Why You Should Wear Safety Glasses During Summer Yard Work

Summer is in full swing here in Calgary and you might be busy doing yard work around the house. You’ll want to be sure to wear safety glasses when doing this yard work.

Having an eye injury is a terrifying experience, often ophthalmologists rush into the emergency rooms to treat injuries to people who can’t see. The saddest part of this experience is that, most of these injuries are 100% preventable. Some stories for you to consider:

  • A woman was 15 feet from a trimmer, wearing regular prescription glasses and lost her eye when a piece from the trimmer broke off.
  • An experienced landscaper had his sunglasses knocked off by a rock tossed by a trimmer and bled inside his eye. Eventually his sight returned.
  • A child lost his eye when standing 30 feet from a lawnmower that launched a piece of metal.

As you can see from the above stories, neither sunglasses or regular eye glasses were enough to prevent these serious injuries. It is very important to have protective eyewear that is CSA approved and is made from a polycarbonate plastic with wrap around or side guards. This ensures nothing can enter the eye area under the frame. Also the polycarbonate ensures the goggles won’t shatter sending pieces into your eye. Every year the emergency room sees patients with severe injuries caused by the weed wacker.

Every house should have an approved CSA pair of safety goggles around the home. They are easy to find at your local hardware store. If you need prescription goggles, it’s a great idea to chat with our optometrists about your options. Sometimes, prescription lens can be put into the goggles or there may be something better suited for your needs.

Some safe practices for preventing eye injuries while using power tools during yard work:

  • Keep children and other bystanders out of the area. Most of the injuries our Optometrists see are actually not the people performing the tasks, just someone near by.
  • Always wear CSA approved eye protection.
  • Assess for hazard before beginning your task. Remove small rocks, or garbage in gardens and lawns to prevent projectiles.

We hope you use safety glasses when doing yard work to avoid serious injuries. Contact our Calgary Optometrists if you have suffered any eye damage due to doing yard work around the house.

Your Eyes Need UV Protection Even on Cloudy Days

Did you know that even UV rays are harmful even on cloudy days in Calgary? In fact because people usually don’t wear sunglasses on overcast days, exposure over time really adds up and can increase your risk of cataracts, glaucoma or age related macular degeneration and other serious eye defects. There are many things you can do to prevent this though:

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight from 11am-3pm: This is when the UV index is at it’s peak, putting you at risk. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside, but it’s important to try to take the  necessary precautions whenever it’s possible.
  • If you wear contact lenses be sure to ask our Calgary Optometrists for a brand that has UV protection: There are many brands that offer UV protection so be sure you include this factor in your purchase decision.
  • Wear a hat: Shield your eyes from the sun whenever possible. The bigger the brim the better, as a bigger brim provides more protection.

Last but certainly not least:

  • Always, always wear sunglasses: You can virtually eliminate your risk by wearing sunglasses whenever you are outside. Shop around and try different tints to ensure you’re very comfortable in all shades of light. If you find yourself taking your sunglasses off all the time because they’re uncomfortable or obstructing your vision you will need to find something that works for you. Our Optometrists in Calgary spend the time with you ensure a great fit and tint just for you.

A very important factor in avoiding the risks of UV is protecting your children. Most of the damage is done by the time a child reaches 18, due to the fact children spend so much time outside and their eyes aren’t capable of filtering as well as an adults. Make sure your kids learn to love their hats and sunglasses using positive reinforcement and you’ll be doing them a huge favour for their future.

When Should You Get Contact Lenses

Up to 40% of contact lense wearers don’t replace their lenses within the manufacturer’s recommendations. The two biggest reasons are because of forgetfulness and an effort to save money. Another reason is surprisingly that vision care professionals are providing incorrect information. We urge you to talk with our Calgary Optometrists so you clearly understand when your contacts should be replaced.

In a recent survey it was found the biggest offenders were the two weeks contact lense wearers who reported a whooping 52% going over the recommendations. Next, it was 28% of one month lenses, however the daily disposables seem to understand the risks at only 12% going over recommendations.

Serious complications can result from overuse:

Corneal Ulcers- A burning pain in the eye caused by contact lense overuse. These ulcers are actually open sores on the eye and can also lead to eye infections.

Dry eyes- When contacts are worn for too long the build up of debris can cause the cornea to lose sensation, the result of this is dry eyes. A very irritating and sometimes painful condition.

Eye Infections- The leading cause of Keratitis, a serious infection of the cornea, is wearing old contact lenses. Many other eye infections can occur from wearing degraded contacts lenses.

Even with proper cleaning and storage of your contact lens, the plastic will have protein and lipid deposits with regular use. If left for too long these lenses that are coated and crusted with debris will begin to erode the lense, causing problems in your eyes. Also keep in mind, different people have different amounts of by-products in their tears, as some deposit a high amount of protein.

This is information to discuss with our Optometrists, as these contact lense wearers are at a much higher risk of complications. Complications with your vision can be life altering, take care of your eyes and replacing your contacts properly is so easy to do.


Nutrition Tips For Your Eyes

We’ve blogged about a few eye care tips. Today’s will focus more on your nutrition as it plays a role your vision.

Good nutrition is essential to stay healthy and plays an important part in protecting your eyesight. Maintaining a well balanced diet rich in nutrients from vegetables, fruits and Omega 3 fatty acids.


Nutrients found in vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can provide protection for your eyes. Consuming greens like spinach, kale, turnip or collard greens are good choices of nutrient dense vegetables to protect your vision and overall health of your eyes. These vegetables contain two important nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants that help prevent degeneration of the lens and retina of the eye. Acting much the same as a sunblock lutein protects the eye’s retina from damaging natural light. Kale is one of the most nutrient rich foods you can possibly have in your diet. In addition leafy greens supply Vitamin A essential for good vision and it helps protect the cornea, the eye’s outermost part.


Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons are full of Vitamin C which along with Vitamin A is critical to eye health. The antioxidants they contain may help age related macular degeneration and slow the progress of cataracts. In addition these citrus fruits also contain flavonoids an antioxidant that works with Vitamin C in the body. Berries are another great source of Vitamin C and aid in reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Strawberries and blueberries contain some of the highest levels of anthocyanin another antioxidant while red berries also supply beta carotene.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in maintaining the health of the retina of the eye, people who suffer from dry eye syndrome ( low tear production ) may also benefit from eating a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids by helping maintain the lubricant in the eyes. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut or eating walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.

If you have any questions regarding diet and other ways to protect your eyesight, contact our offices in Calgary to arrange your next eye exam with Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates.

Protecting Your Childs Eyes During Spring Sports

Anytime a person especially children take part in a Spring or Summer sport such as baseball it presents a risk of injury to their eyes. A fast moving baseball can injure the bones around the eye or even the eyeball itself causing temporary or even permanent vision problems. Other players hands or gloves can scratch the eye and cause damage to the eye’s surface. Even a misguided bat can cause head injuries and lead to vision problems. The long term emotional cost is immeasurable when weighed against a relatively inexpensive piece of protective eyewear.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles can be either prescription or nonprescription and made of non breakable materials. Helmets and headgear can also play an important role in protecting head injuries that could lead to vision problems. If an eye injury occurs while taking part in a sport young people should be seen by their eye doctor or primary care physician as soon as the injury happens. If not properly treated vision problems can persist and lead to lifelong difficulties playing sports, driving a car or even maintaining certain jobs.

Eye doctors and Optometrists recommend taking young people who participate in sports have an eye exam if there is any indication of vision problems. Nearsightedness, farsightedness or an astigmatism if undetected can lead to a variety of physical injuries during sports including eye injuries.

Parents and coaches should watch for various signs on the field that may signal poor depth perception or other vision problems.

  • Always swinging the bat too fast or too slow
  • Missing often while trying to catch the ball
  • Squinting to see the ball or other players

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children and the largest percentage are sports related the majority of which can be avoided by wearing protective eyewear. If your child requires prescription eyewear for sports or if you’re not certain scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor might be a good first step. Parents in Calgary trust Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates to provide a comprehensive eye exam for their children, to determine if there are any vision problems that need attention.

How To Clean Your Eyeglasses

Glasses are one of those personal items that are handled frequently which makes them subject to lots of wear and tear and need regular maintenance to have them performing optimally. Here are some basic tips for caring for your glasses properly.

1) Rinse lenses under a stream of room temperature water which will rinse away any large particles from the lense surface without scratching the lenses. Be sure the water is not too hot or too cold as this may damage the anti reflective coating.

2) Spray both inner and outer surfaces of each lens with eyeglass cleaner, one that is specifically approved for this purpose. Using a small amount of dishwashing liquid then rising will work fine as well. Finish by drying with a microfiber cloth, these cloths are made to remove dirt and grime from lens surfaces and are hand washable.

3) Do not use kleenex or other tissue on lens surfaces as these materials are quite abrasive and may scratch your lenses.

4) Protect your glasses by storing them in an eyeglass case in your purse or pocket or lying around at home will safeguard against scratching or possible breakage. If you find your glasses need a little adjusting or tightening the dispensing

Even if your glasses have anti glare and scratch resistant coating nothing can prevent lenses from becoming scratched and eventually they will need to be replaced. By this point this may be a reminder that you likely need to have your eyes examined by an Optometrist to be sure your prescription is still up to date. In Calgary, Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates provide comprehensive eye exams to be sure you maintain your eye health. Book an appointment today.

Are Your Eyes Safe Wearing Cheap Sunglasses?

Summer is pretty much here in Calgary. We hope you have read our post on how to protect your eyes from pollen. Today’s post will be on sunglasses and if buying and wearing cheap ones is safe.

We always seem to be misplacing our sunglasses so it’s very tempting to save money and go for the cheaper pair. After all, we wear them to diminish the sun’s glare. Don’t be fooled into believing that’s all they do, they have the more important purpose of blocking invisible ultraviolet light. While exposure to these rays can cause short term discomfort, it’s the consequences over time that can lead to cataracts and other eye problems. It’s not immediately apparent if your sunglasses are blocking the harmful UV light rays, and wearing dark glasses that don’t serve this purpose can be more harmful that having no protection at all.

Cheap Sunglasses Could Endanger Your Vision

Our eyes are capable of adjusting to different levels of light, in diminished lighting your pupil increases to allow more light to reach the retina. To avoid overexposure the pupil dilates when the eyes are subjected to brighter light conditions. Dark lenses fool your eye into thinking you’re in low light resulting in the expansion of your pupils. As a consequence wearing sunglasses that don’t block UV rays allow more harmful light in than if you weren’t even wearing sunglasses.

What to Watch For When Buying Sunglasses

When shopping for sunglasses a sticker on the lens will list the following features

  • Blocks 99 to 100 % of UVA/UVB rays
  • Meets ANZI Z80.3 quality standards
  • Provides UV 400 protection which is a different way of stating they block 100% of UVA/UVB rays

If these items are not listed don’t buy the sunglasses. Some less expensive pairs meet these standards and some costlier pairs will not. Don’t be swayed by price alone, be sure to read the sticker on the lens.

Protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses can maintain the health of your eyes and guard against cataracts as well as prevent other eye problems including something as serious as cancer of the eye. Your eyes are too precious to neglect wearing a good pair of sunglasses that provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Contact our Calgary Optometrists if you have any other questions regarding sunglasses.

How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Eyes

Having high blood pressure alone typically will not impact a person’s vision, uncontrolled blood pressure over an extended period of time can have a negative affect your vision however. Overtime high blood pressure can cause damage to the retina’s blood vessels, limit the function of the retina and put pressure on the optic nerve causing vision problems. The resulting condition known as hypertensive retinopathy can be a risk factor in the progression of eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

Why High Blood Pressure Affects The Health Of Your Eyes

Blood vessels carry blood not only to your heart but also to the blood vessels of your eyes. Due to the large demand for oxygen the tiny blood vessels in the retina can easily be damaged by high blood pressure. During an eye exam your Optometrist checks for changes in the retina by directly viewing the blood vessels of the retina and a healthy retina is essential for good vision. High blood pressure if uncontrolled is also linked to choroidopathy which is a buildup of fluid under the retina. Optic neuropathy or nerve damage is a risk with high blood pressure, the nerve damage occurs when blood flow is blocked. The resulting nerve damage can kill nerve cells in your eyes and result in bleeding in the eye or vision loss.

What You Can Do

There are many things you can do to prevent hypertensive retinopathy and other serious eye conditions by taking an active part in maintaining the health of your eyes. Scheduling regular eye exams where your Optometrist will perform tests as part of the comprehensive examination to ensure the health of your eyes. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet that provides the proper nutrient rich foods, exercising regularly and taking blood pressure medications as prescribed will assure your vision remains healthy. Contact our offices to schedule a Calgary eye exam, we can answer any questions or concerns regarding your vision health.

UV’s Role in Eye Disease

With spring already here in Calgary and summer just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to explain UV’s role in eye disease.

Eye doctors have already warned people about the harmful effects of UV or ultraviolet light radiation to the eyes. Too much UV exposure can result in age-related macular degeneration, cataract development, snow-blindness and even pinguecula or pterygium.

However, at present, these eye problems carry on escalating even if a lot of spectacles, contact lenses, and intraocular lens have UV protection coatings in them. This article will tackle at the recent understanding about UV exposure and a few of the most common and also rare conditions that optometrists face when it comes to damages from UV light.

Three Forms of Ultraviolet Light

UVA has a wavelength of 315nm to 380nm and can pierce through the skin. This is sometimes linked with tanning but is also associated with skin aging.

UVB has a much as smaller wavelength compared to UVA, 280nm to 215nm. UVB doesn’t pierce through the skin as intensely as UVA since it is mostly absorbed by the epidermis. So, it can be a more harmful type of UV light that can lead to sunburn or erythema, skin blisters, and possible different skin cancers.

UVC has a wavelength of 100nm to 280nm and is considered to be the most damaging to the skin, which ends up in skin cancer. Luckily, much of UVC is absorbed in the ozone layer and doesn’t enter the surface of the earth.

The light that reaches the earth mainly consists of roughly 95% UVA light and 5% UVB/UVC.

UVB and most particularly UVC are absorbed by the molecules of the DNA, so that’s why many experts think that these are the ones with the extreme effect on changing skin tissue and are linked with various skin cancers.

UVC is also the type that stages a vital role in cataract genesis and also macular degeneration. UVC can, in fact, create free radicals that affect the DNA. UVC has the capability to disturb structures like collagen, which are dominant in the conjunctiva and cornea and also glycans like hyaluronic acid

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Light

It is advisable to wear appropriate eye protection and headgear to block UV rays. To effectively protect your eyes, sunglasses must:

  • Suppress 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Block 75 to 90% of visible light
  • Be perfectly coordinated in colour and free of distortion and imperfection
  • Use grey lenses for proper colour recognition

We hope you’ve learnt about UV’s role in eye disease. If you need an eye exam in Calgary, Dr. Alex G. Wilson & Associates are here to help.

Differences Between Optometrist, Optician, and Ophthalmologist

The health of your eyesight significantly depends on working with the correct eye doctor in Calgary. If you need your eyes checked, ensure to have the proper eye doctor for your needs.

There are three types of eye specialists, namely optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists. However, the degree of knowledge and skills that each of them possesses do greatly vary from one another. To make you well-informed, we created a brief description of each eye specialist below:


To be a Doctor of Optometry, one must finish a 3-4 year Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.) and a 4-year Doctor of Optometry degree (O.D.). When that is finished, they must successfully pass the Canadian National Optometry Board Exam.

Optometrists provide the vast majority of primary vision care services in Alberta. They:

  • Examine, assess, measure and diagnose disorders and diseases of the human visual system, the eye and its associated structures.
  • Conduct research and promote education in the vision sciences.
  • Prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses and low vision devices.
  • Diagnose, treat and manage binocular and perceptual vision disorders.
  • Treat, manage and correct disorders and diseases of the human visual system, the eye and its associated structures.
  • Recognize and detect related systemic conditions.
  • Must maintain their skill set and level of competency by completing the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program through continuing education courses, participating in an on-site practice review on a regular basis and practicing a minimum number of days in each 3-year competency period.


They work in a retail optical dispensary. A Optician can design, fit and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses prescribed by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.


Their training includes a medical degree specializing in eye surgery and secondary vision care consultations the scope of their education requires obtaining a Bachelor of Science (BSc) a 4 year medical degree and an additional 5 year residency. Typically they do not provide primary vision care services although they can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses.

We hope we have educated you on the differences between an Optometrist, Optician and a Ophthalmologist. If you require a Optometrist, contact us for more information or to book an appointment online.