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Are Eye Problems More Common in Women Than Men?

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Being a Woman Increases The Chances of Developing Eye Problems

When it comes to eye health and vision, men and women aren’t created equal. It might surprise you to learn that, worldwide, two-thirds of all cases of blindness and visual impairment occur in women.

Read on to learn why being a woman increases the chances of developing eye problems, and how regular visits to your eye doctor can help.

Longer Life Expectancy

Women live about 5 years longer than men on average. Moreover, women tend to remain healthier longer than their male counterparts. According to the World Health Organization, the average woman can expect to live a full 70 years before experiencing a major disease or injury, compared to 67 healthy years for a man.

But a woman’s increased life expectancy has significant implications when it comes to her eye health and vision. Age is a major risk factor for conditions and diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome.

The longer a woman lives, the more likely that she will develop a serious eye condition or disease.

Hormones

Women experience a remarkable amount of hormonal fluctuation throughout their lifespan. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all cause surges of estrogen, which can affect vision. Taking birth control pills also can cause visual or ocular symptoms, due to the varying levels of progesterone and estrogen.

Fluctuating estrogen levels can result in dry eye syndrome, which causes uncomfortable symptoms like red, itchy, watery eyes and, if untreated, possibly eye damage. Some women also experience blurred vision during estrogen surges. This is common during pregnancy but vision tends to normalize shortly after birth.

Medications

In almost every society around the world, women take more medication than their male counterparts. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications. What many don’t know is that several of these medications can pose significant risks to your eye health and vision, if taken in high dose and over an extended period of time.

Some medications that can affect your eyes include corticosteroids, antihistamines, antimalarials, and antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. Always consult your doctor before taking any prescription or nonprescription medications.

Autoimmune disorders

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s own immune system backfires and attacks the body’s own tissue. While the exact reason is still unclear, it is well documented that women have far more autoimmune diseases than men.

According to The National Institutes of Health, 75% of people living with an autoimmune disease are female. Some common autoimmune disorders that impact eye health include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgen’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism). These can cause symptoms like dry and red eyes, foreign-body sensation, pain, changes in vision, and sometimes vision loss.

What Can Women Do To Preserve Their Eye Health?

Whether you are male or female, taking a preventative approach to eye care is the best way to preserve your vision.

Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3’s, and zinc to support eye health. Quit or reduce smoking if you haven’t already. Also, limit your alcohol intake.

In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, a key factor in minimizing your risk of eye disease is seeing your eye doctor regularly.

Having frequent comprehensive eye exams allows your eye doctor to screen your eyes for early signs of disease. By detecting eye disease early, you’ll increase your chances of receiving effective treatment and preserving your vision.

Browz Eyeware optometrists in Airdrie, Alberta provide expert eye exams and quality eye care services.

Call Browz Eyeware to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

REFERENCES

Women are at Higher Risk for Eye Disease than Men

5 Reasons Why Women are at Higher Risk of Eye Disease

WHAT MAKES WOMEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO EYE DISEASES

Ocular Manifestations of Autoimmune Disease

Healthy Aging for the Eyes


Browz Eyeware - Local Eye Care Clinic in Airdrie, Alberta

How can I keep my Eyes healthy as I get old

Getting old doesn’t have to be synonymous with vision loss. There is a lot you can do to keep your eyes and vision healthy and prevent age related eye disease and vision loss, especially if you start early. Keeping your eyes healthy and strong may require some lifestyle changes, but the good news is that these improvements will contribute to your overall health and wellness, not just your eyes.

Browz Eyeware, your local Local Eye Care Clinic in Airdrie, Alberta.

We are conveniently located at, 35 Mackenzie Way SW, Ste 4104.

Order your Contact Lenses here!.

There are a number of ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy that primarily affect older adults, which can cause impaired vision and even blindness. Sometimes, they are caused by an accumulation of a lifetime of unhealthy habits; changing these poor habits may be the best form of prevention.

The clear, curved lens at the front of your eye may be one of the first parts of your body to show signs of age. The lens bends to focus light and form images on the retina at the back of your eye. This flexibility lets you see at different distances—up close or far away. But the lens hardens with age. The change may begin as early as your 20s, but it can come so gradually it may take decades to notice. NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

Here are some of the most critical lifestyle risk factors for eye disease, and what you can do to reduce your risks.

  • Diet
    Eating healthy is about much more than weight loss. Nutritious foods give your body the ability to fight disease and function optimally. On the other hand, what you put in your body can also cause disease, inflammation, and upset your body’s homeostasis. Choose a healthy, balanced diet: it’s never too late.

    Sugar, processed foods and unhealthy fats can increase your risk for eye disease and many other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. In contrast, colorful fruits and vegetables, particularly greens, can help to fight and prevent these same diseases. In fact, studies show that people who eat a healthy diet full of greens, healthy fats (such as Omega-3s) and proteins, and a variety of foods full of vitamins and minerals (such as antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins A and C) have reduced occurrence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration.

    Try to eat a diet of at least 5-9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables rich and varied in natural color to get the most nutrients. Reduce your intake of sugar, refined grains (such as white bread and pasta) and processed foods and drinks. Eat mostly whole grains and real, natural foods as much as possible and drink plenty of water.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) and Blue Light Exposure
    More and more studies are showing that extended exposure to UV and blue light emissions correlate to increased incidences of eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. To avoid this, all you need is some proper eye protection. 100% UV blocking sunglasses should be worn each time you go outside (rain or shine) and, if you work on a computer or use an electronic device for at a couple of hours a day or more, it’s worthwhile investing in blue-light blocking computer glasses. There are also some filters and apps available to reduce blue-light exposure from digital devices and screens.
  • Smoking
    We all know that smoking is bad for you, and eye disease is just another way it can have a negative impact on your health. Studies show that smoking increases the risk of dry eye syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration as well as diabetic retinopathy.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
    Once again, what is healthy for your body, is healthy for your eyes. Studies correlate regular exercise with lower risk of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic eye disease. Working a regular exercise routine into your schedule is important for your health and longevity. Being more active in your daily life can help too – walking up and down the steps in your house a few times, taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking farther away from your destination are easy and free ways to incorporate physical activity into your everyday life. Additionally, individuals with diabetes who exercise regularly show less development of diabetic retinopathy. The recommended guidelines for diabetics (and most individuals) are a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week such as 30 minutes five times a week or three sessions of 50 minutes each.
  • Preventative Care (Regular Eye Exam)
    Vision threatening eye diseases can often be caught and treated early, preventing further vision loss and sometimes even reversing damage. This is where annual comprehensive eye exams are key. You don’t want to wait until you have symptoms to get checked by your eye doctor because many eye diseases don’t present any signs until vision is lost and it is too late to fully recover. A yearly comprehensive eye exam can detect slight changes in your eye that could indicate a developing problem. Early detection can dramatically improve your chances for restored eye health and vision preservation.

When it comes to eye health, awareness and actions for prevention can have a huge impact on reducing your risks. Don’t wait until it is too late. Even small steps toward a healthier lifestyle can make a difference to your future eye health.
Call Browz Eyeware on
587-600-0644 in Airdrie, Alberta to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.
Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Responsible gun safety includes protective shooting glasses

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Ranger Edge Shooting Glasses

Responsible gun safety includes protective eyewear.

Gun safety is all about taking the necessary precautions to insure no one is injured by your firearm.

While it is true that gun owners tend to be highly responsible with firearm safety, one safety precaution that is often overlooked is eye safety. Many people that head to a shooting range realize the importance of wearing protective glasses, but many people do not realize the difference between safety glasses that you would wear while working in the garden or in a factory and ballistic shooting glasses.

Simple safety glasses and ballistic shooting glasses are different. Safety glasses are designed to stop debris from things like a weed wacker from getting into your eyes. Ballistic glasses have met the military requirement for ballistic resistance testing and the ANSI requirement for high velocity impacts.

An example of ballistic shooting glasses that we carry at Browz Eyewear is the RE Ranger from Randolph Engineering.

Randolph Ranger shooting glasses utilize NexPC™ ballistic-tested lenses in order to offer 6x better impact resistance. They are lightweight, aerodynamic high-tech alloy frames as well as offset nose pads to prevent fogging. There is of course a lifetime guarantee on every pair.

Ortho-k in Airdrie, AB

Superior Skill and Experience in Ortho-k Vision Correction

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Ortho-k, officially termed orthokeratology, refers to a method of vision correction in which you wear rigid gas permeable lenses while sleeping. These specialized lenses are inserted at bedtime and removed when you awaken. Through the night, they gently mold your cornea – thereby correcting refractive error. The next day, you’ll be able to see clearly without any eyewear. The effects are temporary though, and you must wear these revolutionary ortho-k lenses nightly in order to maintain sharp vision during the daytime.

At present, ortho-k specialists work with two brands of lenses that are FDA-approved: Vision Shaping Treatment (VST), from Bausch & Lomb, and Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT), from Paragon Vision Sciences. For more information about these types of ortho-k lenses, please schedule a consultation in our Airdrie eye care center. Our eye doctors are highly qualified and experienced in vision correction with ortho-k.

Who are the best candidates for ortho-k in Airdrie, AB?

Ortho-k is typically a good method of vision correction for people between the ages of 10 and 30, with healthy eyes and mild to moderate nearsightedness. In particular, our patients who do not qualify for LASIK procedures are often great candidates for ortho-k. This includes children who are too young for laser surgery, or people with certain eye conditions.

Many people who spend extensive time in dirty and dry environments or participate in active sports find ortho-k to be ideal! It eliminates the need for cumbersome eyeglasses and wearing contact lenses that often become uncomfortable under these conditions. If you engage regularly in water or land athletics, or you are simply tired of glasses and contact lenses interfering with daily tasks, we invite you to our Airdrie practice for a meeting with our ortho-k specialists. In particular, sports-minded teenagers who have myopia love the convenience of ortho-k.

Ortho-k is also beneficial for people who suffer irritation from dry eye or eye allergies. These lenses can help you avoid the discomfort that may be experienced when wearing contact lenses.

How successful are the results of ortho-k?

Orthokeratology aims to correct your eyesight to 20/20 without any daytime eyeglasses or contacts. FDA trials demonstrated that over 65% of ortho-k patients were able to see with 20/20 visual acuity after wearing these reshaping lenses overnight. In addition, an incredible 90% of ortho-k wearers achieved 20/40 visual acuity (the legal requirement for driving without vision correction in most states)!

Typically, the milder your prescription, the better your results. If you already have a current vision prescription, call our Airdrie, AB, optometrist to inquire if your prescription is within the parameters that can be treated well with ortho-k lenses.

Are the results of ortho-k immediate?

Officially, ortho-k lenses can take up to a few weeks until they reach their full effect. However, many of our patients report that they notice significant improvement after only one night.

During the first few weeks after you begin wearing these vision shaping lenses, your vision may not be as clear you are used to with glasses or contacts. In addition, you may see halos or glare around lights at night. However, these side effects dissipate rapidly.

Who fits ortho-k lenses in Airdrie, AB?

We do! Our eye doctors are ortho-k specialists, and we have fit and treated many patients successfully. Generally, an ortho-k fitting takes longer than with standard contacts, because it necessitates a series of office visits. That’s why we use advanced technology and digital optics to evaluate the shape of your cornea, and we won’t compromise on your comfort or vision clarity. We will work with you patiently to ensure a precise fit for your ortho-k lenses. This is the only way to correct your refractive error with optimal accuracy and wearing comfort.

Are you interested in learning more from your local ortho-k specialists? We’ll be pleased to meet with you in our convenient Airdrie, AB, office.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

business man with dry eyes

Managing Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eyes are a common condition that leads many people to seek care and treatment from their local eye doctor. Due to an insufficient tear quantity or quality, the irritating symptoms include redness, stinging and constant blinking or eye rubbing. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending upon the individual. Yet, no matter what type of irritation you experience, dry eyes can disrupt your comfortable vision and interfere with daily life.

 

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, our eye care specialists can help relieve your pain. We will perform a thorough eye exam to diagnose your condition and determine the best dry eye treatment for your condition.

Typical Causes of Dry Eyes

Every patient is unique, with a different lifestyle, environment and health condition. To assess your dry eye syndrome fully, we will ask you to share details about your daily routine and habits. It’s necessary to pinpoint the cause of your dry eyes in order to identify the ideal, effective treatment. Some possible culprits for dry eyes include:

  • Atmosphere: extreme weather – such as frigid temperatures or very arid conditions, can place stress on your eyes, preventing them from making enough lubricating tears. In these surroundings, goggles or wraparound sunglasses can help protect against dry eyes. In very hot climates, staying well hydrated may also help. Smoke, wind and dust may also cause dry eye irritation.
  • A/C or heating: air-conditioning, heating and fans are all associated directly with drying out your eyes. To counter this problem, it’s worthwhile to invest in a humidifier.
  • Allergies: seasonal allergies have been shown to have a powerful impact on eye moisture. When the pollen count is very high in our area, many of our patients complain about dry eye symptoms. An indoor air filter may be the best way to solve this problem.
  • Blepharitis: this skin condition affects the tissue along the edge of your eyelids. Caused generally by blocked oil ducts, blepharitis affects your eye’s ability to produce healthy tears. Rosacea is another skin condition that may block your eyes’ oil glands.
  • Inadequate tear quantity: a decrease in the amount of tears that your eyes produce can be due to many different reasons. Officially called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, this condition may be improved by taking omega-3 fish oil.
  • Aging and health: this is another typical cause of insufficient tears, as well as specific medical conditions – including lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, Sjorgen’s syndrome, scleroderma and vitamin A deficiency. Undergoing LASIK may also be to blame.
  • Side effects of medication: weak tear production may also be caused by certain drugs. Be sure to tell your eye doctor about any medical treatments or therapies you are taking.

Treatment for Dry Eyes

Although dry eye tends to be a chronic condition with no cure, there are many effective treatments that can alleviate the discomfort. Our eye care providers are experienced and knowledgeable about this condition, and we’ll work with you patiently to manage your dry eye syndrome.

Possible treatments include:

  • Artificial tears or lubricant eye drops, which compensate for your lack of natural tears. Check with your eye doctor regarding the best brand to use for your condition.
  • Prescription eye drops that stimulate tear production, or steroid eye drops for short-term pain relief
  • Heated compresses to open up clogged tear ducts, especially if you suffer from Meibomian gland dysfunction.
  • Specialized eyelid scrubs to treat blepharitis, or antibiotic drops
  • Punctal inserts may be prescribed to treat severe dry eyes. Placed inside your lower eyelid, these inserts gradually release lubrication as the day goes on.
  • Punctal plugs may help with extreme cases. During a quick, in-office procedure, our eye doctors will insert tiny silicone plugs into the corner of your eye to block drainage, which helps tears to disperse better across the eye.
  • Changing the type of contact lenses that you wear. Some types of contacts can dry out eyes, while others can help maintain moisture and resolve the symptoms.

Dry eye syndrome requires constant treatment to keep the irritating symptoms from flaring up. Our optometrists will help design a long-term, efficient strategy to restore your comfortable and healthy vision.

Treating Dry Eyes Near You

Browz Eyeware Scores a Goal at Hockey Alberta’s Camp!

calgaryFlames

image from gavingroup.ca

As the official eye doctors for the Calgary Flames, our Browz Eyecare team is fired up to attend Hockey Alberta’s Elite Goaltender Development Camp, held on June 24 – 25, 2017, in Sylvan Lake! This two-day inaugural camp will give Elite level goaltenders an unrivaled opportunity to hone their techniques and tactics. Only 36 talented goaltenders were awarded this chance to up their game and excel at the next level. Our Calgary eye doctors are honored to enhance these hockey players’ performance on the ice with super vision!

Like all true-blooded Canadians, a strong passion for hockey races through our veins. As the local, leading eye doctors in Calgary, we look forward to helping players raise their scores with superior eyesight. In addition to physical agility and endurance, visual skills are essential for precise aim. Skating, puck-handling, passing, and shooting accurately all depend upon acute eyesight. Our eye care specialists will jumpstart the Hockey Alberta Camp with total eye exams and vision services. We’ll provide goalies with everything they need to see the energetic action shooting around the rink.

There will be three instructors to every goaltender (3:1 ratio) at this phenomenal two-day development camp. Regional Goaltending Consultants, the Hockey Alberta Staff, and a gifted variety of guest coaches will bring their experience and specialized expertise to the on-ice and off-ice sessions. As they focus on maximizing each goaltender’s development, our Calgary eye doctors will focus on maximizing vision to ensure the best game possible.

Browz Eyecare is always devoted to providing the Calgary Flames with sharp, healthy eyes, and now we are fully in gear to be a part of Hockey Alberta Camp’s total hockey experience!

To book your eye exam, click here.

Workplace Eye Wellness: The Dangers of Blue Light

woman 20with 20laptop

When people think of workplace dangers to the eyes, it is usually machinery, chemicals or construction materials that come to mind. However, a growing danger to the eyes is one that may be less obvious – exposure to blue light from digital devices, television and computer screens and artificial lighting.

While the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emission are not yet fully known, what is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions. 60% of people spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device and 70% of adults report some symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) which include eyestrain, headaches, blurred or double vision, physical and mental fatigue, dry or watery eyes, difficulty focusing, sensitivity to light, or neck, shoulder or back pain (caused by compromised posture to adjust to vision difficulty). Most people do nothing to ease their discomfort from these symptoms because they are not aware of the cause.

In its natural form, blue light from the sun is actually beneficial to your body by helping to regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles – also known as your circadian rhythm. It can also boost your mood, alertness and overall feeling of well-being. However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light, such as that found in electronic devices, television and energy-efficient fluorescent and LED lights, has been shown to cause disruptions in the circadian rhythm as well as more serious vision problems. Researchers at Harvard University have linked blue light with damage to the retina at the back of your eyes, indicating that long-term exposure to blue light could be linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems.

Since 43% of adults work at jobs that require prolonged use of a computer, tablet or other digital monitor, blue light is an increasingly serious threat to your vision, health and productivity. There are a number of options for reducing your exposure to blue light which include computer glasses, specialized lenses and protective coatings. Speak to our eye care professionals to determine which option is best for you.

  • Single Vision Computer Glasses: Provide the optimum lens power and field of view for viewing your computer screen without straining or leaning in to reduce symptoms of CVS. These are ideal for when the computer is at a fixed working distance, and work well if the user needs to view multiple screens at the same working distance.
  • Office Lenses or Progressive Lenses: No-line multifocal eyewear that can be made to correct near, intermediate and some distance vision with a larger intermediate zone for computer vision if indicated. Perfect for those with presbyopia which is the gradual loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. Office lenses work like progressive lenses but provide a wider field of view for intermediate (1-3 m) viewing distance and near working distance (about 40 cm).
  • Blue-Blocking Lenses: Definitely recommended for this electronic age, blue-blocking lenses block blue light emitted from computer screens that is associated with glare, eye strain and possible sleep disturbances.
  • Anti-glare and filtering coatings (treatments): Eliminate reflections from the surfaces of your lens to reduce eye strain and discomfort from glare. Some coatings can also block blue light emitted from computer screens.

While all of these are good options for protecting your eyes, the 20/20/20 rule still applies – after every 20 minutes of near tasks, look at something beyond 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds…it’s a good time to stretch the rest of the body too.

Additionally, diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids found in dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are protective to blue light damage.

A note about children and blue light:

Children are more prone to blue light damage than adults because the natural lenses in their eyes are so clear that blue light passes easily through to reach the retina. Adults are somewhat less prone since the older we get our natural lenses become more cloudy and blue light does not pass through quite as easily. Pediatricians recommend that young children under the age of two should get ZERO screen time. They have much better ways of developing their eyesight with activities requiring hand eye coordination with high contrast physical objects.

Technology is advancing the world, and our jobs and daily lives will only continue to rely upon it. Don’t let technology get in the way of your vision and your health. Ask us about the best solution for you.

Why Do We Need Glasses

The most well-known part of a comprehensive eye exam is the basic vision test. When you have a general vision test, one of the main conditions the eye care practitioner is checking for is a refractive error. A refractive error means there is an abnormality in the shape of the eye, changing the eye’s ability to focus light directly onto the retina.This causes blurred vision and can usually be corrected by wearing prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and possibly, alternate treatments such as vision therapy, ortho-k, LASIK or refractive surgery such as LASIK.

 

The term, “refractive error” refers to a problem with the process of refraction that is responsible for sight. Normally, light rays that enter your eye are refracted or bent through the cornea and the lens, and ultimately converge or are focused onto a single point on the retina. From the retina, messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these signals into the image that we are seeing.

 

In order for this process to work effectively, the anatomy of the eye including the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea and the lens must be just right to be able to focus the light onto the retina. When this is not the case, a refractive error will occur.

 

There are several different types of refractive errors, depending on which part of the eye is affected, and it is possible to have multiple refractive errors at the same time:

Myopia or nearsightedness:

In myopia the length of the eyeball is too long which results in light coming to a focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. This allows the individual to see well when objects are close but not clearly when looking at objects at a distance.

 

Hyperopia or farsightedness:

Hyperopia is when the eyeball is shorter than normal and can result in near objects being blurry. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Sometimes distant objects are clear while other times people may experience overall blurred vision near and far or no problems at all. In children particularly, the lens may accommodate for the error allowing for clear vision but may cause fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes or strabismus. Hyperopia causes eyestrain or fatigue especially when looking at near objects for a period of time. Often people with 20/20 vision may still need glasses at their desk to relax their eyes and improve concentration.

 

Astigmatism:

Astigmatism is usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea (although it can sometimes also be due to a misshapen lens). The cornea, which is normally round, is more football-shaped in an eye with astigmatism, resulting in multiple focus points either in front of the retina or behind it (or both). People with astigmatism usually have blurred or distorted vision to some degree at all distances, near and far.

Presbyopia:

Presbyopia is an age-related condition which usually begins to appear sometime after 40. As the eye begins to age, the lens stiffens and can no longer focus clearly on objects that are close.

 

It’s important to note that presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, as both cause problems focusing at near distances. However, high hyperopia can also cause blur at far distances as well, especially in dim lighting, and depth perception problems can result in motor vehicle accidents. In these instances people with hyperopia could use glasses at any distance.

If you are having trouble seeing, it is important to have an eye exam to determine the cause of the problem and to effectively correct your vision. Even if your vision is fine, you should schedule a routine eye exam on a regular basis to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that any potential problems are caught early.

‘Tis the season for giving, christmas_gifts_blogand parents, grandparents, family and friends need to know which toys and games to leave off the list because they can pose a risk to children’s health and eyesight. Last year nearly 252,000 emergency visits were due to toy-related injuries, almost half of which were to the head or face. Further, about 1 in 10 children’s eye injuries treated in the emergency room can be traced back to toys, most of which occur in children under 15 years of age.

The most common types of eye injuries that occur from toys can be anything from a scratch on the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to very serious injuries that can threaten vision such as traumatic cataracts, corneal ulcers, bleeding inside the eye and retinal detachment.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by taking the proper measures to evaluate the safety of gifts before they are purchased and to supervise children during any play with toys that could have the potential to cause damage or harm.

Here are some tips on how to select safe toys for children this holiday season:

  1. Check age recommendations on all toys to make sure they are age appropriate and suitable for the child’s maturity level. If younger siblings are present, ensure that any toys made for older children are kept out of reach.
  2. When possible, check toys for a seal of approval that the product meets national safety standards from a toy safety testing organization such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Canadian Toy Testing Council.
  3. Do not purchase toys that have a projectile or sharp, protruding parts. Toys such as darts, guns, arrows or sharp propelling toys can cause serious eye injuries that can lead to permanent eye damage and even vision loss. Even high-powered water guns such as super soakers or soft foam dart guns can cause significant damage when shot at close range.
  4. Purchase safety eyewear with polycarbonate lenses to accompany sports equipment, chemistry sets or woodworking tools. Speak to your optometrist to learn more about the best option for your child’s hobby of choice.
  5. Check that toys with sticks or handles such as swords, fishing rods, pogo sticks, brooms or pony sticks have rounded edges or handles and avoid or supervise use with little children.
  6. Any toys or devices that have a laser or bright light (such as laser pointers or flashlights which are sometimes used by kids to play laser tag) can be dangerous. Bright lights such as those produced by high-powered flashlights can cause temporary vision loss that can lead to a risk of a fall or accident. Further, laser pointers are not safe for use by children as the light intensity can cause permanent vision loss if shined in someone’s eyes.

When purchasing a toy for a child that is important to you, make sure you are considering what is most important – their safety. Ask us if you have any questions about the eye safety of a toy or gift you are considering.

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.