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Year: 2020

4 Ways To Help Your Students With Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual impairment that impacts their daily living. Ranging from nearsightedness to lazy eye to cross-eye, these visual problems can have a drastic impact on their performance in the classroom, which may lead them to lag behind their peers.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that educators can take to help their students with visual problems succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Because up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it is no wonder that children with subpar visual skills may lag behind their peers academically.

We’re not referring to visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but rather the visual skills that rely on brain-eye communication. Problems with these skills can only be detected during a functional visual exam.These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

Teachers of school-aged children with poor visual skills can implement certain strategies to accommodate and even improve students’ academic performance. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

Make sure your students are seated facing the whiteboard. They should not have to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, forcing some children to turn around to see the front of the classroom. While this type of seating arrangement has its benefits, it is not appropriate for children with visual impairments, as they may find it difficult to quickly shift their gaze.

2. Pay Attention to Their Visual Needs

Try to meet the students’ visual needs. For example, if a child is expected to wear glasses for certain tasks, make sure that the child follows through. If the child doesn’t comply, consider speaking with the child’s parents.

3. Optimize Classroom Lighting

If you know that a certain student has a visual problem, seat them so that they aren’t in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when this isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Please note that any flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Accommodates Their Vision

Below are steps you can take to help students with poor visual skills:

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard. Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • While writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student with subpar visual skills stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At Eye Health Centre, our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children with many types of visual dysfunctions, often using a specialized form of therapy called vision therapy. Vision therapy trains the eyes to focus better or work as a team (among many other visual skills) by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact Eye Health Centre today.

Eye Health Centre serves patients from St. Albert, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

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15 Things You Do That Can Harm Your Eyes

Eye health isn’t just about going for that yearly eye exam. Certain actions you take (or don’t take) in your daily routine can also have drastic effects on the health of your eyes and vision. Here’s our list of 15 things you may be doing that could pose damaging risks to your eyes.

It’s important to note that before changing any of your habits, consult with a medical professional to make sure they are right for you and your overall health.

1. Smoking

We all know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, but its effects on the eyes are far less known to many. The truth is that smoking can actually lead to irreversible vision loss by significantly increasing the risk of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. It can also cause dry eye syndrome. If you are a smoker, do your eyes (and body) a favor and try to kick or reduce the habit.

2. Not Wearing Sunglasses

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful UV radiation can damage the eye’s cornea and lens. Overexposure to UV rays can also lead to cataracts and even eye cancer. That’s why it’s important to always wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors, all four seasons of the year. Always check the sunglasses have FDA approval.

3. Sleeping with Makeup On

When you sleep with eyeliner or mascara, you run the risk of the makeup entering the eye and irritating the cornea. Sleeping with mascara on can introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause an infection. Abrasive glitters and shimmery eyeshadow can scratch the cornea as well. Be careful to remove all makeup with an eye-safe makeup remover before going to bed.

4. Buying Decorative Contact Lenses Without a Prescription

Although ordering decorative lenses without first visiting your optometrist may sound more convenient, purchasing them without a prescription isn’t worth the long term risks. Decorative contact lenses are sometimes made by unlicensed manufacturers who tend to use poor-quality or toxic materials that can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of microorganisms from unsanitary packaging and storage conditions.

5. Not Washing Your Hands Thoroughly

Frequently washing your hands helps to reduce the possibility of bacteria and viruses entering the eye. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) and corneal ulcers are common eye conditions that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water, soap, and thoroughly wash in between each finger and over the entire palm area. If you plan to insert or remove your contact lenses, wash and then dry your hands completely with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

6. Overwearing Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses for longer periods of time than intended can lead to inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), conjunctivitis, eyelid swelling, and contact lens intolerance. Always follow the recommended wear time as instructed by your optometrist.

7. Being Nutrient Deficient

Poor nutrition can cause permanent damage to the visual system. Try to include lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with adequate amounts of Omega-3. Some of the best vitamins and nutrients for eye health include Vitamins A, C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.

8. Using Non-FDA Approved Products

Whether it’s eyebrow enhancers, eye makeup, or eyelash growth serums, always choose products that have been FDA approved and/or meet government safety regulations. Non-approved products have been known to cause infections or allergic reactions in or around the eye area.

9. Not Cleaning Your Contacts Properly

If you are wearing contact lenses that need to be replaced once every two weeks or once a month, maintaining the highest level of contact lens hygiene is essential. Optometrists will tell you that a common reason patients come in to see them is due to an eye infection from contact lenses that haven’t been properly cleaned or stored. Some patients use their contact lens cases for too long, which can also cause eye irritation. To avoid eye infections, carefully follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to clean, store, and handle your contact lenses.

10. Showering or Swimming with Contact Lenses

There is a significant amount of bacteria that can be carried in tap water and swimming pools. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that water and contact lenses don’t mix. If you need vision correction while swimming, it may be worth investing in a pair of prescription swimming goggles.

11. Not Following Medication Instructions

When it comes to eye disease, following the medication instructions is crucial. Forgetting to insert eye drops, or administering the incorrect dosage could dramatically reduce the effectiveness of treatment, or even do harm. Speak with your eye doctor if you’re not sure about when or how to take your medication.

12. Not Taking a Holistic Approach

Your eyes are just one part of the whole system — your body. Ignoring health conditions you may have, like high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar, can pose serious risks to your eyes.

13. Not Wearing Protective Eyewear

Shielding your eyes with protective glasses or goggles while working with potentially sharp or fast-moving objects, fragments or particles (wood working, cutting glass, welding, doing repairs with nails, certain sports) is the best defense against eye injury. In fact, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

14. Using Unsafe Home Remedies

Some might think that because something is “natural” that it is safe for use around the delicate eye area. Home remedies, like using breastmilk to cure pink eye, could introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause infection. If your eyes are giving you trouble, make an appointment to see your local optometrist.

15. Skipping Your Recommended Eye Exam

Your eye doctor will advise you how often you need to come for an eye examination. Adults should visit their eye doctor at least every year for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether their optical prescription is up-to-date, and to check for the beginning stages of eye disease. Catching eye diseases in their early stages offers the best chance of successful treatment and preserving healthy vision for life.

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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Look to Your Medications for the Cause of Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a wide range of culprits, ranging from environmental conditions to the type of contact lenses you wear. One possible cause of dry eye syndrome that many people overlook is the medications they are taking. Various categories of drugs list dry eye syndrome as a possible side effect, either because they reduce the tear quantity or change the quality of the tear composition.

For personalised diagnosis and treatment of dry eye, visit our St. Albert optometrist. During your eye exam, we’ll discuss any medications you’re taking and whether it’s worthwhile to explore any alternate drugs.

What types of medications can lead to dry eyes?

  • Acne Medicine: If you suffer from severe and painful cystic acne, your primary physician may have prescribed a retinoid drug that works by diminishing the production of facial oils. Unfortunately for your eyes, this medication may also reduce the amount of lubricating oils in your tears.
  • Antihistamines: If you suffer from allergies, antihistamines may be your best friend – allowing you to live free from symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and swollen, itchy eyes. However, antihistamine drugs may also cause your eyes to produce fewer tears, leading instead to the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
  • Sleeping Pills, Certain Antidepressants and Medications for Parkinson’s: All of these types of drugs work by blocking some of the signals being transmitted between your nerve cells. At the same time, the drug may be interrupting the signals that tell your eyes to make more tears.
  • Hypertension Drugs: Beta-blockers help to lower blood pressure by blocking your body’s response to hormone adrenaline. Consequently, your heartbeat is slowed, which leads to your blood putting less force on your arteries. These drugs also cause a decrease in aqueous production, subsequently causing dry eye symptoms.
  • Hormones and Birth Control Pills: Certain hormone pills can lead to dry eyes; estrogen-only pills are particularly associated with dry eye syndrome.
  • Pain Relievers: Certain over-the-counter medications, such as large doses of ibuprofen, can lead to dry eye, namely because they can decrease tear secretion.

What can you do if your medicine causes dry eyes?

It’s vital to discuss your symptoms with both your eye doctor and primary physician – do not simply stop taking any of your medications! At our St. Albert eye care centre, we’ll evaluate your condition to determine the cause and the best customised treatment plan. Now that you know how medications can play a role in causing dry eye symptoms, you understand how essential it is to tell your eye doctor about any drugs you are taking. Together and in collaboration with your primary physician, we’ll figure out if any change in your systemic medications may be necessary.

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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The Surge In Cosmetic Procedures During COVID Raises Eye Health Concerns

COVID-19 has indirectly impacted eye health in ways that few would have anticipated. With many classrooms, business meetings, and hang-outs being relocated to virtual settings like Zoom and FaceTime, people are spending more time scrutinizing other people’s faces — and their own.

For some people, the more time they spend watching themselves in the thumbnail, the more time they focus on real or imagined imperfections and features that make them feel insecure.

In fact, plastic surgeons and cosmetic doctors all over the world are reporting something called the ‘Zoom Boom’ — the recent surge in cosmetic procedures to perfect ‘Lockdown Face.’ Yep, it’s a thing.

What many don’t realize is that cosmetic facial procedures can pose serious risks to eye health and vision, and in some cases result in serious eye damage or vision loss.

While opting to undergo a cosmetic procedure is a personal choice that each individual should make for themselves, a fully informed decision requires a visit to your eye doctor. Also, those interested in having a cosmetic eyelid lift should consult with a reputable oculo-plastic surgeon who has experience in this particular procedure.

How Can Cosmetic Procedures Impact Your Eyes? 

Before undergoing a cosmetic facial procedure, it’s important to know which procedures pose potential risks to your eyes and vision.

Eyelash Extensions

The adhesive used for eyelash extensions has been known to cause allergic lid reactions, infections, styes, and dry eye. Eye doctors unanimously agree that eyelash extensions should be the last resort for those who want fuller, thicker lashes.

Additionally, the addictive nature of eyelash extensions make them particularly risky. A side effect of lash extensions can be reduced eyelashes, which often drives the individual to have this procedure done repeatedly.

A safe alternative to getting eyelash extensions is using a medication called Latisse. This eyelash enhancing product can be prescribed by your eye doctor and may reduce the need for false eyelashes or extensions.

Laser Procedures

Lasers are used for various cosmetic procedures due to their high efficiency and accuracy. However, exposing the naked eye to a laser beam can be dangerous.

All laser procedures should be performed while the patient wears specialized goggles or corneal shields for protection. If the procedure is performed by an unlicensed individual, there is a much greater chance that effective eye protection won’t be used.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that ocular injuries can occur even when protective shields are utilized correctly.

Episcleral Tattoos

This procedure is the tattooing of the whites of the eye. Dye is injected beneath the conjunctiva and into the sclera (the white of the eye) to make it appear the desired color.

Episcleral tattoos can cause headaches and severe light-sensitivity, and increase the risk of eye infections, conjunctival hemorrhaging, and permanent vision loss.

Botox Injections

Botox injections are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures offered today, but they can harm eye health and vision when injected around the eye area.

Some common complications include allergic reactions, blurred vision, and droopy eyelids. Most of these reactions are temporary, but if symptoms persist and if blurred vision is prolonged, see an eye doctor immediately.

Always choose a qualified and licensed doctor to perform the procedure.

When to Visit Your Optometrist

If you are considering having any facial or eye procedures done, speak with your optometrist about how to keep your eyes safe during the process.

An eye exam with Dr. Sophie Jobin will determine the state of your eye health and what risks would be involved with the procedure you want.

If you’ve already undergone a cosmetic procedure or surgery and are experiencing any eye health or visual symptoms, call Eye Health Centre in for a prompt eye exam.

We want you to feel confident in the way you look, while keeping your eyes healthy and safe. Call Eye Health Centre to schedule your eye exam today.

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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Vision Therapy is for Everyone – Even Adults

Vision therapy is often thought of as a treatment especially for children. But adults can often benefit from these eye exercises just as much as kids do! When children can’t focus for long periods of time without eye strain or headaches, the problem doesn’t usually go away on its own – and they often grow up into adults who still suffer from problems with their visual system. Our St. Albert eye doctor has provided vision therapy for many patients with eye conditions that were neglected during childhood.

What are signs that an adult may need vision therapy?

If you regularly suffer from trouble with focusing for extended time, fluctuating vision, headaches, losing your place when reading, eye fatigue or headaches (especially when doing close work, such as using a computer or reading), you may benefit from vision therapy. Book a consultation with our experienced eye doctor in St. Albert.

How effective is vision therapy for adults?

Vision therapy is often very successful for adults, because adults are highly motivated to improve their visual skills and reduce any disturbing eye symptoms. Also, adults usually demonstrate more self-discipline and maturity, which keeps them committed to doing the necessary eye exercises.

While it can be more challenging to treat adults due to reduced adaptability, studies have shown that vision therapy can lead to noticeable improvements in depth perception, focusing and convergence. Although kids naturally have more adaptable brains, significant plasticity can still be coaxed with the right vision therapy program for adults.

A vision therapist can help diminish eye strain associated with doing near work, as well as address a range of other visual disorders. Eye exercises can make a significant improvement in an adult’s ability to function at work or play sports. To find out how vision therapy can help you, schedule an eye exam in St. Albert.

How long does vision therapy for adults take?

It tends to take longer for adults to see improvements than younger vision therapy patients. Children have a highly flexible visual system, which enables problems such as amblyopia, strabismus and other binocularity disorders to be corrected relatively quickly when treated early. In contrast, adults don’t share the same high level of neuroplasticity and will require more time and effort to overcome a problem with the visual system. Typically, patients come in for customised vision therapy sessions on a weekly basis, and it can take several months to achieve optimal results.

What conditions can vision therapy treat in adults?

Vision therapy is personalized and can treat a range of vision conditions:

  • Convergence insufficiency (eye teaming)
  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Eye strain
  • Saccadic dysfunction (eye tracking)
  • Traumatic brain injury (concussion)

It’s never too late to address problems with your visual system! To find out how you can enhance your vision and ease visual discomfort – book a consultation with our St. Albert eye doctor.

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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What Should I Look for When Buying Reading Glasses?

As you get older, you’ll probably need to add reading glasses to your shopping list. As soon as the words on a page that were once crisp and clear start to look fuzzy, it’s usually a sign the time for readers has come. But before you start browsing the selection of designer frames in our optical collection, be sure to visit our St. Albert eye care centre for an eye exam to determine the lens powers you need – and to rule out any other vision conditions.

Tips on Choosing the Right Eyeglasses for Reading

Stay in Style

Once you know your prescription, our optical staff can help you select the perfect pair of quality reading eyeglasses. Have no fear, the days when all readers made people look like they should be reclining in a rocking chair are gone! Now, we offer reading glasses in styles to rival the trendiest designer frames.

Try Them Out

A good way to test the effectiveness of your reading glasses is by bringing some reading material with you when you try them on. Reading eyeglasses come with lens powers that range from +1 to +4, in increments of +.25. Try the lens power recommended by your eye doctor first to test if it works for all the printed or digital materials you need to see clearly.

Start Big

While reading glasses come in a range of sizes, our St. Albert eye doctor suggests starting with one of the bigger pairs. Larger designs are easier to get used to, and you can always downsize once you adapt to wearing readers.

Check the Fit

As much as eyeglasses appear to come in only one-size, they aren’t really one-size-fits-all at all! To ensure comfortable wearing (so you won’t always rush to take your reading glasses off), have our experienced optical staff check the fit of your eyeglasses. They should sit snugly on your face without slipping, but not too tight that they pinch your nose or behind your ears.

Stop by anytime to browse optical collection in St. Albert. We’ll point you towards the right reading glasses for your unique vision, face and fashion.

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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Does Your Head Hurt? You Might Have Binocular Vision Dysfunction

headache womanHave you been struggling with headaches or migraines with little to no relief? If so, you might be suffering from binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).

A standard eye exam generally won’t identify BVD. That’s why it’s important to consult a neuro-optometrist if you’re experiencing headaches or migraines.

What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Binocular vision dysfunction is a condition where your eyes are misaligned, leading the eye muscles to strain to transmit one clear image to your brain. This can result in head pain, migraines and several other symptoms. If the problem is BVD, a neuro-optometrist can diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment.

Common Symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction

People with BVD typically experience some of these symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Reduced attention span and concentration difficulties
  • Shadowed, overlapping or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Neck, upper back or shoulder pain

If BVD is the cause of your symptoms, specialized prismatic optical lenses that allow the eyes to regain their alignment can usually provide prompt relief.

Learning Disabilities and Reading Symptoms

Having even slightly misaligned eyes can also disrupt learning and reading.

Binocular vision dysfunction can tire your eyes while reading. Words may blend together, and you may skip lines or lose your place while reading.

A routine eye exam isn’t geared toward diagnosing BVD, so if your child complains of headaches and is struggling with schoolwork, get them assessed by your neuro-optometrist today.

Treatment for Your Headaches and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Unlike standard eyeglasses, BVD lenses are specialized aligning lenses that allow your eyes to work together. Once your eyes are working together, the brain will receive one clear image. Your eye muscles will then be able to relax and release the tension that can cause headaches and migraines. Your eye doctor can play a significant role in treating these symptoms.

If you suffer from headaches, you may have BVD or another vision problem. Schedule a vision evaluation at Eye Health Centre as soon as possible. The earlier a vision problem is detected, the sooner you can receive a comprehensive treatment plan to achieve clearer and more comfortable vision.

Eye Health Centre serves patients from St. Albert, ..…, throughout Alberta.

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Have you been struggling with headaches or migraines with little to no relief?

Has your child been diagnosed with a learning disability?

Then you or your child may have Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD).

Symptoms like double vision, dizziness, light-headedness or nausea may also be a result of binocular vision dysfunction.

BVD can be treated. Doing so can alleviate your headache or your child’s learning difficulties.

Schedule a vision evaluation with us today!



7 Tips and Tricks for People Who Wear Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses lenses that keep fogging up. Fumbling to find your frames in the dark … If you wear glasses, you’re probably familiar with these and other common predicaments. To improve your relationship with your eyeglasses and help you cope with many more eyewear challenges, our optical staff in St. Albert offers the following tips:

1. De-fog your eyeglasses

Fogged-up lenses have always been a problem in different weather conditions or when exercising, and wearing masks has only worsened this nuisance. To clear your eyeglasses, we recommend anti-fog wipes or sprays, available at St. Albert eye care centres. Another strategy is to apply a drop of dish soap to a soft microfiber cloth and gently rub the soap over both sides of your lenses. Give your eyeglasses about out 15 minutes to dry, and then wipe lenses again with the soft cloth. The soap residue acts as an invisible shield against fog.

2. Find your glasses in the dark

There’s a really simple solution for this – apply a thin strip of glow-in-the-dark tape or paint to your glasses case. Of course, for this trick to work you need to be vigilant about storing your eyeglasses in the highlighted case before going to sleep.

3. Preserve the fit of your frames

After you wear your eyeglasses for a while, you’ll likely notice that they start to slip around more often. To prevent your frames from “stretching,” visit our St. Albert optical store for regular tune-ups. Plastic can change shape over time and screws can loosen.

4. Avoid scratched lenses

To store your glasses correctly, always place your glasses down with the lenses facing up. This simple move will prevent abrasions and scuff marks. Additionally, don’t leave your frames in a very hot or cold place, such as on the car dashboard. Extreme temperatures can expand or shrink lens coatings, leading to small scratches.

5. Put the brakes on slipping eyeglasses

If your frames constantly slip down your nose, an easy hack involves wrapping thin elastic hair ties around the temples. Push the bands back so they stay hidden behind your ears, where they’ll help keep your glasses in place. Remember, this is just a temporary solution to use until you can get to our St. Albert eye care centre, so our optical staff can tweak your frames to make them fit right again.

6. Replace a missing screw temporarily

Usually, you won’t notice exactly when the screw fell out – but you’ll know once it’s missing because your glasses will fall apart. If you don’t have an eyeglasses repair kit handy, use a toothpick as a short-term fix. Stick the toothpick into the hole, push it down and carefully break off the top so you can’t see the toothpick. It should hold fast until you can replace the screw.

7. Finding lost glasses when you can’t see

If you take your eyeglasses off and forget where you put them down, finding them can be tricky without clear vision. This is a timeworn problem that has an innovative, contemporary solution: use your smartphone camera to do a detailed search of the room!

At Eye Health Centre, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 780-419-7000 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Albert eye doctors.

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Choose Holiday Gifts That Support Your Child’s Vision

child looking at toys 640Gift giving season is fast approaching. If you plan on purchasing a gift for a child, you may want to consider choosing one that supports healthy visual functioning.

Here’s our list of children’s gifts that benefit their visual health in a fun and enjoyable way.

Building Toys

Building toys help children develop hand-eye coordination and visualization skills. They also help enhance visual-spatial skills — an essential component of reading readiness. Understanding how to create a structure refines children’s spatial-organization skills.

Playing with building toys perfects skills like problem-solving, patience, and focus.

Some popular building toys are Legos, Duplos, Mega-Bloks, Clics, and Magnatiles. Many building toys are appropriate for children aged 1-9, but follow the age recommendation and warning labels listed on the packaging.

Visual Thinking Games and Toys

Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, dominoes, checkers, Rush Hour, and Bingo all help children to build visual thinking and processing skills. Visual thinking, also known as visual/spatial learning or picture thinking, is the ability to think and analyze what you have seen. This skill is needed for math and reading comprehension.

Visual thinking games are a great way to cultivate abilities like visual memory, form perception, eye tracking, sequencing, and pattern recognition.

Space Perception Toys

What better way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination than with a lively game of catch or ping pong? Space perception toys also promote a child’s awareness of the space around them, as well as three-dimensional depth perception, eye tracking, and accommodation flexibility (the eyes’ ability to continuously change their focus between near and distant objects).

Other examples of space perception toys include marbles, pick-up-sticks, Jenga, and any game or sport that involves a ball.

Let’s Support Your Child’s Vision Together

A child’s vision enables them to succeed academically, building self esteem. When a child has a problem with one or several visual skills, it can cause them to struggle in school or develop attention and behavioral issues.

That’s why it’s important to provide children with toys, games, and opportunities that support and refine their visual skills.

If you suspect that your child may be struggling with their vision, bring them to Eye Health Centre for a functional visual evaluation, where will test their visual skills and processing abilities.

Even a child with 20/20 vision can have visual dysfunction that will likely go undetected in standard eye exams or school screenings.

If a problem with their visual functioning is found, we may recommend a personalized program of vision therapy. Vision therapy is an evidence-based treatment method that has been proven effective for a wide variety of visual dysfunctions. This form of therapy can be thought of as a “gym” for the brain, as it helps to retrain the eye-brain connection and speed up a child’s visual information superhighway.

For more information or to schedule a functional visual evaluation, call Eye Health Centre today.

Eye Health Centre serves patients in St. Albert, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

 



Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the most prevalent eye diseases affecting the working age population. It is thought to be caused by high blood sugar levels which, over time, damage the tiny blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye, making them swell and leak. Left untreated, DR can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Since diabetic eye disease is typically painless and shows no symptoms until its advanced stages, it’s critical to get your annual eye evaluation, as an optometrist can detect the developing signs early enough to prevent vision loss.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy 

Diabetics may not realize they have diabetic retinopathy, because it develops silently. As the condition worsens, it may cause: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors to appear faded or washed out
  • An increased presence of floaters
  • Vision loss
  • Blank or dark areas in your field of vision

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

If you are diabetic, caring for your eyes by undergoing routine eye exams and taking care of your body by controlling blood sugar levels are critical to preventing vision loss. There are several risk factors associated with diabetic eye complications, including: 

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight/obesity

Are There Any Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Today’s treatment options may improve your vision, even if you feel your eyesight has begun to deteriorate. Medications can be injected to reduce swelling, and laser surgery can be used to shrink and seal off swollen and leaking blood vessels — preserving and, in many cases, even improving vision. 

While certain treatments may work, frequent monitoring of your eyes coupled with managing your blood sugar levels can go a long way toward preventing or reducing diabetic retinopathy complications. 

If You Have Diabetes, Make Sure to: 

  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent long-term damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina.  
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle routine, especially during stressful times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. (Plus, while diabetics are in the high-risk category, your chances of developing serious COVID-19 related complications is lower if your diabetes is under control.)
  • Maintain a steady diet and exercise regimen to help the body and mind feel better. 
  • Quit smoking, if applicable; you can reach out to a medical professional for guidance.
  • Get yearly diabetic eye exams.

Preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy require a multi-disciplinary approach involving your eye doctor and other medical professionals. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy, assess its severity, and discuss preventative strategies as well as the latest treatment options. 

Contact Eye Health Centre at 780-419-7000 to schedule your diabetic eye exam today, and to learn more about what you can do to protect your vision and general health.