Nowlan & Moore Optometric https://drrossmoore.ca Quality Eye Care in Winnipeg & Winkler Manitoba Tue, 07 May 2019 16:48:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Living with Photophobia https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/05/07/living-with-photophobia/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=living-with-photophobia https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/05/07/living-with-photophobia/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=living-with-photophobia#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 13:30:16 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1072 In spite of its name, Photophobia is not actually a fear of light. If you have it, your eyes are extremely sensitive to light. In fact, any form of light can cause extreme discomfort and pain. In most cases, only bright light will cause symptoms, but in some cases, any light can bring on aContinue Reading

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In spite of its name, Photophobia is not actually a fear of light. If you have it, your eyes are extremely sensitive to light. In fact, any form of light can cause extreme discomfort and pain. In most cases, only bright light will cause symptoms, but in some cases, any light can bring on a reaction.

What Causes Photophobia?

Photophobia is often caused by the onset of another condition, such as a migraine. Approximately 80% of migraine sufferers also have photophobia; some only during the onset of the attack, some even when they aren’t experiencing a migraine. Some eye conditions which could cause photophobia are, Corneal Abrasion, Scleritis, Conjunctivitis, Uveitis, Keratitis, Iritis, Cataracts, Blepharospasm, and Dry Eye Syndrome. Other conditions that may cause photophobia include, Meningitis, Encephalitis, brain injury, or tumors in the pituitary gland. Photophobia may also be brought on by eye surgery, including laser surgery.

How Can I Prevent Photophobia?

Although there is no guaranteed way of preventing photophobia, there are some ways of reducing the risk. Maintaining good hygiene and healthy habits to avoid disease and infection, including eye infection, is a great way to look after your all around health. Remember to wash your hands regularly, and to avoid touching your eyes as much as possible. Try to avoid being around people with conditions such as meningitis, conjunctivitis, etc. Be sure to get vaccinated against diseases such as encephalitis. Wear a helmet and other safety gear to help prevent head injuries when on the job or engaging in sporting activities. If you are prone to migraines, do your best to avoid potential triggers. These types of preventative measures not only help to avoid getting photophobia, they are also a great part of a healthy lifestyle.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have Photophobia?

How to respond to potential photophobia would depend upon the severity. In some cases a good, dark pair of sunglasses may solve the problem. Avoid going out in bright sunshine whenever possible, and when you can’t avoid going out, make sure to add a broad brimmed hat to further block the light. Stay indoors when possible, and consider using dimmers on your interior lighting. Taking time out of your day to relax in a darkened room with the lights out can also decrease discomfort. If problems are severe, make appointments with both your family doctor and your optometrist. Medical professionals who know you and your history can help by getting to the root of the problem, whether through eye drops or ointments, antibiotics to deal with potential infection, or through anti-inflammatory medications. In any case, always consult your optometrist when there is any sign of a problem with your vision. Never take chances with your eyes.

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The Facts About Alcohol and Your Vision https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/04/09/facts-about-alcohol-and-your-vision/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=facts-about-alcohol-and-your-vision Tue, 09 Apr 2019 13:30:00 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1070 I’m sure that everyone has heard about the dangers of alcohol abuse at one time or another; increased risk of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, cancer, depression, the list goes on and on. Add to that the dangers of addiction, the risks of drinking and driving, or the effect excessive drinking can have on familyContinue Reading

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I’m sure that everyone has heard about the dangers of alcohol abuse at one time or another; increased risk of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, cancer, depression, the list goes on and on. Add to that the dangers of addiction, the risks of drinking and driving, or the effect excessive drinking can have on family relationships, friendships and job performance. They all paint a pretty bleak picture, yet some people just don’t get the message. So let’s add another effect that most people may not think of. Are you aware that excessive alcohol use can damage your eyes?

How does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Vision?

To start with, it is important to mention that there is no record of any negative effects caused by having an occasional drink or two of an alcoholic beverage. And even though a one time binge of a large amount of alcohol may cause temporarily blurred and distorted vision, these effects will dissipate once the alcohol is out of your system. As long as you don’t do anything extremely foolish while you are intoxicated, such as attempting to drive a motor vehicle, a full recovery can be expected, in spite of the red, bloody looking eyes and severe headache you will likely experience the next morning. No, lasting negative effects usually come from long-term exposure to excessive amounts of alcohol. But for those who fall into this category, the effects may include light sensitivity, headaches and/or migraines, permanently red or bloodshot eyes, constant blinking or twitching eyelids, regular blurred or double vision, and more.

What Long-Term Effects Can Drinking Have on My Vision?

Over a period of time, excessive drinking begins to weaken the eye’s muscles, causing involuntary Rapid Eye Movement (REM), blinking or eyelid twitching usually associated with sleeping and dreams, except that this will occur while the person is awake and attempting to function. Other effects of weakened eye muscles include blurred or double vision, slow pupil reaction, making it difficult to adjust to different lighting, and decreased peripheral vision. Excessive alcohol use can also bring on early onset Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). From there it is a slippery slope.

How is Alcohol Connected to Optic Neuropathy?

Optic Neuropathy, also known as Tobacco-Alcohol Amblyopia or Toxic Amblyopia, is a serious condition which can decrease peripheral vision, colour vision, and may lead to complete vision loss. The condition is painless and is directly linked to the toxic effects of excessive drinking and/or smoking.

What Can I Do To Avoid Alcohol Related Vision Problems?

The best thing you can do for, not only your eye, but your whole body, is to limit your alcohol consumption. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up entirely, just be cautious about how much you drink. Don’t feel that you have to keep up with your buddies when you are drinking, take a break and have a glass of water, juice or coffee. Think seriously about how often you drink. When was the last time you went a day without drinking? Is your tolerance increasing; does it take more to get a “buzz”? These are warning signs. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to talk to both your family doctor and your optometrist. Don’t take chances with your health or your vision.

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What Does it Mean to be Visually Impaired? https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/03/12/what-does-mean-visually-impaired/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=what-does-mean-visually-impaired Tue, 12 Mar 2019 13:22:08 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1068 Visual Impairment is defined as having a vision problem that cannot be corrected to bring it to a level that we would consider “normal.” The most extreme case of visual impairment, of course, is blindness. When one’s eyes aren’t that severe, but are still impaired, it is referred to as Low Vision. Approximately 1.3 billionContinue Reading

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Visual Impairment is defined as having a vision problem that cannot be corrected to bring it to a level that we would consider “normal.” The most extreme case of visual impairment, of course, is blindness. When one’s eyes aren’t that severe, but are still impaired, it is referred to as Low Vision. Approximately 1.3 billion people world-wide are living with some form of visual impairment. In Canada, approximately six percent of adults are visually impaired. But what do we know about visual impairment?

What does it mean to be Legally Blind?

Legally blind does not necessarily mean total sightlessness. It means that your level of visual impairment has reached the point where you cannot safely drive a car or operate machinery, even with the use of corrective lenses. In Canada, that means having a visual acuity, using the eye chart designed by Dr. Herman Snellen, of 20/200 in your better eye, even when using corrective lenses. A second way of recognizing legal blindness is to test your field of vision. If your field of vision is 20 degrees or less in your better eye, even using corrective lenses, it would give you ‘tunnel vision,” which would also make you legally blind.

What is the difference between Legal Blindness and Low Vision?

Low vision is recognized as having uncorrectable blurred vision, blind spots or tunnel vision that has not yet reached the point where it is considered legal blindness. Even though it is not yet considered legal blindness, it may feel that way to those who have it, and it may, eventually lead to legal blindness. Low vision is often brought on simply by the process of aging, but it can be caused by a side effect of eye surgery, or by Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Quite simply, low vision is an uncorrectable visual impairment.

What can cause Visual Impairment?

As already mentioned, visual impairment can be caused by AMD, by eye surgery, or by the aging process. Other causes include excessive exposure to Ultra Violet (UV) Radiation, untreated Cataracts and Glaucoma, and Diabetic Retinopathy. In children, visual impairment can be caused by untreated Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) or eye infections such as Pink Eye. The simple fact is, not all visual impairment can be prevented, but some can, and others can be delayed by proper care.

What Can I Do to Prevent Visual Impairment?

The best thing you can do for your vision is to take care of it. Wear sunglasses when out in the sunlight, especially in the winter, when glare from the snow can damage your eyes. Wear eye protection when working or playing sports. Most importantly, make regular appointments with your optometrist, and if you have any reason to suspect a problem with your vision, don’t hesitate to book an appointment immediately. Don’t take chances with your vision. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.

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Winter Sunglasses, Not Just for Snowbirds https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/02/12/winter-sunglasses-just-for-snowbirds/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=winter-sunglasses-just-for-snowbirds Tue, 12 Feb 2019 14:25:26 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1065 Buying sunglasses in February? That means that you are heading south for a winter vacation, right? Not necessarily. In fact, you may have a better reason for wearing sunglasses if you are staying here. Are you aware that the sun’s rays can affect you more in the winter than in the summer? Are you alsoContinue Reading

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Buying sunglasses in February? That means that you are heading south for a winter vacation, right? Not necessarily. In fact, you may have a better reason for wearing sunglasses if you are staying here. Are you aware that the sun’s rays can affect you more in the winter than in the summer? Are you also aware that your eyes may be in danger, even on cloudy days? It may be a good time to update you on winter eye safety.

The Dangers of Ultra Violet Radiation

Everyone knows that sunlight is good for you, when taken in moderation. The sun’s rays provide our bodies with much needed Vitamin D, as well as warming our skin and improving our mood. However, too much exposure to sun can give us a nasty sunburn. Ultra Violet (UV) rays are the part of the sun’s light that both warms and eventually burns our skin. An unfortunate fact is that those same UV rays can also have a negative effect on our vision. There are a number of eye conditions that can be either caused or exacerbated by prolonged exposure to UV radiation, including, Dry Eye Syndrome, Cortical Cataracts, Presbyopia, Uveal Melanoma, and Macular Degeneration, to name a few. In winter, the risk is even greater.

What is Snow Blindness?

Photokeratitis, or Snow Blindness is, in essence, a sunburn on the eyeball. It is caused by the sun’s UV radiation being magnified when it hits the surface of the snow, then reflected back into your eyes. Snow can increase the amount of UV radiation that reaches your eyes by 80 to 85%. This magnified radiation can damage your eyes as quickly as direct exposure to the sun, although, much like a sunburn, you may not notice until the damage is done. Symptoms include painful, blurry, swollen, watery eyes. Extensive exposure can lead to vision loss and possibly even blindness.

How Do I Prevent Snow Blindness?

The best way to protect your eyes from damage caused by UV radiation is to get yourself a good pair of sunglasses. If you are into winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling, be sure to get a good pair of wraparound goggles with UV protection. Not all sunglasses or goggles are created equal, so make sure that you get ones that block 100% UV rays. Lens darkness or colour is less important than UV protection, and be aware that that UV radiation can reach your eyes, even on cloudy days.

What Else Can I do to Protect My Vision?

If you are concerned that your eyes may have received excessive exposure to UV radiation, if you aren’t sure about the quality of your sunglasses, or for any other vision concerns, always make sure to ask your optometrist. Your optometrist will be happy to answer any questions you have, and advise you on the best way to protect and preserve your eyesight. Don’t take chances with your vision.

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Understanding Glaucoma https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2019/01/08/understanding-glaucoma/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=understanding-glaucoma Tue, 08 Jan 2019 14:41:42 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1061 According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Called the “Silent Thief of Sight”, glaucoma is actually the name given to a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, eventually leading to vision loss and even blindness. Since January is GlaucomaContinue Reading

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According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Called the “Silent Thief of Sight”, glaucoma is actually the name given to a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, eventually leading to vision loss and even blindness. Since January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, this would be an ideal time to study the causes and prevention of this condition.

What Do We Know About Glaucoma?

As of yet, we still don’t know the precise cause of glaucoma. For the most part, glaucoma is associated with high fluid pressure in the eye, but there are some exceptions to that rule.

There are four known types of glaucoma: Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, is the most common type and is caused when either the aqueous fluid produced by the eye is over produced, or if it does not drain properly. This gradual build-up of fluid puts pressure on the optic nerve. It often happens so gradually that a person may not notice any symptoms until vision is impaired. The second type is Angle-Closure Glaucoma, which is caused when fluid drainage between the iris and cornea is blocked, creating pressure on the optic nerve. This blockage can happen gradually, as a person ages, or may come on suddenly and potentially cause vision loss within 24 hours. Another form of glaucoma is known as Secondary Glaucoma, and is usually brought on by an infection or injury that causes a build-up of pressure. The final type is Normal-Tension Glaucoma, which develops even though eye pressure remains normal. Although the actual cause is unknown, it is believed that it may be the result of an overly sensitive optic nerve, or potentially by a reduction in blood supply to the optic nerve.

Who is at Risk for Developing Glaucoma?

People at risk of developing glaucoma include anyone over 40 years old, those of African-Canadian, Inuit, Russian, Scandinavian, Irish, Hispanic or Japanese descent, and those who have a family history of glaucoma. You are also at risk if you already have an eye condition, and in particular Myopia (Nearsightedness) or Hyperopia (Farsightedness). People who have an eye injury or trauma can develop glaucoma. There is also a connection between glaucoma and diabetes and/or high blood pressure. Those using corticosteroids for prolonged periods may also be at risk.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself From Developing Glaucoma?

The best defense against glaucoma is to take care of your health. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will go a long way to prevent health issues related to glaucoma such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Use proper eye protection when at work and play to prevent injury. But, since so little is known about the cause of glaucoma, and since it often occurs with little or no symptoms, your best protection is early detection. Remember to see your optometrist regularly and don’t take chances with your vision.

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Santa Glasses! https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2018/12/14/santa-glasses/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=santa-glasses Fri, 14 Dec 2018 20:47:20 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1056 A patient recently sent us a photo — he was thrilled that we were able to find him some round “santa glasses” to finish off his costume for his role at a church Christmas Party! We were also thrilled to help put the finishing touch on this special Santa. If you need special frames toContinue Reading

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A patient recently sent us a photo — he was thrilled that we were able to find him some round “santa glasses” to finish off his costume for his role at a church Christmas Party!

We were also thrilled to help put the finishing touch on this special Santa. If you need special frames to help you look more like Santa Claus (or John Lennon), let us know!

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Keeping an Eye on High Blood Pressure https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2018/12/13/keeping-eye-high-blood-pressure/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=keeping-eye-high-blood-pressure Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:18:13 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1036 Since World Diabetes Day was on November 14th, now may be a good time to discuss a condition that often goes hand in hand with Diabetes, and that is Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure. I’m sure that everyone has heard the warnings about high blood pressure increasing the risk of stroke, heart failure and kidneyContinue Reading

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Since World Diabetes Day was on November 14th, now may be a good time to discuss a condition that often goes hand in hand with Diabetes, and that is Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure. I’m sure that everyone has heard the warnings about high blood pressure increasing the risk of stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. But are you aware that high blood pressure can damage your eyes as well?

Hypertension and Vision Loss

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, causes damage that restricts the flow of blood through the blood vessels. Your eye is literally filled with tiny blood vessels that help to collect data which is then transformed into images, giving you vision. Damage to those blood vessels can increase the risk of glaucoma and macular degeneration. Hypertension is also directly linked to the development of Choroidopathy, Optic Neuropathy and Hypertensive Retinopathy. In fact, your eyes may give you an early warning of high blood pressure. If your vision is blurry, or if you see “floaters” spots, dots or squiggles that appear at the edge of your vision, you may be receiving warning signs of elevated blood pressure.

What is Hypertensive Retinopathy?

Hypertensive Retinopathy affects your eye much the same way as Diabetic Retinopathy does, by swelling the blood vessels around the retina. Whereas diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar levels, hypertensive retinopathy is caused by increased pressure on the vessels, often due to the narrowing of the arteries. The end result is the same, swelling of the eye, reduced vision, bleeding in the back of the eye, and eventually, vision loss.

What are Hypertensive Choroidopathy and Optic Neuropathy?

Choroidopathy is caused by a buildup of fluid under the retina, often due to leaking blood vessels. The first symptom is distorted vision, but it can lead to scarring and permanent eye damage, potentially even retinal detachment.  Optic neuropathy is brought on by a blocked flow which damages the optic nerve, potentially causing bleeding in your eye, damaged or destroyed nerve cells and temporary or permanent vision loss.

How Do I Protect Myself from Hypertension Related Vision Damage?

The best way to protect yourself from vision loss related to high blood pressure is to do your utmost to take care of your health. This can be done through having a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive alcohol use, and by not smoking. Also, make sure to see your family doctor and your optometrist regularly. Take special care if you have a family history of hypertension. If you notice anything like blurred vision or begin seeing spots in front of your eyes, or if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your eyesight, see your optometrist immediately. Don’t take chances with your eyes, or your health.

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The Connection Between Vision and Diabetes https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2018/11/13/connection-between-vision-and-diabetes/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=connection-between-vision-and-diabetes Tue, 13 Nov 2018 15:07:07 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1032 November 14th is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to global recognition of diabetes and how it affects everyone. It is a safe bet that virtually everyone in Canada has heard of, and likely knows someone who is living with diabetes. Currently, there are nearly 11 million people living with either diabetes or prediabetes, aContinue Reading

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November 14th is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to global recognition of diabetes and how it affects everyone. It is a safe bet that virtually everyone in Canada has heard of, and likely knows someone who is living with diabetes. Currently, there are nearly 11 million people living with either diabetes or prediabetes, a disease that causes the body to either fail to produce insulin, or makes it incapable of using it. Since insulin helps the body control blood sugar, people with diabetes suffer from high blood sugar levels. You may be aware that high blood sugar can damage your body’s organs, but were you aware that your eyes were included in the potential damage?

What Can Diabetes Do to my Vision?

High blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can affect the blood vessels of your eyes, leading to a number of vision problems. Some vision problems that can be triggered by diabetes include blurred vision, glaucoma and cataracts. Others that are specific to diabetes are Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Cataracts and Glaucoma?

There is a belief among researchers that the high glucose levels caused by diabetes trigger cataracts by creating cloudy deposits to build on the lens of the eye. What they know for sure is that people with diabetes are 2-5 times more likely to have cataracts and that they often develop at a younger age than someone who does not have diabetes. Glaucoma, a group of diseases affecting the optic nerve, is twice as prevalent in those with diabetes. Without early treatment glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

The retina of your eye is the lining at the back of your eye which turns the light entering your eye into messages that are sent to your brain. Your brain takes these messages and transforms them into pictures of the world around you. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the blood vessels of the retina. The blood vessels bulge, swell, distort and leak. Eventually, the blood vessels will close off, causing new blood vessels to grow to replace them. These new blood vessels are usually weaker and may bleed into your eye. Left untreated, it can cause a dangerous amount of pressure in your eye and lead to vision loss.

What is Diabetic Macular Edema?

The macula is the part of your retina used to recognize faces, to read, or for driving. Diabetic macular edema causes a buildup of fluid, leading to the swelling of the macula. This leads to loss of sharp vision, partial vision loss and potentially even blindness. Fifty percent of people with diabetic retinopathy will develop DME.

How Can I Avoid Diabetes Related Eye Disease?

The best way to avoid diabetic eye disease is to avoid getting diabetes. Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, generally take good care of your body, so it will take care of you. But, what if, in spite of everything you did to avoid it, you get diabetes anyway? In that case, the best thing you can do is to make sure your optometrist is aware of your health condition, visit regularly, and follow your optometrist’s advice. Never take chances with your vision.

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Winterizing Your Eyes https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2018/11/06/winterizing-your-eyes/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=winterizing-your-eyes Tue, 06 Nov 2018 14:12:06 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1034 Over the last few weeks we have witnessed the leaves on the trees turning colour and falling, the geese gathering together and bailing out for warmer climates, an extreme drop in temperature and even the first signs of, dare I say it, snow. There is no denying it, winter is upon us once again. TimeContinue Reading

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Over the last few weeks we have witnessed the leaves on the trees turning colour and falling, the geese gathering together and bailing out for warmer climates, an extreme drop in temperature and even the first signs of, dare I say it, snow. There is no denying it, winter is upon us once again. Time to get out the heavy coats and boots, put your winter tires on your car, and prepare for another Manitoba winter. But have you thought about including your eyes in your winter preparations? Are you aware that winter can be a dangerous season for your eyes?

What is Photokeratitis?

Photokeratitis is a very painful eye disorder brought on by exposure to the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation produced by the sun. One form of photokeratitis, known as snow blindness, is caused by UV rays reflecting off the snow into your eyes. The snow both reflects and magnifies the UV rays, creating an effect similar to staring directly into the sun. The result is, in effect, a sunburn on your cornea, causing painful burning, swelling, watery eyes. Much like a regular sunburn, you usually won’t notice it until the damage is already done.

How Dangerous is Snow Blindness?

Snow blindness can cause a number of very uncomfortable symptoms in your eyes including pain, swelling, blurriness, redness, tearing and light sensitivity, to name a few. It may also cause you to experience headaches, see halos, and occasionally even temporary vision loss. In many cases these symptoms are only temporary and can be relieved by getting out of the sun, placing a cold washcloth on your closed eyes and letting time heal the damage. However, there is the potential of doing permanent damage to the retina, so it would be in your best interest to avoid taking the chance altogether.

Is Snow Blindness the Only Danger from the Winter Sun?

Although snow blindness is a serious concern, it is not the only danger your eyes face in the winter. The combination of cold, dry air and reflected UV rays also puts you in danger of developing dry eye syndrome. It may also contribute to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. This does not mean that you should hide in a darkened room all winter, just take proper precautions.

How Do I Protect Myself from the Sun’s UV Rays?

Sun protection in winter isn’t much different from sun protection in summer. Get yourself a good pair of sunglasses, ones that block 99-100% of UV light. Remember that UV rays can hurt your eyes even on cloudy days and act accordingly. If you enjoy winter sports, be sure to wear UV blocking wraparound sports goggles. And for extra protection, you may want to use natural tears eye drops to help prevent dry eyes. But the best protection is blocking as much UV radiation from reaching your eyes as possible. If you have any reason to believe your eyes have been damaged by UV rays, see your optometrist immediately. Don’t take chances with your vision.

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Having a Vision Wise Halloween https://drrossmoore.ca/articles/2018/10/23/having-vision-wise-halloween/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=having-vision-wise-halloween Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:15:28 +0000 https://drrossmoore.ca/?p=1028 Halloween may be the most stress free, fun holiday we have. In spite of its origins, steeped in pagan harvest festivals and honouring the dead, Halloween has turned into a fun night involving children dressing up in costumes, varying from scary to funny, and going door to door begging for candy. Adults even get inContinue Reading

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Halloween may be the most stress free, fun holiday we have. In spite of its origins, steeped in pagan harvest festivals and honouring the dead, Halloween has turned into a fun night involving children dressing up in costumes, varying from scary to funny, and going door to door begging for candy. Adults even get in on the fun by going out to parties and dances that often involve a contest for the best, scariest and most original costume. But it isn’t always just fun and games. Halloween comes with its own dangers. Some people have been known to put unhealthy substances in the candy they hand out, so parents have to be sure to go through the candy their kids bring home, throwing out anything that looks suspicious. On October 31st it gets dark early so visibility is poor, and there may be rain or snow to deal with, so walking outside may be challenging. But what about the costumes themselves? Have you safety proofed them? Are you aware that some costumes, masks and accessories could be dangerous to your child’s vision, or even your own if you dress up for Halloween?

Vision Restrictions in Masks and Costumes

When it comes to vision, masks tend to be the most obvious villain. Many of them severely restrict vision, making walking or running (your children don’t run from house to house do they?) dangerous. If you or your child will be wearing a mask, make sure that the eyeholes are large enough, even if you have to enlarge them yourself with a pair of scissors. Some masks feature one way vision, which appear to be an improvement over eye holes, until you get outside and realize that they do not work well in darkness. It may be a good idea to remove your mask when travelling from location to location. Other items to watch out for are eye patches, wigs, head scarves or large hats. Oversized costumes with broad shoulders, high collars or capes may also restrict vision, in addition to creating a tripping risk.

Is Make Up a Good Solution for the Vision Restriction of Masks?

Make up can be a good replacement for masks. However, it comes with its own vision risks. Costume make up is usually heavier than regular make up, and much of it is cheaply made, making it potentially irritating to skin and eyes. Often it tends to run when you begin to sweat. Buying the cheapest on the market may not be the best way to go, so when it comes to safety spend a bit more and try to find a hypo-allergenic variety. Test it on a small portion of skin to see if there is a negative reaction before putting it all over your child’s or your own face and skin. Be careful not to get too close to the eyes when applying it. Reused or shared make up increases the risk of infection, especially to the eyes, so buy fresh make up every year and don’t share it with others. Make sure to remove it completely at the end of the night to prevent it from getting in your eyes when you are asleep.

What About Costume Contact Lenses?

In the last few years, decorative contact lenses have been a popular accessory to set off that perfect costume. Whether it is blood-red, blazing yellow, cat’s eyes, or oversized doll’s eyes, designed contact lenses can be just the final touch that you are looking for. Just remember that contact lenses should be purchased and fitted by a professional optometrist, even if you don’t wear corrective lenses. Improper fitting of contact lenses can lead to anything from a scratched or abraded eye ball, to infection, corneal ulcers and potentially even vision loss. So if you want that perfect eye accessory, make sure that you get it properly, through a licensed optometrist. It may cost more, but in the long run it will save you a lot more than money.

Are There other Costume Accessories That Could Affect Vision?

When accessorizing your costume, be sure to be aware of the potential dangers of items like swords, knives, pitch forks, canes, brooms, magic wands, etc. Long false fingernails can even be a risk, especially for small children. The old adage, “you’ll put your eye out,” is truer than you may think, and there are a number of accidents caused annually by pointy items being carried, mostly by excited running children, but even by adults who should know better but are having too good a time to think clearly. So plan carefully, use some common sense, and have a safe and happy Halloween.

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