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.

Summer Hours begin this week

Fireworks and your eyes

Summer hours at both of our clinics mean early closures on Fridays (2pm) starting this Friday, 28 June and running throughout July and August. We wish you and yours a fun and safe Canada Day and a great summer ahead.

Tips for you and your family: Fireworks and eye safety | Summer fun & keeping safe

Statutory Holidays

We’re always closed for statutory holidays, including:

Canada Day (July 1st), the August Civic Holiday (August 5th) and Labour Day (September 2nd)

Almonte Saturday Openings

There are no Saturday openings in the summer. After a break in July and August, Saturday openings will resume on the following schedule in Almonte (8am to 2pm):

Sept 7, 21 | Oct 5, 19 | Nov 9, 16 | Dec 7, 21

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.

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.

Eyewear for Children: What You Need to Know

Choosing glasses for children

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.

Contact us today to book your child’s appointment in our Almonte Clinic or our Gloucester Clinic.

Article outline provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists

Under 35? Why Getting Your Eyes Checked Makes Sense

When we’re young, we’re usually at our best physically, but our youth can also make it easy to overlook problems. Ask yourself: could an undiagnosed vision problem be preventing you from reaching your full potential? Could a vision problem be affecting a family member in this way?

Don’t wait, if you’re not sure. If you find night driving difficult, or have issues with your vision under other circumstances, book an appointment to see your optometrist.

A full eye exam by one of our doctors will help to properly identify any issues and the best way to correct them. Book an appointment in Gloucester or Almonte today.