Hallowe’en eye safety

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.

Avoiding Eye Strain During Exam Time

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.

Stay Active, Stay Safe

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.

Summer Fun & Keeping Safe

Canada Day may be behind us, but the love of fireworks seems to extend all summer long especially when celebrations are involved. Being outdoors and active comes with risks and when things go wrong, there can be serious damage— especially to your eyes.

Summer Eye Safety

UV Rays: Consider investing in a good pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. The sun can cause cumulative and even irreversible damage to your eyes. UV exposure can contribute to the development of macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as cancers of the eyelids.

Sports: Our favourite summer sports can also be risky for our eyes. Remember to protect your eyes from flying objects when fishing, zip-lining, playing sports like badminton, and generally from the effects of wind, sand and sun. Snug-fitting, wrap style goggles will offer the best protection.

Alcohol: Broken glass and champagne corks aside, remember that alcohol and other forms of substance impairment can significantly increase the risk of injury.

Make the most of your favourite summer activities and look after your eyes at the same time. You’ll be glad you did!

If you have questions or concerns about your eyes this summer, please contact us.

Eye Safety at Home

When you consider that 50% of all eye injuries happen at home, a place we naturally consider to be safe, it’s worth stopping to think about eye safety at home.

The vast majority of eye injuries could be prevented through proper eye protection, whether mowing the lawn, cooking, cleaning or undertaking home repairs. We tend to forget to take precautions when doing chores or seemingly small tasks, but consider that 25% of all eye injuries result in time off work due to their severity!

Eye Safety Tips

Invest in a pair of CSA-certified safety glasses and use them around the house regularly. Inexpensive and available at most hardware / home building supply stores, this is a simple but effective first step.

Safety glasses will protect you and other family members from flying dust and debris, as well as chemical splashes. Don’t think that regular glasses will offer protection – you need proper safety eyewear.

  1. Review and follow the instructions for the safe handling of products (e.g. fertilizers, solvents) and equipment.
  2. Keep tools and equipment in good working order.
  3. Wash hands after completing tasks and chores, and before touching your eyes.
  4. Lawn mowing/Snow clearing: Inspect and remove debris from the lawn before mowing, and from the surface of the snow before blowing.
  5. Trim all low hanging branches from trees.
  6. Remember that screws, nails, and hand tools can become projectiles, and power tools can propel tiny chips into the air and into eyes.
  7. Remember to turn off power tools when anyone without appropriate protection is nearby, especially young children.
  8. Take care to store all products, chemicals and adhesives out of the reach of children.

It may seem like common sense, but also taking care with children’s toys and avoiding unnecessary risks can go a long way to protecting their developing eyes.

Finally, as we’re about to enter summer’s prime, remember that July is UV Safety Month.

Here’s to a safe and enjoyable summer!

If you do experience an eye emergency and it’s during our office hours, give us a call and we’ll do our utmost to see you quickly. Almonte: 613 256 0770 | Gloucester: 613 745 5588