIK.

What kind of results can I expect?

LASIK surgery can result in 20/25 vision or even better in some cases. That means you can have good vision without requiring glasses or contact lenses.

Is it for me?

Well, that depends on the factors outlined above. But to truly gauge if you’re a candidate for LASIK, the best way forward is to book an appointment with an experienced optometrist, or ophthalmologist and find out if you are eligible.

5 Common Myths About Your Eyes

Sitting too close to the screen will damage your eyes

close-to-tv
Most of us can thank our moms for this common myth. You may have been lectured: “If you sit too close to the computer or the T.V. either you’ll go blind, or your eyes will go square.” The truth of the matter is that if you sit too closely to the screen you might get a headache. But sitting too close to the screen is more telling of an underlying vision problem. In other words, you’re sitting too close because you can’t see clearly. So if you have a child who insists on being right up close to the screen, take it as their way of telling you they need to have their eyes tested.

Kids won’t wear sunglasses

kids-sunglassesChildren need sunglasses perhaps even more than adults do because their eye lens lets in more of the sun’s damaging UV rays. Very young children may pull traditional sunglasses off, but today there are so many kid-friendly options available, such as sunglasses with strap-on frames that are easy to wear. And like anything, if you make putting on sunglasses part of the regular routine, it will get easier over time. So saying kids “won’t” wear sunglasses is simply untrue.

Dim lighting damages your eyes

candle-light
A complete and utter myth. Reading the paper or checking your email in low light might give you some eye strain and tire your eyes out faster, but in no way will you actually do any damage to your eyes.

Wearing eyeglasses makes your eyes weaker

This myth suggests that wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses causes your eyes to become dependent on them and makes them weaker over time. This simply isn’t true. You may need a stronger prescription as you age, but this is not because of your current prescription.

Vision loss can’t be prevented

Many causes of vision loss can be treated and corrected before serious vision loss occurs. So at the first sign of vision problems, it’s important to see your eye care professional who can diagnose the cause of your vision loss and treat it.

Finally, one myth isn’t so much a myth as it is an exaggeration. Because the facts are, carrots can contribute to good health. Carrots are high in vitamin A, and vitamin A deficiency has been linked to such things as night blindness. But don’t go loading up on carrots to see an improvement in your vision. Your better bet is leafy green vegetables, which are more substantial in promoting overall eye health.

7 Things to do for Your Eyes as You Age

We rely on our eyesight for many of the things we want and need to do. Good eyesight is necessary to remain independent as we age, both in and outside of the home.

But the time to start caring for our eyes begins before we experience any vision loss.

What can you do now? Here are 7 recommendations for maintaining eye health as you age.

  1. Have regular eye exams

    OptometristThe importance of regular eye exams cannot be stressed enough. Even if you think your eyes are healthy, the only way to be sure is by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Not only will this reveal the need for an eyeglass prescription (or a new one), but it will also indicate whether there is a more serious issue at hand, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic eye disease.

  2. Keep your weight in check

    The connection between your weight and your eyesight may not be intuitive, but it is real. People who are obese are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure – both of which can affect your eye health.

  3. Eat a healthy diet

    In addition to helping you stay at a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet is preventative in itself. Fruits and vegetables – especially dark leafy green veggies, are rich in antioxidants, which can help ward off eye disease. Additionally, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flax seeds can benefit your eyes as well.

  4. Give your eyes the rest they need

    Mom was right – staring at a screen for too long can strain your eyes. Although these days, it’s more likely we’re staring at a computer screen than a television screen. It’s important to give your eyes a break by looking up from the screen every half hour and focus on an object in the distance. After about twenty seconds, you can return your eyes to the computer screen.

  5. Keep your hands clean

    wash-handsClean hands are important for avoiding a range of infections – including eye infections. This is especially true if you are a contact lens wearer as your risk of eye infection is even greater if you handle contact lenses before your hands have been washed.

  6. Wear sunglasses

    Ultraviolet (UV) rays can be particularly damaging to your eyes and put you at risk for eye disease such as cataracts. Look for sunglasses which offer 100% protection from UV-A and UV-B radiation.

  7. Quit smoking

    Kicking the Habit!Smoking takes its toll on just about every system in your body – including your eyes. One of the main reasons for this is that smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, preventing blood and oxygen from reaching the retina. It can put you at risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.

When you think about it, the things that benefit your eyes are things that benefit the rest of your body. Even having regular eye exams can be of benefit to your overall health, as issues detected by an ophthalmologist can indicate a larger health problem. But don’t wait until it’s too late! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.