Presbyopia, Bifocals, and Progressives

Presbyopia is farsightedness caused by the increasing rigidity of the lens in the eye as we age.
It affects nearly everyone older than 65, and for the 42 percent of Americans who are already nearsighted, this creates a complication. People who previously had 20/20 vision can just grab a pair of reading glasses to combat presbyopia, but nearsighted people will need to either pair reading glasses with contact lenses for their nearsightedness or else upgrade their single-prescription glasses to bifocals, trifocals, or progressives.

The Pros and Cons of Bifocals
Bifocals are fairly self-explanatory. One area corrects for nearsightedness and the other area corrects for presbyopia or farsightedness. As presbyopia worsens, it may become necessary to have a middle range for things like reading a computer screen, which is where trifocals come in. They are a simple, effective solution, but not without their flaws.
The hard-line between the prescription sections can be very jarring and create an image jump effect in the wearer’s field of vision. And just as having braces carries a connotation of immaturity because most orthodontic patients are teens, bifocals and trifocals have a connotation of advancing age that many would rather avoid.

Progressive Lenses: The Modern Solution for Presbyopia
Anyone who feels that the drawbacks of bifocals outweigh the benefits might do better with progressive lenses. Where bifocals and trifocals are multiple lenses put together like puzzle pieces, a progressive lens is a single lens in which the prescription gradually changes from distance vision at the top to near vision at the bottom, with a middle section if needed in between. Depending on how they tilt their heads, the wearers are able to see clearly at all distances.
The Adjustment Period with Progressive Lenses
With every new lens, prescription comes an adjustment period, particularly for your first pair of progressive lenses. Here are a few quick tips to adjust quickly:

  • Practice looking at objects at different distances by reading a book and watching TV at the same time.
  • Practice moving your head instead of your eyes to see things at different distances.
  • Make sure the glasses fit properly so that the corridor of power in the middle of the lens stays where it needs to be.
  • Keep wearing your new progressive lenses instead of switching back and forth to your old glasses. Doing that resets the clock on getting used to your new glasses and makes it take longer to get used to them!

Have Questions or Need an Adjustment?
If you’d like to learn more about progressive lenses or if you’re having trouble with yours, give us a call! We want to make sure all our patients are happy with their glasses and able to see comfortably and clearly.
We love our patients!

Blue light and Our eyes

What is your routine as you get ready for bed?
Most of our nightly routines include items like brushing teeth, taking out contact lenses, and washing our faces, but how many of us also make sure to check our smartphones for any last updates before we go to sleep? This probably isn’t the best way to end the day, because the blue
light in our screens has significant effects on our eyes and our internal clocks.

The Visible Light Spectrum
The colors we see make up a tiny section of the electromagnetic spectrum, with infrared rays just below what we can see and ultraviolet rays just above it in frequency. Blue light, the highest-energy light in the visible spectrum scatters more easily than the other colors, which
is why the sky and ocean look blue to us.

Artificial and Natural Blue Light
Before electricity, basically, the only source of blue light we had was the sun. We are programmed to respond to natural blue light. In daylight, we feel more attentive, our memory works better, we have more energy, we react faster, and we generally feel better. Blue light is the signal to our brains that it’s time to be awake. The absence of it signals that it’s time for sleep.
The trouble is that thanks to all the computer and smartphone screens in our lives, blue light no longer only comes from the sun. When we pull out our phones right before bed, our brains get the signal from the artificial blue light that we’re supposed to stay awake, so they don’t start releasing melatonin. This makes it harder to sleep and lowers the quality of the sleep we do manage to get, contributing to a wide range of potential negative health effects.
To keep blue light from messing up our sleep cycles, we can simply avoid looking at our screens in an hour or two before bed. That isn’t always possible, though, so it might be worth it to try the night mode on your phone or look for an app that reduces blue light at night.

How Blue Light Affects Our Eyes
Blue light is right next to UV radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum, so many people are concerned that it might be harmful to our eyes in similar ways. The good news is that our screens don’t emit nearly as much blue light as the sun, and even though it’s close to the frequency of UV radiation, it isn’t UV radiation.
While you might experience digital eye strain after too much screentime, there is no evidence to suggest that it will cause permanent damage to your eyesight. If eye strain is a problem for you, computer glasses or a screen filter could help, but so does following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away from the computer for 20 seconds.
Bring Us Your Blue Light Questions
If you have concerns about the effects of blue light, just schedule an eye appointment with us. We can make sure that your eyes are healthy and answer any questions you have about digital eye strain or other problems.
Our patients’ healthy vision is our top priority!

Are you keeping your eyes safe at work?

It’s time for a look at the steps we can all take to protect our eyes while we work.
Depending on what type of job you have, your eyes will face different risks of health issues or injury, so we want to approach this in two broad categories: office jobs and jobs that involve physical labor.

Eye Health in the Office
Eye health might not be something you think about too much if you have an office job. You might not be working with dangerous machinery or chemicals, but there is still a significant chance for someone who works at a computer for most of the day to develop digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome.
When we spend hours at a time staring at a computer screen, it doesn’t cause permanent damage, but it can leave your eyes tired and irritated. Common symptoms include neck pain, headaches, back strain, dry eye, and inattentiveness. It can also have a negative impact on productivity!
There are several things we can do to minimize or eliminate the effects of digital eye strain, such as repositioning the computer screen, making a conscious effort to blink more often, drinking more water, using an anti-glare screen or computer glasses, and following the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away). We can also fight digital eye strain by scheduling regular eye exams!

Eye Safety and Physical Labor
Not all jobs are in an office. Jobs like carpentry, construction, manufacturing, auto repair, electrical work, maintenance, welding, plumbing, mining, and even working in a lab pose a significant risk of eye injury. Every day, at least two thousand workers in these fields are treated for eye injuries.
That’s a pretty big number, but 90% of eye injuries are preventable when we use the right safety equipment. If you work in one of these fields and are vulnerable to eye injuries, make sure you’re wearing your goggles, safety glasses, face shield, welding helmet, or full-face respirator. Your eyes will thank you!
Have Questions About Workplace Eye Safety? Just Ask!

Whether you’ve been experiencing symptoms of eye strain or are concerned about the eye protection you’ve been using at your worksite, we’re here to answer all of your questions about eye safety. Give us a call or stop by, and schedule an appointment if it’s been a long time since your last one!
Show your eyes the love they deserve!

Why Eye Exam?

Whether you wear corrective lenses or not, regular eye exams are critical for maintaining good eye health!
Here are a few of the biggest reasons to make sure an eye exam makes it into our schedules at least every year.

Look Sharp with Up-To-Date Prescriptions
Is the text on that billboard getting harder to read? Have you found yourself squinting more and more? You’re probably overdue for a new glasses or contact lens prescription, so what are you waiting for? Schedule your next eye exam and rediscover the sharp detail you’ve been missing in your daily life.
Prevention Is the Best Treatment
A lot of the chronic, sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can take a long time to show symptoms. Without regular eye exams, there’s no way to catch them early on, and yet early diagnosis is the best way to slow their progress and keep vision loss to a minimum.

Eye Strain Is a Drain on Productivity
In this technological era, many of us have jobs sitting in front of a computer screen for most of the day. This, as well as additional hours looking at our smartphones, can lead to a lot of digital eye strain. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like blurred visions, dry eyes, and frequent headaches, eye strain could be the culprit. At an eye exam, we can discuss ways to minimize the effects of screen time and make a plan for avoiding that strain.
Vision Health Is Connected to Overall Health
Eye exams aren’t just important for the sake of checking that your eyes are healthy and working the way they should, they’re also a great way to get a look at how you’re doing in terms of overall health. The eye doctor may be the first one to spot early symptoms of chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer — all from a standard eye exam!

Basic Vision Screenings Aren’t Enough
For parents, it can be easy to assume that the simple school screening has your child’s vision care covered with those yearly screenings using the big E chart. However, that chart only tests visual acuity, but there are several other things it’s important to check for because an undiagnosed vision problem can have a serious impact on a child’s learning. Only a comprehensive vision exam with an actual ophthalmologist can test for all vision problems, including squint, not just whether or not they need glasses.
Save Your Vision!
Let us make an effort to increase public awareness of basic eye health practices we can all live by, especially keeping up with our regular eye exams. If it’s been a while since we last saw you, just give us a call to schedule your appointment!

The importance of blinking

Do you know how many times you blink in a minute?
Probably not off the top of your head, but it’s an important number because blinking is essential to good eye health. On average, adults blink between 10 and 20 times every minute. Each blink only takes a tenth of a second, but it’s a very important tenth of a second.

Blinking Cleans and Replenishes Our Eyes
Every blink spreads a thin layer of tears across the cornea of the eye. Not only does this keep the eye from drying out, but it also brushes away any tiny particles of dust or dirt that can irritate the eyes and interfere with vision. Excess tears and contaminants drain out through the tear ducts into the nasal passages (the reason we get runny noses when we cry!).
Intense Focus Can Reduce Blinking Frequency
When we’re focusing hard on a task or something interesting like a book, game, or show, we tend to blink a lot less. In fact, under these conditions, we may blink as little as three to eight times per minute — nearly 60% less frequently than the normal, healthy rate! Over time, that can add up to
problems like eye strain and dry eye.

The Value of Blinking Exercises
We usually aren’t very conscious of when we blink, but making an effort to blink more often during those activities that require high focus can do a lot of good for our eyes. Try to make a habit of closing your eyes when thinking or doing something that doesn’t require vision.
You could set yourself reminders to do blinking exercises each hour during periods of high focus. A great exercise to keep your eyes feeling fresh is simply to close them, pause, squeeze a bit, then open again and relax.
All in the Blink of an Eye
Many different mechanisms work together in our eyes to make blinking what it is. We produce different types of tears, and we have tiny oil glands working around the clock to replenish the protective tear film throughout the day. Isn’t it amazing what can happen in the space of a single
eye blink? If you’re struggling with symptoms of dry eye or eye strain and blinking exercises don’t seem to be helping enough, we encourage you to call or stop by ACE | Advanced Centre for
Eyecare and Retina.

How Germs Can Travel to Our Eyes

Most of us rub our eyes many times in the course of the day without really
thinking about it.
Whether we’re tired, our eyes feel dry or itchy, or there’s something stuck in one of them, it seems like the easiest way to make it feel better is to rub them a little. Unfortunately, doing that is a great way to spread germs from our fingers to our eyes.

The Germs on Our Skin and Hands
Many types of microorganisms live on our skin all the time, including on our faces and hands. This microscopic ecosystem is known as “skin flora,” and it can contain around a thousand species of bacteria, as well as viruses and other germs. Some are beneficial, while others could lead to disease or infection, especially if they get into our eyes.
The Eye’s Natural Defenses
Eyes are more vulnerable than skin to disease and infection-causing germs, but they aren’t defenseless. The eyelashes help to keep irritants out, as does the simple action of blinking. Next, the tear film is a three-layer drainage system to protect the cornea from germs and debris that actually reach the eye’s surface. However, when we rub our eyes, we may accidentally cause tiny injuries to the cornea, giving germs an opening to get inside and cause an infection.

Protecting Our Eyes from Germs
Sometimes, touching our eyes is unavoidable. People who wear contact lenses obviously have to touch their eyes every time they insert and remove them. On the whole, it’s best to keep in contact with a minimum, but at the very least, we should be thoroughly washing our hands with soap prior to touching our eyes.
It’s especially important to keep fingernails trimmed to prevent the transfer of germs to our eyes. All kinds of germs and debris collect under them from everything else we touch throughout the day, and it is almost impossible to clean them well enough when they’re long. In fact, germs collecting under fingernails is the main reason medical professionals wear gloves when interacting with patients! This goes for fake nails just as much as natural ones.
Worried About an Eye Infection? Let Us Know!
If you’re experiencing any symptoms like redness, itchiness, tenderness, burning, or a lot of eye-watering, they could be signs of an eye infection. Please give us a call so we can discuss the next steps to ensure that your eyes are healthy, and try to touch them as little as possible in the meantime.

Let’s all remember not to rub our eyes!