Hallowe’en eye safety

Woman with face painting

Hallowe’en is fast approaching and it’s a good time to remember some key eye safety points.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses – Be Safe, Not Sorry!

Cosmetic contact lenses are particularly popular at Halloween. Like contact lenses for visual correction, cosmetic contact lenses are classified as medical devices and can pose a risk of harm due to improper fit, use, or care. Complications can be serious, including vision loss.

If you can’t resist the allure of colourful contact lenses, be sure to purchase them from a licensed eye care professional. A prescription and proper instructions will help to minimize the risks associated with these medical devices. A licensed eye care professional can also ensure that the lenses are obtained from a licensed manufacturer.

If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, stop using the lenses immediately and see your doctor of optometry. (You can contact our Almonte clinic or our Gloucester clinic if you are in the Ottawa area.)

Ensure Make-up Is Safe

Use products that are hypo-allergenic and make sure that any additives to the face paint are approved (check the recalls list at Health Canada if you are unsure).

When applying make-up near or around the eye, stay away from the lid, or lash line—the area where you would normally apply eye liner. If you are applying make-up very close to the eye, use only products approved for use in that area such as an eye-liner or eye shadow.

Don’t use blush or lip-liner to create a “red” effect, as some ingredients may not be approved for use in the eye and bacteria from the mouth can be transmitted to the eye.

Keep Costumes Safe

Avoid sharp or pointy objects such as swords in costumes. If your child must carry a sword, makes sure it is secured to the outfit. If your child does get poked in the eye, thoroughly inspect it for any signs of redness, decreased vision or pain.

Eye injuries may be more serious than they appear. If your child reports pain or blurred vision in the eye or if the eye is discoloured or bloodshot, you should take your child to see a doctor of optometry as soon as possible. Ensure masks don’t obstruct vision.

Be Seen After Dark

Use reflective tape and stickers on costumes and treat bags to increase visibility. Take a flashlight or wearable LED light so you can see and been seen.

October is Children’s Vision Month

Boy smiling at optometrist

Many vision problems can be treated if caught early, but not all parents realize that regular exams at an early age are important. This October, remember that undiagnosed vision problems can impact a child’s learning and development.

Last month we underscored how vital vision is in the process of learning at school: 80% of classroom learning is visual. Vision problems can affect babies and children of all ages, making early and regular eye exams by a qualified optometrist essential.

Eye Rubbing

In the youngest children, eye rubbing can be a sign of a vision problem. If we see a young child rubbing their eyes we might assume an irritant is present, as with allergies, but it may be their vision is bothering them.

Common problems that can occur, sometimes together, include:

  • strabismus (misaligned eyes)
  • myopia (nearsightedness)
  • hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • astigmatism (causing distorted / blurred vision)

Glasses may be prescribed to treat these types of conditions successfully.

In addition, it’s possible that an eye disorder or disease may be present that needs to be addressed differently. One such example is Keratoconus, a progressive condition which causes thinning of the cornea at the front of the eye.

And not just any eye test will help to identify these conditions. Without the expertise of an optometrist and a comprehensive eye exam, your child’s vision problem could go undetected.

Regular Eye Exams

Young child using binocularsChildren should have their first routine eye examination between two and three years of age. However, if there are concerns such as a misaligned eye, frequent rubbing and blinking, infections, or failure to meet developmental milestones, infants as young as 6 months of age can be examined by our eye doctors.

Your child does not need to be able to read or to identify letters to have an eye examination.

The good news is that OHIP covers an annual comprehensive eye exam up to and including the age of 19.

Start a great yearly tradition with a visit to have your child’s eyes checked.

Schedule a visit with one of our eye doctors either in Gloucester or Almonte. We look forward to seeing you.

Choosing the right sunglasses

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

UV 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

Our clinics carry the following brands 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

We carry these brands 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.

Take the sun safety quiz


Featured photo by Griffin Wooldridge on Unsplash

Myopia in children

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.

Contact our Gloucester clinic or Almonte clinic if your child or teen needs a checkup or you have specific concerns.

Are your kids wearing sunglasses?

Protecting your kids' eyes with sunglasses

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.

Contact our Gloucester clinic or Almonte clinic if your child or teen needs a checkup, prescription sunglasses, etc.

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.

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!