Dry Eyes Do’s & Don’ts (and the 3 Best Treatment Options)

dry eye

Dry eyes are uncomfortable and can often cause your eyes to sting or burn. You may experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as on an airplane, in an air-conditioned room, in a dry environment, or after looking at a computer or smartphone for a few hours.  It can affect how well you see, as well as how comfortable your eyes are throughout the day. If you suffer from difficulty wearing contact lenses, watery eyes, or eye fatigue, it can have a massive impact on your day.

Did you know? 3.2 million women in America suffer from itching, burning and irritation of the eyes.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

For some people, dry eyes can be caused by the lack of tears or decreased tear production; however, dry eyes can also be caused as a result of aging, hormone changes, autoimmune disease, inflamed eyelid glands, or ocular allergies. 

Other factors that can cause dry eyes are menopause, certain medical conditions like thyroid disorders, certain medications, and poor ocular hygiene. The signs and symptoms vary greatly and typically affect both eyes. 

Can Dry Eyes Affect Vision? Yes, if untreated dry eyes can have long-term effects on your eyes and can cause blurry vision, a common side effect of dry eye syndrome.

Does Dry Eye Go Away?

Dry eyes can be both a temporary or chronic condition. If it is chronic, this means it is a long term condition that can decrease in severity over time, perhaps even get better, but will not go away completely. It is important to address dry eyes, not only to gain relief from the typical stinging and burning sensations, but if it is not treated, it can cause your oil glands to stop working permanently. Luckily, there are now a lot of methods for relief. Read on to learn about the best treatments. 

dry eyes

Tears are needed to nourish the eyes. Without proper moisture, dry eyes can lead to impaired vision.

Dry Eye Do’s & Don’ts

For those diagnosed with dry eye syndrome (DES), it is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. For example, it may occur if you don’t produce enough tears, or if you produce poor-quality tears. This tear deficiency leads to inflammation and damage of the eye’s surface. For immediate treatments you can do to help treat dry eyes, check out the below do and don’t list.

6 Do’s for Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep your eyes clean. This may seem self explanatory but ocular health is essential to prevent further eye irritation.
  2. Rest your eyes with occasional breaks, particularly when using a computer or phone screen for long stretches.
  3. Ensure your computer screen is at eye level to avoid creating additional eye strain.
  4. Create moisture in your home or office by using a humidifier.
  5. Focus on your sleep hygiene. When you have adequate sleep, it allows your eyes to rest.
  6. Take out your contacts after 12 hours of use. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time can cause your eyes to dry out. Do not sleep in your contact lenses.

3 Don’ts for Dry Eyes:

  1. Avoid irritants like smoke, dust, and arid climates or locations. 
  2. When possible, do not over consume alcohol and limit or refrain from cigarette use.
  3. Limit time in heavily air conditioned, or heated buildings, such as offices, malls, or restaurants.

Eye Drops & Treatment Options for Dry Eyes (3 Options)

There are a couple of treatments, such as artificial tears, that can provide short term relief. However, more effective and long term treatments are now available. 

1. Artificial Tears (Eye Drops)

If you have temporary dry eye, or experience mild discomfort from extended computer use, reading, school work, or other environmental situations, artificial tears can be an ideal treatment for dry eye. They work best when coupled with good ocular hygiene. 

Artificial tears usually are the first step in dry eye treatment — alongside good eye hygiene.

dry eyes

There are plenty of brand options when it comes to artificial tears, with many available over the counter, meaning you are able to purchase without a prescription. It can be overwhelming with the number of options available. Similar to many other products, artificial tear brands provide varied lengths of relief.

If the package indicates it has low viscosity, it means the solution is “thin” or watery. These solutions are great for providing quick relief, with little to no burning sensation when you apply them. However, the relief tends to be short term, requiring frequent application in order to maintain sufficient relief. 

In comparison, high viscosity artificial tears provide longer lasting relief. It can cause a mild burning sensation and vision blur that resolves quickly. This type of drop is more gel-like in consistency. This can help provide clear vision for longer stretches of time throughout your work day, but requires more forethought to use because if you need immediately clear vision, such as for driving, it would not be the ideal choice. 

Due to the large range of artificial tears available, finding the best option for you can make a significant impact on your day to day life. We recommend speaking with your eye doctor to determine the best options for your lifestyle. Your Optometrist can provide directions on when and how often to use the eye drops.

2. Steroid Eye Drops

Artificial tears can provide immediate relief for burning and eye irritation but do not properly treat eye inflammation, the root cause of dry eye syndrome. If this is the case, your optometrist may suggest using steroid eye drops.

Steroid eye drops are frequently used in addition to artificial tears as part of a more long-term treatment plan. There is the potential for side effects, so prior to your optometrist prescribing it, it is important to disclose your health history. The chance of side effects are lower with short-term use, but long term use of steroid eye drops can increase the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma. This is why it is vital to book an appointment with your eye doctor to review the best treatment for you.

3. Radio Frequency – No Surgery, No Needles and No Downtime

Radio Frequency is an advanced, non-invasive, heat and laser technology that helps to treat dry eye disease. It also has added beauty benefits, and can be an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of:

  • Facial Wrinkles
  • Fine lines around the eyes
  • Facial creases 
  • Loose skin

Radio frequency technology is used to gently heat the skin, which helps open the oil glands on the eyelids while promoting collagen and elastin activity. This helps to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes as well as the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles in and around the eyes. The radio frequency treatment involves No Surgery, No Needles and No Downtime and gives the patient a warm, soothing sensation in the treatment zone. 

It almost seems too good to be true, but our new Radio Frequency treatment lets you return to your normal daily activities immediately following the treatment! It treats dry eyes, has substantial anti-aging benefits, is comfortable, safe and non-invasive and can take as little as 30 minutes. 

Eliminate eye fatigue, stinging, itchiness and leave with an improved skin tone and a natural glow.  Book a dry eye and/or ocular aesthetics consultation with us today! Our certified providers will educate you on this technology and help you find the best treatment options for your skin and eyes.

Best of all, Radio Frequency is comfortable, safe, non-invasive and can take as little as 30 minutes!

UV Affect On Your Eyes & Skin (5 Helpful Overexposure Tips)

Contact Lenses vs. Glasses 5 Professional Pros Cons 4

Without protection, your eyes can get sunburned the same way skin can.

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How Long Does UV Protection Last On Sunglasses?

It is important but uncommon knowledge, UV protection on sunglasses lasts around 2 years; however, the more frequently you wear your sunglasses, the quicker they will lose protection. If you have been using your favorite pair for a while, it is likely the UV protection has significantly faded, this leaves your eyes vulnerable. At this point, the industry tests are unable to check the UV levels and test how long they are safe to wear.

So how often should you replace your sunglasses? If you wear a pair of sunglasses frequently, you should replace them every two years. Taking care of your sunglasses can help extend their longevity. For example, if you often toss your sunglasses into your bag, they can get scratched. These scratches can damage the UV protection ability of the lenses. While a small scratch may not seem like much, even microscopic scratches can let damaging radiation reach your eyes. While it is not the only indicator, when the lens tint lightens, it is a sign that they are losing their UV protective layer and it is time to search for new UV protection sunglasses.

Do Regular Glasses Protect Your Eyes From UV Rays?

How do you tell if your sunglasses are actually protecting your eyes? Not all sunglasses are created equal. The stylish pair of vintage sunglasses you find in a thrift shop or the cheap pair purchased at a gas station may seem like a good buy at the time but do they have the proper UV protection?

When looking for a pair of sunglasses, there are those with ultraviolet protection embedded into the lenses, and those that have it only as a coating on the lenses. When shopping for sunglasses, keep an eye out for labels that indicate“100% protection against both UVA and UVB” or “100% protection against UV 400.”

The most important advice is to put on your sunglasses whenever you are outside and put them on your kids, please. Sunglasses are to the eyes what sunscreen is to the skin. Whether it’s cloudy or sunny, they are an essential shield to protect your health.”

John A. Moran Eye Center ophthalmologist, Jeff Pettey, MD.
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Can Eyes Recover From UV Damage?

Excessive UV exposure to the eyes can result in photokeratitis. This condition usually goes away on its own within a few days. In the short term, UV ray exposure and eye sunburn can cause uncomfortable symptoms like light sensitivity and ocular irritation. In the long term, serious conditions such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and eyelid cancer may result.

Severely sunburned eyes are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, like those emitted by the sun. This condition is known as photokeratitis.

Protecting your eyes from UV rays is the only way to avoid getting them sunburned. When to be extra careful:

  • Near Water: UV rays reflect off the water 
  • Outdoor Activities: Particularly when snowboarding or skiing. Snow is highly reflective. On a sunny day, clean fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means that you can be exposed to almost a double dose of UV.
  • Dense City Dwelling: UV rays easily reflect off windows, cars, buildings and even concrete streets. Regardless if the sun is visible or not outside, ultraviolet rays are present and capable of damaging your eyes.
  • Tanning Beds: Artificial UV light is also damaging to your eyes. Did you know tanning beds produce up to 100x the amount of ultraviolet rays that the sun does.

Eyelids are a particularly vulnerable area of the body.

How Long Does It Take for UV Light to Damage Eyes?

Photokeratitis, or eye sunburn, typically heals itself within one to two days. Most of us are familiar with the skin damage ultraviolet causes, but don’t realize the impact it can have on our eyes. The longer your exposure, the more short-term and long-term the impact can be. Long-term consequences can result in serious vision threatening eye conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration. After exposure, symptoms appear within eight to 24 hours. Similar to burning your skin, you can experience a wide range of symptoms with an eye sunburn. 

Book an appointment with your Optometrist if you have any of the following symptoms for more than one or two days:

  • Red eyes
  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • Gritty feeling in your eyes
  • Temporary vision loss, or distorted vision
  • Seeing halos
  • Blurry or dim vision
  • Night vision issues 
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Why Is Skin Vulnerable to UV Light?

UV, or ultraviolet rays, easily penetrate our skin and eyes. Ultraviolet rays more easily penetrate the skin of people with lighter pigmentation. However, regardless of pigmentation, any exposure to UV can cause damage to your skin, eyes, and immune system.

Our first defense against the sun is the chemical in our skin called melanin. It absorbs the harmful ultraviolet rays, but it’s unable to absorb them all and people with lighter skin (or less melanin) are more impacted.

Not staring directly into the sun is not enough to protect your eyes. Ultraviolet rays can be intense in several different environments, and exposure can impact other parts of your body. This includes premature aging of the skin due to sun damage and can result in wrinkles, leathery skin, and liver spots.

How Does UV Radiation Affect Skin Cells?

It’s common knowledge that ultraviolet rays can cause damage to our skin, including cancer. Unprotected exposure, such as skin exposure without sunscreen, damages the DNA in our skin cells. This produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer, along with causing premature aging, cataracts and even eyelid cancer.

There are long term serious conditions that can result from ultraviolet exposure. These include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and various forms of eyelid and skin cancers.

It’s important to protect your eyes, and to take extra precautions when you’re in high altitudes where air is thin and UV rays are strong.

Overexposure to UV (5 Things To Do About It)

If you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms during the first day or two, you can try some of these for relief. Remember that if symptoms last longer than a day or two, see your Optometrist.

  1. Remove Contact Lenses. Keeping your eyes free from contact lenses can help provide relief. Immediately remove contact lenses to give your eyes an opportunity to heal.
  2. Don’t Rub Your Eyes. We know it’s hard to resist, especially when your eyes are irritated. But rubbing can cause additional damage to your eyes and increase the irritation.
  3. Rest Your Eyes. Resting in a dark room, with your eyes closed, and using a cool compress can provide relief.
  4. Use UV Sunglasses. With sunburnt eyes, you may experience light sensitivity. This means it will be extra important to wear your sunglasses in order to reduce the strain from bright lights.
  5. Avoid Makeup. Makeup and false eyelashes can cause additional irritation. Your eyes are more likely to water, causing further opportunities for makeup or irritants to get into your eyes.

Book an appointment with your Optometrist if you have are experiencing discomfort for more than one or two days.

Contact Lenses vs. Glasses (5 Professional Pros & Cons)

Are Lenses Bad For Your Eyes?

Lenses are a great choice for those that need vision correction because they are very safe. That being said, wearing them for too long, not replacing them or not cleaning them properly can damage your eyes and lead to potential vision loss. 

Did you know? Since contacts sit directly on your eyes, it reduces the oxygen flow to your eyes. This may seem inconsequential but having oxygen flow is important in keeping your eyes healthy. There are a few ways to keep your eyes healthy while using lenses: 

  • Use Frequency: Make sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions and replace or discard your contacts as directed by your eye care professional. It is highly discouraged to continue using your lenses outside of these guidelines as it can lead to severe vision complications.

Type of Lenses: Lenses are made from a variety of materials. Modern contacts are made from silicone hydrogel, which is more porous and allows more oxygen to get to the cornea than traditional lenses. They are frequently more comfortable and are likely safer in the long term. Some people are allergic to silicone, luckily hydrogel lenses are available for these patients.

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Are Contact Lenses Better Than Glasses?

The choice is personal and the best option for you is heavily tied in with your lifestyle. Other factors to take into consideration are ease of use, eye health, comfort, cost and convenience. Both contacts and glasses have great pros and cons that we have outlined to help make your choice easier.

Eyeglasses Pros

  1. Reduced Touch Points. Even prior to COVID, reducing how much you touch your eyes was important. “There’s very few surfaces that are truly clean. You’re almost never going to culture something and not find some germs on it.” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, president and CEO of New Island Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., and a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America. Wearing glasses reduces the likelihood you will touch your eyes, which reduces the risk of irritating your eyes, causing damage and developing an infection.
  2. Reduced Cost: Over the period of two to three years, glasses are typically cheaper than contacts. 
  3. Style Forward. Gone are the days of glasses being considered nerdy. Frames are a great way to reflect your personality and style.
  4. UV Protection: We place a ton of focus on protecting our skin from sun damage, but frequently forget to do the same for our eyes. Most glasses suppliers will provide you the ability to add a variable strength UV coating to the lenses of your glasses. This helps protect your eyes against damaging UV rays. It can also protect your eyes from the external environment (ex. wind, dust, particles, etc.) .
  5. Sensitive Eyes. More people than you would believe have dry and sensitive eyes. Lenses can be difficult to use for any reasonable length of time if you suffer from dry eyes or are sensitive to things close to or on your eyes.  Also, for those of us not used to wearing lenses, glasses are often a more comfortable and easy option.
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Dry eyes are a common condition in the United States. Most often, people who have dry eyes are middle-aged or older. An estimated 4.88 million Americans age 50 and older have dry eyes. Of these, over 3 million are women and 1.68 million are men.

Eyeglasses Cons

  1. Vision Distortion: Since your glasses sit on the bridge of your nose and with an average distance of half an inch away from the eyes, this can distort your peripheral vision when you are not looking in the center portion of the lens. This effect is more noticeable with higher prescriptions. 
  2. Facial Aesthetics: As eye doctors we feel strongly that there is the right pair of glasses for every person; however, some people may feel it hides their features, or doesn’t compliment their face. 
  3. Damage: Ideally, you have your glasses for 2 or more years. Even people who are diligent in taking care of their glasses may still find they are inadvertently damaged or the contacts can get scratched. . 
  4. Headaches: Many modern day frames are lightweight and shouldn’t cause issues; however, glasses can put pressure on the bridge of your nose and the sides of your head which can lead to headaches, pressure around your eyes and discomfort. An appropriate frame adjustment is always advised before you start wearing a new pair of glasses.
  5. Fog Issues. We know this better now than ever with COVID, but foggy glasses are a pain. Fog easily gathers on our lenses, obscuring our vision and smudging the contacts.

Contact Lenses Pros

After wearing glasses for many years, people may find it difficult to switch to contacts. Here are a few benefits of contact lens use to help you see if they would be a right fit for your eyes.

  1. Sports Friendly. Lenses don’t get in the way when playing sports and exercising. There are prescription goggles available, however they are often expensive and limited in their use outside of sports. 
  1. Fog Friendly: Lenses don’t get fogged up in cold weather, or when wearing a mask. It is a huge inconvenience, during a pandemic, when wearing a mask and glasses is a guaranteed way to fog up.
  1. Easy Replacement:  Your prescription changes over time. This pace can accelerate with age, with excessive screen time and other factors. Contact lenses are more flexible in that you are not committed to the same prescription for years. Once your supply of lenses runs out, replacing them with ones with an updated prescription ensures your eyes are seeing to its full potential. 
  1. Less Distortion: Since contacts sit on your eye, it gives you a wider field of view. This provides less peripheral distortion compared to glasses.
  1. Colour Experimentation: Lenses give you the ability to experiment with different colour lenses that can change your eye color. 
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Contact Lenses Cons

  1. Application Pains: Putting in contact lenses can be difficult. People may have trouble applying and removing a contact lens but proper technique and practice should rectify this in most cases.
  2. More Effort: Glasses require very little upkeep, aside from trying to avoid damaging them and keeping them clean. Contact lenses on the other hand require a high level of cleanliness and care each day. If the hygienic demands of contact lenses are too much, it is best to use glasses, as otherwise you risk eye infections.
  3. Expensive: Contact lenses can be costly, especially with dailies. Not only in their initial purchase, and frequency of repurchase, but the continued need for contact lens solutions and artificial tears.
  4. Computer Vision Syndrome: Also known as digital eye strain. Contact lenses can likely contribute to computer vision syndrome symptoms. Learning how to manage our habits in front of a screen can help prolong our eye health for years to come. Take our quiz below.
  5. Never Over Wear Your Lenses: Wearing contact lenses for too long can damage your eyes. Even daily contact lenses are not exempt from this. Our optometrists recommend letting your eyes rest by aiming to wear glasses for a minimum of one or two days each week or removing your contact lenses 2-4 hours before bed. 

Best Reasons to See Your Optometrist (An Eye Exam Could Help Save Your Life)

Eye Exam

May is Vision Health Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, the role optometrists play, and what can be done to help prevent vision loss. 

We often take our eyes for granted, assuming they don’t need any care from us. As optometrists, we know the importance of caring for your eyes is just as much a priority as eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of your mental health. Our eyes are complicated but delicate; your optometrist can help in a number of ways, including providing preventative care. Healthy vision can help keep you safe each day. 

A comprehensive eye exam is more than just a routine vision test – it could help save your life.

Best Reasons to See Your Optometrist (Things You Must Know)

The best way to keep your eyes healthy is getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Your optometrist will use drops to enlarge your pupils in order to check for common eye health problems and any early stages of eye-related diseases. Of course, an eye exam is also the best way to find out if you need contacts or glasses. 

Most people are not aware that our vision changes as we age. This makes comprehensive eye exams increasingly more important as our eyes get older. 

  • Eye Diseases are Common, but Preventative: Did you know that 1 in 7 Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime? However, 75% of vision loss can be prevented or treated with proper care. 
  • Catching Life Threatening Conditions: Did you know, an eye exam can help detect potentially life threatening conditions, like brain tumours, high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes? Your eyes can show signs of tumors, aneurysms, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, sickle cell disease, liver disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological or brain disorders.
  • Your Eyes Change with Age: After 40, many find it is more difficult to focus on close up objects. 50s and beyond, you may have more frequent changes in your eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions.
  • Less Tears for Women: As we age, we produce less tears which leads to dry eyes. This is particularly true for women. 9 Dry Eye Symptoms and a Wrinkle Reducing Treatment
  • Child Eye Care: Just 1 out of every 7 preschoolers receives an eye exam and fewer than 1 out of every 4 receives some type of vision screening. The CDC recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to help find conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can be treated effectively if caught early.
  • Preventing Visual Issues: An estimated 11 million Americans aged 12 years and older could see better if they used corrective lenses, or had eye surgery, when appropriate.

A comprehensive eye exam can also detect potentially life threatening conditions, like brain tumours, high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

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Your Optometrist Sees More Than Your Eyes – Eye Diseases Your Optometrist Can Help Spot

Comprehensive eye exams provide optometrists a close-up look at your blood vessels, veins, and nerves, all of which may contain clues to conditions that could pose a serious risk to your health. The following are eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even blindness:

  • Cataracts, a clouding of the eyes internal lens.
  • Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye.
  • Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, often due to increased eye pressure.
  • Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision and contrast sensitivity.

Is an Optometrist a Doctor?

Yes, an optometrist is a doctor of the eyes who receives a degree in optometry proceeding 8 years of education. 

What is the role of an optometrist? An optometrist is the primary health care provider for your eyes. As an eye doctor, they help detect refractive error, vision defects, symptoms of diseases, treat eye injuries, ocular abnormalities and assess your general eye health. Optometrists are equipped to provide professional advice on a wide range of subjects concerning eye health, vision correction, and prescribe vision aids such as contact lenses, glasses and other devices.

How Often Should You See An Optometrist?

Regular eye exams by a doctor of optometry play an essential role in maintaining your overall health. The frequency you should see an optometrist varies based on your age.

  • Children – first eye exam at 6 months, then again at age 2 followed by annual visits thereafter
  • Adults 19-64 – Every 1-2 years
  • 65 and over – Annually

A regular eye exam by a doctor of optometry is the best way to stay on top of eye health. 

What Are Available Optometrist Services?

There are a range of services that most optometrists provide, including:

  • Annual or routine eye exams, including providing eye health education
  • Diagnosis of eye conditions, or spot early signs of eye diseases
  • Prescriptions for eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids
  • Medical treatments or minor procedures for eye conditions and injuries
  • Pre and post-surgical eye care that range from cataract removal to refractive laser correction

There are also select eye care professionals that provide speciality services. Click below to learn more:

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10 Ways to Protect Your Vision (Optometrist Recommended)

  1. Eye Exams: A regular, comprehensive, dilated eye exam by an optometrist is the best way to stay on top of eye health. 
  2. Know Your Eye Care Provider: Have a trusted eye doctor you can go to with any concern, who will guide you through your options, provide education and support your eye health needs.
  3. Understanding Your Genes: Being familiar with your family health history is important as it can provide your optometrist guidelines of what to watch for regarding signs of eye disease. If someone in your family has a history of eye disease or a condition that affects the eyes, speak to your eye doctor, as some are hereditary.
  4. Healthy Diet: Healthy eating can help protect your sight, particularly certain foods such as dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, or collard greens, and fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and halibut.
  5. Body Balance: Related to a healthy diet, diseases like diabetes have impacts on your eyes. Maintaining a healthy weight will help protect your vision. 
  6. Eyewear: Use protective eyewear during activities where your eyes are at risk of being injured, such as home construction projects, playing sports, yard work or renovations.
  7. Limit Digital Eye Strain: We are in front of a screen for most of our days. Extended screen time can worsen our vision at a rapid rate. 8 Tips to Prevent Digital Eyestrain | Take a Quiz
  8. Sunglasses: Not all sunglasses are created equally. Good quality sunglasses can help block 99 -100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
  9. Sanitize: We touch our face and eyes many times a day without realizing it. Prior to putting on and taking out your contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and water. Be sure to clean your contact lenses properly to avoid infection.
  10. Early Intervention: For yourself, and your children, regular eye exams and early intervention are crucial in limiting changes to your vision and eye health from eye diseases. 

Allergy Triggers & its Symptoms (7 Best Paths to Relief)

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergy?

There are a wide range of allergy symptoms, ranging from mild to severe reactions. 

Symptoms of an allergic reaction typically develop within a few minutes after you are exposed to an allergen, but sometimes symptoms can slowly appear after a few hours of being exposed to something you’re allergic to. While most allergic reactions are an annoyance, most are mild.

Common Allergy Symptoms:

  • Itchy, runny nose
  • Nasal congestion and sneezing
  • Red, itchy, dry eyes and watering eyes
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, a cough and chest tightness
  • Swollen eyes or face
  • Itchy, red rash, irritated and raised bumps (or hives)
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Stomach pain, feeling ill, experiencing vomiting or diarrhea

Only 8 Foods Are Responsible For 90% Of All Allergic Reactions

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) named eight common allergenic foods recognized by law: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (which include walnuts), peanuts, wheat, and soybean.

What Are the Most Common Allergies?

What triggers allergies is a long list. Most of us are aware of the common seasonal allergy triggers including pollen, ragweed, and cut grass. Despite the fact that 90% of allergic reactions are triggered from only 8 foods, there are still a large number of allergy triggers to be aware of. 

Most Common Allergy Triggers:

  • Airborne: These include dust, mold, pollen ragweed, animal dander and fresh cut grass. 
  • Food: The worst offenders are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (which include walnuts), peanuts, wheat, and soybean. 
  • Insect Bites or Stings: Predominantly from a bee or wasp.
  • Medications or Products: Medicines include penicillin, or penicillin-based antibiotics. Products can cause contact dermatitis, which results from your body becoming sensitized to an ingredient, or ingredients, in a product you are using. This is common for face and body products such as creams, cleansers and masks.

What Is the Best Treatment for Allergies?

Over the counter treatments will be the most widely available, and most accessible option. They include a variety of options, depending on your allergy symptoms. For seasonal allergies, there are some proven remedies that are sure to bring you relief. Corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops are often the best place to start. They are available either over the counter, or by prescription. Allergy eye drops are used to treat allergy symptoms that impact your eyes. 

Treatment is the most effective if you can start a few weeks prior to the symptoms starting. It can also be helpful for big events such as a holiday or wedding, where a short course can help control your symptoms during that event. 

There are other allergy treatments available for individuals who feel uncomfortable taking eye drops, or nasal sprays.  

How Can I Make My Allergies Go Away? (7 Paths to Relief)

It is possible for your allergy to go away; however, there is no one cure. As you age, it is possible that the severity of your symptoms will fade, or you become more tolerant to the allergen. This happens because your immune function is reduced as you get older, which also means your immune response to allergens also becomes less intense.

1. Minimize Your Exposure to Allergy Triggers

This can be as simple as staying inside, or minimizing outside time on windy days. On windy days, allergens like pollen are more easily spread. In comparison, after a rainy day, the air has been cleared of some of the pollen.

2. Clean Clothing and Showers

Having a shower when you come in from outside and changing into clean clothing can help reduce bringing pollen and allergens into your home. Showers can have a big impact by removing allergy triggers that have collected on your hair and skin.

3. Wear a Mask

For the same reason masks help reduce the spread of COVID, masks can help ensure you don’t breath in allergens. Masks can be particularly helpful for those outside doing activities such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and gardening, which can disperse allergens into the air. Read about Medical Masks vs. Cloth Masks 

4. Check Weather Forecasts

With allergy season being at its peak in spring and summer, news stations and weather outlets will often have pollen forecasts. This provides you an opportunity to plan around times when allergy triggers are at their highest, including preemptively taking medicine, closing doors & windows and showering routinely.

5. Clear Your Sinuses

A saline solution is a fast acting and cheap way to help relieve allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion. Popular solutions, such as the Neti Pot, are a small hand held squeeze bottle designed to flush out mucus and allergens from your nose.

This is a particularly helpful remedy for those who suffer from deviated septums. The saline solutions, and nasal sprays, can be used throughout the year to help flush out any build up of allergens, mucus or debris and can even help you avoid becoming sick if used regularly. 

6. Clean Indoor Air

Removing all allergens from your home may not be possible, but there are many proven methods to reduce them. Common solutions include high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers, using air conditioners instead of opening your doors and windows to cool your home, and some select plants that purify the air.  

7. Non-Prescription Medications

As previously mentioned, nasal sprays and drops are often the best place to start. Many are available over the counter. Steroid, or corticosteroid nasal sprays, are typically available over the counter and can provide vital relief for individuals with severe symptoms or who suffer from constant nasal congestion brought on by non-seasonal allergies or deviated septum’s. Other non-prescription medicines include:

  • Antihistamines: Oral versions include brands such as Claritin or Allegra.
  • Decongestants: You may be familiar with decongestants including Sudafed that aid with nasal congestion. See instructions and talk to your doctor, as long-term use and frequency needs to be prescribed. 
  • Combination medications: You may be prescribed a combination of both an antihistamine and a decongestant, such as Claritin-D.
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 Can Allergies Start Later in Life?

Yes, you can develop an allergy, or allergies, later in life. If you are experiencing any allergy symptoms, it is highly recommended you get tested. The test results will provide invaluable information which your medical practitioner can use to help provide the best treatment options.

For most, we outgrow allergies as we age. By the time we are in our 20s and 30s, we have built up a tolerance to common allergens such as milk, eggs, and grains. It is however not uncommon to develop an allergy later in life, even to foods and products (such as face creams and body products) we consume and use on a regular basis.

Over the counter remedies not working? If symptoms persist or worsen, it is time to see your eye doctor

Womens Health & Vision Loss (Shocking Facts & 6 Easy Ways to Help Save Your Eyes)

Womens Health
April is Womens Eye Health & Safety Month

Womens Health & Vision Loss – Why April Matters

It’s an important month for us at Real Eyes Optometry. The Prevent Blindness organization declared April to be Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to bring awareness to the different eye needs for womens health. This campaign brings important attention to the fact that women are more likely to suffer from vision problems. Did you know women are also at a higher risk of permanent vision loss than men?

The reality is, 91% of the women surveyed recently didn’t know they were at an increased risk. This means that a majority of women are not taking the needed precautions to prevent eye damage and vision loss. With April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Metrotown Optometrists, Real Eyes Optometry, is providing resources and recommendations on the best ways to take care of women’s vision.

“These responses indicate an alarming lack of knowledge regarding women’s vision,” said Prevent Blindness volunteer adviser and spokesperson Dr. Mildred M.G. Olivier, a leading expert on women and minority eye health. “It’s apparent that a vast majority of women are unaware of the gender specific symptoms, conditions and risks associated with vision health.”

Shockingly, only 40% of women surveyed said they had visited an eye doctor within the past 12 months.

Important Womens Health Facts (What You Didn’t Know)

According to a recent study, the statistics for many of the major vision problems show that women have a higher percentage of incidence than men. These include:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration 65%
  • Cataracts 61%
  • Glaucoma 61%
  • Refractive Error 56%
  • Vision Impairment 63%

Perhaps more shockingly, one study found:

  • 66% of those experiencing blindness are women
  • 61% of those suffering with cataracts are women
  • 65% of those with Age-Related Macular Degeneration are women (almost double that of their male counterparts)
  • Data reveals that women suffer serious vision conditions at almost twice the rate of men

Curious for more facts? Learn more here

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Women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions. In addition to being responsible for their own health, women are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse and aging parents.

Prevent Blindness Organization

Womens Health: How Pregnancy Impacts Your Vision

Did you know? Expectant mothers should expect vision changes. In particular, women who have diabetes, or even gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy), should be visiting their eye doctor yearly. We all know women experience a wide range of changes during pregnancy, including nausea and body tenderness. However, most don’t realize how pregnancy affects a womens vision and at times, can affect the baby’s health as well.

Expectant mothers can experience dry eyes, blurred vision, or severe changes to vision. It is important for women to watch out for the following vision conditions: 

  • Blurred Vision: Minor vision changes while pregnant are common, if the changes are drastic, or are changing at a steady pace, then it’s important to see an Optometrist nearby.
  • Dry Eyes: An Optometrist nearby can prescribe artificial tears, gels, ointments, vitamins and therapies to reduce discomfort. There are also technologically advanced, non-surgical treatments, like radio frequency, that have the added bonus of reducing wrinkles and signs of aging while improving dry eyes.
  • Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes: Watch out for severe blurring, fluctuating vision, double vision, flashes or floaters in your vision, and any partial vision loss. These symptoms require immediate attention.

Best Rated Womens Health Tips: Optometrists recommend women wait approximately 6-9 months after giving birth before changing their prescription. This helps ensure that their eyes have fully adjusted prior to any prescription changes. 

Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes should visit their eye doctor once per trimester to monitor their retinal health and to help ensure the correct steps are taken to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy (bleeding in the back of the eye). Diabetes-induced retinal damage can lead to permanent blindness. 

Womens Health

Womens Health: 6 Easy Ways to Help Save Your Eyes

Taking steps to understand and reduce the risk of eye-related diseases can be important in preventing vision impairment and preventing eventual vision loss. Here are some simple points to help protect your health, eyes and eyesight:

  1. Ask your family about any history of eye diseases and conditions that may run in the family.
  2. Wear UV A + B blocking sunglasses when outdoors.
  3. Don’t smoke and limit second hand smoke exposure.
  4. Consume a healthy diet with proper nutrition, and if prescribed by your Optometrist, eye health supplements.
  5. Stick to a healthy eye and hand hygiene routine if you use contact lenses.
  6. Be conscious of any cosmetic precautions, and ensure high cosmetic hygiene standards for cosmetics that go in and around your eyes.
“It is imperative that we inform women about protecting their vision today in order to save sight for tomorrow,” said Leslie Bailey, Vice President of Prevent Blindness. “By creating the See Jane See program, we are able to provide a place where women can find current news and invaluable information that’s dedicated specifically to them and their needs.”

Womens Health & Vision Resources

In honor of April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Metrotown Optometrists, Real Eyes Optometry has gathered expert resources and suggested recommendations on the best ways to support womens health and vision.

Speak to Your Eye Doctor and Take Measures to Protect Your Eyes

Real Eyes Optometry encourages you to reach out to the women in your life because once vision is lost, it often can’t be regained. The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear, as many eye issues are painless and symptomless. In some occurrences, by the time you notice symptoms, the vision loss may be untreatable.

Exciting Announcement | Our Nomination for Small Business BC Award 2021

Small Business BC for the Best Community Impact Award

Real Eyes Optometry is proud to have been nominated by Best Small Business BC in the Best Community Impact category for 2021. We are dedicated to serving the diverse communities in the Burnaby Metrotown area. When asked about what motivated the start of Real Eyes Optometry, and what core causes drive the team, we needed to share a little backstory on our founder.

As a child, Dr. Shaun Pati’s mother was in a serious car accident which resulted in the loss of some of her vision due to her injury. His mother’s Optometrist was Dr. Tony Wang, who took the time to care for her eye health.

A six-year-old at the time, Shaun accompanied his mother to her eye doctor appointments. After numerous follow-ups over the course of several years, Dr. Tony Wang helped his mother fully regain her eyesight.

Dr. Shaun Pati was motivated by these events and decided to become an Optometrist himself. He decided to move away from Burnaby to study at Pacific University in Oregon, where he would meet his future wife, Dr. Amit Sahota who is also a part of the Real Eyes team.

In 2015, he graduated and became Dr. Shaun Pati, Doctor of Optometry. In 2016, he bumped into Dr. Wang at an Optometry conference in Vancouver. They reconnected and decided to team up to continue serving the Burnaby community. In 2017, Real Eyes Optometry was formed.

In response to the interview questions asked by Small Business BC, of what our business core beliefs are, Dr. Shaun Pati explained that “our goals are to provide the best patient care we can, we always want to leave a positive impression on anyone who steps into our office. Whether it be a smile at the door, educating you on a condition, or reassurance that everything will be okay. No matter how difficult the diagnosis may be, our team will always be there for our patients and community.”

It is an honour to be recognized by Small Business BC. Real Eyes Optometry is open 6 days a week to help improve your vision, one eye at a time. Come meet our team and check out our eye exam services so that we can help take care of your eye health.

Radiofrequency Treatment: The Connection Between Dry Eyes & Ocular Aesthetics

What is Radiofrequency?

Radiofrequency treatment is a nonsurgical method of improving dry eyes and tightening your skin by fighting the signs of aging. This treatment involves using energy waves to heat the superficial layer of your skin, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin reformation. It also helps open your oil glands on your eyelids which help prevent tear evaporation thus improving dry eye symptoms. 

Collagen gives your skin its firmness and elastin creates skin elasticity. As you age, your cells produce less collagen, which results in an increase in skin laxity, fine lines and wrinkles. This process tends to occur around age 35 – 40 when the quantity and quality of your collagen starts to decline. Your eyes oil glands also start to work less efficiently with age and this can cause dry eyes with vision fluctuations.

How Radiofrequency Treatment Works

Radiofrequency stimulates your body to create new collagen fibers while opening blocked oil glands on the eyelids by the heat it creates. The treatment is painless and quick, normally taking less than an hour, and safe on all skin types, colors and complexions. After the treatment, your eyes oil glands will function better and your skin will look tighter and rejuvenated.

Radiofrequency treatment
Did you know? 30% of Canadians experience ocular symptoms associated with dry eyes.

6 Transformative Radiofrequency Treatment Benefits (Research Proven)

There are many benefits to Radiofrequency treatment, including oil gland functionality improvement, relief of dry eye symptoms and skin tightening. Here are some of the research proven benefits:

  1. Fighting Sun Damage: A group in a 2011 study found that 3 months of Radiofrequency treatment led to significant improvements with mild to moderate signs of sun damage on the skin.
  1. Body Contouring: Radiofrequency treatment helps tighten loose skin on your body by stimulating the production of collagen. A 2017 study found that 24 of the 25 people (who underwent 5 to 8 sessions) saw an improvement in their body shape. 92% were happy with their results.
  1. Face Contouring: In another study, researches found significant improvement in facial skin sagginess, and 73% had improvements in facial contour.
  1. Wrinkles and fine lines: A 2018 study looked at the effect of Radiofrequency treatment on wrinkles around the eyes of 70 middle-aged women. Researchers found that three treatments over 6 weeks significantly reduced their wrinkles while improving dry eyes symptoms.
  1. Face slimming: A 2017 study discovered how after 5 weeks of Radiofrequency treatment, more than 90% of the women had a reduction in fat, and 60% were satisfied or very satisfied with their results. The nonsurgical method of slimming your face had the only side effect of mild redness, which dissipated several hours after the procedure.
  1. Dry Eye Relief: In another 2017 study, 50% of participants had an improvement in Lipid Layer Thickness (which helps retain moisture over the surface of your eye) and demonstrated improvements in dry eye symptoms.
Radiofrequency treatment

Importance of Finding a Radiofrequency Provider

Finding the correct provider is essential. It is a safe treatment, when performed by a certified professional. If the procedure is incorrectly performed, it’s possible for your skin to feel a transient heat-arc that results in the following side effects:

  • Temporary swelling
  • Redness
  • Tingling

Read about 9 Dry Eye Symptoms and a Wrinkle Reducing Treatment

Check out the other Real Eye Optometry blog articles here

Lucky for you, our team is trained in a new, noninvasive radiofrequency treatment that treats dry eye disease and also reduces the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines while tightening the skin. Real Eyes Optometry is proud to be a Certified TempSure Partner and now provides dry eyes and ocular aesthetic treatments. Book your dedicated dry eye and ocular aesthetic appointment today and find the treatment that is right for you.

9 Dry Eye Symptoms and a Wrinkle Reducing Treatment

Are Your Eyes Burning? 

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Tears can be inadequate for many reasons. For example, DES syndrome may occur if you don’t produce enough tears, or if you produce poor-quality tears. This tear deficiency leads to inflammation and damage of the eye’s surface.

Dry Eye


9 Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eyes can be caused by aging, menopause, certain medical conditions like thyroid disorders, certain medications, poor ocular hygiene and other factors. The signs and symptoms vary greatly and usually affect both eyes. The symptoms of dry eye syndrome are as follows:   

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Contact lens discomfort
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving and glare
  • Watery eyes (a common symptom)
  • Blurred vision, fluctuating clarity or eye fatigue

What Does Dry Eye Syndrome Mean for You?

Dry eyes are uncomfortable and can often cause your eyes to sting or burn. You may experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as on an airplane, in an air-conditioned room, a dry environment or after looking at a computer or smartphone for a few hours.  It can affect how well you see, as well as how comfortable your eyes are throughout the day. If you suffer from difficulty wearing contact lenses, overly watery eyes, or eye fatigue, it can have a massive impact on your day.

Radio Frequency
Radio Frequency Treatment Offered by Real Eyes Optometry


When to See an Eye Doctor & What to Expect

If you’ve had prolonged signs and dry eye symptoms, including red, irritated, tired or painful eyes, it’s time to see your eye doctor. An optometrist nearby can take steps to determine what’s bothering your eyes and suggest treatments to make you more comfortable.

The eye doctor will complete various tests to evaluate the health of the tear layers, your eyes ability to produce tears and check for any damage caused by Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). This is all to say, the exam usually takes around 30 minutes and is to determine a personalized treatment for you.

Tempsure Treatment & the Wrinkle Reducing Benefits

While artificial tears may provide short term relief, more effective treatments are now available. Radio Frequency is an advanced, non-invasive, heat and laser technology that helps to treat dry eye disease but it also has added beauty benefits, and can be an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of;

  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Facial creases 
  • Loose skin
Best of all, Radio Frequency requires no surgery, needles or downtime. 

This Radio Frequency treatment is provided by Cynosure’s TempSure Envi device and is only offered by specialized, certified providers. Be sure to speak with your optometrist nearby to inquire about a dry eye syndrome evaluation, and the treatment options they have available for your eyes. 

Additional Technical Resources: Mayo Clinic – DES Causes

4 Best Rated Tips to Fend Off Foggy Glasses

Foggy Glasses: Eye Doctors Have the Best Rated Tips

Believe it or not, it can be done – Keep your glasses from fogging up! For all of us that wear glasses for fashion, or for sight, we likely didn’t think anything of it. And then masks happened.

It has been a challenge for many of us. We don’t need foggy glasses on top of everything else, right? While we can’t control what’s going on around us, luckily, Eye Doctors have the best rated tips on how to eliminate the foggy glasses problem. With the tips below, you can tell your foggy glasses to fog off!

Foggy Glasses and Noodles

Why Do Glasses Fog Up?

Here’s the simple science behind it. When warm air hits a cool surface, condensation can form. Just think about how your glasses fog up when you enjoy a bowl of hot soup. The same thing happens with a mask. When your warm breath escapes through the top of the mask, it hits the lenses of your glasses and causes them to fog up. What can you do to prevent this from happening? Check out the 4 Tips below from Best Rated Pediatric Metrotown Optometrist (2 Years in a Row), Dr. Shaun Pati.

Now, glasses can be a major investment. If you have special coatings on your lenses, check with your nearby Optometrist before trying any other fog off hacks so you don’t ruin your lenses and coatings.

Top 4 Tips to Defog Your Glasses While Wearing a Mask 2021

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  1. Check for the right fit: If you don’t, you’re going to get that steam room effect all day long. Here’s a good tip from Metrotown Optometrist Dr. Shaun Pati

“Ensure your mask fits securely over the nose. With glasses, a mask that has a nose bridge will help keep warm air from exiting up to your glasses,” says Dr. Shaun Pati (Metrotown Eye Doctor).

  1. Position your glasses to seal the top of your mask: By pulling your mask up higher on your nose, your glasses can help seal it and shape it to your face. Place your glasses right on top of the material over your nose and make sure they don’t slide off. This secure fit will keep the warm air from escaping through the top of the mask.
  1. Tape it down: You can tape your mask down around the bridge of your nose and to your cheeks with sports or medical tape; however, don’t use duct tape or tape that wasn’t made to be used on skin. If you have sensitive skin, test the tape out beforehand to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation.
  1. Fog Wipes: The easiest and most effective solution is to use Fog Wipes. Why does this method work? The wipes leave behind a thin film that acts as a fog barrier. Single use anti-fog wipes are available in packs of 10 for only $5.00 – It’s as easy as wiping your lenses with the wipe, to get 10 hours of anti-fog protection and the wipe can be used on all types of lenses. Come pick them up at our office.

Come pick them up at the office $5 for 10

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