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3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

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.

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.

CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.

GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.

MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease that can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Eye Health Centre in St. Albert to schedule your appointment today.

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.

What to Expect Following Glaucoma Surgery

happy senior couple 640Glaucoma is a sight-threatening eye disease that can start as early as age 40 and often has no signs until it’s too late and permanent damage to your eye has already begun. Left untreated, glaucoma leads to vision loss (‘tunnel vision’) or even total blindness. While there’s no cure for glaucoma, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome.

In the early stages, medication can often control glaucoma by facilitating the drainage of excess eye fluid from the eye. Eventually, however, surgery may be necessary.

Glaucoma surgery stabilizes eye pressure and helps prevent future vision loss. Glaucoma surgery is successful in about 70-90% of cases and the benefits may be long-lasting.

Below Are the 5 Things You Should Expect as You Recover From Glaucoma Surgery

You’ve finally had your glaucoma surgery. Now it’s time to relax and give your eyes time to heal. It is crucial to take care of your eyes in order to protect them from injury.

Though recovering from glaucoma surgery usually involves only mild discomfort, each person’s general physical health and type of surgery will affect their recovery experience and time.

Blurred Vision and Minor Discomfort

Following glaucoma surgery, it’s common for your vision to become blurred. This can last from a few days to 6 weeks. Inflammation, swelling, redness, or irritation in the eye are all common during the first few days post-surgery. You may also experience a slight itchy feeling caused by the stitches and your eyes may also tear up or water more than usual during the recovery period.

If you experience a sudden loss of vision during this time, it’s important to contact your eye doctor immediately, as this could signal surgery-related complications.

No Driving

Driving is not recommended while recovering from glaucoma surgery, particularly right after the surgery. Make sure you have someone to drive you home after the surgery and to drive you to follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.

During your follow-up visits, your eye doctor will advise you when you can get behind the wheel again, but in general, most patients can resume driving approximately two weeks after surgery. But always discuss this with your eye doctor first.

Rest and Relaxation

During the recovery process, it’s important to take your time to relax and allow the eye to slowly heal. This means avoiding any heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Restrictions can sometimes include simple tasks like reading, writing, or typing, as even these activities can place stress on the tiny surgical incisions made during the surgery.

Be sure to ask your eye doctor when you can resume certain daily tasks and hobbies.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

As with any surgery, a successful recovery depends on closely following the post-op care and instructions you receive. After glaucoma surgery, your your eye doctor will place an eye shield and padding or a bandage to protect the eye that has undergone surgery. Be sure to keep this in place until your doctor tells you to remove it.

Your eye doctor will likely recommend a series of eye drops that contain anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. It’s important to insert these drops as instructed to prevent infection, facilitate healing, and ease irritation.

The staff will set up your post-surgery follow-up appointments to ensure that your eyes are healing properly, with no signs of infection.

Proper Care and Hygiene

A few tips:

  • The eye shield is placed on the eye directly after the surgery in order to prevent you from rubbing or touching your eyes, as this can severely damage your delicate eyes.
  • Make sure you remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water prior to using eye drops.
  • Take care while showering the day after surgery. Make sure that shampoo, soap, hair spray, etc., don’t enter your eyes, especially during the first week.
  • It’s especially important to wear protective eyewear during your recovery, particularly during summertime. Eyewear protects your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, as well as from particles that can irritate sensitive eyes.
  • You may need to refrain from taking steroids for a period of time, since they can cause increased eye pressure and glaucoma risk. Your eye doctor will discuss all your medications with you.
  • Avoid swimming pools and hot tubs, as they can carry bacteria that can enter the eye and cause an infection. If swimming and other water sports are important to you, seek your eye doctor’s approval prior to jumping in.

Other things to consider:

  • Following glaucoma surgery, you should wear your glasses and not contact lenses
  • At night, you should wear the eye shield provided by your eye doctor
  • If you find your eyes are sensitive to light, wear sunglasses to reduce any discomfort
  • Do not wear eye makeup and avoid face cream for at least two weeks post-op

Protecting Your Vision and Eye Health

To protect your eye health and vision, it’s necessary to see your eye doctor for routine exams, as they can help catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early, when treatment is most effective.

To ensure that you have the best recovery possible, make sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions. We will work with you to find the best treatment options. Contact today to consult with our optometric team and discover how we can help preserve your vision.

serves patients from St. Albert, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, and Fort Saskatchewan, all throughout Alberta.

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.

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased pressure causes progressive, permanent vision loss and even blindness. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about the disease can leave you misinformed. Below we sort fact from fiction by debunking 6 of the most common glaucoma myths.

Glaucoma Facts vs. Myths

MYTH 1: Glaucoma is a single disease

FACT

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).

In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) doesn’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increase in internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly, and usually by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, they already have optic nerve damage.

In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain fluid as it should because the drainage channel between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing increased eye pressure. This pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually.

MYTH 2: Only the elderly suffer from glaucoma

FACT

Although it’s true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people aged 20 to 50 and even young infants (due to abnormal ocular development).

In addition to age, those with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have previously sustained an eye injury
  • People taking steroid medications over the long term

MYTH 3: Glaucoma shows symptoms early on

FACT

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, shows virtually no signs or symptoms until its later stages when vision loss sets in. Despite what people may think, the increased eye pressure causes no pain. And since peripheral vision is the first to go, you may not recognize vision loss until your vision has become significantly impaired. The only way to detect glaucoma is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

MYTH 4: Nothing can be done once you have glaucoma

FACT

While there's currently no cure for glaucoma, many effective treatment options exist: eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures that can help slow glaucoma progression. Each treatment option is used to get the fluid to flow properly out of the eye, reducing pressure inside the eye and decreasing damage to the optic nerve.

MYTH 5: Testing for glaucoma is painful

FACT

Actually, our testing for glaucoma is completely painless. People sometimes remember the 'puffer test' and have a negative association with glaucoma testing. We use applanation tonometry or the iCare tonometer, which is completely painless eliminating any concern for the test. Your eye doctor will then use a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea to precisely measure intraocular pressure. The most accurate of all, however, are visual field testing and OCT (optical coherence tomography), non-invasive imaging, both of which are also painless.

MYTH 6: You can’t prevent glaucoma

FACT

Regular eye exams are the only way to prevent glaucoma, as blindness or significant vision loss can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. That's why routine comprehensive eye exams which include glaucoma testing are so important.

Getting your eyes checked regularly can ensure that any existing eye problems are detected early enough to prevent or slow ocular damage. Contact Eye Health Centre in St. Albert to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company.

Advice About Contact Lenses from St. Albert Eye Doctors:

Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

  1. Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

  1. Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same.

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

  1. If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

  1. Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one.
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye.
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
  1. Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 780-419-7000. Eye Health Centre will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of our doctors at Eye Health Centre, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

We all know that eating nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising can boost our health. So it’s no surprise that these same activities also support eye health. Research has shown that regularly consuming certain vitamins and nutrients can actually prevent or delay sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Here’s a list of the best vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

We invite you to consult with our eye doctors, to discuss which nutrients are most suited to your specific eye health and needs.

Vitamins and Nutrients That Support Eye Health

*Always best to speak with your primary care doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements, and to ensure you consume the correct dosage for your body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can cause a host of eye health issues, including dry eyes and night blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Vitamins A and A1, which are essential for supporting the eye’s photoreceptors (the light-sensing cells) in the retina, can be found in foods like carrots, leafy greens, egg yolks, liver, and fish.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish can support eye health in a few ways. DHA and EPA, 2 different types of Omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to improve retinal function and visual development.

Omega-3 supplements can also ease dry eye symptoms. A randomized controlled study found that people who consumed Omega-3 supplements experienced improved tear quality, which resulted in reduced tear evaporation and increased eye comfort.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the lens and retina and help filter out damaging UV rays and blue light. One study showed that individuals who had the highest levels of these nutrients in their diets had a 43% lower chance of developing macular degeneration than those who had consumed the least amount.

Spinach, egg yolks, sweet corn, and red grapes are some of the foods that contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Vitamin C

High amounts of vitamin C can be found in the aqueous humor of the eye, the liquid that fills the eye’s anterior chamber and supports corneal integrity. This has prompted scientists to consider this vitamin’s role in protecting eye health.

Research suggests that regularly taking vitamin C (along with other essential vitamins and minerals) can lower the risk of developing cataracts, and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

While vitamin C appears to support eye health in a variety of ways, it’s still unclear whether taking this supplement benefits those who aren’t deficient. Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables, like bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, and kale.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids from becoming oxidized. Because the retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, sufficient vitamin E intake is crucial for optimal ocular health.

Vitamin E can be found in almonds, flaxseed oil, and sunflower seeds.

Zinc

Healthy eyes naturally contain high levels of zinc. A zinc deficiency can cause night blindness, and thus increasing zinc intake can improve night vision. Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A, an essential antioxidant.

Make sure to avoid taking high doses of zinc (beyond 100 mg daily) without first consulting your eye doctor. Higher doses of zinc have been associated with side effects such as reduced immune function. You can increase your zinc intake naturally by consuming more oysters, meat, and peanuts.

Phytochemical Antioxidants

Phytochemical antioxidants are chemicals produced by plants that contain several health benefits. Some studies show that these plant-based chemicals may enhance vision and eye health as well as prevent age-related eye diseases and complications by alleviating ocular oxidative stress. Oxidative stress within the eyes contributes to several eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome. Consuming more produce with these antioxidants can help balance the anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant system, resulting in healthier eyes.

Personalized Eye Nutrition

If you or someone you know is looking for ways to boost or maintain eye health, speak with an optometrist near you about what supplements and vitamins are best for you. For an eye doctor in St. Albert, give us a call at 780-419-7000.

 

Are Floaters and Flashes Dangerous?

You’ve likely experienced occasional visual “floaters” or flashes and may have wondered what they were and if they’re a cause for concern. They look like tiny lines, shapes, shadows, or specks that appear to be drifting in the visual field. More often than not, seeing floaters is a normal occurrence and does not indicate a problem with ocular or visual health. However, when floaters become more frequent and are accompanied by flashes of light, that can indicate a more serious problem.

Eye flashes resemble star-like specks or strands of light that either flash or flicker in one’s field of vision. They can either be a single burst in one visual zone, or can be several flashes throughout a wider area. Flashes can sometimes be missed as they most often appear in the side or peripheral vision.

Flashers & Floater Care in St. Albert Area

If you suddenly, or with increasing frequency, experience flashes or floaters, call Eye Health Centre and schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists right away to rule out any serious eye conditions.

What Causes Floaters?

The vitreous in the eye is a clear gel that fills most of the eyeball and resembles raw egg-white. Within the vitreous are small lumps of protein that drift around and move with the motion of your eyes. When these tiny lumps of protein cast shadows on the retina — the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye — the shadows appear as floaters.

As we age, the vitreous shrinks, creating more strands of protein. This is why the appearance of floaters may increase with time. Floaters tend to be more prevalent in nearsighted people and diabetics, and occur more frequently following cataract surgery or an eye injury.

If seeing floaters becomes bothersome, try moving your eyes up and down or side to side to gently relocate the floaters away from your visual field.

What Causes Flashes?

Flashes result from the retinal nerve cells being moved or tugged on. As the vitreous shrinks over time, it can tug at the retina, causing you to “see stars” or bursts of light. The process of the vitreous separating from the retina is called “posterior vitreous detachment” (PVD) and usually isn’t dangerous.

In about 16% of cases, PVD causes tiny tears in the retina that can lead to retinal detachment — a sight-threatening condition that causes irreversible blindness if left untreated.

Other possible causes of flashes are eye trauma or migraine headaches.

When To Call One Of Our Optometrists About Floaters

If you experience any of the following symptoms, promptly make an appointment with one of our eye doctors near you for emergency eye care.

Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

  • A sudden onset of floaters accompanied by flashes (which can be any shape or size)
  • An increase of floaters accompanied by a darkening of one side of the visual field
  • Shadows in the peripheral vision
  • Any time flashes are seen

In many cases, seeing floaters is no cause for concern; however the above symptoms could indicate retinal detachment—which, if left untreated, could cause a permanent loss of sight or even blindness.

If the receptionists pick up the phone and hear the main concern is floaters or flashes, they will try to squeeze in the appointment within 24 hours. Expect the pupils to be dilated during your eye exam, so the eye doctor can get a really good look at the peripheral retina to diagnose or rule out a retinal tear or other serious condition, as opposed to a non-vision-threatening condition such as uncomplicated posterior vitreous detachment (quite common) or ocular migraine.

Please contact Eye Health Centre in St. Albert at 780-419-7000 with any further questions, or to schedule an eye doctor’s appointment.

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19.

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes.

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications.

Here’s what you should know:

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes.

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus.

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in St. Albert right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Sophie Jobin, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth.

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances.

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep.

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at Eye Health Centre in St. Albert, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

Is your eye doctor’s appointment coming up? Are you worried about going to the eye clinic during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Rest assured, keeping our patients and staff are safe is our top priority.

We anticipate that this outbreak will continue for a while, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this critical time. Our optometric clinic is prudent and has adopted specific measures to protect our patients and staff from potential exposure to COVID-19 during this time of uncertainty.

That said, guidelines for slowing the spread of this epidemic are rapidly changing. Please pay close to attention to local regulatory changes to get the most up-to-date information on whether practices can still remain open/ accept non-emergency cases.

Here Are the Precautions Our Eye Clinic Is Taking to Limit COVID-19:

We employ a strict office policy that mandates that all eye doctors, office staff, and patients not enter if they are feeling unwell or have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or traveled outside of the country within the last 14 days.

The staff may ask you to wait outside rather than in the waiting area in order to protect yourself and others from any circulating germs. Furthermore, we are trying to schedule our appointments in such a way that our waiting room remains as empty as possible.

During your eye exam:

  • The eye doctor may use a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield to block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor.
  • The optometrist may wear a mask with a plastic shield over the eyes.
  • The practitioner will wait for your slit-lamp eye exam to be over before speaking with you or answering any questions you may have.
  • We sanitize all equipment and patient contact surfaces after every use and at the end of the day.
  • We sanitize all surfaces and equipment (front desk counters, telephones, pens, door handles, waiting room chairs) with antibacterial wipes.
  • All staff members wash their hands after contact with each patient and throughout the day.
  • Our office is equipped with several sanitizing stations.
  • We request that patients sanitize their hands prior to and after trying on frames. We also make sure to clean frames that have come into contact with patients with soap and hot water.
  • If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.

Please call Eye Health Centre at 780-419-7000 with any questions or concerns you may have. If you feel it’s best for you or a member of your family to reschedule your appointment, we encourage you to do so.

To stay abreast of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the following official health organizations:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov
  • World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int

Thank you and stay safe!

Wearing Coloured Contact Lenses This Halloween? Beware and Take Care!

Countless adults, teens and even children will be wearing coloured contact lenses this Halloween, but few are aware of the risks involved. Ever wondered what those cat-eye contacts are doing to your eyes? If you got them without a prescription, beware of health complications.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by educating yourself and others about the dangers of wearing coloured contact lenses without a prescription.

Why Can Over-The-Counter Coloured Contact Lenses Cause Eye Damage?

Contact lenses made to change one’s appearance go by many names: cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, coloured, or costume contact lenses. While it’s illegal to sell coloured contact lenses without a prescription, authorities rarely enforce the law — which means they’re still accessible in many places.

Many people believe that wearing non-prescription colour contact lenses can cause no harm. This unfortunate myth has led to many contact lens complications. For instance, when a person feels that a contact lens is “dry”, it could be because the lens is not a good fit. Ideally, the lens should follow the contour of the eye, and stay centered, with enough lens movement to allow tear exchange beneath the lens.

Furthermore, non-medical coloured contact lenses are often produced by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use inferior plastic and toxic materials, such as lead (often used in lens colouring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. These illegal lenses may also contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions.

Therefore, purchasing any kind of contact lenses without a prescription or medical oversight can result in a variety of eye complications, such as corneal abrasions, eye sores, conjunctivitis, other eye infections, vision impairment and, in rare cases, even permanent vision loss.

Even if you have perfect vision, all contact lenses, including coloured contacts, require a prescription and proper fitting by an optometrist.

Contact us at Eye Health Centre and make an appointment with Dr. Sophie Jobin to get properly examined for a contact lens prescription.

The Dos and Don’ts of Coloured Contact Lenses

  • DO make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist who will measure your eyes and properly fit you for contact lenses.
  • DO get a valid prescription that includes the measurements, expiration date and the contact lens brand name.
  • DO purchase the decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (hint: they should demand a prescription.)
  • DO follow the contact lens hygiene directives (cleaning, inserting and removing lenses) provided by your eye doctor.
  • DO make sure to undergo follow-up eye exams as directed by your eye care professional.
  • DON’T ever share contact lenses with anyone else.

So don’t let an eye infection get in the way of your fun this Halloween. Wearing decorative lenses without a valid prescription can result in serious harm to your eyes, which can haunt you long after October 31st.

Get your comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting by an eye doctor in St. Albert at Eye Health Centre.