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What is Excessive Screen Time Doing to Your Kid’s Vision?

Schools across the country are learning virtually, which means kids are spending long hours staring at a computer screen. This has prompted eye care professionals everywhere to question the impact of prolonged screen time on children’s eyes.

Long periods of screen time have been associated with lasting effects on kids’ vision and physical health. Since much of the time spent on digital devices is for learning purposes and therefore unavoidable, it’s vital to teach kids healthy habits to prevent future eye problems. Our eye doctor near you summarizes the concerns and provides advice for how parents can help mitigate the effects.

Common Symptoms Caused by Screens

  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Red eyes
  • Eye rubbing
  • General vision discomfort
  • Headaches

All of the above symptoms can make it harder for kids to learn and focus on the school work they need to get done. However, as children spend more and more time on computers, they often get used to the uncomfortable symptoms and assume they’re normal, so they won’t even complain. That’s why it’s up to parents to spot the signs and consult an optometrist near you. Neglecting to consult with an eye care provider for assistance and relief from the symptoms, may cause your child’s learning to suffer.

Vision Can Change

Hours spent learning online can also change your child’s vision prescription enough that new eyeglasses or contact lenses are required. By not visiting an eye clinic near you for an eye exam to check vision, kids may also begin to dread and avoid learning, because it’s simply too hard to see it clearly and comfortably. If your child’s grades begin to slip, it’s recommended to book an eye exam with vision testing by a qualified eye doctor.

Tips to Help Prevent Vision Problems

It’s essential to be proactive with pediatric vision and not simply to wait until problems surface. By practicing preventive eye care, you can help promote success for children in school and in life. In particular, we recommend kids who learn and play on a computer or other digital device, take regular breaks to play outdoors. Also, book routine pediatric eye exams. Yearly checkups are recommended for school-aged children; for kids under age 5, visit an optometrist near you at one, three, and five years of age.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Edmonton eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Thompson Optics eye clinic near you in Edmonton, Alberta to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 587-603-5840

Thompson Optics, your Edmonton eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • My child is struggling in school. Should I have his/her eyes examined?

    A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist can often determine if there are visual issues interfering with a child’s ability to perform in school. Many visual symptoms, some obvious, others less so, can contribute to a child’s poor academic achievement. The most common symptoms to watch out for: Blur at distance or near Skipping or re-reading lines or words Reduced reading comprehension Difficulty shifting focus from near to far or far to near Difficulty copying from the smart board Double vision Closing or covering an eye when working at near Headaches; especially in the forehead, temple, or eyebrow regions Difficulty attending to near work or an avoidance of reading Poor spelling Misaligning numbers in math Unusual head or body posture when working at near Some of these issues can be alleviated with a good pair of eyeglasses while others may require vision therapy. Vision therapy, like occupational therapy or physical therapy, is a systematic program where the body, in this case, the visual system, can be retrained and strengthened to improve its ability to function.

  • My child says it gets blurry when looking from his paper to the board at school, and getting him to read is difficult. Is there anything I can do to help?

    Your child is not alone. While we have seen some children with focusing problems for many years, there is a huge increase in accommodative(focusing) problems with children today. Dr. Moe Tarabey has helped many children make reading easier and more enjoyable. Words shouldn’t move in and out of focus or move around when you are reading. Either with spec lenses with extra power for reading or multifocal contacts, we can make reading more comfortable for many children. There is no reason to make school and reading more difficult by straining and having the eyes work harder to see.

  • My child passed the screening test at school, isn’t that enough?

    Distance and reading are two different things. Someone with perfect distance vision can still have focusing problems up close. Doctors need to check for both, many children have undiagnosed accommodative (focusing) problems because no one ever looked for it before. We always check the distance and near vision of all ages because it is so important. Other areas that need to be checked are eye muscle alignment, color vision, depth perception, and overall health of the eyes.

  • What can I do about Digital Eye Strain?

    We can help! We offer a number of different eyeglass lenses that can help people of all ages relieve Digital Eye Strain and ease fatigue after extended reading or computer use. There are also lens treatments such as anti-reflective and blue light blocking to protect our eyes and make our eyes more comfortable. We also prescribe many different types of contact lenses to make reading more enjoyable and make it easier to focus from distance to near.

How to Deal with Contact Lens Discomfort

Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:

Dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.

Allergies

Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Corneal irregularities

The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort 

  • Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
  • Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
  • Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision
  • Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light

How to Relieve Contact Lens Discomfort

Try Different Contact Lenses

Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses on the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with our optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.

With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If your existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to us about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule. 

Artificial Tears or Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem. 

Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.  

Take Good Care of Your Lenses

Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation. Below are a few important contact lens hygiene guidelines to follow:

  • Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection. 
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping). 
  • Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
  • Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
  • Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses. 
  • Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

If you are experiencing discomfort with your contact lenses, get in touch with Thompson Optics in Edmonton today. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem and provide effective solutions for all-day comfort.

Q&A

What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses are available in a wide range of materials and replacement schedules. Disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts are the most convenient for many users.

I’ve already been fitted for contact lenses, so why did my optometrist ask me to come back?

If you’re asked to return a week later, it’s because your optometrist wants to rule out any issues, such as contact lens-related dry eye or irritation.

If it’s been around a year since your last eye checkup, you’ve likely been contacted to check whether your prescription has changed and to evaluate your eye health. The sooner problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome. 

What’s the Connection Between Sleep Apnea, Concussion, and Your Vision?

Sleep Apnea 640A recent comprehensive sleep study on people with post-concussion syndrome showed that 78% were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

What came first: the concussion or sleep apnea? Determining the answer can be difficult. People who don’t get enough sleep already exhibit some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome even when they haven’t had one.

What we do know is that there is a connection between sleep apnea and concussion. Sleep apnea affects the recovery from a concussion, and at the same time, the condition may result from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Where does vision come in?

Sleep Apnea and Concussions

For those having sustained a concussion, sleep is very important for a speedy and thorough recovery. A poor night’s sleep, as in the case of sleep apnea, may lead to impaired decision-making, cognitive loss, and symptoms of depression—all of which can interrupt the recovery process.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a physical collapse or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This also reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, making it difficult for those with a concussion to recover.

A lesser known type of apnea is central sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is caused by a dysfunction in the brain that regulates breathing and sleep, which could also be affected by a TBI.

Sleep Apnea and Vision

As we all know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. There are a number of eye conditions that are exacerbated by poor sleep patterns and therefore may be associated with sleep apnea.

These include:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome
  • Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling of the optic nerve
  • Retinal conditions

Getting your eyes checked regularly is important as it allows your eye doctor to rule out any eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss. This is all the more important if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Concussions and Vision

Concussions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the visual system. Post-trauma vision syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause eye coordination problems, dizziness, and blurred vision after a concussion.

The symptoms of post-trauma vision syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Severe concussions can cause double vision and blindness, while mild concussions can affect vision and cause visual dysfunction.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that other health care providers may not be able to.

Neuro-optometry deals with how the visual system impacts daily functioning. By training the brain to control and communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like headaches and dizziness can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If you have experienced a concussion or suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

serves patients from Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Leduc, all throughout Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moe Tarabey

Q: What’s the connection between sleep apnea, concussion, and your vision?

  • A: After sustaining a concussion, you may begin to experience sleep apnea. This not only affects the healing process but your vision as well.

Q: Is there a way to treat vision problems due to a concussion?

  • A: Yes. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can retrain the brain to relieve dizziness, headaches, double vision, and other TBI-related problems.


Don’t Let Glaucoma Blindside You

senior man and woman 640At least 3 million North Americans have glaucoma, but only 50% know they have it! Glaucoma starts off asymptomatic in 95% of cases, and by the time the condition is noticed, the vision loss is irreversible.

That’s why regular eye exams are so crucial, even if you don’t suspect a problem. At , we provide patients with comprehensive eye exams, the latest treatments for eye disease, and other eye services to ensure the best possible outcome — no matter the diagnosis.

But First – What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. The longer the pressure builds, the more damage it causes, especially to the optic nerve.

Without any medical intervention, the nerve will continually deteriorate, resulting in permanent vision loss or blindness.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye examination. During your exam, your eye doctor will test your eye pressure, examine your optic nerve, and assess your visual field, among other things.

Yearly eye exams (or as often as your eye doctor recommends) are necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma. And when it comes to glaucoma, early detection is key.

Here are the different ways to test for glaucoma:

  • Air Puff Test – A puff of air is used to gently bounce off the front of your eye. The machine then calculates how much resistance your eye displayed to the air puff, revealing the amount of internal eye pressure.
  • Tonometer – After applying some numbing drops to your eyes, the eye doctor will gently touch your eye with a small device that measures the eye’s resistance and internal pressure.
  • Blue Light Test (Goldmann tonometry) – After inserting numbing drops, your eye doctor will use a device called a slit lamp biomicroscope to slowly move a flat-tipped probe until it gently touches your cornea. Although this method is considered the gold-standard for measuring eye pressure, all methods mentioned here are safe, comfortable, and accurate.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

While glaucoma cannot be prevented, several treatments can help prevent eye damage and vision loss.

Eye drops

Prescription eye drops are usually the first-line treatment for early stages of glaucoma. These drops are used to help decrease eye pressure by limiting the amount of fluid your eye produces, or by improving how fluid drains from your eye.

Oral medications

Oral medications to lower eye pressure are usually prescribed when eye drops alone are ineffective.

Surgery and other therapies

Aside from eye drops and oral meds, here are some other glaucoma treatments your eye doctor may recommend.

  • Laser therapy – Laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat open-angle glaucoma and helps the fluid easily drain from the eye.
  • Filtering surgery – this surgical procedure allows fluid to drain from the eye to decrease eye pressure.
  • Drainage tubes – a small tube shunt is placed into the eye and acts as a ‘pipe’ for excess fluid drainage.
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) – This option tends to cause fewer side effects and complications than standard glaucoma surgeries.

What’s the takeaway?

Glaucoma can be sneaky, so make sure to catch it in its tracks with a yearly eye exam. If glaucoma is detected, can provide effective treatments and glaucoma management to help preserve your vision.

To schedule your consultation, call us today.

serves patients from Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Leduc, and throughout Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moe Tarabey

 

Q: Who’s at risk of developing glaucoma?

  • A: The following are risk factors for developing glaucoma: a family history of the condition, being over the age of 60, diabetes, heart disease, previous eye injury or surgery, having thin corneas, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, and extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Q: What are the first signs of glaucoma?

  • A: The early stages often have no symptoms, but as the condition progresses, the patient may notice patchy spots in the peripheral vision or tunnel vision. The more severe type of glaucoma (acute closed angle glaucoma) may cause symptoms like severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and red eyes. Promptly seek medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.

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If You Want Perfect Vision For Summer, Start Thinking LASIK Now!

woman enjoying summerWhether you have big summer plans or prefer a more low-key vacation, having clear vision without having to wear contacts or glasses will give you the freedom to experience the world in a whole new way. If you’ve been contemplating LASIK for a while and pushing it off, perhaps the following reasons will convince you this is a great time to consider this successful option for getting rid of your glasses once and for all. Could it be the right time to visit for a consultation regarding your LASIK candidacy and start your path to life without eyeglasses?

Why Is It Best To Have LASIK Done Before Summer Vacation?

Make Your Travels Comfortable

If you wear glasses or contacts, you know the struggle involved in traveling with eyewear. You want to sleep on the plane or in the car but don’t know the best place to safely keep your glasses. Following LASIK, you’ll no longer have to worry about losing a contact lens or breaking a pair of glasses.

Hassle-Free Vision

When you wear glasses or contacts, the list of eye-related items to pack in a suitcase can be daunting. In the past, you may have packed an extra pair of glasses, prescription sunglasses, extra contact lenses, storage solution, lens cases and cleaning solutions. With clearer vision after LASIK, you’ll be able to cross these items off your packing list.

Even if your summer plans involve little more than playing some ball with your kids and lounging by a pool, not having to worry about breaking or misplacing your eyewear can make these activities more pleasant and less stressful.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors

One of the most compelling reasons to undergo LASIK before the summer is quality of life. You’ll be able to see underwater while swimming and participate in watersports without the need for prescription goggles or the fear that your glasses might break or your lenses might pop out. Then there’s the ability to simply notice every small detail of your vacation with vivid clarity.

Perfect For College Students, Too

An additional, yet important, benefit of choosing LASIK before the summer is that college students will have enough time to recover and adjust to their new vision before the new academic year begins. The surgery is generally free of complications and requires very little down-time, but blurry vision can sometimes be a short-term side effect. While this doesn’t apply to the majority of patients, giving yourself enough time to completely recover before school starts in the fall will set you up for success.

Get Your LASIK Screening By Calling

There are so many reasons to choose LASIK now, before summertime. But all those reasons boil down to an overall increased quality of life, which is what our practice offers with LASIK. If you are ready for improved, hassle-free, and effortless vision, call today.

With summer’s warm weather just around the corner, you might be planning for more time out in the fresh air.

If you’re a glasses or contact lens wearer, you know that they can be uncomfortable for doing sports, swimming, and being in windy conditions.

LASIK surgery can give you the freedom to engage in whatever outdoor activities you like without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Visit our practice to evaluate your LASIK candidacy and begin your journey to hassle-free vision.

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury?

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair 897817Perhaps you can relate to one of these scenarios:

After sustaining a mild head injury in a car accident, you now have trouble focusing any time you try to read. You can’t concentrate and feel the need to shut or cover your eyes to find some relief.

Or maybe your child fell and took a blow to the head while playing sports and has complained of headaches ever since. Traditional headache remedies just aren’t effective, and your primary care doctor assures you that no obvious brain damage has occurred and that the headaches will resolve shortly — but they persist.

For the estimated 1.5 million Americans who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year, these scenarios are typical of post-TBI struggles. Concussions and other forms of TBI can seriously impact lives by generating long-lasting symptoms. Fortunately, a neuro-optometrist can provide a crucial component to the healing process with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

If you or a loved one has suffered even a mild TBI, call to schedule a functional visual evaluation and determine if you can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

What Types of Symptoms Follow a Head Injury?

The brain controls much of what goes on in our bodies, so it’s no surprise that a TBI can produce a wide range of symptoms. Below we’ll discuss the most common symptoms and how we can help treat them.

Visual Difficulties

Approximately 90% of all TBIs result in some degree of visual dysfunction. When the eye-brain connection is disrupted, a decrease in visual ability results. Some visual difficulties that may follow a TBI include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Convergence insufficiency — the inability of the eyes to focus on a near object
  • Binocular vision disorder — eye turn or lazy eye
  • Problems with eye-tracking or eye-teaming
  • Difficulty reading or often losing your place while reading
  • Color contrast issues
  • Peripheral vision defects
  • Eye strain or tired eyes
  • Decreased visual acuity

Headaches and Migraines

In many cases, headaches, including migraines, can be caused by a visual dysfunction. Following a TBI, the ocular muscles will need to exert extra effort to compensate for trauma to the visual system. This additional effort can lead to eye strain.and cause pain in the temples and forehead similar to —and often mistaken for— a tension headache or migraine. Correcting the visual problem will, in many cases, alleviate the intensity and frequency of headaches, or eliminate them entirely.

Dizziness and Balance Problems

The eyes provide the brain with vital information regarding balance and coordination, so when the eye-brain connection is affected you may feel off-balance. This is especially true when a binocular vision disorder is present. Even the slightest misalignment of the eyes can make you feel dizzy, light-headed, or lose balance. Small degrees of misalignment can often be overlooked during routine eye exams, making it all the more important to see a neuro-optometrist in the presence of symptoms.

Concentration

Another possible after-effect of a concussion or other TBI is difficulty concentrating, especially when reading. It may be challenging to keep your place on the page or smoothly navigate along a sentence without having to stop and close your eyes momentarily for relief. Other potential challenges include problems with comprehension, memory difficulties, or trouble with multitasking.

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury? generic from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How A Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (OD) who’ve been through postgraduate training to assess and treat visual disorders related to TBI and other similar conditions. The goal of neuro-optometric rehabilitation is to retrain the eyes and brain to work in unison and regain clear and comfortable vision by using specific visual exercises. Just as with any other rehabilitation therapy, the earlier one starts the rehabilitation program following a TBI, the higher the chance of recovering lost visual skills.

provides neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy and other services to patients from Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Leduc, and throughout Alberta.

https://www.theraspecs.com/blog/long-term-effects-of-moderate-severe-traumatic-brain-injuries-tbi/

https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/traumatic-brain-injury-visual-disorders-what-every-2

http://uwmsktc.washington.edu/sites/uwmsktc/files/files/TBI_cognitive.pdf

 

3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug blog imageIt’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at , we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call to book your appointment today.

serves patients in Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Leduc, and throughout Alberta.

Is My Child Too Young for Vision Therapy?

Preschool Children Vision TherapyThe first years of a child’s life are crucial in ensuring the healthy and normal development of various body parts, especially the visual system. As a child’s body grows, so do the eyes. This can cause changes in vision. Keeping a close eye on, well, your child’s eyes, can help ensure that they are developing in a healthy way.

It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the lookout for problems with visual processing, as they can interfere with a child’s academics, social life, and extracurricular endeavors. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

Even if a child has no refractive errors (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness) and has 20/20 vision, he or she may still have difficulties with visual processing or focus. These types of visual complications are often more difficult to detect, but may still impact various aspects of a child’s development.

When a child’s visual difficulties hinder their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a personalized regimen of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why and the team at create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Most children’s vision therapy takes place in our office and usually once a week. You’ll be instructed to continue some of the exercises at home for 15-20 minutes daily, which will support the in-office treatment.

At What Age Can Children Begin Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is offered to children as young as 6 years of age. Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with .

Does Vision Therapy Really Work?

Vision therapy has been proven to improve visual skills and functions in both children and adults. It is an approved treatment by recognized organizations in the medical community, such as the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Keep in mind that it can take several months to notice significant improvement. Consistency is key. Young children, especially in the toddler years, need a steady routine to achieve the best possible results.

It’s important to note that vision therapy does not fix your child’s learning abilities or correct any refractive errors. The goal is to improve their visual function so that their skills in reading, writing, schoolwork, and social activities are strengthened for a better quality of life.

Contact and the knowledgeable staff at to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

serves patients in Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Leduc, and throughout Alberta.

 

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.