Did you know that 80% of classroom learning is visual? That alone is a great reason to make sure an eye exam is top of your back to school shopping list. But there are other reasons to make regular eye exams a priority.
It can often take a few weeks of bright sun exposure to realize that perhaps your current sunglasses aren’t really up to the job or in need of replacing. As we approach the midpoint of summer, it’s a good time to take stock.
Our Gloucester and Almonte offices carry an excellent and fashionable range of frames for men, women and children.
Your lenses must have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection
The most important thing to consider in choosing new sunglasses is UV protection. The damage incurred from too much UV exposure can lead to sunburn, age-related cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the surface of the eye.
These conditions present themselves through symptoms like irritation, blurry vision, redness, tearing, and even vision loss – both temporary and, in some cases, permanent. Don’t get caught without adequate protection.
Sunglasses for Men
Oakley, Adidas, Nike, Champion, RayBan, Serengeti, Hugo Boss, Revo
Please note the frames pictured here are just for illustration; our stock is regularly changing.
Sunglasses for Women
Oakley, Adidas, Rayban, Fysh, Vera Wang, Champion, Ann Taylor, Kate Spade, BCBG, New Balance, Revo, Elle, Nicole Millar, Serengeti
Please note the frames pictured here are just for illustration; our stock is regularly changing.
Sunglasses and sun safety
Take this super quick quiz from the Canadian Association of Optometrists and see if you know how to protect your eyes this summer.
A new study on nearsightedness in Canadian children has revealed a big jump in this condition between grades 1 to 8. The research tells of a fivefold increase in cases in this timeframe for schoolchildren, noting that a third of cases are believed to be undiagnosed and therefore uncorrected.
“Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when the eye grows too long and causes light rays to focus at a point before the retina. Close objects look clear but distant objects are harder to distinguish and appear blurred.” University of Waterloo
The research team, from the University of Waterloo and CNIB, noted that myopia rises from just 6% of children ages 6 to 8 to nearly 29% in children ages 11 to 13. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that myopia is “increasing globally at an alarming rate” and can add more pressure to the risks for vision impairment. With myopia appearing earlier in this generation’s children, these individuals may be at risk for a greater decline in eyesight over the course of their lifetime. Retinal degeneration and detachment are two complications that arise from myopia.
Read the full study from the University of Waterloo, Myopia and a prescription to slow down progression.
As our kids head back to school after the March Break and the winter starts to give way to spring, it’s a really good time to remember why kids should wear sunglasses too.
We often forget that children’s eyes are actually more sensitive than our adults eyes to UV rays. The sun’s rays inflict damage on the outer layers of the eyes in the very same way that its rays can harm our skin. Damage to eyes incurred in childhood won’t show up for many years, but this is when the most damage can be done. Down the road, issues like macular degeneration can be accelerated because of this early, unchecked exposure.
We usually remember hats for our children, whether for warmth in winter or sun protection in summer, but appropriate eye protection should include sunglasses.
The most important considerations in choosing sunglasses for any age include 100% UV protection and larger lenses. The more lens coverage the better. Polarized lenses are not essential, but really help to reduce the harsh glare from reflective surfaces (think water, sparkling snow, cars, rooftops, etc.).
Of course, kids are often clumsier with accessories and sunglasses can become casualties. You don’t need to pay a fortune for adequate protection; many sunglasses options come at affordable prices. Just look for the 100% UV protection guarantee.
Also remember that teens with contacts or glasses who are driving will need sunglass protection.
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.
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.
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!
Being seen and being safe are important, particularly on Halloween. If you have Halloween costumes planned and/or children going door to door, take a moment to read our Halloween eye safety tips from last year.
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.
Glasses for children
There are a few possible indicators that your child may need glasses and we covered these in our previous blog post, Why Eye Exams Really Matter for Your Child.
When choosing their first pair of glasses, start by ensuring that your child likes the style and colour of the frames that are being selected. A child will be likely to wear their glasses every day when they are happy with their appearance.
For a child to keep their new glasses on, the frames do need to provide a comfortable fit. For this reason the frame sizing and selection needs careful attention by an experienced fitter. Children often have small, flat bridges of their nose and since much of the weight of the frame is carried at that point, certain types of frames, often with adjustable nose pads, will be recommended. Children’s skin can be sensitive and large areas of frame contact should be avoided particularly if they have metal sensitivities.
Lens safety, frame durability, and fashionable design are all important features. We stock a large selection of quality frames that will also support active use.
All lenses should be provided with a very good quality scratch resistant coating and in some cases anti-reflection coatings, although the latter will require frequent cleaning to ensure the maximum benefit and are more of a necessity as the child gets older or the prescription increases. Another consideration is transition lenses, which provide UV protection and darken when your child is outdoors. These lenses are beneficial for children who are prescribed glasses for full-time wear.
For children under 15 years, we offer an Essilor Junior Package that provides a second set of lenses at no charge for a period of 15 months from the date of purchase. There is no extra charge for this program. Please ask us for details.
Trying on a new pair of glasses is an exciting time for your child. Our team will work with your child to make sure they fit well. They should not slip out of position with head movements and there should not be noticeable red marks on the nose or behind the ears after a few hours of wear. Your child will be excited to receive them so use this time to impress upon them the doctor’s wearing instructions. Also, build good care habits such as showing them how to use both hands to remove them and how to set them down properly, lens-side up.
Many coatings have specific cleaning instructions or products and we’ll make sure you know what these are. You may allow your child to personalize their eyeglass case.
For children in junior kindergarten, the Ontario Association of Optometrists’ Eye See…Eye Learn® program offers one complimentary pair of glasses to children who need them, following their annual OHIP-covered eye exam. Both of our clinics participate in this program; find out more on our Kids page.
There is usually a period of getting used to any new pair of glasses. Initially, your child may resist wearing the glasses as he or she may feel that their vision is not clear or things look a little funny. With continued wear of the glasses these symptoms should resolve. However, any problems that persist beyond two weeks should be reported to us. To encourage your child to wear his or her glasses, make it a part of their daily routine. Also, remember to make your child’s teacher aware of this new routine.
Article outline provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists