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5 Reasons To Wear Sunglasses In The Fall

When we think of fall accessories, the first things that come to mind are warm sweaters, plush scarves, or a snug pair of boots. Here’s another essential item to add to your list: a good quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.

But why is it so important to protect your eyes when the sun seems to be hiding behind clouds on most days? While it may not make much sense, you’ll get a better understanding by the time you finish reading this article. So let’s dive in and explore the 5 reasons you should protect your eyes from the sun in the fall.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Lawrence Park, Ontario

Sunglasses: Summer Vs. Fall

The Sun’s Position

While we may squint more in the summer, the sunlight’s path to the eyes is more direct in the fall as the sun sits closer to the horizon. This places our eyes at greater risk of overexposure to UV rays.

Changing Temperatures

Irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes are often due to the season’s cool and harsh winds. The colder the air, the stiffer and thicker the eyes’ tear oils (meibum) become. Because thicker meibum doesn’t spread as evenly over the surface of the eyes, the tears can’t offer sufficient protection and moisture.

Minimize irritation by shielding the eyes from cool winds with wraparound sunglasses.

Yonge Eyes Optometry Eye Clinic and Sunglasses, Eye Protection and Fall Fashion in Lawrence Park, Ontario

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, 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? Our Lawrence Park eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

UV Rays

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is problematic year-round, as it can result in serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you’re outdoors, no matter the season.

Make sure to sport your sunnies even on cloudy days, as up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. Furthermore, outdoor objects like concrete and snow reflect a significant amount of UV rays into the eyes.

Fall’s Dangerous Sun Glare

Because the sun is positioned at a lower angle in the fall, it can produce a brutal glare that poses a danger for driving. Rays of light that reflect off of smooth surfaces like the metal of nearby cars can be so bright to the point of blinding the driver.

You can combat this dangerous glare by wearing polarized sunglasses. These lenses reduce the glare’s harmful effects by filtering out horizontal light waves, such as the ones reflected by a shiny car bumper.

Local Sunglasses, Eye Protection and Fall Fashion in Lawrence Park, Ontario

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Looking for Sunglasses Near You?

Here’s the bottom line: you need to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses in the fall and year-round, no matter the season or climate. Investing in a stylish pair of durable, UV-protective sunglasses is — simply-put — a worthwhile investment in your eye health.

So if you’re looking for advice about a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses, visit Yonge Eyes Optometry. If standard sunglass lenses are too dark for you at this time of year, ask us about green or brown tinted lenses; they transmit more light and contrast to the eyes than standard grey tints.

We’ll be happy to help you find that perfect pair to protect your eyes, suit your lifestyle needs and enhance your personal style. To learn more, call 647-492-6116 to contact our Lawrence Park eye doctor today.

Call Yonge Eyes Optometry on 647-492-6116 to schedule an eye exam with our Lawrence Park optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Cataract Awareness Month: What to Expect from Cataract Surgery

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

World Braille Day 2019

Toronto | Risk of Vision Loss is Increasing

November 10 is World Keratoconus Day

World Keratoconus Day FB Post
November 10 will be the fourth annual World Keratoconus Day. Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the eye bulges and its shape becomes less spherical, leading to potentially significant loss of vision. Symptoms can also include sensitivity to light and red, puffy eyes.

Sometimes, a cornea transplant is required in order to treat the eyes. Often, however, patients will make use of specialty lenses (such as scleral lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, and hybrid lenses) or cross-linking (a minor procedure involving eye drops and ultraviolet light) to obtain the clearer vision. Regular contact lenses are often too ineffective and uncomfortable for patients with keratoconus to use.

Modern research is showing that keratoconus may be far more common than we had believed. It affects those of all ethnic groups and genders, usually manifesting itself in early adulthood. People from communities worldwide experience life with keratoconus, and Lawrence Park is no different.

At Yonge Eyes Optometry, we offer treatment to keratoconus patients from the greater community. Being very familiar with the challenges of life with keratoconus, we join together with friends around the globe in celebrating Keratoconus Day. This annual event is a great opportunity to raise awareness of keratoconus and the treatments available to those who have it.

If you or a loved one would like to be examined for keratoconus and other eye conditions or to discuss treatment options, call us or schedule an appointment. Click here to learn more about keratoconus and the treatments we offer for it.

woman with burning eyes

Why Do My Eyes Burn?

The brief burning sensation you may feel in your eyes is commonly due to a minor irritation that disappears once your tears wash it out. However, if the burning sensation persists for more than a few hours, it may indicate a severe problem such as Pink Eye (conjunctivitis), Dry Eyes, Blepharitis or an allergic reaction.

The only way to diagnose and treat burning eyes is by visiting your eye doctor. If you feel a persistent burning sensation in your eyes, talk to Dr. Sophia Awadia at Yonge Eyes Optometry Dry Eye Center, who will provide you with the relief you need.

What Eye Conditions Cause Burning Eyes

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is the leading cause of a burning sensation in the eyes. Healthy tears consist of a balance of oil, mucus and water, and when the components are not all there, whether in the right quantities and ratios (as in the case of dry eyes), the eyes become dry and irritated— which can result in a burning sensation.

Pink Eye (Viral or BacterialConjunctivitis)

Pink Eye, also known as viral conjunctivitis, is a highly contagious viral or bacterial infection that can affect either one or both eyes and is spread by coughing or sneezing. The symptoms include watery, burning or itchy eyes.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that causes sore, red eyelids, and crusty debris at the base of the eyelashes. Symptoms include a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, grittiness, and itchy eyelids.

What Environmental Factors Cause Burning Eyes?

Certain elements can also cause a burning sensation in the eyes, such as allergens, chemicals, perfumes, or getting tiny particles stuck in one’s peepers.

Allergies

Allergens in the air or in your home, such as pet dander or mold, can cause your eyes to itch, tear up, and burn.

Chemicals

Certain chemicals found in household cleaning supplies can cause you to experience a burning sensation. The volatile compounds found in aerosol sprays and disinfectants are not only polluting but also irritating to the eyes.

Fragrances

Certain people that are sensitive to fragrances emanating from perfume, cologne, shampoo, or skin cream, can experience eye irritation, resulting in a burning sensation.

Foreign Particles in Your Eye

When particles get stuck in the eyes, it not only hurts but can also lead to a burning feeling in the eyes.

The Connection Between Burning Eyes and Dry Eyes

woman with close eyes

Tears are necessary for maintaining eye health and for providing clear and comfortable vision. Whenever tiny foreign particles enter the eye, tears form and clean out the eye while keeping the eye moist. However, when tears evaporate too quickly and the eyes become dry, as in the case of Dry Eyes, it can lead to an itchy and burning sensation in the eyes.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused by many factors, such as age, genetics, environment, lifestyle, medications, and overall eye health. No matter the factor, the result is the same: your eyes are either not producing enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated, or the tears are not formulated with the correct balance of water, lipids, and mucous to maintain proper lubrication.

What Factors Cause Dry Eyes?

Age. Dry Eyes tend to occur more frequently in older adults. The majority of those over 65 years of age tend to experience some form of Dry Eyes.

Gender. Women are more likely to develop Dry Eyes due to hormonal changes, whether due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives or menopause.

Medicines. Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and SSRIs, can affect tear production.

Medical conditions. Those with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems can develop symptoms of Dry Eyes. Furthermore, Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), inflammation of the surface of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can lead to Dry Eyes.

Environment. Dry Eyes can result from exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates, which can cause tears to evaporate.

Additional factors. Long-term contact lens use and refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can reduce tear production and lead to Dry Eyes. Dry Eyes can also occur in those who fail to blink regularly, which typically occurs when staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time.

How Can I Treat or Alleviate Burning Eyes?

If you feel a burning sensation in your eyes, talk to your eye doctor as soon as possible. Dr. Sophia Awadia will carefully diagnose and detect the cause of your discomfort, and if you are diagnosed with Dry Eyes, Dr. Sophia Awadia might recommend medicated eye drops or artificial tears to alleviate the burning sensation and ensure that your eyes remain moisturized all day long. In more severe cases, steroid drops may be prescribed for quick, short-term relief.

If the eye doctor determines that you have Pink Eye or Blepharitis, anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed. These drops can provide major relief as they target the source of the issue quickly and effectively.

If allergies are the culprit, we can help with that, too. Antihistamines and decongestants can alleviate your symptoms and minimize or even eliminate the burning sensation.

Want your healthy eyes back? Contact Yonge Eyes Optometry Dry Eye Center and say goodbye to burning eyes for good.

We help patients from in and around Toronto, Bedford Park, Rosedale, and Yonge and Lawrence, throughout Ontario, enjoy great vision and comfort again.

Blinking and Dry Eye: The Clear Connection

Dry Eye Syndrome Affects Your Blinking

Ever notice that when you blink your eyes, your vision goes out of focus?

Blurry vision does not necessarily mean that you need new glasses. In fact, a very common cause of blurry vision is called dry eye syndrome. Often confused with eye allergies, when your eyes fail to produce tears with the right balance of oils, here eyes can become irritated, red, and even itchy. Over time, this can, in a severe case of dry eye, even affect your vision and make things blurry.

Nearly every week, Yonge Eyes Optometry sees patients who complain about the following:

  • Driving at night is difficult
  • Very light-sensitive
  • Glare from bright lights can be painful
  • Eyes are constantly red
  • Watery eyes are teary eyes
  • Continuous eye rubbing

While not everybody suffers from dry eye syndrome, there are certainly a number of shared symptoms that can indicate dry eye. One of the telltale signs, however, is when you blink and your vision goes to the focus. Because your vision is dependent on the quality of your tears, any imbalance will tend to disrupt the way your eyes can focus and receive light.

Dry Eye Specialist – Eye Doctor in Lawrence Park

If you have noticed any of the following symptoms such as blurry vision or red eyes, schedule an appointment at Yonge Eyes Optometry for a complete eye exam and dry eye evaluation.

woman holding eyeIs It Eye Allergies or Dry Eyes?

Eye Allergy and Dry Eye symptoms tend to be very similar. They both include redness, itchiness, tearing, and a gritty or burning sensation in the eyes.

 

Is it really an allergic reaction, or could it be Dry Eyes? Before running to the pharmacy for some antihistamines, it would be worth digging into the cause of these reactions in order to assure that you’re choosing the right treatment option.

If you’ve been using artificial tears, prescription allergy medication, or other over the counter medicine to relieve the itchy, dry feeling, but see no improvement— it may be worth visiting the Yonge Eyes Optometry Dry Eye Center and speaking with Dr. Sophia Awadia, who can provide a diagnosis and solution for your condition.

What’s the Difference Between Eye Allergies and Dry Eyes?

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, occur when the eyes react to elements that irritate them (allergens). One can develop eye allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, or even certain foods. To fight off the allergen, the eyes produce a substance called histamine, which causes the eyelids to become red, swollen and itchy — and at times to tear and burn. Those with eye allergies tend to experience nasal allergies as well, which include an itchy, stuffy nose, along with frequent sneezing.

People with Dry Eyes suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, swollen, irritated, and at times very painful. Dry eye syndrome can be developed as a result of genetics, age, environment, lifestyle, medications, and the overall health of your eyes. When one has dry eyes, the eyes are either not producing enough tears to keep your eye lubricated, or the tears are not composed of the correct balance of water, lipids, and mucous to maintain proper lubrication.

How Are Eye Allergies and Dry Eyes Treated?

eye drops

Eye allergies can be treated using artificial tears, medicated eye drops, decongestants, antihistamines, or anti-inflammatory medications. Depending on your specific case, Dr. Sophia Awadia may recommend a combination of treatments.

However, if it is determined that you have dry eyes, Dr. Sophia Awadia may suggest artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to alleviate the discomfort, and in some cases, may even prescribe drops or steroids. For patients with more acute cases of dry eyes, the doctor might suggest alternative treatment options, such as LipiFlow, True Tear, TearCare or scleral lenses.

If you’re suffering from any of the above symptoms, speak with , who will examine and thoroughly assess the source of these reactions, determine whether they are caused by allergies or Dry Eyes, and provide the right treatment.

The Yonge Eyes Optometry Dry Eye Center services patients from Toronto, Bedford Park, Rosedale, Yonge and Lawrence, and throughout Ontario.

Your Child’s Eye Exam & Their Future

Preparing for school means new school supplies, meeting new friends and teachers, and ensuring your child visits their eye doctor for an eye exam. Although schools may offer vision screenings within a few weeks or days of the new school year to ensure a child doesn’t struggle with poor visual acuity, none of the staff or even trained nurses check for visual problems, such as binocular vision and accommodative eye skills that play a significant role in near vision. Children who develop reading problems may have passed vision screenings yet were never examined by a professional optometrist.

Another benefit of coming to our practice is that we specialize in myopia management. Traditionally, the only way to handle nearsightedness or myopia progression in a child is to increase the prescription, often resulting in thicker glasses. Over a few years, a child will end up jumping from a low prescription of -.5 or -1 to a high prescription of -3 or worse! Unfortunately, high myopia has been identified as a lead cause for eye disease in old age, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and even retinal detachment. A person can be 3-4x at risk for eye disease from having a prescription of -4 compared to someone with a low prescription.

Why does myopia cause eye disease?

Although LASIK surgery can help you see without eyeglasses, once a person’s eyes have worsened to a low prescription, the shape of their eye has elongated to a point that leaves the retina in a precarious state. Laser vision correction merely corrects the surface of the eye, but without preventing myopia progression, the damage has already been done. Therefore, the only way to safely secure one’s vision from greater risk is myopia management, in other words, taking steps to stop progression in its tracks.

What should a parent consider for their child’s next year at school?

Come to our practice and schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor, Dr. Sophia Awadia. We’ll not only evaluate the child’s complete eye health, but we’ll guide on the proper steps to slow myopia progression. We have methods through specialty contact lenses to stop advancing myopia, but often we’ll educate parents on how to slow progression through good habit building.

  • Children need 2 hours of outside play. Build their long-vision muscles!
  • Reduce screen time
  • Practice the 20-20-20 Rule.
    • Take a break from close vision work every 20 minutes,
    • Then look at something 20 feet away (or further)
    • Spend at least 20 seconds doing this before returning to your close-up work.

We look forward to seeing you and your children and getting the entire family prepared for the new school year with confidence & healthy vision.

Spring Dry Eyes

woman applying eyedroppers, close upSpring is a time of renewal, when the harsh winter is just a memory and the outdoors seem to beckon us to go outside. While spring may be in the air, so are allergens. Allergies during the spring season can cause dry eyes and have a particularly severe effect on people with Dry Eye Syndrome.

During the spring months, pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust can be found in the air. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions like itchy, red, and watery eyes, as well as sneezing and sinus congestion. At The Practice Name Dry Eye Center, we can offer you long-term relief for your seasonal dry eyes.

How Do The Seasons Affect Dry Eyes?

Although certain people with sensitivities to allergens may be more prone to allergic reactions, the seasons of the year can trigger these responses, too. In the winter, for instance, dry eyes can develop in people who live in climates with a lot of dry, cold air or strong winds. Sitting in direct aim of a heater may feel wonderful when it’s cold, but it can also dry out the eyes. In the summer when the heat is intense and people run their air conditioning systems regularly, dry eyes can develop from being in the direction of cold air.

A 5-year study found that 21% of the 3.4 million visits to an eye doctor during that time were related to dry eyes. Each year, there was a peak during April, proving that there is a likely correlation between allergens and dry eye cases.

Common Symptoms Of Seasonal Dry Eyes

The most common symptoms of dry eyes in the spring are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

It may seem odd, but watery eyes are a frequent symptom of dry eyes. It’s the body’s way of trying to self-heal the dryness by releasing excess tears, a condition called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). This condition gives some relief, but because these tears contain an inadequate amount of water, the relief is temporary and more long-lasting options are needed.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with The Practice Name Dry Eye Center. We have the knowledge, years of experience, latest technologies, and effective solutions to give you relief for your dry eyes this spring season.

Relief For Dry Eyes In The Springtime

Close up of blue eyeDry Eye Doctor Name treats patients from all over CITY 1, State who are suffering from seasonal dry eyes. Depending on your specific case and the intensity of your symptoms, the doctor may recommend daily artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to alleviate the pain. These can stimulate your eye’s natural tear production to moisturize the eyes and provide comfort. In some cases, prescription drops or steroids can produce similar results.

For patients with severe types of dry eyes, the doctor may talk to you about punctual plugs. These are tiny devices that are inserted inside the tear duct. They block your tears from draining out, which forces them to stay in your eye, coating and moisturizing the area.

Have you heard about scleral lenses? These are contact lenses that are made from rigid materials and contain a tiny pool of water, which provides moisture to dry eyes. Scleral lenses have a large diameter that covers the entire sclera (white part of the eye) without touching the cornea, so they can fit more comfortably. Because each person’s eye is unique, scleral lenses must be custom-fitted for each patient.

When It’s More Than Allergies

If your symptoms persist long after spring is over, and especially if they worsen, this may indicate signs of a more serious eye condition.

Examples can include any of the following:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Corneal Abrasions
  • Dry Eye Disease
  • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump in the eyelid

We hope you take the time to enjoy this spring season. Should you experience any visual discomfort or are naturally prone to dry eyes, contact Dry Eye Doctor Name and the caring staff at The Practice Name Dry Eye Center. We’ll examine your eyes and discuss your personal needs to create an action plan that’s right for you.



Are Nerf Guns a Dangerous Holiday Present?

Nerf Guns: Popular, Projectile… Safe?

With the newest Nerf guns and blasters reigning at the top of lists for the most popular toys this holiday season, many parents are excited to surprise their kids (or their spouses) with these coveted toy weapons. There is, in fact a whole culture behind these guns including a variety of themes, weaponry and ammunition, making finding the right Nerf gun for your loved one an additional part of the fun. Most don’t even bat an eye…(pun intended) about the possible dangers of these guns, specifically to the eyes and vision.

The truth is, Nerf guns have been reported to cause eye injuries including corneal abrasion (or scratch on the eye), internal bleeding in and around the eye, pain, blurred vision, and temporary loss of vision. Blurry vision is sometimes due to swelling in the retina after a traumatic injury. Experts warn that they can cause irreversible damage to the eye such as a torn or detached retina and vision loss. So this, of course, begs the question: Are these a dangerous toy to buy for my loved ones?

Well despite these troublesome facts, Hasbro, the company who manufactures the guns, claims that they go to extensive lengths to ensure the toys are safe. Based on years of research, consumer insights and rigorous testing, Hasbro assures that the toys “meet or exceed global standards and regulations” for safety. That is of course, when the toys are used properly and according to the recommended guidelines.

So if, when used according to the guidelines, Nerf guns are not inherently dangerous, it is up to the parent’s discretion to assess whether they are a good choice for their family. Parents (or users of any age) need to establish proper rules and ensure that those using the guns are responsible enough to follow those rules. They should also do their part to be informed and understand the dangers and precautions necessary for safe use.

Be Informed About Nerf Gun Safety

If you do chose to purchase a Nerf gun, make sure that you do the research to ensure that you are selecting the best and safest model and accessories for your desired use. While most models are designed for children ages 8 and up, there are a few models that are specified for older children, so pay attention to the age recommendations. Do not allow children under the age limitations to play with the guns. Further, it is recommended that all children are supervised by adults during play. 

Nerf brand darts, blasters and foam rounds are made to meet strict safety regulations, while other brands that claim to be Nerf compatible may not be. Only Nerf brand bullets, designed for the specific product purchased should be used. In addition to other safety hazards, it has been seen that some bullets manufactured by other brands have a harder end which pose a greater threat for injury. 

Think about eye safety. Rule number one should always be: Never aim at anyone’s face or eyes. A direct hit to the eye can cause serious damage and pain. Ideally, the guns should be used with eye protection such as sports or protective goggles to prevent accidental eye injury, so think about adding a couple of pairs into the gift package.

Never modify the guns, darts or blasters. There are many videos online that demonstrate how to modify the guns to shoot further, harder and faster. Tampering with the guns and ammunition in this way can undermine the safety measures built into the design of the toys and could result in more serious injury. Make sure to warn children against this as well. 

The Answer

So, what’s the verdict? Whether or not Nerf guns are the right choice for your family depends on how responsible your family members can be with their use. Like many other toys and machinery, they can pose a danger when not used properly so anyone that is gifted or using this toy should be aware of those possible dangers, as well as the rules that are in place for eye safety. If you or a loved one does get injured by such a toy, get a medical evaluation immediately, especially if the injured person is experiencing blurred vision. 

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.