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.

Vegetables

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.

Fruits

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.

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.

How To Protect Your Eyes From Pollen

Allergy season in Calgary is upon us and it can feel never ending to those who suffer the symptoms of allergies including itchy, red eyes. Spring brings tree and flower pollen. As Summer arrives those irritants are joined by grass and weed pollen in the Fall. Red, itchy eyes, burning and stinging are the result, even more so for those living in the warmer parts of the city.

We want you to be able to enjoy the outdoors in Calgary so we wanted to give you some tips on how to protect your eyes from pollen.

Ways to Protect Your Eyes From Pollen

Stay informed by monitoring pollen counts on Calgary weather channels or news broadcasts so you can know when counts are unusually high. During these times try to limit your time outdoors as well as the following suggestions:

  • Have someone cut your grass whenever possible
  • Limit exposure to wooded areas
  • Close doors and windows and use air conditioning if you have it, be aware that allergens are spread through the air in your home, and could be circulated  via the air conditioner’s  filter. Severe reactions may be a sign not to use the air conditioning unit at this time.
  • Consider purchasing a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter which is more effective at removing allergens from the air in your home.

These measures are the first in trying to control seasonal allergies. But often times you will not be able to avoid them. What to do then?

There are many over the counter medications and eye drops to help flush out and soothe itchy, red eyes. Eye drops usually contain antihistamines and decongestants to help calm the irritation brought on by allergens. Some people who are affected may consult their Doctor about possible allergy drugs if they cannot experience relief from no prescription drugs.

Scheduling an appointment with your Optometrist might be a good idea for an exam to rule out any other problems that might be causing your discomfort. The Optometrist can offer suggestions, especially for those who wear contacts. The discomfort is your body defending itself from these invaders, whether you use over the counter or prescription drugs there is no reason to miss out on any of the fun due to allergies.

If you are struggling with allergies and need to see a Dr. Alex G. Wilson & Associates, contact us today and we’ll have an eye exam done to rule out any other problems.

10 Warnings Signs Of Eye Trouble

In our last blog post we talked about seven bad habits that can age your eyes. Today, our Calgary optometrists are going to discuss 10 warning signs of eye trouble. Read these warning signs over and be sure to take care of your eyes.

  1. Transient Vision Loss A greying over of vision in one eye that may last seconds or minutes which could signal a risk for Stroke or other types blood vessel blockage disease.
  2. Double Vision This may be as simple as your eye teaming or binocular vision which is very common or rarely could be a sign of a more serious health problem such a stroke or tumour.
  3. Sudden Blurry Vision If it improves by blinking or using tear supplements it is probably related to dry eyes.
  4. Gradual Blurry Vision Could just mean you need a new prescription for glasses (most likely) Cataracts are another common cause.
  5. Painful, Sudden Blurry Vision When accompanied by nausea  and vomiting it may be caused by an eye disease called “ Narrow Angle Glaucoma “ the pressure may rise acutely in one eye causing the symptoms, this is an urgent situation, go immediately to your Optometrist’s office or Emergency Ward at the Hospital if after hours.
  6. Flashing Lights/ Floaters Extremely common symptom for Physician referrals to Optometrists, could however signify a change in the gel inside the eye and carries a very small risk for a tear in the Retina.
  7. Curtain Or Veil Across One Side Of Your vision Even though it is painless if it is often ignored for weeks which is unfortunate as it may signal a retinal detachment. It must be diagnosed and treated immediately to prevent permanent vision loss.
  8. Distorted Vision In One Eye If you are over 50 years old it could be due to Macular Degeneration, under 50 they look at different diseases of the Macula.
  9. Unequal Pupil Size Usually not a serious symptom, if accompanied by blurred vision or droopy eyelid or double vision seek immediate Medical care.
  10. Scratchy Irritated Eyes Usually due to dryness but could have a more serious cause, an annual eye exam is the best way to ensure the health of your eyes. If you’re experiencing the more urgent symptoms don’t delay in consulting with your Calgary optometrist.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, contact us today to book an appointment for an eye exam in Calgary.

Seven Bad Habits That Will Age Your Eyes

Here at Dr. Alex G. Wilson and Associates are all about eye care. After all, without your eyes you wouldn’t be able to watch the Flames or Stampeders play. You wouldn’t be able to take in the sights of the Stampede either.

We want you to take care of your eyes. Today’s blog is on seven bad habits that will age your eyes. Read on and make sure you stop with these bad habits.

  1. Not wearing sunglasses Ultraviolet light breaks down the collagen fibers on the skin on the eyelids. The result makes your eyes look older and ultraviolet light can lead to cataract development, macular degeneration, skin cancer and growths on the surface of the eye that can be difficult to remove surgically.
  2. Inadequate hydration  Our bodily cells are made up of at least 55 to 60% water and we may not realize how much our eyes need hydration as well.  Failing to keep hydrated throughout the day can leave the eyes dry, bloodshot and unable to produce enough tears.
  3. Not sleeping enough Poor sleep habits can accelerate the aging process, studies have shown a lack of sleep can make it harder for the body to repair skin damage.
  4. Rubbing your eyes If you find yourself frequently rubbing your eyes the mechanical pressure can damage the connective tissue around the eyelids. Rubbing and stretching of the eyelid muscle similarly can cause drooping of the eyelid and possibly other symptoms such as watering of the eyes.
  5. Smoking If you need another reason to quit smoking add your eye health to the list of it’s harmful effects on your body. Smoking can increase the risk by four to sixfold of blindness as well as age related eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration.
  6. Poor diet Nutrients in dark, leafy green vegetables, berries and cold water fish actually have preventative benefits for diseases of the eyes such as Cataracts and Macular Degeneration.
  7. Failure to get regular eye exams An eye exam is the best way to be sure your eyes are healthy and well corrected for your daily vision needs. Excess eye strain happens from computer work as we tend to blink as much as 50% less while staring at the computer screen, so wearing corrective glasses if you require them provides a moisture barrier.  Even if you have no symptoms an annual visit  to your Optometrist will detect any problems and early treatment can be started and vision loss prevented.

If you need an eye exam, please contact us for more or to schedule an appointment.

What Are Those Specks I See In My Vision?

It is not out-of-the-ordinary to begin to see dark specks in your vision as you get older. These specks are called eye floaters and they can affect your ability to read, but they do not have to be a cause for concern if you learn more about them and the options available for treatment.

Eye floaters are fibres that travel in your vitreous humor

The vitreous humor is a fluid that is located between your retina and your lens, and the fibres that move around in them can become visible to you in the form of dark spots. This is due to their ability to cast a shadow on your retina, creating the phenomenon of eye floaters.

No medications yet exist to treat milder forms of eye floaters

If the specks in your vision are currently not a major concern for your ability to see properly, you can try out some natural remedies or wait for your brain to adjust to the change in your vision.

In terms of natural remedies, no methods have been scientifically proven to be effective but some people have found improvement by cutting back on caffeine, participating in stress-relieving activities (such as yoga), or increasing the amount of magnesium they receive from their diet.

Something to keep in mind if these specks are not yet majorly interfering with your vision is that your brain may adjust so you do not notice the specks. As well, the specks could go away on their own. For as long as they appear to remain a minor problem, you can retain some assurance that the specks could decrease. However, large increases to the number of specks or to the impact that they have on your vision can be a sign that you should see an optometrist.

Surgery is possible, but risks are involved

You can opt to have the eye floaters surgically removed. This can be done through either laser treatment, to vaporize the specks, or a Vitrectomy, which will rid your eye of the current vitreous fluid and replace it. Each of these procedures has benefits and potential risks, which your optometrist in Calgary can discuss with you.

Please contact us at Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates to schedule an eye exam or to learn more about our eye care treatments.

At What Age Can My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

The decision to get contact lenses for your child is one to be made between you, your child, and your optometrist. Many parents wonder whether their child has to be a certain age before they can wear contact lenses, but the truth is that contacts can be used by kids of very young ages, including infants and toddlers–but they are not ideal for everyone.

Here are a few factors to take into consideration as you decide whether contact lenses are the ideal eye care solution for your child.

Is your child capable of and willing to keep the lenses clean and well cared for?

Many optometrists find that kids are diligent in the cleaning and care of their contact lenses–even more so than adults are. Whether your child is ready to take on this responsibility will ultimately be decided upon by your optometrist, who will not prescribe contact lenses if a child is not ready for them or they will not benefit from their usage. And if your child ends up showing they aren’t yet ready to wear contact lenses, the optometrist will be willing and able to unprescribe them.

Is your child nearsighted?

If your child has myopia–that is, they are nearsighted–some specialized contact lenses could help to decrease the speed of eye growth. This is beneficial because it is this growth of the eyes that increases myopia–so a slowing down of the progressive growth can help.

Does your child participate in active activities?

Wearing glasses while playing sports can lead to injury, even if the lenses are of high quality–broken frames can be a hazard. On top of this, glasses don’t allow your child to use their peripheral vision to the best of their ability.

Contact lenses can help with both of these concerns, and they can even make it possible for your child to wear protective goggles if this would increase their safety in whatever activity they are participating in.

Will your child’s self-esteem improve if they begin wearing contact lenses?

Being a kid or teenager is tough, with many of them dealing with concerns about fitting in and achieving the confidence they need to reach their goals. If contact lenses will help them with this, and they are otherwise capable of taking care of them, then a prescription may be an ideal option.

Contact our optometrists to learn more about contact lens solutions for your kids.

Visual Acuity and How Eyesight is Measured

When your optometrist asks you to read the Snellen Chart, that chart with lines of letters of increasingly smaller size, what they are testing is the clarity of your vision–also known as your visual acuity. This can be impacted by several factors including how sensitive your brain’s interpretive faculty is, the functionality of the retina, and how sharp is the retinal focus of the eye.

How your eyesight is measured is important for determining whether you have vision concerns currently or may develop any in the future. Here’s more on what you need to know about the measurement of your eyesight.

 

You may have to identify optotypes in order to have your visual acuity measured

As in the above mentioned Snellen Chart, the use of black symbols on a white background is effective for determining the clarity of your vision. The symbols are known as optotypes, and they can include the following: letters that have been stylized, Landolt broken rings (rings that have a gap in them–the person being tested must state on what side the gap is located) and other symbols used for those who are illiterate. The symbols will typically be placed on a printed chart, though other formats are also used.

 

Charts with optotypes must be placed at a specific distance away depending on the type of test

Your optometrist can test your near visual acuity, by placing the chart at a reading distance, as well as your acuity for how far away you can see.

 

The measurement of your eyesight is a psychophysical procedure

The results of a test on your visual acuity is ultimately determined by your perception of the physical characteristics of the symbols and the resulting responses that you make.

It is essential that various factors in the room are controlled to ensure the most accurate results. This means that the chart and room must have the right lighting, the person being tested must be given an appropriate amount of time for responding, and an allowance should be made for error.

Please contact us to book an eye exam with our Dr. Alex G. Wilson & Associates today.