Viewing entries tagged
eye exam

Are Your Child's Eyes Are Ready for School?


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!


Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong

Image Credit: Santi Vedrí


Help! How Do I Get Rid Of This Floater?!


Help! How Do I Get Rid Of This Floater?!

Do you ever notice small specks or threadlike shapes moving in your field of vision? You might think it’s dirt on your eye or glasses, but these pesky annoyances are most likely floaters.

The eye is filled with a gel that helps keep its round shape. Sometimes, it can clump up in areas and cast shadows on the retina (the neural tissue of the eye). Not to worry though, floaters for the most part are harmless. In general, they subside over time, but if they don’t, there are potential laser treatments. (and no, unfortunately there are no vitamins or exercises that will get rid of them). Your optometrist can guide you through your options to discuss what is best for your eye health.

Flashes and floaters, however, can also be a tell-tale sign that there may be damage in the eye that needs to be treated urgently. Sometimes the gel can pull and tug on the retina, which becomes more common with age. This can seem quite alarming as it might create a sudden increase of floaters and flashes. Symptoms such as this could be related to a retinal detachment or tear, which is vision-threatening if not treated in a timely manner. Only a dilated eye exam, along with the help of digital imaging, can help rule out a retinal detachment or tear.

If there is one take-away from this, please remember: If you experience an increase of floaters or flashes, or a curtain/veil across your vision, see your optometrist as soon as possible. Here at our office, we will do our best to fit you in immediately, as your vision and well-being are our top priority.


Written by: Sandy Aziz & Dr. Natalia Fong

Image Credit: Dmytro Soroka


Are Our Eyes a Window Into Detecting Early Dementia?

Are Our Eyes a Window Into Detecting Early Dementia?

Did you know that over 170 systemic diseases can manifest in the eye? Just by looking into your eyes, your doctor can help detect things such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease, anemia, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and cancer. With today’s rapidly growing technology, scientists may soon be adding Alzheimer’s Disease to that list.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, and 1 in 5 will suffer from it by age 85. Researchers have found that in AD, plaques of an extracellular deposit called amyloid-beta accumulate in the brain. Since the eye is an extension of the brain’s neural tissue, these plaques are also found to build up inside the eye’s retinal neurons.

A special type of low-cost and non-invasive retinal imaging called scanning laser ophthalmoscopy can be used to detect amyloid-beta in the eye. One study showed that this method detected 4.7x more amyloid-beta in retinas of patients with AD. It’s a promising prospect for early detection of AD before clinical signs, such as memory loss, begin to appear. This would open doors for early, preventative treatment.

Research still has a long way to go, however, since studies are still ongoing to determine how accurate this scan would be in diagnosing AD. We wonder how many other neurological conditions might also show up in the eye; perhaps this discovery is only the beginning!


Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai

Image Credit: Victor Freitas

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.


Written by Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai

Image Credit: Valeria Zoncoll