We all rub our eyes at some point: because we’re tired, because we have allergies or a cold, because our contacts are dry, or because we feel something may be in them and we want to get out the debris. Whatever the reason, it can feel good to do so.
Rubbing stimulates the flow of tears, causing lubrication for dry eyes and removal of irritants. Rubbing your eyes is also seemingly therapeutic, as applying gentle pressure to the eyeball can stimulate the vagus nerve, which slows your heart rate and relieves stress.
But all that rubbing is really not good for your eyes, and here’s why.
Rubbing causes tiny blood vessels to break, giving you blood-shot eyes and dark circles that make you look tired all the time.
Your hands are teeming with more germs than any other part of your body. When you put your fingers in your eyes, you’re transferring all those germs that can result in infections such as conjunctivitis.
If you attempt to dig out a foreign body that’s stuck in your eye, you could be doing more damage than good. This is an easy way to scratch your delicate cornea.
Rubbing can be particularly dangerous to those with pre-existing eye conditions, such as progressive myopia that worsens with rubbing. People with glaucoma can aggravate their condition by rubbing, which can disrupt blood flow to the back of the eye, leading to nerve damage and possibly even permanent vision loss.
Studies have shown that continuous eye rubbing can result in thinning of the cornea, which becomes weakened and pushes forward, becoming more conical. This serious condition is called keratoconus, and can lead to distorted vision and possibly the need for a corneal graft.
How to Stop
If something feels like it’s stuck in your eye, you should first try to flush it out with sterile saline or artificial tears. Take out your contacts and check for debris or rips. If you still don’t get relief from these things, make an appointment with your doctor.
The best remedy is prevention. Every time you go to touch your eye, stop yourself. Think of the dangers. Keep eye drops handy at all times instead. This will keep your eyes hydrated and will prevent itching.
There are many types of drops to try: artificial tears, which are non-medicated and imitate natural tears available over the counter; anti-histamines and mast cell stabilizers; and steroid eye drops that can prevent chronic eye rubbing in allergy sufferers.
Excessive eye rubbing should be avoided if possible. See your doctor if this is becoming a problem.
Do you rub your eyes a lot?
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It’s a New Year, and with many of us having new insurance dollars kicking in, now is the perfect time to start thinking about reasons to stop wearing our old glasses. Here are 5 reasons that you should get a new pair.
1. You are wearing the wrong prescription
Your eye doctor is able to give you the examination schedule for your eye health, but a clear rule of thumb is if you’ve been wearing a prescription for over a year, you need a new test to ensure the health of your eyes.
2. Your glasses do not fit
If you purchased a frame just for the style but find it falling down your nose, or pressing into your temple, it’s time for a change. Frames have sizes that can guide you to find your best fit. Learn more from our Find Your Perfect Fit page.
3. Your frames are missing pieces
Missing arms and nose pads that are missing or moldy affect not only your comfort but also your vision; when a frame isn’t sitting correctly you won’t be seeing through the optimal prescription point in your lens.
4. The lenses are damaged beyond repair
Even if you invested in coatings, over time they can become scratched or even begin to peel. In some cases we can retreat your lenses, but when lenses are damaged beyond repair it's always best to get a new pair of glasses.
5. It’s time for a style update
Most of us have multiple shoes and bags, but only one pair of glasses. New shapes, materials, and styles can update your wardrobe and provide a showcase for your eyes. We love helping you find something to update your look!
Ready to start finding your new glasses? Contact Us
We tend to take our eyes for granted. The fact of the matter is that it's important to protect your eyes in order to maintain the best vision.
Here's why you should get an eye exam at every stage of life:
As soon as babies are born, eyesight starts to develop allowing them to distinguish faces, simple shapes and the colours black and white. But most people don't know that optometrist visits should start in infancy—between six and nine months.
There are certain problems that if left untreated could lead to lazy eye and possibly surgery. An eye exam can determine early intervention that can completely correct the problem.
Toddlers and school-aged children (six to 18) should also have regular checkups with the eye doctor. Vision issues can arise during these years, but it may not always be obvious that eyesight is the problem.
Parents should watch their children for complaints of headaches, rubbing of the eyes, short attention span or difficulty concentrating. All could be signs that a youngster needs to be fitted for glasses.
School-aged children should visit an optometrist annually, as studies have shown that up to a quarter of children that age have vision problems, which, if untreated, could lead to avoidable learning difficulties in important subjects such as reading.
From young adulthood onward, people should be vigilant in both keeping up with checkups to ensure serious vision difficulties and diseases are detected. During an exam, optometrists check the front of the eye for changes that can occur to the lens, which can then be corrected by updating prescriptions or contact lenses, and the retina, or back of the eye.
After age 40, the risk of eye disease increases. One such silent eye ailment is glaucoma, which is caused by too much pressure in the eye. There are no warning signs for the condition which is why it is vital for adults to have regular vision checkups.
Visiting an optometrist regularly as you get older can also help detect other serious diseases which can lead to vision loss, such as Type 2 diabetes, cancerous tumours of the eye or high blood pressure.
The current number of people living with diabetes in Canada is approximately 3.3 million. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90% of cases. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically with current estimates confidently predicting a doubling of cases by 2025.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents your body from making or using insulin, which in turn leads to increased sugar levels in your bloodstream, known as high blood sugar.
How does diabetes affect the eye?
Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye. Diabetes can cause changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness and premature presbyopia (the inability to focus on close objects). It can result in cataracts, glaucoma, paralysis of the nerves that control the eye muscles or pupil, and decreased corneal sensitivity.
Visual symptoms of diabetes include fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and flashes and floaters within the eyes. Sometimes these early signs of diabetes are first detected in a thorough examination performed by a doctor of optometry. The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.
What is retinopathy?
Over time diabetes can cause changes in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels that feed the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. When retinopathy advances, the decreased circulation of the blood vessels deprives areas of the retina of oxygen. Blood vessels become blocked or closed, and parts of the retina die. New, abnormal, blood vessels grow to replace the old ones. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result.
Can vision loss from diabetes be prevented?
Yes, in a routine eye examination, your optometrist can diagnose potential vision threatening changes in your eye that may be treated to prevent blindness. However, once damage has occurred, the effects are usually permanent. It is important to control your diabetes as much as possible to minimize your risk of developing retinopathy.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy is monitored through eye health examinations. If necessary, it may be treated with intraocular injections of anti-VEGF therapy (Lucentis, Avastin) or laser therapy. A bright beam of light is focused on the retina, causing a laser burn that seals off leaking blood vessels. In other cases, retinal surgery may be necessary. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is crucial, as treatment is much more likely to be successful at an early stage.
Are there risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy?
Several factors that increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include smoking, high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and pregnancy.
How can diabetes-related eye problems be prevented?
Monitor and maintain control of your diabetes. See your physician regularly and follow instructions about diet, exercise and medication. See your doctor of optometry for a thorough eye examination when you are first diagnosed with diabetes, at least annually thereafter and more frequently if recommended.
Pink eye, medically known as conjunctivitis, is a common childhood ailment. Unfortunately, misinformation about this condition often increases the risk of disease transmission, complicates diagnosis, and discourages patients from seeking treatment.
It’s important for adults, especially parents, to be able to distinguish between the facts and fiction of conjunctivitis to prevent the spread of common myths.
1. ALL TYPES OF PINK EYE ARE CONTAGIOUS
One of the most common and most harmful misconceptions about pink eye is that there’s only one, highly contagious type. Pink eye actually has numerous causes, including allergies, exposure to chemical fumes, advanced dry eye, and infections.
Pink eye caused by an infection may result from a virus, usually an adenovirus or herpes virus, or from bacteria. Only bacterial pink eye is contagious. An eye doctor can determine the cause of the condition and let you know whether or not you’re contagious.
Even with bacterial pink eye, patients can usually return to school or work one day after starting antibiotic treatment.
2. ANY PINKNESS POINTS TO PINK EYE
Many individuals believe that any pink or red discoloration in the eye area indicates the presence of pink eye. However, the term “pink eye” applies only to coloration changes of the eyeball itself. Redness around the eye, which may be referred to as “red eye,” is not necessarily related to pink eye.
Often, red eye results from eyeball injuries, like corneal abrasions. In certain serious cases, redness around the eye comes from an infection in the eye socket or the progression of glaucoma. If you experience both pink and red eye simultaneously or experience persistent red eye, consult with an optometrist.
3. CONJUNCTIVITIS ONLY AFFECTS CHILDREN
Pink eye is particularly common among children. However, pink eye can affect anyone. The high rate of infection among children usually results from kids not taking the same precautions against the condition as adults.
To protect yourself and your children against pink eye, always wash up before handling anything that comes close to your eyes, like contact lenses. Additionally, avoid sharing eyeliner, contact lenses, and contact solution to reduce the risk of infection.
4. CRUDE PRANKS CAN CAUSE PINK EYE
Bacterial pink eye can occur due to exposure to a number of different bacteria, including staph. Some types of bacteria that can lead to pink eye are found naturally in the human body. For example, staph can live in the nose, so a child who picks his or her nose could unwittingly transfer the bacteria to the eye area.
These bacteria can also be found in fecal matter, and this fact has led to the myth that if someone were to release gas onto a pillowcase, a person who uses the pillowcase later will contract pink eye.
However, flatulence is primarily methane gas and does not contain bacteria. Additionally, bacteria die quickly outside the body, so unless someone laid down on the pillowcase immediately after it had been exposed to bacteria, the sleeper would be at no risk for pink eye.
5. INFECTION CAN HAPPEN AT FIRST SIGHT
One of the most persistent myths about pink eye is that an infected individual can transmit the disease with a single glance. However, no disease can be passed via eye contact, including pink eye.
This myth can also include the idea that being in a large group of people makes it easier for pink eye to spread. However, because no type of pink eye is airborne, being in a crowd does not significantly raise the risk of contracting pink eye.
6. OBJECTS THAT COME IN CLOSE CONTACT MUST GO
When you notice discoloration of your eye, your first response may be to get rid of anything that came close to the eye area, including bed linens, beauty tools, and clothing items. This drastic measure is rarely necessary.
Your eye doctor may recommend getting rid of your contact lenses and any contaminated contact solution, as well as eyeliner and mascara used while your eye was affected. He or she may also suggest that you wash the linens and clothes you’ve used recently to kill any lingering bacteria.
However, if your pink eye is caused by allergies or exposure to irritants, you may simply need to stop wearing contact lenses and eye makeup until the inflammation subsides.
7. PINK EYE CAN CAUSE BLINDNESS
While pink eye can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, the condition is not dangerous on its own. In fact, many cases of pink eye go away without treatment in one to two weeks.
If you experience unusual symptoms, consult with an eye health professional to determine whether the pink eye is related to or contributing to a more serious condition. These serious symptoms may include fever, rash, persistent headache, nausea, or changes in eye discharge.
Don't mess around with your eye health.
Obviously, your eyes are a very important part of your body and, like everything else, they develop issues, too. But for some reason, people tend to write off eye symptoms like they're no biggie—and that’s a problem.
If left untreated, some eye problems can progress very rapidly. If they’re not treated, they can permanently affect your vision.
Sure, you’re probably OK to ride it out if you developed some temporary eye redness after sleeping in your contacts, but other issues warrant a trip to your optometrist. Here are some important symptoms to watch out for:
1. You have floaters in your eye.
Floaters in your vision, which can appear as specks, strings, or cobwebs that drift as you move your eyes, are often due to age-related changes in the configuration of the gel within your eye. Those changes tend to not be a huge deal but it's still good to have a dilated eye exam to make sure they're not a sign of a more serious condition like retinal detachment. If you notice one or two floaters that go away, it's a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor, but if they persist, you should to get them checked out ASAP.
2. You have constant red eyes.
It’s pretty normal to wake up with reddish eyes here and there, but if you’re regularly experiencing red eyes, it’s time to see your doctor. Red eyes that don’t clear up with over-the-counter drops can be a sign of dry eye syndrome, a condition that happens when tears aren't able to provide adequate moisture to your eyes, or a number of other conditions that should get checked out.
3. You've got dry eyes that won’t quit.
Over-the-counter artificial tears are your first line of defense against dry eyes, but if artificial tears aren't helping, talk to your eye doctor. You could have an ulcerated cornea, which is when the outermost layer of your eye becomes inflamed. It should be able to be treated with an antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral medication.
4. You got a chemical in your eye.
OMG you got some dish soap in your eye, what do you do? First, rinse your eyes out immediately with water and then contact your optometrist, even if your eye seems OK. If you get exposed to any foreign substance, especially a harsh chemical or cleaner, that requires immediate attention. It can result in permanent damage and scarring.
5. You have eye pain that came out of nowhere.
While any type of persistent eye pain should send you to the doctor, the type of pain you’re experiencing could signal various issues. A sharp pain can be a sign that you have something stuck in your eye or you’ve contracted a viral or bacterial eye infection. An aching pain, though, could be a sign of eye inflammation, increased pressure in your eyes, or just a need for different glasses—but you won’t know what’s causing it unless you get it checked out.
6. You’re seeing halos around lights.
This seems really freaky—and it is—but it can be a sign that your contact lens or glasses prescription isn’t quite right. It can also be an indicator of an ocular migraine, a visual disturbance that can impact your eyes. Either way, see your doctor for help.
7. You have a stye.
A stye is a painful local infection or inflammation of the oil-producing glands of your eyelid. While a stye will often go away in a day or so, it’s a good idea to get it checked out if you tend to get them often, or you have a stye that won’t go away. Your doctor may be able to prescribe something to keep future styes away.
8. You’re suddenly sensitive to light.
Feeling like you need to grab your shades to protect your eyes from light streaming in your window could be a sign of an ocular migraine, or it could indicate that there’s some kind of inflammation in your eye. Either way, see your doctor.
“From cataracts to glaucoma, diabetes can very seriously affect every part of the eye,” said Dr. Jeffrey Guthrie, optometrist and President of OAO. “Worst of all is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when the tiny blood vessels in your retina become weak and leaky. Without treatment, diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent vision loss.”
Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is essential to successful treatment, so that people living with diabetes can avoid the serious impacts that vision loss will have on their lives. Regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist are necessary to detect the condition before vision loss occurs, because retinopathy’s early stages are symptomless and damage may be irreversible. In Ontario, comprehensive eye exams for people living with diabetes are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), a fact that is not widely known.
“Like most chronic diseases, early detection and proper management of diabetes is key to reducing the risk of complications such as vision loss and blindness. That’s why it’s so important to have regular comprehensive eye exams,” says Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. “It’s not well known in Ontario that eye exams are publicly covered for people with diabetes. We urge the public to take advantage of this benefit.”
The benefits of comprehensive eye exams also extends to early detection of diabetes.
“Comprehensive eye exams can pick up on subtle changes in the eye that can indicate issues with the patient’s overall health. Optometrists can catch even the earliest signs of diabetes, before the patient has noticed any symptoms,” said Dr. Guthrie.
• There are an estimated 1.6 million Ontarians currently living with diabetes.
• Diabetic retinopathy is the number 1 cause of preventable blindness in working-aged Ontarians.
• According to a 2016 report by Health Quality Ontario, more than 40 per cent of Ontarians aged 20 to 64 living with diabetes do not undergo a comprehensive eye exam within the recommended two-year period.
• This same report shows that nearly one-third of all Ontarians living with diabetes do not undergo a comprehensive eye exam within the recommended two-year period.
Book an appointment with our on-site optometrist,
One in three Canadians already has diabetes or prediabetes and many don’t know it, so the need for prevention is greater than ever. By taking a short online type 2 diabetes risk test at www.diabetestest.ca, people can start to take charge of their health.
Our vision is necessary and care should be taken to preserve the health of our eyes. But what happens if your eyes suddenly go blurry? Does it mean that you need new glasses? Is it an emergency?
Here are a few reasons this can happen:
What can you do about blurred vision?
Essentially, Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an assault on the brain that can produce cognitive, sensory or physical impairments; most of which are amenable by rehabilitation or time.
Your first instinct after a head injury is to take the effected person to the hospital where they will do an x-ray to ensure there is no broken bones, a cat scan to ensure there is no internal bleeding, and quite frequently send you on your way with a note to rest.
After a couple days, if not immediately, you may notice the following visual side effects of a concussion: 1
It is important that if you note any visual symptoms to book an appointment with an optometrist. If you get a requisition from your family doctor, in Ontario, your optometrist visit can be covered by OHIP.
With our sophisticated optical equipment we can look into your eye and ensure there is no damages to the retina or other parts of your eyes. Once we've ruled out physical injury we can monitor your vision and, if necessary, refer you to a vision therapist.
When a patient walked into the clinic complaining of mild headaches and blurred vision, Dr. Campbell conducted the same complete vision and eye health exam that he would with any other patient. However, the exam revealed an irregularity, which concerned Dr. Campbell enough to refer the patient for a full CT scan the very next day.
That scan confirmed what the doctor had originally suspected: the patient had a benign brain tumour. Treatment was swift and less than two weeks after the original appointment with his optometrist, the patient underwent surgery to have the tumour removed. Three days later, he was released from hospital.
The story demonstrates the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams for people of all ages.
“The eyes are connected to so many other systems in the human body,” says Dr. Campbell. “A number of serious and potentially fatal health conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam.”
A brain tumour is just one example of what an optometrist might detect. An eye exam can also identify unusual structures within the eye and unusual growths, including a rare form of cancer called ocular melanoma. This cancer develops within the cells that make pigmentation in the eye and can be life threatening if it spreads to other parts of the body.
Skin cancer might also be detected through an examination, as lesions can show up on the eyelid and possibly spread to the brain through the eye. In fact, the eye and its surrounding tissues are among the most common areas of the body where skin cancer is first diagnosed.
Optometrists also detect hypertension, a leading cause of a heart attack, stroke and chronic heart failure, by looking at the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. The same is the case for diabetes, which can cause a condition in the eyes called diabetic retinopathy. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is essential to avoiding serious damage to the eye and potential blindness.
“It is easy for people to say to themselves 'My sight is fine, what's the point of getting my eyes checked?'” Dr. Campbell points out. “But certain conditions might not have side effects right away, and catching these conditions early might be the difference between life and death.”
The doctor recommends that people between the ages of 20 and 65 see an optometrist every one to two years – and seniors, children and young adults should do so annually.
With over 30 years experience licensed optician Joe Bushara and his highly experienced team, bring you the latest trends in frames and technologies in lenses from around the world.