We are pleased to present a fact-filled reference page that can help you better manage eye care for yourself and your family:
Your Health and Your Eyes
Eye exams are the best way to ensure healthy vision for you and your family. But, there are some behaviours that you can perform everyday to make your eyes, and your whole body, healthier. The information below can help you if you decide you want to take some small steps towards a lifetime of healthy vision:
Cigarette smoke enhances oxidants, which are the chemical by-products in the body that can damage cells, including those in the eyes. There are strong links between several diseases of the eye and smoking. In fact, smokers have double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared to those who do not smoke. The millions of people who have AMD, or the signs that appear before the disease is diagnosed, need to be aware that smoking is a major risk for this disease. Smoking can cause severe vision loss, even for passive smokers. This is why eye exams are so important for people that smoke.
According to dietetic professionals, antioxidants are dietary substances including some nutrients that can prevent damage to your body cells or repair damage that has been done. Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Researchers have found that people who eat less than the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables were much more likely to develop cataracts.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dark leafy greens and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and some nuts) are especially important in preventing vision problems, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to a study published in the May 2007 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, eating fish can decrease the risk of developing AMD by as much as forty percent.
Working out can help you lose weight as well as reduce harmful inflammation throughout the body, even in your eyes. A recent study found that people who maintained an active lifestyle were 70 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent studies have found significant evidence that links obesity to several other major eye diseases that cause blindness, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) can affect your eyesight and cause eye disease. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and reducing sodium intake can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Millions of North Americans, from infants to seniors, have uncorrected vision problems. Some vision problems have no warning signs and can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. This is why regular eye exams are the best way to ensure healthy vision for you and your family.
Warning Signs of Vision Problems in ADULTS:
•Double vision •Difficulty reading and doing close-up work, such as sewing
•Changes in the way you see color
•Impaired vision at night, especially while driving, caused by effects of bright light
•Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
•Problems with glare from lamps or the sun
•Halos around lights
•White spot or cloudy spot in the lens of the eye (the pupil, instead of being black appears milky or white)
•Trouble seeing things to your side
Common Vision Problems in ADULTS:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the macula, a portion of the retina, and leads to loss of sharp central vision. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in North America. Approximately 15 million Canadians & Americans live with the disease and it is most common in older people ages 75-80. Symptoms include gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly; distorted vision; gradual loss of color vision; and dark or empty areas appearing in the center of vision.
A cataract is a clouding of all or part of the normally clear lens within the eye. It will eventually block and distort light entering the eye. More than 20.5 million North Americans over age 40 are affected with this condition. Cataracts are usually found in people over age 55, but occasionally younger people can get then. Symptoms include cloudy or blurry distance vision; altered color perception; problems with glare; difficulty reading fine print; poor night vision and frequent changes in corrective lenses.
Diabetic retinopathy is a secondary complication of diabetes and is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Small blood vessels swell, leak and haemorrhage into the retina blurring vision and occasionally leading to blindness. When detected and treated in a timely fashion, significant vision loss can usually be avoided. Approximately 4.1 million North Americans with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy. Anyone with diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, is at risk of developing this condition. At least yearly examinations are necessary for diabetics, as diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve is gradually damaged because the pressure inside of the eye is too high. Between three and four million North Americans have glaucoma; including an estimated 1.5 to two million people who do not even know that they have the disease. Those who are over 40, have a family history of glaucoma, are very nearsighted or diabetic are at higher risk of developing the condition. The most common type of glaucoma develops gradually and painlessly, with no symptoms for an extended period of time. If untreated, loss of side vision will occur and may eventually lead to blindness.
Presbyopia is a progressive condition that makes reading and doing close work, such as sewing, increasingly difficult as eyes age. For people in their 40's and early 50's, it's often the first sign of aging; by age 55, it affects everyone. Even those with perfect eyesight may find they can no longer read books and printed materials at normal distances.
Refractive errors occur when there is a variance between the focusing strength of the eye and the length of the eyeball. When a refractive error is present, light entering the eye is not focused, which results in a blurry image. Refractive errors are the most common vision disorder and can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. The four most common refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia.
Adults need regular eye exams too
Ideally, you should have your eyes examined every year. Routine eye exams can detect early signs of vision conditions, allowing for fast treatment of most problems. Eye exams can also reveal serious and often times, hidden medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammations and infections.
Warning Signs of Vision Problems in CHILDREN:
•Squinting, closing or covering one eye
•Constantly holding materials close to the face
•Having trouble seeing the blackboard at school
•Using a finger as a place mark when reading
•Tilting the head to one side
•Rubbing eyes repeatedly
•One or both eyes turn in or out
•Redness or tearing in eyes
•Family history of "lazy eye" or "thick glasses"
•A disease that affects the whole body (such as diabetes, sickle cell or HIV)
Common Vision Problems in CHILDREN:
Amblyopia (or lazy eye) occurs when vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood. It affects about 2% of adolescents. Amblyopia usually develops before the age of 6 and can persist for life if untreated. It causes more vision loss than trauma and all other ocular diseases.
Astigmatism is a very common vision problem caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Blurred vision at all distances is the most significant indicator of astigmatism and many people who have astigmatism also have myopia or hyperopia. It is often present at birth. Family history of the condition increases risk.
Strabismus is when eyes are turned in, turned out or not working as a team. It affects up to 5 percent of all children to some degree and can begin during infancy. Signs and symptoms include wandering eye, double vision, vision in only one eye and eyes that appear crossed.
Children need regular eye exams
Of children between the ages of 5 and 12, one in four suffer from an undiagnosed vision problem that affects their educational performance. Because children often have no way of knowing if their vision is poor, it is much harder to detect the problem. It is recommended that all children have their eyes examined at age 4. If there is a family history of eye conditions, it is recommended that their eyes be examined by the age of three. Early detection is the key to good vision and vision problems often respond favourable during the growth and development of a child’s visual system.
Emergency Eye Injury Care
Here are some tips on caring for an eye injury in either children or adults:
•Protect the eye from further damage by placing an object against the bones surrounding the eye, having it act as a shield. •Bandage any cuts around the eye to prevent contamination or infection.
•Flush the eye with water in the case of a chemical burn or if there is small debris in the eye.
•Use a cold compress to treat a blunt trauma injury such as a black eye.
•Do not apply additional pressure.
•Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
•Do not wash out the eye when dealing with cuts or punctures to the eye.
•Do not attempt to self-medicate. Stay away from applying ointments or taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs.
•Do not rub the eye. Doing so will cause more damage.
Remember: The severity of an eye injury may not always be immediately apparent, so it’s important to take caution in any treatment. Follow-up care by an eye care professional or emergency room physician is recommended after any eye injury
Computer Use And Your Eyes
Many in our workforce spend the majority of their work day in front of a computer screen. And, nearly 90% of those working at a video display terminal experience some form of vision problem as a result. The poor edge definition of the images on a computer screen can cause a repetitive refocusing effort for the eye muscles, leading to a variety of symptoms including:
•Difficulty focusing after working at a computer
•Eye strain or fatigue
•Dry, itchy and/or irritated eyes
•Neck and back aches too!
Nearly 90 percent of those who use a computer at least three hours a day suffer from these
symptoms, known collectively as computer eye strain.
There are also environmental factors that increase computer-related eye strain:
•Bright lights in your peripheral vision can be distracting
•Reflected light on your computer screen can cause a glare, decreasing the contrast of the screen character.
To determine the cause of your symptoms, visit your eye care professional at Eastern Shore Optical.
There are important links between road safety and healthy vision. According to recent insurance industry statistics, drivers over the age of 55 with an impaired field of vision are twice as likely to be in a car crash. In order to promote road safety, we provide the following tips for drivers:
•Always wear your prescription eyewear and be sure that your glasses are clean.
•Use sunglasses when appropriate, making sure to avoid frames with wide temple pieces, as they block side vision.
•Investigate anti-reflective or polarized lens to minimize glare.
•If you have trouble driving at night because of difficulty seeing, talk to your eye care professional.
•Get the big picture when driving. Watch the road ahead and check either side for vehicles, children, animals or hazards.
•Take breaks when driving long distances to reduce eye strain and fatigue.
•Keep headlights, taillights and windshield (both inside and outside) clean.
•Explore options like anti-reflective lens coatings, which may allow up to 8 percent more light to enter the eye.
•Receive eye exams by an eye care professional to ensure that your eyes stay healthy and your prescription remains current.
Contact Lens Care Tips
Caring for your contact lenses is important to the health of your eyes. Lenses start to feel uncomfortable when protein deposits form on the lens’ surface. These deposits, found naturally in the tear fluid of your eyes, accumulate on the lens over a period of weeks and months.
To ensure good eye health, plan regular visits with your eye care professional. Periodic checkups and a planned replacement schedule for your contact lenses, together with a prescribed cleaning regimen, will reduce the likelihood of red eye, pain, sensitivity to light, tearing or sudden changes in vision.
Are Contacts A Good Fit For You?
Most people with vision conditions have no problem wearing contact lenses. And, with new materials, replacement schedules and lens care technologies, wearing contact lenses has never been easier. However, you may have difficulty wearing lenses, if:
•your eyes are irritated by allergies.
•your work environment hosts large quantities of dust or chemicals.
•you suffer from uncontrollable diabetes, severe arthritis in your hands, or an overactive thyroid. •Your eyes are overly dry due to medications or pregnancy.
•Visit Eastern Shore Optical to find out if contact lenses are right for you.
Every day - whether it is sunny or cloudy, and despite the season - we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most of the time we don't even realize it, as UV radiation is invisible to the eye. However, out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to UV radiation. This is why you should make sure you and your family always wears sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection while spending time outdoors during the day.
Sunburn for the Eyes
Just as sun can damage your skin - burning, wrinkling, skin cancer and premature aging, it can be just as nasty on the eyes. Too much unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) can cause "photokeratitis." Just like a sunburn on our skin, photokeratitis is sunburn of the eye. It hurts, makes the eyes red, sensitive to light and tearful. These symptoms usually clear up quickly and cause no permanent damage to the eye. But, unprotected exposure over long periods of time can and often does damage the eye, and the effects aren't good. This exposure can greatly increase the chances of cataracts and damage to the retina. Both conditions can seriously impair vision, and it is rarely possible to reverse either.
Keep Your Child's Eyes In Sight
Children spend a majority of their time in the summer outside and are therefore more susceptible to harmful UV rays. The sun can do as much damage to your eyes as it can to your skin. This is especially true for children, whose risk is higher because the lens in their eye doesn't block as much UV rays and because they spend so much time outside.
Tips for Parents:
•Almost 50% of parents report that their children "seldom" or "never" wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
•Although 82% of parents feel it is important for children to wear sunglasses and 91% feel sunscreen should be worn, children are two times more likely to wear sunscreen than they are sunglasses.
•The lens' in children's eyes does not block as much UV radiation as they do in adults' eyes, putting them at increased risk for sun damage to the eyes.
•Adults also need to take precaution when they are in the sun. Before you go out without a pair of sunglasses again take note of the facts about UV damage. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, sulfa drugs, diuretics and tranquilizers can increase your risk to eye disease or impairment.
•Damage can include blurred vision, change in color vision or difficulty seeing at night.
•UV radiation can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, cancer among other diseases.
Furthermore, the damage from harmful UVA and UVB radiation is cumulative over a person's lifetime and may contribute to serious age-related diseases of the eye and sensitive areas around the eye. Because the damage is cumulative, it is important to protect eyes every day in all light conditions.
The Importance of Sunglasses
Protecting yourself and your children from the effect of UV rays on your eyes is easy! Wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection are the best way to shield your eyes from the sun as well as dirt, dust and other particles that can irritate the eyes. The opticians at Eastern Shore Optical can assist you in finding a pair of sunglasses to fit your vision needs and your lifestyle!
Wearing Makeup With Glasses
A few of us in the office (Joe excluded) wear glasses and make up. We thought we’d share these handy tips with you to make sure you’re always looking your best.
1. The bolder your choice of frame the more understated your eye make-up should be. Choose subtle colours that will compliment your frames.
2. If you find that powder eyeshadows end up on your lenses, you could opt for a cream eyeshadow; it stays in place all day and into the evening and is easy to apply in a handy pen.
3. Limit mascara to one coat as any clumps or heavily made up eyelashes will be more obvious underneath glasses. Waterproof Mascara is smudge & smear proof so is the perfect solution for glasses wearers.
4. Wearing the same glasses everyday can cause oils to build up, particularly around the bridge of your nose. Keep this area scrupulously clean with a daily cleanse, tone and moisture regime.
5. Don’t let blusher fight with the lower rim of your glasses. Choose a lighter shade, and apply just to the apple of your cheeks: smile and apply.
6. Glasses can sometimes cast shadows that make the circles under your eye appear darker.
Conceal this area with a lightening product to help eliminate fine lines and dark shadows;
perfect for glasses wearers.
7. The fittings on rimless glasses can make the bridge of your nose more noticeable. To
minimise this effect, keep your eyeshadow pale in the corners of your eyes and darken gently
as you go out to the edge. This will help to draw attention away from the centre. Try
complimenting shades of light and dark – perfect to achieve this effect.
8. Going for a bolder frame? Then pick a lip colour to compliment your choice. If you’re out to
impress try a shade that matches your frame. Prefer to try something a little more
understated? Try Lip Gloss, perfect for giving a subtle wash of glossy colour.
9. Eyeliner can appear harsh under glasses, so opt for a softer look and gently brush a darker
eye shadow along the lower lash line.
10. Keep eyebrows tidy and subtle as they can conflict with the upper rim of your lens.
Makeup & Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are the only “salvation” for the millions of people who don’t want to wear glasses. If you recently began wearing contacts lenses, you should give yourself enough time to get used to them, you should know how to take care of them and how to apply your makeup. We have a few useful tips for you:
1. The most important thing you should know is that you should always insert your lenses before applying makeup. Cleanse your face and make sure your hands are clean and dry before inserting the contact lenses.
2. Avoid applying hand cream on your hands before handling your lenses because any residue from lotions, soaps, or cream may stick to the contact lens, causing an eye irritation.
3. Always use unscented and oil-free cosmetics because they are difficult to remove from your fingers and from your skin.
4. Choose a light face cream or moisturizer, the heavy creams could melt and smear the lenses.
5. Apply powder with care and make sure you have removed the excess powder around the eyes. Creams and liquid gel eye shadows are more appropriate to use for those who wear contact lenses. Powder shadows can cause particles to fall into the eye and onto the lens, causing an eye irritation. Apply the eye shadows using a sponge in place of a brush.
6. When applying mascara apply it lightly and distant from the base of the lashes. Choose waterproof mascara without alcohol. Apply one thin coat and allow it to dry before applying the second coat. Do not apply eyeliner to the inner rim of the eye as this may cause irritation and lens smearing. Use waterproof and soft eyeliner rather than a liquid one.
7. Always remove the contact lenses before removing the makeup in the evening. When removing your contact lenses be sure that your hands are clean and dry. Use a water based makeup remover and apply it with a pad. Don't use harsh products.
Useful Beauty Tips:
•always keep your hands clean before inserting or removing your contact lenses
•keep all your makeup applicators /brushes/ and containers clean
•to minimize the risk of eye infection, replace all your makeup products every 6 months
•never use heavy creams or moisturizers around the eyes as these could melt and smear the lenses
•never wear makeup if your eyes are infected, swollen or red
•never share your makeup with other people
•never share your contact lenses with other people
•never wear false lashes •replace cosmetics every six months to avoid irritation and infection