Contact Lens Corner: It's probably time to change your contact lenses

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Are you like most contact lens wearers who forget to dispose of their contact lenses on time? Then it may be time to find a solution. Over wearing or extending the life of your contact lenses can lead to increased contact lens intolerance, dry eye sensation, and blurry vision. Waiting to change your contact lenses until they become uncomfortable is an eye infection waiting to happen.

If you wear a 2-week disposable contact lens like Acuvue Oasys or Acuvue Advance, then change them with every paycheck. If you wear a 1-month disposable contact lens like Air Optix Aqua Comfort Plus or Biofinity, then change them on the first or last day of every month.

The alternative to these extended contact lens modalities is to also consider switching into a 1-day disposable contact lens like Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus, Acuvue 1-Day Moist, Acuvue TruEyes or the all new Dailies Total 1 and enjoy a clean new contact lens every day.

If technology is more your thing, consider joining Acuminder by the makers of Acuvue Brand contact lenses. This online tool allows you to schedule text message or email reminders for when it’s time to change your contact lenses.

 

Book your annual eye exam with a Doctor of Optometry at 
Stonewire Optometry in Kingsway Mall Today.

Did You Know? Reading in Dim Light

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Reading in dim light will not cause you to go blind, but it can increase visual strain. Dim light causes your pupils to increase in size, which requires your eye muscles to work harder in order to keep the page in focus. This increased ocular effort may lead to headaches or visual fatigue. As such, we usually recommend that people avoid reading in dim light and opt for a nice reading lamp instead.

 

Book your annual eye exam with a Doctor of Optometry at 
Stonewire Optometry in Kingsway Mall Today.

Why Does My Eye Twitch?

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A twitchy eye is generally considered a non-serious eye condition and is commonly experienced by patients. Medically, an eyelid twitch is referred to as‘Myokymia’.  The twitching sensation is the result of the sudden spasmodic contraction of the obicularious muscle, which is normally used for closing your eyelids. The twitching sensation most often effects the lower eyelid and occasionally can even place pressure on the eyeball itself causing the eye to twitch. Some patients are convinced that their eye is actually twitching, however, this is a vary rare phenomenon.  Symptoms from myokymia can last up to a month and can disappear as quickly as they began.

The most common causes of myokymia include:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Eye infection
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Excessive exercise
  • Reduced potassium levels 

Although most eyelid twitches are not medically significant, it is always best to visit your optometrist or eye doctor to rule out any other more serious eye related diseases. Treatment for myokymia usually involves rest and relaxation, drinking plenty of water, and eating foods high in potassium. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that seeing your eye doctor for a condition like myokymia is now covered under Alberta Health Care.

If you're concerned about myokymia and your overall eye health, than book a routine eye health examination with one of our optometrists.

Book Your Next Eye Exam with Stonewire Optometry
Kingsway Mall | Edmonton | Alberta

Optical Assistance for Seniors

Many Edmonton seniors are surprised to learn that the Alberta Seniors Health Benefit program will provide up to $230.00 towards the purchase of new eyewear every 3 years. Most seniors are also surprised to learn that Alberta Health Care also covers the costs associated with a complete eye health examination by an optometrist every year. 

To learn more about what’s covered through the Alberta Seniors Health Benefit program or to sign up, visit the Alberta Government website at Alberta.ca 

If you are already enrolled in the Alberta Seniors Health Benefit program, accessing your eye care benefits is easy. Simply provide your optical provider with your Alberta Health Care number along with a valid government issued photo-ID at the time of purchase.  

Book Your Next Eye Exam with Stonewire Optometry
Kingsway Mall | Edmonton | Alberta

Dry Eye Syndrome: Signs/Symptoms/Causes

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common visual concerns that eye doctors see on a daily basis. It is often confused for ocular allergies or other eye health conditions, leading to inappropriate or ineffective treatment options. As such, it is important to know the signs of symptoms of dry eye syndrome and what can cause it or makes it worse.

Typical signs & symptoms may include:

  • Scratchy/Gritty Sensation
  • Burning/Stinging
  • Redness
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Sharp pain
  • Blurred vision or fluctuating vision
  • Excess tearing

Common causes may include:

  • Aging
  • Environment factors
  • Reduced blinking
  • Contact lens wear
  • Eyelid conditions (meibomianitis & blepharitis)
  • LASIK and other refractive surgeries
  • Medications (antihistamines, acne medications, water pills, etc.)
  • Hormonal changes, including menopause
  • Medical conditions (diabetes, arthritis, thyroid problems, Sjogren’s, etc.)

If you think that you may have dry eye syndrome, talk to one of our Kingsway Optometry eye doctors about possible treatment options during your next eye test.

Back to School Eye Exams

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Book your children in for their back to school eye exam at Kingsway Optometry. A comprehensive eye test by one of our optometrists will help to ensure that they are ready for another school year.

Your child’s eye test will include a comprehensive eye health examination along with a complete vision check for eyeglasses. Children should receive their first eye test by 3 years of age or as young as 6 months of age if you or pediatrician have any concerns or there is a family history of vision or medical problems.

Eye health exams and vision testing is covered under Alberta Health Care for children 18 years of age or younger. There is no charge for you child to be seen by an optometrists for annual eye exams and vision tests.

If your child already wears eyeglasses, please talk to us about healthy contact lens options for sports, recreation or school.

Contact Lens Irritation & Smoke

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With campfire season upon us, it’s time to be reminded about things that can lead to ocular irritation. Campfire smoke and cigarette smoke can contaminate your contact lenses and lead to ocular surface irritation and dryness.

If your eyes become sore and irritated, remove your contact lenses immediately. Use an artificial lubricating drop such as Systane Ultra to flush the eye out and rehydrate the ocular surface. Discard the contaminated contact lens or thoroughly rinse and clean the lens before reusing it. Never put a contact lens into a red irritated looking eyeball, as this can result in a serious eye infection. If the redness does not disappear or your vision seems blurry, seek the guidance of an optometrist.

FYI: Visits to your optometrists for eye infections are now covered under Alberta Health Care. A valid Alberta Health Care card is required.

Can I Swim in My Contact Lenses?

No, is the general answer to this question. Swimming in contact lenses may increase your risk of developing a serious eye infection, corneal scarring or vision loss. Contact lenses are porous like sponges and will absorb microbes, chemicals and other impurities from the water. These impurities are then left in constant contact with the surface of the eye, increasing the likelihood of ocular surface disease.

If you must swim in your contact lenses, it’s important to always wear a good fitting pair of swimming goggles, and never open your eyes under water without wearing goggles. Contact lenses can swell and adhere to the surface of the eye, or they may fall out and be lost. Once you get out of the water, it’s important to discard your contact lenses and open a fresh new clean pair. If you swim regularly, you may want to consider try a 1-Day disposable contact lens instead. These lenses should also be discarded after swimming and a fresh new clean pair inserted for the reminder of the day.

Book your next eye exam with an optometrist at Kingsway Optometry and ask about your options for swimming.

Are you at risk?

Do you know your risk factors when it comes to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians over the age of 50? There are many known risk factors for developing age-related macular degeneration, some of which you can control. It’s especially important for patients with a family history to start considering lifestyle modifications early on, as they have a 4 times great risk of developing ARMD.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for age-related macular degeneration

  • A Family History of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Age 50+
  • Female > Males
  • Light coloured eyes
  • Ethnicity - Caucasians are at the greatest risk

Modifiable Risk Factors for age-related macular degeneration

  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Being Overweight
  • Eating fatty foods
  • A diet low in fresh fruits & vegetables
  • A diet low in omega-3
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive sunlight exposure

Before you get caught, please talk to your optometrist about age-related macular degeneration and what you can do to reduce your overall risk. Annual eye exams by an optometrist may also help to detect the early warning signs of age-related macular degeneration and ensure timely intervention.

Is it time for a change?

Are you’re like most contact lens wearers who forget to change their contact lenses on time? Then it may be time to find a solution. Over wearing or extending the life of your contact lenses can lead to increased contact lens intolerance, dry eye sensation, and blurry vision. Waiting to change your contact lenses when they feel dirty or get uncomfortable is an eye infection waiting to happen.

If you wear a 2-week disposable contact lens like Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus, then change them with every paycheck. If you wear a 1-month disposable contact lens like Air Optix Aqua Comfort Plus, then change them on the 1st day of every month. You can also consider switching into a 1-day disposable contact lens like Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus or Acuvue TruEyes and enjoy a clean new contact lens every day.

If technology is more your thing, consider joining Acuminder by the makers of Acuvue Brand contact lenses. This online tool allows you to schedule text message or email reminders on when to change your contact lenses, reorder contact lenses, and schedule your next eye exam.

Don't forget, anyone who wears contact lenses should see their eye doctor at least once a year for a complete eye health examination.

Summer is almost here!

With the sun now rising and setting a little earlier each day in Edmonton, our thoughts have once again gone back to the topic of sun protection. Sunglasses provide 2 key benefits to patients: reduced exposure to harmful ultra-violet rays and improved visual comfort in bright sunlight. So what is the best option?

Basic Sunglasses

Basic sunglasses simply decrease the intensity of the light around us equally. They help to protect the eyes from the suns harmful ultra-violet rays, and are really one of the best choices for athletes looking for consistent vision during dynamic sporting activities.  Basic sunglasses will typically cost less then polarized lenses and can be found the seasons trendiest new frame styles.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses decrease the intensity of the light around us, and they reduce or eliminate the reflections or glare that come off flat surfaces like snow, water and roads. By eliminating glare, polarized sunglasses improve visual contrast and help to reduce fatigue and eye strain.  Polarized lenses are best suited for less dynamic activities or flat surfaces like in driving, fishing, boating, etc.

What lens colour is the best?

Lens colour seems to come down to personal choice and fashion for a lot of people. It is a myth however, that darker sunglasses provide more ultra-violet light protection then lighter tints. Darker tints help to reduce more of the suns overall intensity, but quality sunglasses regardless of tint should all block at least 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays. Your eye doctor may recommend darker tints like grey and black during the summer months when the suns rays are far more intense. But during the winter months they may recommend brown tints, as they can add a sense of brightness to a dull flat light day. Light and dark tints are available in polarized and non-polarized sunglass styles, as well as in prescription and non-prescription style sunglasses.

 

Itchy Eyes?

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Do you fear going outside in the summer because of ocular irritation, nasal congestion and sneezing? Red, burning, watery, itchy eyes are just some of the typical ocular symptoms experienced by allergy sufferers in our clinic. Patients with allergies can also experience contact lens intolerance, blurred vision and pain. Not a great combination when all you want to do is get outside and play.

Trying to treat and manage ocular allergies can be a difficult chronic battle. If you have mild allergy signs and symptoms, consider trying some of these non-pharmaceutical treatment options for seasonal allergies first.

  • Shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed and after being outside. Allergens can stick to your hair and eyelashes further increasing ocular symptoms.
  • Make sure you thoroughly remove your makeup at night and regular change your mascara brushes.
  • Change your pillowcases, bed linens and bath towels regularly.
  • Consider switching into a 1-day disposable contact lens. Inserting a fresh, clean contact lens into your eye each day guarantees that you will not be inserting any old allergens back into your eyes.
  • Try to reduce your contact lens wearing time as much as possible. Only insert your contact lenses prior to leaving the house, and remove them when you get home.
  • Use contact lens approved lubricating eye drops to help flush your eyes free from allergens throughout the day. This same rule also applies to non-contact lens wearers.
  • Consider removing the carpets from your bedroom and house, and switching to a hard surface flooring option such as tile or hardwood. If this is not an option, have your carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Consider adding a humidifier to your furnace to help reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the air. A portable option can also work for smaller areas or in your office at work.
  • Change your furnace filters regularly, and have your furnace cleaned annually. Also consider adding an air purifier to help clean the air.
  • If you have a pet, keep them out of your bedroom and limit the areas of the house their allowed to go.

If you still find that your seasonal allergy symptoms are unmanageable, please stop by our eye clinic for a complete eye health examination by one of our optometrists. Our eye doctors may be able to prescribe some prescription and non-prescription eye drops that can provide added relief. They can also confirm that what you have is in fact ocular allergies and not another underlying problem instead.

 

Pressure

 

January is glaucoma awareness month across North America. Glaucoma is a painless eye condition that usually develops slowly over time and is often related to elevated eye pressure.

Did you know?

  1. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and accounts for approximately 10% of all cases of vision loss.
  2. There is presently no cure for glaucoma, but there are numerous treatment options available to help slow the progression. These include medicated eye drops and various surgical procedures.
  3. Everyone is at risk of developing glaucoma, including children. However, patients with a family history of glaucoma or patients of African American decent are at a higher risk.
  4. African Americans are 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma and 15 times more likely to loose their vision. Glaucoma is currently the leading cause of vision loss amongst African Americans.

Have you had your eye pressures checked lately? If not, call our office and book an eye health examination with one of our optometrists. .

To learn more about glaucoma, please visit the glaucoma research foundation at www.glaucoma.org

 

Carrots - Myth or Fact?

Question:

Does eating carrots really improve your vision?

Answer:

Yes and No. Eating copious quantities of carrots will not prevent or reverse your need for eyeglasses. Carrots however are high in beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin-A in the liver and is an important nutrient with regards to proper eye health. Vitamin-A is an antioxidant and has been shown to slow the formation and progression of degenerative eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin-A deficiency can lead to night blindness a condition known as nyctalopia.

Carrots also contain the antioxidant lutein. Lutein is highly concentrated in the central macula area of the eye and helps to protect the eye from age-related macular degeneration, which is currently the leading cause of blindness in patients over the age of 50.

Like all good things, there is a limit. Excessive beta-carotene intake can cause a persons skin to turn orange, and chronic ingestion has been linked with an increase risk of lung cancer in smokers and recent ex-smokers.

 

Note: Always consult with your health care provider prior to starting any new supplements.

Welcome to Winter!

Cold temperatures are not only tough on your car, but they can also be tough on your eyes. Cold weather increases dry eye symptoms for many patients, and can increase contact lens intolerance. Freezing temperatures and heaters dry out the air around us, causing your contact lenses and your eyes to loose their moisture quicker.

Try to reduce your contact lens usage during very cold periods and ensure that you remove your contact lenses when you get home at night. You can also consider using a quality lubricating eye drop that is approved for contact lenses or one that was recommended by your eye doctor.

Eye Exams are Important

Routine eye exams are important to ensure the proper health and function of your eyes.  Your eye doctor can diagnosis and prescribe corrective lenses for common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and focusing problems.

These annual eye exams can also help to detect the early signs of eye disease. Common eye diseases detected during a routine eye exam include:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Cholesterol

School Vision Screenings

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School vision screenings are a critical component of our health care system and help to detect gross visual problems in children that may otherwise go undetected. School vision screenings however are not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist. All children, 3 years of age or older, should receive a complete eye examination at least once a year.

An optometrist can examine your child to ensure that they have the adequate visual skills needed to succeed at school. With almost 80% of all learning being visual, it is critical that your child’s visual system be operating perfectly.

An eye examination by an optometrist is more then about 20/20 vision, it’s also about having proper visual skills. Some of these skills include colour vision, depth perception, focusing, eye teaming, and eye tracking.

Did you know?

Children are covered under Alberta Health Care for a comprehensive eye examination once a year. There is no cost to you as a parent to have your child’s eyes examined.

Children are also covered under Alberta Health Care for emergency eye exam appointments for things such as: pink eye, eye infections, allergies, injuries, etc.

Book your child in today for their back to school eye examination at Kingsway Optometry in Kingsway Mall and protect their ability to learn.

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Kingsway Optometry and its eye doctors are proud to be members of the Alberta Association of Optometrists and to participate in the Eye See…Eye Learn program. A partnership between optometrists, private business and the Alberta Government with a focus on ensuring that every child receives an eye exam before starting kindergarten. To learn more about the Eye See…Eye Learn program please refer to the Alberta Association of Optometrists website.

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?

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Thousands of Edmontonians suffer from seasonal allergies every year. With spring comes dust, mold, pollen and the inevitable sneezing, runny noses, and breathing problems that follow. For some Edmontonians seasonal allergies may affect their eyesight causing swollen, itchy, watery eyes. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis may even prevent some people from being able to wear their contact lenses all summer long.

Non-prescription allergy treatments have traditionally proven relatively ineffective at resolving seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Ocular decongestants like Visine can provide some cosmetic relief, but do not target the underlying cause. Older mast cell stabilizer medications like Cromolyn must be administered 4 times per day for 2-3 weeks before symptoms improve.

Approximately 10 years ago Alcon pharmaceuticals introduced a topical allergy eye medication called Patanol.  Patanol offered fast relief from ocular allergy symptoms, offered a simple twice per day dosing and was approved for contact lens wearers. Patients could instill Patanol before and after wearing their contact lenses.

Today, Alcon is proud to announce that Canadians will now have access to the all new Pataday. Pataday offers the same proven, safe, effective results of Patanol but provides patients with a convenient once a day dosing. Pataday is also approved in contact lens wearers.

So if you suffer from ocular allergies, talk to your optometrist about Pataday.