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What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

What is an Eye Chart?

An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

Are All Eye Charts The Same?

There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

History of the Snellen Eye Chart

The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to standardize the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

Your St. Albert eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local St. Albert eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

For more information, give us a call at 780-419-7000 or visit us in person at Eye Health Centre, today!

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

How do you keep your eyes healthy?

You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
  • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
  • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending too much time in front of the computer

Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

Conjunctivitis

You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
  • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

Uveitis

In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancer (in rare cases)

Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

Eye Injury

It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

Glaucoma

In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Aged 60+
  • African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Dr. Sophie Jobin at Eye Health Centre in St. Albert today.

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
  • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
  • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
  • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

How To Prevent Your Lenses From Scratching

If you wear glasses, then you know what a nuisance a scratched lens can be. Scratched or chipped lenses can interfere with your vision, making glasses uncomfortable to wear. Here’s what we recommend to keep your lenses scratch-free.

How to Avoid Scratching Your Lenses

Use a Protective Case

Using a sturdy eyeglass case will prolong the life of your lenses. No matter what kind of glasses you wear — standard, sunglasses, bifocal — you’ll want to protect them.

Be sure to choose a hard case with a soft inner lining and always have one on hand, either in your purse, backpack, or car.

When placing the glasses in their case, make sure the lenses are facing downwards, as this can reduce the risk of them being scratched. Additionally, avoid putting anything else in the case along with the glasses, especially sharp or metal objects.

Choose Anti-Scratch Lenses

Although no lenses are completely scratch-proof, there are certain coatings that can be added to the front and back of your lenses to make them more scratch resistant. Many lenses already come with this option, but sometimes it’s an optional addition. Anti-scratch coatings are particularly helpful for children’s glasses.

Remove Your Glasses Carefully

Handle your glasses by the temples (arms) and not the rims. This way, your fingers avoid the frame and lens area altogether, reducing the chance of inadvertently scratching them. Additionally, holding them by the temples with both hands ensures a better grip, so you’ll be less likely to drop them.

Set Them Down Properly

Never put glasses down with the lenses facing downward, unless it’s into a lens case. If you need to put them down and don’t have a case, rest them with the temples open and upside down — glasses tend to be more stable in this position.

Avoid placing them in a place where they’ll be easily knocked over or splashed on, like near a sink. Setting them down in the same place consistently will also reduce your risk of losing them.

Use the Right Lens Cleaner

It’s all too common for people to wipe their glasses with their clothing or other abrasive material. Doing so can scratch the lenses, especially if they’re dry.

Always clean your lenses with a soft microfiber cloth and specialized lens cleaning solution, items your optometrist’s office can provide.

When to Visit Your Optometrist

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely prevent your lenses from ever becoming scratched over their lifetime. Once they are scratched, there is little that can be done to repair the lenses. Most of the time the lenses need to be replaced.

At Eye Health Centre, we offer a wide array of frames and lenses, so you’re sure to find a pair to suit your eyes and needs.

Call Eye Health Centre in to schedule your eye exam or with any further questions.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Samuel Boucher

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In St. Albert, Alberta. Visit Eye Health Centre for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

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REFERENCES

https://www.southparkoptical.com/how-to-avoid-scratches-on-your-glasses

https://www.allaboutvision.com/eyeglasses/how-to-clean-glasses.htm#:~:text=To%20avoid%20scratches%2C%20blow%20any,you%20clean%20the%20cloths%20frequently

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-remove-scratches-from-glasses

 

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Onions are one of the most common staple foods around the globe. Ironically, for a vegetable so delicious, they can often be tear-jerkers.

Read on to learn why onions cause your eyes to tear and sting, and what you can do to minimize discomfort.

Why Does Cutting Onions Cause Tearing?

Onions produce a sulfur compound called propyl sulfoxide that is stored in the cells of the onion bulb (the part of the onion we eat). Onions grow underground, where they can be eaten by all types of creatures. This odorous sulfuric compound acts as a deterrent to small animals with big appetites.

When one slices into an onion and breaks open its cells, the sulfur compound is released and mixes with the moisture in the air — turning it into smelly and irritating sulfuric acid. When this chemical rises up and comes in contact with your eyes, it stings!

To keep your eyes from potentially being damaged from this chemical exposure, your brain triggers your eyes to tear and flush out the irritating gas particles. Once enough tears have flushed out the sulfuric acids particles from the eye, clear vision and comfort is usually restored. Although your eyes may sting and feel unpleasant, symptoms are temporary and the sulfuric acid won’t damage your eyes.

How Can I Reduce Eye Discomfort When Chopping Onions?

Most experienced chefs will tell you that chilling your onions in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing them will reduce the amount of tearing they cause. Propyl sulfoxide escapes slower in cooler temperatures, reducing the amount of sulfuric acid in the air.

You can also try cutting the onions at arm’s length, or direct the odorous air away with a small fan. Some say that chopping onions immersed in water also helps. Another option is to wear kitchen goggles to protect your eyes.

Furthermore, try to use fresh onions whenever possible. The longer an onion has been stored, the more likely it will induce tearing and discomfort. Try to avoid slicing near the root end of the bulb, as that area has the highest concentration of sulfuric compounds.

Still Having Eye Problems Out of the Kitchen?

If you frequently suffer from eye irritation — and not just while cutting onions — we can help. At Eye Health Centre, we treat a wide range of eye conditions and can provide you with the treatment and relief you seek.

For further questions or to schedule an eye exam, call us 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.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Sophie Jobin

Q: What exactly is glaucoma?

  • A: Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

Q: What’s the difference between vision insurance and eye insurance?

  • A: Vision insurance” really isn’t insurance, but rather a benefit that covers some of your costs for eyewear and eye care. It is meant to be used for “routine” care when you aren’t having a problem but want to be sure everything is OK, like having an annual screening exam with your Primary Care Physician. It often, but not always, includes a discount or allowance toward glasses or contact lenses. It is usually a supplemental policy to your medical health insurance. Medical health insurance covers, and must be used when an eye health issue exists. This includes pink eye, eye allergies, glaucoma, floaters, cataracts, diabetes, headaches, and many other conditions. Blurry vision is covered medically if it relates to a medical condition, for example the development of a cataract. For some reason, however, it is considered non-medical if the only finding is the need for glasses or a change of prescription. Of course you can’t know this until you have the exam. In this case, with vision coverage, you would only be responsible for your co-pay, but with medical coverage without vision coverage, you’d be responsible for the usual charge.

Q: How does high blood pressure affect vision?

  • A: If the blood pressure is very high it can be called malignant hypertension and cause swelling of the macula and acute loss of vision. Otherwise hypertension can cause progressive constriction of the arterioles in the eye and other findings. Usually high blood pressure alone will not affect vision much, however hypertension is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of other eye disease such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration as well as blocked veins and arteries in the retina or nerve of the eye that can severely affect vision.

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REFERENCES

https://www.britannica.com/story/why-do-onions-make-you-cry

https://theconversation.com/why-do-onions-make-you-cry-129519

Flexible Spending Accounts & Vision Benefits

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam in St. Albert

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam in St. Albert

Over 50% of consumers didn’t use their vision benefits last year! Make the most of your 2021 vision benefits by understanding what your Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account cover.

How Does FSA Work?

When you sign up for an FSA, money from each paycheck is automatically deposited into an account. An FSA provides you with tax-free dollars that can be used to pay for health care expenses, including eye care needs.

An FSA usually covers vision expenses like:

  • Copayments and deductibles (but not insurance premiums)
  • Routine eye exams
  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription sunglasses

But here’s the catch: You must use your FSA benefits or you’ll lose them since they don’t roll over to the next year, unless your employer offers a short grace period to use the previous year’s benefits. To take advantage of this valuable benefit, schedule your annual eye exam.

How Does HSA Work?

Depending on your insurance plan, your employer may offer an HSA instead of an FSA. An HSA, which also offers tax-saving benefits, is typically offered with high deductible insurance plans. The difference between your FSA and your HSA is that the money put into an HSA does not have a “use it or lose it” policy. It can be used the next year.

Like an FSA you can usually utilize your HSA dollars to purchase glasses and pay for other vision-related expenses like eye exams, prescription sunglasses, and contacts.

The Importance of Eye Exams

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor can not only determine whether you need prescription glasses or contact lenses, but can also check for common eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

Regularly scheduled eye exams keep you and your eye doctor up to date with changes in vision and general health as you age. During a typical eye exam, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests designed to catch eye conditions and diseases early, before they cause irreversible damage.

After the age of 40, the risk of eye diseases increases, making regular eye exams even more important. Early detection is key to preventing and detecting eye health problems.

Visit your Eye Doctor Today!

The importance of a yearly eye exam is not only about safeguarding your vision; it’s also about safeguarding your general health. By observing changes in your vision and the eye itself, your eye doctor can detect early warning signs of health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure before serious symptoms may occur. Start the new year looking great with clear, healthy vision by using your FSA and HSA benefits Go ahead and schedule that exam with Eye Health Centre to keep your eyes healthy.

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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