Supplement Your Eye Health
Many of us take supplements because we want to support our muscles, skin, bones, brains and heart — but we often forget about the miraculous structure we depend on every day.
Our eyesight is essential for our survival and quality of life and deserves its own set of supplements to help prevent and minimize eye-related problems. Let's start with some awareness surrounding one of the most common diseases/disorders to understand how you can improve overall eye health.
Macular degeneration is when the macula (part of the retina) has been worn down or damaged, leading to vision loss. In fact, macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss for people over 50. Recent studies show that increasing "blue light" exposure can play a big part in this degeneration process. Symptoms to look out for (pun not intended) are:
-Straight lines looking wavy
-Seeing things in black and white
-Dark spots/areas in your field of vision
We all know that proper nutrition is vital and that a whole food diet loaded with fruits and vegetables are an excellent way of getting the nutrients we need to function. The real struggle for most people is finding the time to prepare the right amounts of healthy foods for our bodies to obtain the optimal doses of vitamins and minerals every day. That's where a daily supplement or two can help to balance out these missing vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to give our eye health the boost that it needs, especially as we age.
Some vitamins/supplements that can help improve your eye health are:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin can slow or prevent macular degeneration by reducing tissue damage and providing visual acuity.
- Vitamin C supports the health of blood vessels located in the eye. Experts also believe it slows macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and reacts with free radicals. Experts believe that Vitamin E is essential for proper immune system function and tissue health.
- Zinc is needed to bring Vitamin A from the liver to the eye, making melanin to protect the retina from damage and promote retina health, in general. Studies have shown that zinc can slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Adding a few good eye-health practices and supplements into your daily routine can help prolong your ability to enjoy the wonders and beauty of the world around you.
If you have any concerns regarding the overall health of your eyes you can book an appointment online, or give us a call at (403)262-5012.
We're happy to help!
This Mask Is Making My Glasses Fog
We are hearing this a lot lately! Sadly, we may be wearing these masks for some time. We are going to have to learn how to manage this annoying problem.
Our glasses are fogging because of simple chemistry. When our warm, moist breath hits the cooler lens surface of our glasses, the gas state of our breath condenses into the liquid state and results in the ‘fog’ on our glasses. The ‘fog’ stays on our glasses because of surface tension. To eliminate, or at least lessen, the fogging, decreasing the surface tension of our breath will help.
Although we cannot actually change the surface tension of our breath as it leaves our mouth or nose, we can change it on our glasses lens surface. Soap works to do this! Washing your glasses with warm (not hot) soapy water will work – just like soap cuts grease when washing dishes. There are also several commercially available products that work like soap. The advantage of these products is that they last much longer. The product we like and have used for years is called Cat Crap – really, that is the name!
Some of the advanced lens surface anti-glare and scratch coatings make soap and Cat Crap less effective. Make sure your glasses are nice and clean. Any debris on the lens will provide more ‘cling’ for the fog.
Some anti-fog products may irritate some people with allergies or sensitivities, so be careful.
There are some ways to lessen the amount of warm, moist breath that gets on your lenses.
- make sure the mask is tight against your nose – a wired mask will help with this
- slide your glasses down your nose just a little bit
- try attaching a Kleenex to the top, inside edge of your mask to absorb the moisture
Wearing contact lenses is also an option that will completely avoid having to wear glasses at the same time as wearing a mask.
Let’s all hope that we do not have to wear the masks for too long!
Hang in there!
World Glaucoma Week 2020
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. It is estimated that over 60 million people have glaucoma world wide. Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye and results in reduced peripheral vision. The reduction in peripheral vision can be devastating to vision.
Zeal Ski Goggles Day
Join us on January 30th, from 8am to 5pm for our Zeal ski goggles day. Zeal optics representatives will be in office with their entire collection of ski googles to try on. Receive a store credit with purchase.
What Should You Know About Ski Goggles?
It is very important to wear ski goggles to protect your eyes from the UV light, but also from the wind and the cold.
It is best to choose ski googles by trying them on WITH your helmet. A good fit will feel comfortable and not pull on the skin around your eyes. The googles should not feel like they are going to slide down your nose. There should be no gap on your forehead between the frame and the helmet. Insure that they do not decrease your peripheral field of vision. Always choose goggles with ventilation.
Once you have chosen a frame style that fits properly, you will have to choose the lens color. People often ask us what color is the ‘best’. This is an impossible question to answer. Black or dark grey lenses are best for bright sunny days. Yellow is best for flat light and really helps enhance contours but is not good for bright sunny days. An amber lens is probably the best suited all purpose lens. It would be great to have different pairs for different days! Some goggles come with interchangeable coloured lenses.
Air dry your goggles after a day of skiing. To extend the lifespan of your ski goggles, always store them in the case after they are dry. Try to avoid wiping the inside of the lens. The goggles have an antifog coating that will eventually wear off. If you have to clean the inside, always use spectacle lens cleaner with a soft microfibre cloth.
It is not easy to get prescription goggles. No company can put power into the shield lens of the goggles; the optics are much too complicated. However, Zeal (the same company as Maui Jim) does make a very nice prescription lens insert to fit behind the shield.
Enjoy the 2020 (this year is our favourite year ever) ski season! We hope for lots of snow and nice mild temperatures!
Founded in 1996, ic! berlin makes the very finest, hand-made eyewear for people who dare to see the world through their own eyes.
Each eyewear piece is made by hand in Berlin. Their frames are worn by the world’s curious, creative individuals. People who see and think with their own eyes–from entrepreneurs, architects, and musicians to artists, political leaders, and scientists. Designs combine the original, no-screw hinge with stainless steel, titanium, synthetic, and natural materials.
At DVC, we love ic! berlin for the feather-light frames with subtle, clean lines. Each model utilizes a screw-less hinge, making the eyewear frames virtually indestructible. Come by, see and try on the newest pieces in this collection.
It is our favourite time of year! It is the season for spending time with family, eating too much food, enjoying all the glittering lights and decorations, and listening to and singing along with all the familiar Christmas songs and carols. It is the season to be thankful for all that we have.
It is also the season of giving. This Christmas, at DVC, we would like to encourage you to bring in your old glasses that you no longer wear. We collect these old glasses throughout the year and donate them to the Lions Recycle for Sight program.
During the month of December, if you donate your old glasses, we will enter your name in a draw to win a pair of prescription Maui Jim sunglasses. As you probably know, Maui Jim sunglasses are our favourite sunglasses because of their superior optics, tints, coatings and warranties.
Creepy Contacts for Halloween Costumes
Halloween is a fun day! Kids get to stay up late, hang out with their friends, eat lots of candy and pick the perfect costume. Adults often get to do the same things.
Choosing a Halloween costume often includes choosing a wig, mask, face paint and even creepy cosmetic contact lenses.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) recommends choosing a wig that fits well and does not fall in front of your eyes. They recommend a very well fitted mask with large eye openings that do not impair vision. Commercial face paints very often contain heavy metals including lead, nickel, cobalt, chromium, cadmium and even arsenic. Therefore the CAO recommends using homemade face paints. Good recipes for these can be found online.
Contact lenses that change your eyes to zombie white, or avatar yellow, or blood red, are a great addition to your costume.
HOWEVER, these contact lenses MUST be fit by an eye care professional to minimize the risk of infections that can lead to vision loss. All of these contact lenses have the potential to prevent oxygen transmission to the eye. These lenses may not fit properly and can trap debris and viruses between the lens and the eye. These lenses can cause blurry vision, redness or swelling. Contact lenses are NOT ‘one size fits all’. If cosmetic contact lenses are purchased from and fit by your optometrist, these risks are minimized.
Never share cosmetic coloured contact lenses.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!
Should I Wear Protective Eyewear?
YES!!!! We have seen MANY patients in our clinic with preventable eye injuries. The list of damaging agents includes, but is not limited to: fish hooks, pencil points, raspberry canes, ceiling tile particles, insects, paper, exfoliating beads, tree branches, hockey pucks, chemicals, drywall and fingernails.
For people who wear glasses, wearing protective eyewear is relatively easy. Most injuries from day to day activities can be avoided with just regular glasses. Even contact lenses can also be quite effective in protecting against eye injuries in many cases.
If you do not wear glasses, you should consider wearing clear safety glasses or sunglasses for activities like gardening, home renovations, and many sports.
Of course many employers require workers to wear approved safety glasses. We have very strict CSA Standards (Z94.3) for these glasses. However, a big problem is that workers don’t always wear their protective eyewear. In fact, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind reports that over 700 workers sustain eye injuries EVERY DAY in Canada. Ninety percent of the injuries are preventable.
Some eye injuries are just an inconvenience, but some are blinding. PLEASE remember to wear protective eyewear!
What is the Red, Tender Bump on my Lid?
The most likely answer to that question is a stye. The medical term for a stye is a hordeolum.
Almost all of us will get at least one hordeolum in our lifetime. Some of us will get them regularly.
A stye is not really an infection, it is just a plugged meibomian gland. A meibomian gland is an oil gland and each of our eyelashes has one of these oil glands next to it. These oil glands are a great place for bacteria to live because it is warm, dark, and the oil is a good food source. There are always a tiny amount of bacteria in those glands. However, if we are fatigued, dehydrated, under immune stress, or FOR NO REASON AT ALL, those bacteria can become too plentiful. The excess bacteria cause the oil gland to become clogged and swollen. The oil in the gland becomes like butter instead of oil and the result is a stye!
The most important part of the treatment for a stye is warm compresses. The warm compress really just melts the ‘butter’ back into oil. To supplement the warm compresses, we often add lid scrubs to clean the eyelash margins after the warm compresses and then complete the treatment with some antibiotic ointment to the lid margins. The antibiotic ointment is the least important part of the treatment.
The stye may have a pimple like appearance and it can be tempting to pick at it or pop it. DON’T do that. Popping it can cause the gland to break inside your lid and those few bacteria can cause a real infection in your lid that require oral antibiotics to treat.
Very rarely, a hordeolum does not resolve with this treatment and surgical removal is required. This usually only happens when treatment is not initiated quickly enough or the warm compresses are not applied frequently enough or for long enough.
Optimizing Vision for Golfers
Well, golf season just might finally be here! I heard Dr. Dame talking about opening day today at lunch. Let’s hope for a warm, only rain overnight, and smoke free season!
Golfers spend a lot of time booking tee times and finding perfect courses. Golfers spend a lot of money on all the best gear for making sure their game is as good as it can be.
Golfers should also spend a bit of time and money making sure they have great vision. That little white ball soars fast and far through the air and even the smallest changes in your prescription can really affect your ability to track that ball and see where it lands.
Sunglasses, or prescription sunglasses are essential for the bright sunny days. Although the color of the tint is partly the golfers personal preference, we generally recommend the Maui Jim HT green lens. This lens lets enough light through that you can still see to putt and you won’t have to take them off when the sun rolls behind a cloud (like a lot of typical Alberta days). If you are golfing in the desert, then a darker lens, like a brown lens is often better. Be careful about getting too dark a lens.
One of the big questions we get asked is “Can I golf with my progressives?” There is not a hard and fast answer to this. Most people can, but a few people can’t golf with their progressives. Generally the longer you have had progressives, the less you notice them while golfing. Often people that are in the first couple of years of wearing progressives prefer to wear just distance lenses for golfing.
If you have progressive lenses in your glasses that you use primarily for golfing, then often we will lower the height of the reading power addition, so that it does not easily get in the way when hitting the ball. If you wear these glasses all the time, lowering the height might make it harder to read and see your computer. This strategy is usually best when done with sunglasses, not clear lenses.
Good luck this season, have fun!
Red, Itchy, Watery Eyes
Spring is here, or at least will be here soon. This is my favourite time of year. The birds return, the grass and trees turn bright, fresh green and carefree summer will soon follow. However, I also dread this time of year just a little bit because my eyes get red, itchy and watery, my nose gets runny and itchy and my throat gets scratchy. I have hayfever.
For a lot of people, taking an over the counter antihistamine really helps alleviate all of these symptoms. For a few people, the over the counter antihistamines do not help alleviate the eye symptoms. If that is the case for you, please make an appointment to see us. There are some very good anti-allergy eye drops that we can prescribe. The most commonly prescribed drop is pataday, and it is generally very effective. If you wear contact lenses, hylo dual, is the only approved medication to be used with contact lenses.
Often switching to single use, daily contact lenses helps reduce symptoms. This is because the allergens (particles causing the allergies) get thrown away every night and don’t have a chance to build up in the contact lenses and cause even more problems.
In addition to prescription eye drops, some other strategies can really help. Simple artificial tears can help flush the eyes and flush away the allergens. Cold compresses can really help. When we learned about cold compresses in school, I remember thinking “I am not going to use that, I can give people a real solution, I can give them medicine!” However, when my allergies are really bad, cold compresses are my best friend!
Do I need special blue light blocking glasses for my computer or phone?
I get asked this question almost daily, and the short answer is no! I get asked this question almost daily, and the short answer is no!
Should i wear sunglasses?
At the end of an eye exam, I always ask if the person has any questions. A couple of years ago, for the first time, someone asked: “what is the most important thing I should do to keep my eyes healthy?” Without even thinking, I said, “wear good sunglasses.”
If you have been coming to Downtown Vision Care for eye exams, you know that we have taken a retinal photograph of the back of your eye for more than 25 years.
This retinal photograph is so important for monitoring changes in pigment spots/freckles/nevi, monitoring changes in the optic nerve (for glaucoma) or macula (for macular degeneration). These retinal photographs have captured an area about 40 degrees wide. This has been good because most of the worrisome changes in the back of our eye happen in this area.
However, new technology now allows us to capture a retinal photograph of 200 degrees. This is so amazing! This camera is able to capture this wide field of view without dilating a persons pupil which is also so amazing! The camera is made by Zeiss, the company that makes some of the best camera and astronomical and microscope lenses.
This allows us to detect and monitor more nevi, to catch earlier changes in diabetes and to detect retinal degenerations before they cause problems like retinal detachments. We are so thrilled with this advantage. There are also very good color filters in the camera that allow us to see changes in different layers of the retina. This is very good for detecting early changes in macular degeneration.
Because this camera is taking a picture with such a wide field of view, it must illuminate that much bigger area of the retina. This makes it seem that the flash is brighter. The flash is not brighter, and your eye recovers just as fast from the flash. Most people see a purple after image. One lady told me ‘it does seem brighter, but softer too, it wasn’t too bad at all’.
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