Viewing entries tagged
eye doctor

Are Your Child's Eyes Are Ready for School?

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Are Your Child's Eyes Are Ready for School?

Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning is through vision? In Ontario, although 25% of school-aged children have vision problems, only 14% have an eye exam before entering Grade 1. Often, children do not realize they have blurry vision or difficulty crossing their eyes - both of which may lead to challenges in reading and poorer school performance. Only an eye doctor can examine this thoroughly.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, a person’s first eye exam should be at 6-9 months of age. Children should also have an eye exam before entering JK, and then annually afterwards. Although most kids will not show any signs even if they have visual issues, here are some things to look out for:

  • Squinting or rubbing of eyes

  • Headaches, eyestrain

  • Moves text closer to read, or moves closer to the TV to see

  • Not meeting grade-level in reading or math

  • Skips lines/words when reading, mixes up letters, or reads backwards

  • Poor handwriting

  • Has difficulty with concentration, and is easily distracted

  • General fatigue

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers for standard eye exams annually for children aged 0-19. Our clinic also offers advanced retinal imaging to ensure the back of the eye (retina) is healthy, which is especially important for a growing child. So if you notice any of the above (or even if everything seems completely normal), we would be happy to see your child for an eye exam to make sure they are seeing well for school!

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Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong

Image Credit: Santi Vedrí

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What Do My Eyebrows Have to Do With My Vision?

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What Do My Eyebrows Have to Do With My Vision?

Eyebrows serve a lot of functions in our culture today from beauty to nonverbal communication. You can tell a lot about how a person is feeling based on their eyebrows. Different facial expressions show emotions, feelings and meanings while our eyebrows exaggerate that expression. Take cartoons for example, furrowed eyebrows express anger and high arched eyebrow express surprise. But what else do our eyebrows do for us?

We as humans rely on our sight more than any other sense. Eyebrows help keep sweat, rain and other moisture out of our eyes. With no eyebrows, water can get in and seriously blur our vision. In addition, our eyebrows may also deflect debris and protect our eyes from the sun. As a species, we slowly evolved to lose most of our body hair yet our eyebrows remained. Some scientists believe that if we didn’t have eyebrows, something else would have evolved to help this situation; perhaps incredibly thick eyelashes or an overly thick skull that forms a ledge above our eyes.

Eye protection is vital! Before you decide to pluck some extra hairs to form the perfect thin eyebrow shape or even consider eyebrow tattoos (shaving off your eyebrows and tattooing the arch – ouch!), remember the importance of that hair above your eyes and how it’s helping you see clearly and comfortably  each and every day.

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Written by: Stephanie Teixeira

Photo Credit: Rune Enstad

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5 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Baby’s Eyes

5 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Baby’s Eyes

We always recommend a baby’s first eye exam to be at 6 months old. At this age, their visual skills are rapidly developing, and it is important to ensure they are seeing well so that they can learn and explore the world around them. A great question we always get is how we can do eye tests on someone who doesn’t know their 123s or ABCs. Of course, we modify our infant exams to incorporate fun lights, sounds, and toys to check eye alignment and their ability to follow moving objects. We also use patterns to check their ability to see detail, as babies will naturally pay attention to new and interesting patterns. Lastly, we use lights to look at their eye health in a very non-invasive way.

Here are my five tips for taking care of your baby’s eyes:

  1. Baby sunglasses are a must! Up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to damaging UV radiation occurs before age 18. Protect your kid’s eyes as soon as possible, whenever they are outdoors at all times of the year.

  2. To aid visual development, keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby’s focus of about 8 to 12 inches, and help them explore different shapes and textures with their fingers. Remember daily tummy time as it is crucial for developing posture, vision, and motor coordination. Once mobile, give them the freedom to crawl and explore. Stay tuned for our next blog on primitive reflexes, which newborns have that set the stage for proper motor development!

  3. Watch your baby’s eyes carefully, checking to see if they recognize and follow objects or faces. If you ever see an eye turn in or out (i.e. crossed eyes), bring them to see an optometrist.

  4. Make eyelid hygiene a part of their daily routine. Removing debris and crusting will make their eyes more comfortable and reduce the risk of infection. Start with a soft washcloth dampened with warm water. With their eyes closed, gently wipe from the inner to outside corner of the eye.

  5. Did you know a baby’s brain doubles in size by their first birthday? DHA is an Omega-3 fat that is abundant in our brains and retina, and is important for neural, cognitive, and visual development. Ensure your baby gets enough by including enough DHA in your diet during breastfeeding, or by choosing a DHA-enriched baby formula.

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Written by Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai

Image Credit: Valeria Zoncoll

Top 5 Causes of a Twitchy Eye

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Top 5 Causes of a Twitchy Eye

Ever wonder why that pesky eyelid will randomly begin twitching for days to even weeks on end? Although eyelid twitches are fairly common and harmless, it is bothersome and is a sign that something has changed in your body which you should pay attention to. Here are the most frequent causes:

1. STRESS
Eyelid twitches will usually subside with stress relief. Make time for rest and relaxation, and consider reducing stress with exercise or meditation.

2. FATIGUE
Ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of uninterrupted sleep, and that you are taking breaks through out the day away from your phone or computer screen.

3. CAFFEINE
Try to cut back on drinking caffeinated tea or coffee.

4. EYE STRAIN
Consult your optometrist to check if blurry vision or fluctuating focus might be causing your eyelid to twitch.

5. DRY EYE
Make sure you are blinking regularly when looking at screens. Your optometrist can discuss options to help with irritation caused by dry eye

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Written by Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai
Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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Test your eye health knowledge with these commonly asked questions!

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Test your eye health knowledge with these commonly asked questions!

Does sitting too close to the TV damage your vision?

Sitting closer than necessary may give you a headache, but it will not damage your vision. Parents of children and teens who habitually sit close to the TV should consider having their vision measured to screen for uncorrected refractive errors.

Does reading in the dark weaken your eyesight?

You may experience eye strain from reading in dim light, but it will not weaken your eyesight or harm the eyes. Reading in the dark is counterproductive because the parts of the eye that generate the clearest, most precise visual images require light in order to function.

Will using glasses or contacts weaken my eyesight? Will my eyes will eventually become dependent on them?

Vision correction (whether with glasses or contact lenses) focuses light rays entering the eye in order to create a crisp visual image on the retina. It is true that nearsighted children become more nearsighted up until age 30 or so, but don’t blame the eyewear! The focusing power of the eyes changes throughout life. That is one reason why routine eye exams are so helpful. Use of eyeglasses or contact lenses will not weaken eyesight or cause any focusing problem to worsen.

Can children with crossed eyes be treated?

The medical term for cross-eyed is strabismus (STRUH-BIZ-MUSS). There are several different causes for misalignment of the eyes, and a thorough eye exam is necessary to accurately diagnose the problem and its cause. Depending on the cause of the crookedness, some children with strabismus can be managed with prescription eyeglasses, whereas other kinds of strabismus require surgery. Prompt treatment is essential to protect the deviated eye from losing vision – a condition called amblyopia (lazy eye).

Is there anything you can do to prevent vision loss?

Most cases of vision loss can be treated. Depending on the specific disorder, vision loss can be halted, reversed, or even completely restored. See your doctor if you experience decreased vision, abrupt flashes of light, or the presence of a “curtain” that obscures your eyesight. Sudden, total loss of vision is a medical emergency – get immediate help.

Will using a nightlight in your child’s room contribute to nearsightedness?

Some researchers have suggested that use of nightlights may contribute to nearsightedness (myopia); however, there is not enough evidence to support this claim. Keeping a nightlight on in your baby’s room may actually help stimulate the infant’s visual development and eye coordination skills when they are awake.

Do YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT EYE CARE YOU WOULD LIKE ANSWERED?

We'd be happy to answer your eye care questions, e-mail us at info@drfabiantai.com

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