Making Your Child’s Vision a Priority

The Canadian Association of Optometrists has declared October Children’s Vision Month. In their words, “Regardless of your age or physical health, an annual comprehensive eye exam helps detect vision issues at an early stage, improving treatment options.” That is why they recommend that a child’s first visit to the optometrist should be between six and nine months of age, the second visit at age three, the third just before he/she begins school, then annually thereafter until age 18.

Why Should my Baby Visit the Optometrist?

June is Cataract Awareness Month

The month of June is Cataract Awareness Month. Most people have heard of cataracts, but what do you really know about them? Do you know what causes them? How to prevent them? Are you aware of the warning signs? The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) says that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in adults, and that more than 2.5 million Canadians have them, so it is a very good idea to learn as much about them as possible.

What are Cataracts?

Getting to Know Your Optometrist

March 23rd is World Optometry Day, an excellent time to get to know your Optometrist. Question 1: What do you know about your Optometrist? Do you know what they do?  Question 2: When was the last time you saw yours?  Question 3…Wait! Why don’t we work on questions one and two first, and that sneaky Question 1.5 I snuck in the middle.

What is an Optometrist?

February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month

February has been dedicated to raising awareness of AMD and Low Vision in Canada. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in those over 50 and often comes on so slowly that people generally don’t notice it until their vision has been severely impaired.

What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?

The macula is a tiny piece at the back of the retina which controls your sharp central vision. This is the area affected by AMD, beginning by attacking your ability to see fine details. It may begin with having trouble reading fine print, or possibly a blur in your central vision. Eventually you will have trouble reading, driving, or doing an activity which requires the ability to see clearly. Left untreated, it will very likely cause total blindness.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

The Glaucoma Research Foundation has declared January to be Glaucoma Awareness Month. So exactly what is Glaucoma? Called the “sneak thief of sight” Glaucoma is considered one of the leading causes of blindness and comes on with virtually no early symptoms. It is the common name for a group of eye diseases that attacks the optic nerve and leads to permanent vision loss and blindness.

What are the Types of Glaucoma?

Currently, there are four known types of Glaucoma:

How Often Should You get Your Eyes Tested?

So when should you be scheduling that eye appointment? If you are an adult under 40, you should make an appointment to get your eyes tested at least every two to three years. Over 40 you should get in every one to two years, and over 65, you should see your optometrist every 12 months.

Eye Exams for Children

Children’s eyes are usually tested at birth and during visits to the pediatrician. Their first visit to the optometrist should be at six months, then at age three, and again before they begin school. Between the ages of six and 19, they should get their eyes tested annually.

Children, oh how quickly they grow!

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A child’s vision changes and grows as rapidly as they do and having proper vision is essential for both academic success and physical development.  A comprehensive eye exam at an early age may help children avoid any eye complications and visual problems from developing into their adulthood.

Make Eye Exams a New Year Resolution

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The new year has arrived and gym memberships are at a premium again.  Many will make regular scheduled appointments for a physical check up, or semi annual dental exams so why not schedule an annual eye exam?

Did you know that many diseases such as diabetes, can be first detected from an eye exam? As we begin the health kick to get into better shape we should not overlook our optometrist. 

Difference between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist

How do you choose between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist? These are two types of health care professionals for vision care.

The optometrist has a degree as Doctor of Optometry (OD). The optometrist must complete a four-year degree in the sciences at a college, plus an additional four years in a post-graduate program at an optometry school. The optometrist can examine a person’s eyes for vision. They can also examine someone for health problems and can now issue prescriptions for medication to treat eye problems and diseases.

Optometrists can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct refractive eye problems. They may also participate as part of a team if eye-surgery is required, as they can refer patients to the surgeon. Then they would follow-up with the post-operative care.

On the other hand, an ophthalmologist is a doctor of medicine (MD) and specializes in vision care and optic problems. Ophthalmologists must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, a year internship program, and at least three years of a residency in a hospital. They also examine a person’s eyes, treat vision problems and disease, and prescribe medicines. Some Ophthalmologists do refractive exams but they mostly concentrate on eye diseases and problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal issues and surgery. You must be referred to an Ophthalmologist either by your general M.D or Optometrists.

Your Optometrist can determine if your eyes are healthy, so you should have regular check ups. If a concern is found you will be referred to a specialist.

Nearsightedness in Kids

A comprehensive eye exam at an early age may help children avoid any eye complications and visual problems from developing into their adulthood.

As children get older they may complain about the difficulty they are having seeing the board in their classroom. The common treatment for near sightedness is to prescribe appropriate glasses or
contact lenses.

But over the year, this may strain the eyes even more that can cause the children to upgrade their prescription every year. Prescribing invisible bifocals may alleviate the strain.