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5 Important Eye Care Tips For Kids

Your child’s ability to see the world relies on healthy eyes. By teaching them how to care for their eyes, you help protect them from injury and ensure their eyes and vision remain healthy in the long run. Here are our 5 top eye care tips for kids.

Good Eye Care Habits for Children

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Drink Plenty of Water

A nutritious diet and healthy eyes go hand in hand. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and prioritize foods rich in vitamin A found in green leafy and yellow vegetables. Eggs are also rich in important nutrients, containing vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, all vital for eye health.

Another thing to look out for is hydration. Proper hydration plays a key role in maintaining healthy eyes and a healthy body, so make sure your child drinks plenty of water (the appropriate amount will vary according to your child’s age, level of physical activity and weather conditions).

2. Wear Eye Protection

Physical activity is enjoyable and healthy, but make sure your child is wearing the right protective eyewear, like safety goggles, anytime they participate in sports or activities that could cause an eye injury (i.e. playing ball, hockey, carpentry). Wearing a helmet for sports like riding a bicycle protects against concussions, which can result in lingering vision problems, and are usually preventable.

Furthermore, provide your child with good UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. Staring directly at the sun, or the light rays reflecting off water and snow, can potentially cause retinal burns, in addition to long term damage.

3. Give The Eyes a Rest

Staring at the school board and school books all day, followed by playing video games or watching TV in the evening can cause eye strain. Be sure your child gets sufficient sleep to allow their eyes to rest. Replace evening activities with those that don’t require intense eye focusing: going to the park, playing outdoors with friends, or simply lying down with their eyes closed while listening to music or an audiobook.

4. Reduce Time Spent on Digital Devices

Spending time on digital devices and staring at screens is an integral part of our lives. Playing video games, watching videos on their smartphones and playing computer games, all require the eyes to fixate for extended periods of time, which can lead to digital eye strain, headaches and even dry eyes.

Experts believe that the number of hours spent on screens is the driving force behind the myopia pandemic. Try to reduce the amount of time your child spends on the screen by getting your child to participate in other activities, such as sports. If you are worried about the hours your child is spending on a screen myopia management can mitigate their risk of developing future eye problems.

5. Get Their Eyes Checked Regularly

School-aged children’s vision can change often, and unexpectedly, until the late teenage years. Left uncorrected, poor eyesight can interfere with learning, and cause behavioral and attention issues.

Getting a routine eye exam is important as it can uncover vision problems, detect eye conditions early on, and significantly increase the odds of preserving long-term eye health. For those who wear glasses or contacts, it’s important to check for any changes and update the prescription as needed.

Ensure your child’s eyes are being cared for properly by scheduling an eye exam with Ancaster Family Eyecare in Ancaster today. Your child’s eye doctor can further educate them on eye safety and answer any questions you or your child may have.

Q&A

My kid frequently rubs their eyes. Is that bad?

Kids often rub their eyes, especially if they have allergies, irritated eyes, or they feel like something is stuck in their peepers. Rubbing can scratch the cornea, and transfer bacteria from the child’s hands to their eyes, causing an eye infection.

Instead of rubbing, have them wash their eyes with cool water to flush out any foreign body or irritant, and ease inflammation. If the problem persists, contact your child’s optometrist.

Other than reducing screen time, is there anything else I can do to maintain eye health & safety?

When you’re at home, keep an eye on your children’s playtime and make sure that none of their toys — or the toys at their friends’ homes — are sharp. Sharp plastic swords and toys with jagged edges can cause serious eye injuries.

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 Ancaster Family Eyecare in Ancaster 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.

Should I be Concerned about Blue Light?

Blue light eye doctor in ancaster on
In today’s world, we spend the majority of our time in front of a screen at a close distance. Whether it is at work in front of a computer screen or at home during our leisure time in front of a laptop, tablet or smart phone.

As a society, we do not yet know the long term affects that this will have on our general health and the health of our eyes. What we do know is; shortwave length blue and purple light is harmful to our eyes and this is the reason we protect our eyes from the sun!

So, why not protect our eyes from the harmful effects of this blue light that we get from our devices?

Wearing sunglasses when we are indoors looking at a device is impractical, however we have other options. At our office, we have two coating which help block out bad blue light, Seecoat Blue (Nikon Lens) and Recharge (Hoya Lens). These both block out a portion of the harmful shortwave length blue and purple light. Now, we do not want to cut out blue light entirely as that would have a deleterious effect on our sleep patterns and vision. However, about a 30% reduction helps with our sleep patterns and cuts out a lot of the harmful blue light. As well, this amount of reduction will not affect our vision and the way we perceive colours.

There are other ways to help reduce the amount of exposure to harmful blue light, but this involves reducing the amount of “screen time” which is hard in a world where we all work on screens and live on our smart phones.

If you have concerns about blue light or would like more information please feel free to contact our staff and doctors at Ancaster Family Eyecare

What are Punctal Plugs and how can it help my dry eye disease symptoms?

Punctal Plugs for dry eye treatment in ancaster ontarioPunctal plugs are small biocompatible devices that are inserted into the tear duct of the eyelids to block drainage. This is kind of like putting a stopper in the sink or bathtub to prevent drainage. What occurs on the eyes (as in the bathtub or sink), is the water does not drain out as quickly so there are more natural tears and moisture on the eyes. This helps with dry eyes by helping to keep more of your natural tears on your eye, to keep it lubricated. Inserting punctal plugs is a non-invasive and quick in office procedure. The plugs we use are semi-permanent, they usually last 3-6 months (if not longer) and are easily removable if necessary.

Dry eye disease can be a debilitating condition for some and can severely affect their quality of life. Punctal plugs are not the solution for everyone with dry eyes disease, as there are multiple causes of dry eye disease, however it can be very beneficial for some patients. After doing a dry eye assessment, your doctor would be able to tell you if punctal plugs are the right choice for you. At our office, we insert punctal plugs in office on patients who are good candidates for plugs. We usually follow up with patients a few times to year to monitor how their plugs are working and to monitor their dry eye disease. Once inserted they tend to reduce reliance of artificial tear drops and help improve the patient’s quality of life.

If you are interested in punctal plugs or a dry eye assessment or would just like more information about either of these topics, please contact our Ancaster optometrist’s office our staff and doctors would be happy to help you.

 

What is the Ancaster Pachymeter?

eye exam ancaster onA Pachymeter is a medical device used to measure the thickness of the cornea. Pachymetry, the corneal thickness measurement, has a number of uses in comprehensive Optometric care.

Modern devices use ultrasound technology, while earlier models were based on optical principles. The ultrasonic Pachymeters traditionally have been devices that provide the thickness of the human cornea in the form of a number in micrometres that is displayed to the user. The newer generation of ultrasonic pachymeters work by way of Corneal Waveform (CWF).

Using this technology the user can capture an ultra high definition echogram of cornea, think of it as a corneal A-scan. Pachymetry using the corneal waveform allows the user to more accurately measure the corneal thickness, have the ability to check the reliability of the measurements that were obtained, have the ability to superimpose corneal waveform to monitor the change of patients cornea over time, and ability to measure structures within the cornea such as micro bubbles created in the cornea during femto-second laser flap cut.

Pachymetry is extremely important in determining whether laser eye surgery (PRK, LASIK or Intralase) is suitable for a patient. No matter which type of refractive laser surgery is performed, corneal tissue is removed in the re-contouring of the cornea. The higher the prescription, the more tissue removed. Naturally, there must be a limit to the amount of tissue removed. Pachymetry allows us to determine if a patient has enough tissue to safely have laser surgery.

Corneal pachymetry is an important test in the early detection of certain types of glaucoma. It also can be used in the screening of Keratoconus, a progressive corneal condition.

Our Ancaster Optometrist office prides itself on being a progressive optometry office with state of the art equipment and technology. We embrace new technology and advances in eye health, while providing the highest level of care and a pleasant environment for our patients.

Visiting Annunciation of our Lord in Hamilton Ontario

Ancaster ON eye doctor community

Dr Singh, Dr. Maharaj and Fribbit were visiting Annunciation of our Lord in Hamilton Ontario last week. They were giving a presentation to JK kids about the Eye See Eye Learn (ESEL) program! We would like to remind everyone that kids under 19 are covered for eye exams by OHIP yearly and if they are in JK they are eligible for a free pair on spectacles at a participating ESEL office! Approximately 80% of learning is through our visual system, thus it is so important for children to have their eyes examined before entering school and definitely in JK. Unfortunately, we know about 1 in 4 children have a problem with their visual system and are thus hindered in their ability to learn.

The Eye See Eye Learn (ESEL) program is a partnership between the Ontario Association of Optometrists (eye doctors), the Provincial Government, Nikon (lenses) and OGI (frames).

It is recommended that a child’s first eye examination should be an infant examination at 6 months of age and then every year thereafter until the age of 20. An exam can be done with your child whether they know their letters(alphabet) or not. We also cannot forget that an integral part of a pediatric eye examination is checking their ocular health, to ensure the child vision is good today and that it will remain so in the future.

Our office offers same day or next day appointments for all ocular emergencies for children, whether they are suffering with “pink eye” or have had an injury. This saves time spent in waiting rooms either at the ER or the walk in clinics. As well, for “pink eye” our doctors can correctly determine the cause, whether it is a viral or bacterial infection, an allergic reaction or inflammation from a systemic condition.

If you have any questions about pediatric eye care or the ESEL please feel free to contact our office.

Happy Halloween!

Alcon colored lenses ancaster ontario

 

If you are going to wear coloured contacts this Halloween as part or your costume, be sure to pick the right contacts. See your eye doctor for the right choice in coloured contacts. Some coloured contacts can be dangerous for your eyes, potentially leading to sight threatening conditions. We want you to have a great Halloween and not end up with an eye related illness because of the contacts your are wearing for your costume.

Have a happy Halloween from the team at Ancaster Family Eyecare!