February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month

Blurry letter through magnifying glass

We’ve talked about Age-related Macular Degeneration here before and it’s a great time to raise awareness again of this particular vision problem.

A condition that causes blurring in your central vision, macular degeneration is not usually noticeable in the early stages, but your eye doctor can detect it during a routine exam. This makes regular exams all the more important.

Optometrists use several tests, including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and dilated retinal evaluation, to assess a patient’s central vision during an eye examination. If you are at particular risk of macular degeneration or other eye disease, you may find it helpful to monitor your vision at home with an Amsler Grid. Self-monitoring should, however, never replace having regular, comprehensive examinations by your eye doctor.

Take care and make your next eye appointment with your eye doctor. Click for appointments in Almonte, and for appointments in Gloucester.

Avoiding Eye Strain During Exam Time

Students - how to avoid eye strain during exams

For many students, January can mean culminating activities and exams as the term comes to an end. Spending a lot of time looking at books and computer screens can lead to eye strain. Follow these tips to look after your eyes, or to help your kids to remember what they can do.

Books & Screens

It used to be that cramming and studying involved paper, books and blackboards, but students today are met with information to absorb across multi-media. Studying very often involves a lot of time on digital screens, which can lead to computer vision syndrome.

As the Canadian Association of Optometrists notes:

Having uncorrected hyperopia or myopia ,astigmatism or presbyopia can all make computer use less comfortable and efficient. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen. Even people with perfect vision may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eyestrain and headaches with prolonged computer use.

Good habits around prolonged screen use can go a long way to helping to reduce strain, including:

  • using good habits around how you’re positioned in relation to your screen (for PC screens, this means at least arm’s length, and it’s a good idea to try the same with your phone)
  • taking 20-20-20 breaks, which means looking away from your screen at something at least 20 feet away from you for a minimum of 20 seconds every 20 minutes (it’s a great chance to have a stretch and take a body break at the same time)
  • finding other ways to chill during mini breaks that don’t involve yet more screen use so you really give your eyes a rest

Easing the Strain

If long days and evenings of study are taking a toll, you can give eyes a break by making an eye mask – this can be as simple as a cool, damp facecloth placed on your eyes, or chilled tea bags or cucumber slices. Saline eye drops can be helpful if dry eye is a real problem.

If you wear contacts, remember not to over wear them – if you’re pulling really long hours, stick to your routines for when you normally remove your contact lenses and instead use your backup glasses for a change.

See an Eye Doctor About Any Ongoing Issues

Don’t suffer in silence if ongoing headaches or visual problems are present during or after study periods. You or your child may be experiencing a genuine issue that should be explored with your eye doctor.

Our doctors are always here if you’re experiencing any issues that concern you or cause discomfort. Call or schedule online with our Almonte Clinic or our Gloucester Clinic.

Winter Hours for Our Clinics

Notice on clinic hours

Following the holiday season, we are now back to regular hours for both our Almonte Clinic and Gloucester Clinic.

Family Day 2019

Please note that both clinics will be closed on Mon, February 18 for Family Day.

2019 Saturday Openings in Almonte

January 5, 19 | February 9, 23 | March 2, 16 | April 6, 13 | May 4, 25 | June 1, 15

Contact our Gloucester clinic or Almonte clinic to make your appointments, or book online.

2018 Holiday Hours for Both Clinics

Holiday hours

In order to help you plan for the upcoming holiday period, we’re sharing our holiday hours for both clinics. We wish you a very happy holiday season!

Gloucester Hours

Friday, December 21st: 8:30am to 2:00pm
Dec 24th – 26th: CLOSED
Mon, December 31st:  8:30am to 1:30pm

Almonte Hours

Friday, December 21st:  8:00am to 2:00pm
Dec 24th – 26th: CLOSED
Mon, December 31st – 8:00am to 1:30pm

2019 Saturday Openings in Almonte

January 5, 19 | February 9, 23 | March 2, 16 | April 6, 13 | May 4, 25 | June 1, 15

Contact our Gloucester clinic or Almonte clinic to make your appointments, or book online.

Picture by Annie Spratt, Unsplash

The gift of sight

We’re delighted to share this story of a patient in our Almonte office who went out of their way to help a young boy they met while on a holiday in Cuba.

Boy with glassesIn the course of their time together, they discovered that this little boy had a very high prescription and was in absolute need of new glasses which his family simply could not afford.

Our patient took photos and arranged for the boy’s prescription from his eye doctor in Cuba to be sent to us, and we were able to make a pair of glasses that were delivered to the boy on a return trip to Cuba.

Amazingly, the glasses fit the boy quite well. Our patient prefers to remain anonymous, but we really want to recognize this lovely act of generosity.

The world is a big place, and sometimes simply helping one person can make all the difference.

Eye Exams Help Detect & Manage Diabetes

Diabetes and your eyes
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and it’s a perfect time to reflect on this statistic from the Canadian Association of Optometrists, and what you can do about it:

Over the course of the next nine years, 6.4 million Canadians will be diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. What’s more, one third of Canadians today already have diabetes or prediabetes and many don’t know it.

Many people don’t realize that regular eye examinations by a qualified optometrist can help in both the early detection and management of Diabetes. This is true for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

Read more about how our team of optometrists can help you take positive action to take the best possible care of your eyes: Diabetes and Your Eyes.

Diabetes increases the risk of early onset cataracts, doubles the risk of developing glaucoma and is a significant risk for vision loss. There is no time like the present to have your eyes checked!

Stay Active, Stay Safe

Protecting your eyes while staying active

In the fall many of us, adults and children included, are involved in our favourite sports and activities. It’s easy to forget how vulnerable our eyes can be when we engage in sports, particularly higher risk ones.

It’s worth considering that appropriate protective eyewear is a smart choice when you choose to enjoy sports with a higher risk factor to your eyes. (Not to be confused with your regular glasses or contact lenses, both of which can increase risk in certain situations.)

Friends for Sight notes the following levels of danger to eyes for a number of popular activities:

High-risk sports include: hockey, ringette, paintball, basketball, and racquetball.

Moderate-risk sports include: tennis, soccer, and golf.

Low-risk sports do not involve high-speed balls, swinging clubs or bats, or close aggressive play, and include swimming and cycling.

Safe sports include track and field and gymnastics.

And, of course, sports that put us in contact with higher levels of UVA and UVB exposure from the sun can also make sun protection a smart choice (both skiing and snowboarding are good examples).

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind notes that 35% of eye injuries happen to children, and more than half of these occur when they are playing or engaged in sports. Boys are generally at higher risk, accounting for 73% of injuries. This makes it even more important to make sure your child(ren) understand the need to protect their eyes.

Earlier this year we wrote about Eye Safety at Home and the fall is a good time to remind ourselves of the risks we can mitigate and avoid. We can take our eyes for granted, and changes in season and activities are good times to remind ourselves of all they do for us.

If you have concerns about an eye injury or appropriate protection for a certain activity, please feel free to contact either our Almonte clinic or our Gloucester Clinic.