Your Children’s Eyes

Over the years we’ve shared a number of articles on the blog about children’s eyes and eyecare. This month we’re sharing a roundup of those posts to help you keep your children’s vision top of mind.

Tips for Adapting to Progressive Lenses

If you’ve needed help with your distance vision in the past and you’re over the age of 40, you’ll notice at some point that you also need help with reading material close up. In the past, this meant either juggling distance and reading glasses, or choosing “bifocals” or “trifocals”.

Progressive lenses have made the need for “bifocals” or “trifocals” more appealing. With no visible line dividing the lenses, progressives do away with a significant visual distraction (and help to achieve a more youthful appearance!). Progressives also mean you can rely on just one pair of glasses.

What’s it like?

Although a transition period is definitely needed, the success rate in adapting is very high. From our extensive experience, we can say that 97 to 98% of people adapt comfortably and quickly to their progressives.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms that can be experienced during the initial period of adaptation:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea / dizziness, including ‘swimmy’ or ‘swaying’ sensation in vision
  • Depth perception (e.g. feeling uncertain about how far away some objects are from you)
  • Uncertainty around stairs, changes in level
  • Changes in peripheral vision can make the main field of vision feel narrow

Most issues will be particularly noticeable in the first few minutes of wear, and symptoms can persist for 2 to 4 weeks. However, in most cases, the adaptation period is just days.

What can I do?

The flexibility and benefits to be gained from switching to progressives is very much worth it for most people. There are a number of things you can do to help make the change progress more quickly.

Preparing for progressives

  1. Be prepared to tell your optometrist about your main activities (work, hobbies, home tasks, etc.) so that you can have the right lenses customized to your lifestyle.
  2. Choose frames that are extremely comfortable and well adjusted to your face.

Once you have them

  • Spend time getting used to the new areas in your lenses: near, intermediate, and far. Learning these zones and using them properly will make a huge difference.
  • The most critical thing you can do is to commit to wearing your new progressives exclusively. Taking the change slowly by alternating with your previous lenses will only make the change harder and draw it out.

Personalizing your lenses

Step one that we talked about above is really important. We all live differently, and it’s important for your optometrist to know if you spend much more time outdoors and focusing more on intermediate and distant objects, or if you typically spend more time working in an office setting, studio, or kitchen where you’re switching your eyes between more things in close proximity.

A good understanding of how you live will help your optometrist to fit your lenses to your lifestyle and increase your comfort with the whole process.

Thinking you might be ready for progressives? Make an appointment with either our Gloucester clinic or our Almonte clinic.

Smoking and Your Eyes

Most of us are more than familiar with the raft of health problems associated with smoking and second-hand smoke, but did you know tobacco use is a preventable cause of blindness?

Avoiding falls in winter

Winter walking can already be treacherous without having to factor in face masks, but that’s the reality this year. Getting outdoors will also be more important than ever.

November: Diabetes and Your Eyes

Did you know that your optometrist can spot the early signs of Diabetes when conducting a comprehensive eye exam? It’s true!

Super foods for your eyes

If you think about the good things you can do for healthy eyes, eating well is a pretty appealing option. In popular culture we often associate carrots with good vision, but the truth is there are delicious superfood choices for all tastes, and each stand to benefit your eyes:

Orange foods – Carrots are indeed good for your eyes, but so are yams and sweet potatoes. All three are chock full of beta carotene, an anti-oxidant known for cutting risk associated with macular degeneration and cataracts.

Leafy greens – More anti-oxidant power here in the form of lutein and zeaxanthin! These are found in spinach and kale and they protect against UV damage from sun exposure.

Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies – It’s always a smart choice to add strawberries, grapefruit, bell peppers and broccoli to your menu. Vitamin C is also a strong contender in counteracting harmful UV rays.

Chickpeas and other legumes – Grab the hummus and dig in with cut up peppers and carrots for an extra dose of goodness for your eyes. In this case Zinc is the magic ingredient which your liver needs in order to create and drive Vitamin A to the retina to produce melanin (a key protector against ultraviolet light).

Turkey – Zinc and Niacin, a B vitamin, are found in abundance in this lean meat. This combo delivers UV protection and can help prevent cataracts.

Fish – Omega 3 fats have become popular for their disease-fighting powers, but they are also a help in the fight against age-related macular degeneration and dry eye!

Making smart food choices can also help with maintaining a healthy weight, so it’s really a win-win.

Did you know? Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk for a number of eye diseases and conditions including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Source: Canadian Association of Optometrists

Why Eye Exams Really Matter for Your Child

We know that an undetected vision or eye health problem can affect a child’s academic performance, but have you also considered how it might affect your child’s behaviour and social skills?

“Most parents and guardians aren’t aware that an undiagnosed vision problem goes beyond poor academic performance,” says optometrist and member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists, Dr. Rajvinder Pabla.

In fact, poor vision can lead to reduced social interaction because of the inability to see properly.

Signs your child may have a vision problem: Click on the infographic to enlarge.

Infographic for child's vision problemsA child may shy away or be excluded from playing team sports since their vision problem is affecting their hand-eye coordination. They may also avoid watching the latest 3D movie with their friends because they have reduced depth perception and can’t enjoy the movie the way their friends can.

“It’s unfortunate. They could be interacting with their peers and developing socially, but because they have an undetected vision problem they avoid certain social activities or are excluded from them,” says Dr. Pabla.

Along with social interactions, an undetected vision problem can affect a child’s behaviour in the classroom.

Dr. Pabla explains, a child who is hyperopic (farsighted) may have problems reading and focusing on their textbooks. If their hyperopia continues to go undiagnosed, they may try avoiding their work and in the process become disruptive out of frustration.

“Too often, some children are labelled as the ‘problem’ or ‘bad’ child when in fact their behaviour stems from an undiagnosed vision problem,” says Dr. Pabla. “Most of these kids don’t complain about their vision because they either have a hard time articulating their vision problem or think everyone sees like them.”

That is why a comprehensive eye exam is critical to a child’s overall development. Eye exams conducted by an optometrist can detect, diagnose and treat eye conditions that may be the root cause of a child’s behaviour or reclusive tendencies.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends children start receiving comprehensive eye exams at 6 months, before starting kindergarten and every year thereafter.

OHIP covers a comprehensive eye examination once per year for children and adolescents up to 19 years of age. Find out more on our Pediatric Eye Examinations page.

“A child’s eye health status can change yearly, so as parents and guardians, we have to make sure our children go on a yearly basis once they start school. Even if they are fine one year, with growth, their prescription can change as well as the status of their binocular vision – how the two eyes work together,” says Dr. Pabla.

An undetected vision or eye health problem may be holding your child back socially and interfering with their behaviour.  Our eye doctors can help remove the vision-related barriers that may be hindering your child from living a full and enriched life.

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

Article provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists

Hallowe’en eye safety tips

Halloween Safety Tips

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.

Svetlana Pochatun