Vancouver Optometrists & Eye Doctors

4466 West 10th Avenue
Call: 604-224-3937

Archive for July, 2014

Reducing Eye Strain When You Use a Computer at Work

Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 08:07 PM
Author: admin

digital-eye-strain-9-28-2012

Eye strain—and those uncomfortable symptoms like achy, blurry eyes and painful headaches—tend to occur because of people’s heavy reliance on looking at screens. Most doctors would recommend that you reduce your time spent on your computer or smartphone to keep eye strain at bay. However, if you work in an office setting where you spend the better part of seven or eight hours in front of a computer, you can’t really do much beyond take occasional breaks.

You can indeed cut back on eye strain even if you work in front of a computer all day. By taking a few proactive steps, you can be productive at work and drive home safely without fatigued eyes at the end of the day. Before you take any steps though, make sure that you visit with your eye doctor and see what they would recommend. Tell them exactly how many hours that you spend looking at your work computer and receive an examination so you can make sure that your eye health is optimal.

If you already wear glasses, your eye doctor may suggest a pair of computer glasses. These, according to All About Vision, are specialized frames that sit farther from your eyes in order to prevent eye strain symptoms from computer usage. However, they do not replace corrective lenses or contacts, but rather are worn in addition to these.

When you get into work the next day, change various settings on your computer’s display. Look into the color temperature, which All About Vision notes is the amount of light produced by the colors on your computer screen. Adjust this for less blue, which can cause eye pain. Make sure that all text displays at a size that isn’t too small so that you can read it easily. Also make sure that text displays as black on white with no other variation, as this could irritate your eyes. You may also want to adjust the brightness on your computer. A too-bright computer screen can be too much on your eyes, inducing eye strain symptoms. However, you could also struggle to read on a darker screen, also harming your eyes. Find a balance between the two.

Don’t stop there though. If you use word processing programs or other text-based programs, you can adjust the size of the text with a magnifying glass icon. You can possibly do this with an email client as well. You can also increase the size of text on Internet browsers if you’re allowed to use the Internet at work.

You may also want to consider asking your IT professional, boss, or manager about changing out your computer monitor entirely. All About Vision notes that cathode ray tube screens are more likely to cause eye strain than LCD screens. If you have an older computer, it may also not work as efficiently as a newer model would, which is another great reason to convince a higher-up to invest in new machines for the office. Try to get screens as big as possible.

You also want to change the amount of lighting in your office, cubicle, or other workspace. With a lot of sunlight or bright light in the room, glare becomes an issue, and this also could cause eye strain. If you have windows with blinds or curtains, take advantage of these. Adjust your computer monitor if possible so that it doesn’t reflect this disruptive glare. All About Vision also notes that anti-glare solution for computer screens can help in the event that you can’t physically move the location of your monitor.

Once you make changes to your computer monitor and the workspace around you, you can also make personal changes that will help cut back on eye strain. For example, doing eye exercises can keep your vision sharp throughout the day. All About Vision recommends that you stop what you’re doing on a 20 minute basis and take 20 seconds to focus your eyes elsewhere besides your computer screen. Although this doesn’t seem like exercise, if you do this throughout the day, you’ll notice an improvement in how tired your eyes feel at the end of the day.

Lastly, nothing replaces breaks. Whenever you can, take a few minutes or more and take a break from the screen. If you do this in conjunction with the other suggestions above, you’ll notice that eye strain will become a lesser if not nonexistent issue for you throughout the day

Diagnosing, Treating, and Preventing Allergic Conjunctivitis

Thursday, July 24, 2014 @ 08:07 PM
Author: admin

conjunctivitis

You’ve probably heard of allergic conjunctivitis before, and maybe you’ve even had it. In those cases though, your doctor may have called it by its more common term: pink eye. Both names describe parts of the condition; conjunctivitis refers to your eye’s conjunctiva, which is your eyelid’s tissue. Pink eye refers to the color that your eyes turn once the conjunctiva becomes irritated from allergic conditions.

If you’ve never experienced allergies before, it’s important to know that pink eye can be caused by a number of other situations and factors, according to WebMD. For example, too much chlorine in a pool, exposure to bacteria, shampoo in the eyes, smoke of any kind in the eyes, and debris and dirt in the eyes can also cause allergic reactions. However, in the instance of allergic conjunctivitis, you tend to experience different symptoms than if the irritation is caused by those factors above. Those symptoms include blurry or fuzzy vision, excessive tear production, swollen conjunctiva or eyelids, and of course that red/pink color. One of your eyes may be worse than the other, but generally both of your eyes will experience these symptoms when you have a reaction.

Generally, a number of irritants will cause pink eye in those that have allergic conjunctivitis. Certain kinds of makeup, certain brands of eye drops, colognes and perfumes, dust mites, medications meant for the skin, and a type of flavoring called Balsam of Peru can all be culprits. If you normally experience an allergic reaction to animals or pollen, this could also cause your eyes to become irritated.

If you notice that you have an allergic reaction similar to pink eye, then you should make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist, WebMD suggests. Your regular doctor can also suffice. These various types of doctors can all review your symptoms and diagnose you with allergic conjunctivitis.

Once you’re diagnosed, you can discuss treatment options with your doctor. Pink eye can actually be treated in a number of ways. For some people, staying away from the allergens that cause a reaction as listed above can actually lead to the disappearance of symptoms. For others, an over-the-counter antihistamine used to treat other types of allergies can put a dent in your uncomfortable symptoms.

In other cases, you may need certain types of medication to reduce your allergic conjunctivitis. Ocular antihistamines are those that you apply in the eye to directly reduce itchiness, swelling, and irritation to your eyes. Ocular mast cell stabilizers have a similar function to antihistamines. Ocular decongestants will clear up that red/pinkish color so reminiscent of pink eye. However, WebMD does caution that while you can use oral antihistamines for as long as necessary, you shouldn’t use ocular decongestants for nearly as long.

In case the ocular antihistamines, ocular mast cell stabilizers or ocular decongestants aren’t really helping to treat your pink eye, ocular steroids can. These are stronger than the other medications and could harm the eyes and therefore you cannot take them alone. Instead, your doctor will administer them for a limited amount of time. According to WebMD, you could possibly develop cataracts later in life after using ocular steroids, which is why these are used as a last resort only.

Another last resort option involves orally receiving the above medications as well as steroids to treat pink eye. However, such a strong treatment only occurs very rarely in the case of extremely bad allergies.

If you don’t want to take medications, you also have another treatment option. You can ask your doctor about immunotherapy. While immunotherapy is available as a pill that you can take, most of the time a doctor will administer shots instead. These shots eventually help you develop an immunization to the allergens that cause your pink eye, just as the name suggests. In the shots or the pills is a portion of your allergen so that your body can adjust to it. WebMD notes that these shots persist at least weekly for a few months at first. Eventually, you can reduce the frequency of how often you visit your doctor, going every couple of weeks. Treatments can last up to three years in some cases and five in more severe cases.

Allergic conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, causes irritation and swelling in the eye as well as that distinct pink color. Allergens like perfume and pet dander can cause pink eye. When you make an appointment with your doctor, you can receive a number of treatments like oral eye drops or even immunization shots or pills to eventually treat your irritation.

Buying Your Glasses over the Internet

Thursday, July 17, 2014 @ 07:07 PM
Author: admin

glasses

The Internet has revolutionized shopping and made it far easier than ever before to purchase what you need, whether it’s groceries, clothes, shoes, electronics equipment or anything in between. However, with some items, such as glasses, you may think that you have to go to an eye doctor’s office in person in order to purchase new specs. Actually, you can indeed purchase glasses online and sometimes save money while you do so. However, before you place an order today, keep some factors in mind.

First of all, you have to make sure that any glasses that you buy online match the current prescription lenses that you have. If you go for a different type of lens, you may have issues with seeing when you wear these new glasses. Perhaps they make everything fuzzy or too sharp. While you always need a few days to adjust to a new pair of glasses, they should not cause prolonged feelings of dizziness or give you headaches. It can also be a hassle to return a pair of glasses that your order online.

Next, you want to make sure that the frames will fit your face correctly. This is difficult to do without actually trying the glasses on personally. Glasses frames or arms that are oversized will mean that you’re constantly adjusting the glasses on your face, while those that are too tiny will cause discomfort against your ears and your nose. Before ordering a pair of glasses online, try to measure your current specs and look for a pair with similar measurements. If they’re not to the exact specifications once you receive the glasses, you may have to return them.

Also, you want to make sure that the glasses match your own personal style. Again, this is quite a difficult task to accomplish without physical pairs of glasses in front of you to try on. You may find that a style of glasses that you never thought would look good on you actually fit your face perfectly while the pair that you had your eye on don’t look as flattering.

In order to get a preview of what you may look like in your new glasses, some retailers allow you to virtually try on glasses through a picture of yourself that you post to the retailer’s website and pictures of the glasses layered on top. However, this only works so well, and the picture only lets you see yourself head on and not from the sides. This may be a good enough start though rather than imagining what you’d look like in certain styles.

It’s also important to know that prescriptions can and do expire eventually. According to Eye Care Fun, an eyeglasses resource, your prescription for a pair of glasses lasts no longer than two years. At that point, you need to book an appointment with your eye doctors’ office whether you plan to order your glasses online or not. Only your eye doctor can offer you a new glasses prescription. If you stick with your current prescription, you’ll find that when you order a pair of glasses online that your vision doesn’t change for the worse or better and instead remains the same. Even if you return that pair and order glasses from an entirely different website, the same will happen unless you have a more updated prescription.

The older you get, specifically 40 years or older, the more often that you will have to visit your eye doctor. You may not be able to go two years without a visit as you become more susceptible to certain conditions and eye disorders. You should keep this in mind when ordering glasses online as well.

If you don’t have a lot of time to get to your eye doctors’ office, ordering your glasses online is a viable option. You can save time and in some cases even money. However, you do have to watch out for a few different factors before ordering. Make sure that the glasses website lets you input your prescription lens information. Check the measurements of the glasses you plan to buy and compare these against the measurements of your current glasses. If the retailer allows it, virtually try on glasses before making a style choice. Once your order arrives, make sure that it’s to the specifications of the order or else you will have to return them.

The Many Myths of Eye Care

Thursday, July 10, 2014 @ 07:07 PM
Author: admin

newspaper-412441_640

Your eyes are an extremely important part of your body, but people may not be very aware of how they work. Unfortunately, there are many myths out there that we have heard, and we may believe them because we don’t know any better. Here’s an example: People that wear glasses become reliant on them. This is completely false.

All eyeglasses do is correct blurry vision. People may find after wearing glasses for a while that they prefer wearing them than not wearing them, but this doesn’t mean their eyes have grown reliant on eyeglasses. People who need eyeglasses to see clearly simply get comfortable with wearing their glasses and enjoying clearer vision – there is no such thing as developing a physical reliance on glasses.

All eyeglasses do is correct your vision, they don’t damage or “cure” it. People may say that wearing contact lenses can cure nearsightedness. There is no proof that this is true.
Another myth is that wearing the wrong glasses causes damage to your eyes. This is also false. If you have blurry vision but you lose your glasses, you shouldn’t worry about your eyes becoming damaged.

Not wearing your glasses simply will mean you’ll have blurry vision. If you wear an older prescription, your vision might not be as good, but your eyes are never damaged from these kinds of factors. Remember: Just because your vision is blurry or you have the wrong glasses doesn’t mean you’re harming your eyes. Instead, just get the right eyeglasses so you can enjoy clearer vision. That’s all.

We’ve also been told other myths that have been widely accepted by people, like eyes get damaged from reading in dim light or staring at computer screens. This is all untrue. Before the advent of electricity, people read by candlelight all the time, and their eyes weren’t adversely affected. Using your eyes in dim light doesn’t damage them, at all. It just strains them more, which is an important difference. When our eyes become strained, we’re more likely to feel tired, but this doesn’t mean we’re causing damage to our eyes.

The same idea goes with computer screens and televisions. Just like when your reading or sewing, your eyes are going to blink less often because you are focused on doing something. This means that less moisture is getting to your eyes. They can then feel tired, strained or out of focus, but you are not damaging them.

To prevent strain on your eyes, though, you can try a couple of things, like keeping your computer or television screen about two feet away from your face and making sure it’s at a slightly downward angle. If you’re eyes feel strained or out of focus, try taking your vision off of the screen and looking around the room, focusing on objects farther away. This will help you re-focus your eyes and relax them.

Another false fact out there is that people with weak eyes have to worry about wearing their eyes out. People hear this claim and they try to avoid fine print out of fear that they’ll “use up” their eyes. This is totally false. The eye isn’t a muscle; it’s more like a camera. You can use your eyes all you want, you won’t wear them out.

Other myths exist that claim people with crossed or misaligned eyes will just outgrow them. Unfortunately, this is a false claim, as well. People don’t outgrow these eye problems. Instead, it’s important for children with crossed or misaligned eyes to be treated by a doctor. The earlier they get treated, the better.

There are many ways to treat these types of eye conditions. For instance, if someone has a lazy eye, they might be advised to put a patch on their good eye, forcing the lazy eye to correct itself. There are many other types of treatment, like using eyeglasses, applying eye drops, undergoing corrective surgery or using a combination of these things.

Furthermore, despite what some may have told you, learning disabilities are not caused by eye problems. Being able to see and read clearly is separate from having a learning disability. Kids that have impairments in their learning functions will need special teaching, but it’s also important that they have clear vision. Because of this, every child should have a complete medical eye examination.

You may have also heard that “all eye doctors are the same.” This is also very untrue. There are two kinds of eye care providers: Ophthalmologists and optometrists. Ophthalmologists must have at least eight years of medical school and do extensive training in hospitals. They’re qualified for all kinds of eye care, like corrective surgeries. On the other hand, optometrists and opticians are trained to provide eye care services, but they aren’t licensed to do corrective surgeries.

It’s very important to be aware of the many debunked myths out there concerning eye health. No, carrots don’t “cure” your eyes. Vitamin A will help them, though, and you can find it in many different foods. You can sit as close to the television as you wish and you can read in the dark all you want. So be skeptic of the pseudo-facts people may tell you about eye health. If you ever have questions about maintaining your eye health or dealing with a vision problem, don’t hesitate to visit an eye care professional, who will give you all the reliable information you need.

Predicting Multiple Vision-Robbing Childhood Diseases with One Simple Test

Thursday, July 3, 2014 @ 06:07 PM
Author: admin

blood-20745_640

In August of 2014, the American Academy of Ophthalmology announced a major breakthrough in the detection of ocular diseases that strike during childhood, causing visual impairment and even blindness. Researchers in the United Kingdom worked to develop the ground breaking testing procedure. A simple blood sample is needed for the new DNA test that can now be used to predict and diagnose several diseases at once. A specialize form of DNA testing that was originally used to detect congenital cataracts in children, has been found, with some modification, to be an effective diagnostic tool in detecting numerous obscure maladies of the eye.

The discovery makes diagnosis faster, cheaper, and easier, allowing doctors to start treating conditions early on and provide more effective, disease specific care. Since congenital cataracts can be a stand-alone problem, either as a f fluke mutation or due to a child’s mother being ill during pregnancy, or as a symptom of one of around 100 different ocular diseases, it has previously been difficult for eye care professionals to accurately pinpoint their root cause.

Specialized genetic testing is useful in determining the cause and in helping to narrow down an appropriate treatment for congenital cataracts. There is a set of 15 genes that the DNA test highlights with primers and uses as genetic markers. Mutations in these 15 different genes outline a patient’s specific condition. Some of the diseases linked to congenital cataracts include:

Down’s syndrome
Congenital rubella
Conradi syndrome
Ectodermal dysplasia
Galactosemia
Hallermann-Streiff syndrome
Pierre-Robin syndrome
Lowe syndrome

There are dozens of genetic diseases linked to congenital cataracts. Many of the conditions associated with congenital cataracts also affect other physical traits and cause a slew of functional issues. With quicker diagnostic abilities, physicians can provide patients and their families with genetic counseling along with the proper medical treatments.

Worldwide, between 20,000 and 40,000 children are born with congenital cataracts. Cataracts, of any kind, can lead to major problems with eye health. Special eye care is necessary to treat cataracts before they cause complete blindness. Congenital cataracts can show up immediately at birth or develop sometime during the early stages of childhood. When found in infancy, congenital cataracts can hinder proper development of vision. In some patients, congenital cataracts can appear only in the peripheral vision spectrum, or as a small patch in the central line of vision and therefore do not require surgery, however that is not typically the case.

Treatment for cataracts typically involves surgical removal of the top lens of the eye and the insertion of a manufactured lens. Depending on the ocular damage done by the cataract, even with surgery, some patients remain legally blind and still require corrective glasses. The more time it takes to treat cataracts, the worse the prognosis is for the patient.

Prior to this new testing breakthrough, time was not on the side of the doctors. Analysis of a patient’s condition typically involved collecting a detailed family history and running numerous tests in order to systematically cross off possible conditions, before finally coming to an inconclusive answer. Genetic testing of the 15 genes involved with congenital cataracts would normally take years. The new testing method allows for conclusive results within a matter of weeks instead of years.

Thirty-six cases were observed during the clinical trial study that took place in the United Kingdom. Out of the 36 cases, 75% of patients were given accurate, prompt diagnoses of their condition. The advanced test only takes two months to complete.

Currently, the congenital cataract DNA test is only offered in the United Kingdom. The nation began offering the service to infants and children with congenital cataracts in December, 2013. The test is also an effective way for potential parents with a family history of congenital cataracts to evaluate the risk to their children. Registered healthcare facilities around the world can request the congenital cataract DNA test through international referral, to help aid in eye care.

While the multi-use DNA test for congenital cataracts is in its early stages of use, researchers hope that the technology will have a far reaching impact on the field of Ophthalmology. Since the test has been useful in pinpointing the genetic markers and mutations that lead to the formation of cataracts, it is hoped that eye care professionals will one day discover the exact cause of age related cataracts. Identifying clear causes for ocular conditions is the first step in developing a treatment for them.