Viewing entries tagged
eye health

Buyer Beware: 5 Dangers of Ordering Glasses Online

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Buyer Beware: 5 Dangers of Ordering Glasses Online

We absolutely love the ease and convenience of shopping for deals online; however, when it comes to glasses, it’s not so simple. Glasses must be custom-made to your prescription and facial measurements. Since they are Class I medical devices, they must also meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) requirements, which are rarely regulated online. So, when patients ask for our opinions on purchasing online, we warn them of the following dangers.

  1.  Prescription Issues. Glasses must be made accurate to the prescription, with acceptable limits of error. Not only must the strength be right, but the center of the lens must also sit in front of the eye’s pupil. This relies on having a correct pupillary distance (PD) measurement. A PD that is off by even 1 mm can create ‘prismatic effects’ which change the prescription. This can lead to eyestrain, headache, blur, and double vision. In a Canadian study assessing popular online retailers, 81% of glasses had the wrong prescription.

  2. Fit Issues. Frames should never squeeze your temples, leave uncomfortable imprints on your nose, sit too close or too far, fit too wide or narrow, tilt at an odd angle, or slip down your face. Their shape should complement and enhance your face. And these days, a trendy pair of glasses are a fashion statement! Virtual fitting simply does not compare to trying on frames in-store, with the input and advice from a certified optician or optometrist. 70% of frames purchased online do not meet basic comfort and position criteria.

  3. Safety Issues. All lenses must meet a minimum thickness for safety reasons. In cases where shatter-resistance is required, these standards are even more strict – the lenses must be even thicker and only certain lens materials provide maximum protection. Again, there is no guarantee of these standards being met by online retailers. One study showed that 23% of eyewear ordered online failed impact testing, compared to <0.5% failure rate for lenses produced by ophthalmic labs that undergo regular inspection.

  4. Coating Quality Issues. There are many different types of anti-reflective, scratch-resistant, and blue light coatings. Low-quality coatings damage easily, and are also much harder to clean. Everyone knows how frustrating it is to constantly clean dirty fingerprint-covered lenses! Ordering online also does not guarantee that you get what you ask for – many lenses end up being sent with missing coatings.

  5. Accountability Issues. We strongly believe that you should never be stuck with a pair of glasses that you can’t use. If something goes wrong with either the prescription or frame, it’s important that there is someone who can help problem-solve through the issue. Your glasses should have a dependable warranty that includes the ability to change the prescription if you are unable to adapt to it.

The bottom line? Protect yourself by ensuring that your glasses have been inspected to meet medical standards. We encourage ordering your glasses from a reputable retailer with a physical store and trained staff. When it comes to vision, it is well worth investing in glasses with high-quality materials and coatings so that you can see your best. 

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Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong

Photo Credit: Photo by John Schnobrich

References:
https://optometrists.sk.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/OnlineEyewearEvaluation.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21871395

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Why Do I Get Carsick?

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Why Do I Get Carsick?

The trunk is packed, the music’s blasting, and the road trip snack bag is full! But road trips, or any length of time spent in the car, can bring on car sickness for many people, making car rides a stressful and unpleasant experience. But what many people don’t know about motion sickness is that it is highly connected to vision.

Motion sickness is brought on when a person’s visual system is not working together with their vestibular system. The vestibular system provides us with a sense of balance and gives us spatial awareness, or knowing where our body is in the environment. When we sit in a car, our body can sense subtle acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle. If our eyes don’t communicate that same information to the brain, we get nauseous. People who have visual problems, such as a lazy eye or post-concussion difficulties, may be more prone to motion sickness due to a mismatch between the visual and vestibular systems.

Some simple ways to reduce feelings of motion sickness are to try sitting in the front seat of the car or staring out the window. Your visual system will sense the movement, reducing feelings of sickness. You can also try sipping on ginger tea to help soothe an upset stomach. However, if there is a greater visual issue at play, vision therapy may be helpful. Our vision therapists, along with Dr. Tai, can help identify potential visual issues you may have, and will work alongside you to help improve and reduce your road trip dread!

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Written by: Tali Main

Photo Credit: Dan Gold

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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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Can I Sleep With My Eyes Open?

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Can I Sleep With My Eyes Open?

As unusual as sleeping with your eyes open may sound, it is something that 20% of people are affected by.  Most individuals are not even aware of it themselves until someone brings it to their attention. Nocturnal lagophthalmus is the medical term used for someone who sleeps with their eyes open. Sleeping with your eyes open does not mean that your eyes are wide open, but rather that the eyelids don’t close all the way. Over time, sleeping with your eyes open can cause someone to experience chronic dryness and discomfort leading to a lack of lubrication that can put one at risk for eye damage and scratches. 

Additional side effects to nocturnal lagophthalmus are:

  • Redness and irritation

  • Light sensitivity

  • Reduced quality of sleep

Luckily there are a number of treatments that are available that can help individuals with nocturnal lagophthalmus, such as:

  • Prescribing medications, such as eye drops, ointments and artificial tears to reduce dryness and scratches

  • Wearing moisture goggles when sleeping

  • Placing a humidifier at night to moisten the air to reduce dryness

  • Inserting an external eyelid weight or surgical tape to the upper eyelids to keep them closed

  • Performing surgery (generally for severe cases)

If you experience times when you wake up the next morning with dryness, discharge, or discomfort in your eyes, think about looking into whether you have nocturnal lagophthalmus. Your optometrist can perform a thorough assessment to find signs of this condition, and will recommend the best treatment for it.

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Written by: Stephanie Teixeira and Sandra Mazur

Photo Credit: Vlad Tchompalov

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

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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.

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Written by: Sandy Aziz & Dr. Natalia Fong

Image Credit: Dmytro Soroka

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