Why Are You Nearsighted

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Myopia, or nearsightedness, may have questions about how it happened. The blurred distance vision that they experience is the result of imprecise optics of the eye. With normal vision, light entering the eye focuses on the whole retina. For those with myopia, the light focuses on the front of the retina instead. Because of this, objects viewed in the distance appear unclear and out of focus. Nearsightedness typically begins in childhood and increases as a child grows, but it can worsen at any age. On the other hand, it can surprisingly also improve with time, even as we enter our older years.

Who doesn’t remember their parents telling them to turn on a brighter light while reading or to not sit too close to the TV? Other things such as reading too much or playing video games have been questioned as possible culprits for Myopia. Despite a ton of research, no real cause has been determined to this day.

Myopia has been shown to be on the increase in the general population, which is a cause for concern. Researchers question whether this is due to family genetics, the amount of close work we perform or even what part our diet plays. The answer is probably a combination of one or more of these factors.

Recent research in Asia suggests that spending more time outdoors reduces the risk of developing nearsightedness. As we place increasing demands on our eyes through focusing on the screens of our computers, tablets, and phones, this research highlights our need to head outdoors more frequently.

Based on the benefits uncovered by this research, parents should make sure their children spend at least 40 minutes outdoors each day. Additionally, scheduling regular eye exams can help to keep your child’s eyes healthy. Now is the time, schedule your appointment with our Optometrists for a comprehensive eye exam in Calgary.

How School Affects Children’s Eyes

Preparing your child for a new school year means shopping for new clothes, backpacks and filling endless school supply lists. A visit to your child’s Optometrist may be something else to do to get your child off to a healthy start. As parents we want to give our child the best chance to do well in school, and that’s why their ability to see clearly at all distances is vitally important. We’ve listed some common eye issues below that might cause your child to experience difficulty in school, and  we suggest including an eye exam with an Optometrist as your child begins a new school year.

Myopia

The most common eye issue that Calgary Optometrists diagnose is myopia, often referred to as near sightedness. Students sitting far away from blackboards or in large lecture halls can experience blurred vision, leaving them unable to see the material properly. Some younger students may have lower grades or become disruptive because they can’t see clearly. Unable to see the material and take notes can cause them to fall behind.

Hyperopia

Farsightedness, or hyperopia is the exact opposite of myopia and prevents the student from seeing clearly and focusing close up. The closer the material, the more difficult it is for the person to do their work. Because of this, they may find it easier to avoid their work altogether. If hyperopia goes undiagnosed, your child may experience fatigue, headaches and eye turning issues.

Astigmatism

The lesser known astigmatism means that the clear front surface of the eye is not completely round, which affects both distance and near vision. This is not a disease of the eye per say, rather a misshapen eye that can easily be corrected with prescription lenses.

It is recommended that all patients, including children, should have their binocular vision checked as well. Even if they don’t require prescription lenses, a person could experience vision problems when their eyes don’t align properly, an easily corrected problem.

Schools throughout Calgary offer screening programs to find any vision issues your child may be experiencing in class. Another option is to call and schedule an appointment with our Optometrists where a comprehensive eye exam can better determine the complete health of your child’s eyes.

Tips To Protect Your Eyes When Applying Makeup

Part of young girls growing up is wanting to try something in their mother’s makeup case. The early teen years may have been the time when you could start to wear mascara and a little lip gloss to school. Saying goodbye to playing with dolls, or you might have been a tomboy it made you feel quite grown up. Whether applying make up is new for you or started years ago at some point we’ve poked ourselves in the eye. Here are some tips to help you protect your eyes when applying makeup.

Remember the 3 month rule

If you’ve ever experienced itchy, watery eyes you may want to look no further than your makeup bag. Before you chalk it up to allergies it could be caused by bacteria on your makeup. Cosmetics do have a shelf life and need to be discarded after 3 months or could result in some real eye discomfort. Make a note on your calendar with your first application and you’ll be able to keep unwanted bacteria away from your eyes.

Sharing is not always caring

While it’s natural to want to share your newest find with a friend it’s probably not a good idea. Everybody had different bacteria on their skin and it could play havoc with yours and something you might want to avoid.

Watch out for contacts

For contact wearers it’s best to put them in before applying makeup to prevent any makeup getting between the contact lens and your eye.

Take it slow with allergies

When you introduce new products slowly will help narrow down which product is the culprit should you have an allergic reaction.

Clean, clean, clean

You can never be too clean when it comes to something you’re applying to your skin and eyes.Thoroughly washing your hands and face will prevent bacteria from causing problems.

Another part of protecting your eyes is having a comprehensive eye exam to uncover any vision problems early. When it’s time for a Calgary eye exam, contact us to schedule your appointment today!

How Your Eyes Change Over Time

Part of aging is the process of our bodies undergoing changes and often don’t function the way they once did. No where is this more noticeable than in the changes we experience in our vision. Most can be easily dealt with through corrective lenses or routine procedures. There are some age related conditions that are more serious and can severely impact a person’s quality of life.

What can you expect

After the age of 40 most everyone will experience presbyopia which is simply being unable to see as clearly. This is a natural process and there is no way for a person to prevent it from happening. The first indication may be holding a newspaper at arm’s length to see better or a computer monitor appearing blurry. Generally a pair of “readers“ from a rack at the drugstore without a prescription will solve the issue.

Cataracts can be age related however not everyone will develop them in their lifetime. Characterized by a clouding of the lense of the eye there are steps you can take to prevent cataracts.

Conditions of the eyes such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are a much more serious issue. As a leading cause of blindness among seniors macular degeneration can greatly affect a person’s quality of life.These conditions have a more positive outcome if caught and dealt with early.

When it comes to your eyes and age related visions problems there are changes you can make to avoid some of these conditions. Developing and leading an active, healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and regular exercise will keep your eyes healthy. Along with a healthier lifestyle detecting vision problems early before they become a larger issue is key. As part of maintaining healthy eyes, remember to book an annual eye exam for a comprehensive eye exam with an Calgary Optometrist. Contact us today to book an appointment.

4 Ways To Prepare Your Eyes For Fall In Calgary

One of the many reasons people enjoy living in Calgary is experiencing the four very distinct seasons. There is something cozy about warming yourself by the fireplace during the fall. These drastic changes in weather can be hard on a person’s eyes. Here are a few tips to keep your eyes healthy all year round.

  1. Don’t pack away those sunglasses. Cooler temperatures don’t mean the sun is no longer an issue. Wise people know that sunglasses are important in all 4 seasons to protect your eyes from harmful vision damaging UV rays.
  2. Take control of your allergies. Even Autumn can cause allergy sufferers to experience an itchy nose and severe migraines. Be prepared by filling any allergy prescriptions or purchasing over the counter meds to keep on hand. Keeping your home as clean as possible, washing your face and hands often and staying indoors during bad pollen days will help ease your symptoms.
  3. Pick up some over the counter eye drops. Relieve those itchy, watery eyes brought on by your autumn allergies with some eye drops. Even those who don’t have allergies can benefit from eye drops to combat dry eyes. Cooler temperatures come with drier air and as a result everything feels drier including your eyes.
  4. Invest in nighttime driving glasses. Shorter daylight hours mean driving to and home from work in the dark often wet conditions. Consider purchasing a pair of nighttime driving glasses to help keep you safer on the road at this time of year.

Keeping our eyes healthy is important for each of us not only those with seasonal allergies. If you have questions about nighttime glasses or are looking for ways to keep your eyes healthy we’re happy to offer suggestions. Having a comprehensive eye exam is a good way to detect any potential vision problems not related to allergies. Contact our Calgary Optometrists to schedule an appointment a good start to maintaining healthy eyes.

Understanding And Relieving Dry Eyes

As more time is spent staring at computer and smartphone screens eye doctors are seeing the number of dry eye complaints rising. Patients at first may attribute their discomfort to simple eye fatigue or even seasonal allergies. In fact it has become one of the most common reasons for people to visit their eye doctor.

Unlike reading a book or even watching TV, focusing on these screens requires our eye muscles to work much harder when our eyes move back and forth. Forgotten is the rate at which we blink our eyes and this causes much of the problem. Blinking performs an extremely important function as it stimulates tear production and spreads the tears over the surface of the eye. As we continue to forget to blink with enough frequency serious issues can result with our eyes feeling gritty and dry.

The 2 main forms of dry eye are aqueous deficient and evaporative dry eye. With aqueous deficiency the lacrimal glands don’t produce enough water to keep the eye moist. People often believe this to be the cause of their dry eyes and yet in only a small percentage (14%) is aqueous deficiency the issue.

In most of the remaining cases evaporative dry eye is found to be the cause. The eyelids has Meibomian glands that when functioning properly create an oil layer of tears. Without this layer of oil tears evaporate 4 to 16 times faster and the result is discomfort and dryness.When the glands are blocked and can’t perform their job evaporative dry eye is the result.

There are treatment options are available and range from prescription eye drops with different treatments which can help unblock the Meibomian glands. Our Calgary Optometrists can diagnose and offer the best treatment options to patients.

Book an appointment or contact us today for more information.

10 Ways Smoking Damages Your Eyes

The health problems associated with smoking are well documented and remains the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. The damaging effects it can have on your eyes and ultimately your vision are often not talked about.

Research has shown tobacco use can contribute to certain vision threatening conditions. If you continue to smoke here’s 10 ways lighting up can affect your eyes.

  1. Cataracts – Smoking doubles the risk of changes to the lens of the eye resulting in cloudy vision. Correcting this issue requires undergoing surgery to correct this issue.
  2. Age related Macular Degeneration – Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in those over 65 years of age. But did you know that smoking triples the risk of this disease and increases its severity.
  3. Glaucoma – Another leading cause of blindness is Glaucoma and your chances of developing primary open angle glaucoma increase if you continue to smoke tobacco.
  4. Diabetic Retinopathy ( for those with diabetes ) – Smoking increases your risk of developing diabetes and the accompanying complications. This includes potential blinding changes to the blood vessels of the eye.
  5. Dry Eyes – The irritating effects of smoking can cause eyes to become dry and itchy
  6. Problems Wearing Contact Lenses – The resulting dry eyes caused by smoking can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable. Continued wear with the dry eyes could lead to corneal ulceration which can cause blindness.
  7. Uveitis – The inflammation of uveitis can lead to cataracts and glaucoma and the chances of developing this condition is doubled in smokers.
  8. Graves Disease – Another little known consequence of smoking is the your chances of developing thyroid disease are increased.
  9. Birth Defects – Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with lazy eye and birth defects involving the eye.
  10.  Second Hand Smoke – Those around you can be affected by dry eyes and the discomfort it can cause contact lens wearers as well.

Smokers especially should have an annual comprehensive eye exam. Our Optometrists in Calgary can detect and treat any issues to keep your eyes healthy. Book your eye exam today.

Are Computer Screens Making Your Eyes Work Harder

Patients visiting Optometrists are increasingly complaining of irritated and tired eyes. Everyone from grandparents to kids are experiencing the effects of the digital world we live in. People who spend a lot of time staring at their computer screens, smartphones and video game monitors can suffer from eye strain.

The reasons are pretty simple:

  • When you look at a digital device you tend to hold it closer than a book or newspaper which forces your eyes to work harder.
  • You’re less likely to blink as often and eye strain can be the result.
  • The eye muscles have to work to continually focus moving back and forth lining up with what you see onscreen, looking down at papers then back to type. Your eyes also battle screen contrast, flicker and glare.

The results can be neck, head or back pain. Your eyes may feel tired, painful, burning with redness. Double vision or problems focusing can be another result.

We have some great tips to help your eyes function better in this digital world and some minor changes will allow you to continue to enjoy your digital devices.

  • Place digital and computer screens 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes. Keep the monitor bright and consider getting a glare filter.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule to relax your eye muscles. Every 20 minutes focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Be aware of the way you hold your neck and shoulders, keep them relaxed, the tension here can cause tension in your eyes.
  • Blink more frequently, a healthy habit for your eyes.
  • If you wear eyeglasses and work at a computer get anti glare lenses and especially if your children wear eyeglasses.
  • Use artificial tear drops at night.

Our eyes have to work much harder now so a few small changes can eliminate the resulting eye strain.

We hope the tips above will help the health of your eyes. For any other eye issues, book an appointment today with our Calgary Optometrists.

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.