Seasonal Allergies, COVID-19 or the Flu (Important New Information)

Seasonal Allergies

Covid-19 or Allergies: What you need to know for spring

Posted: April 14, 2020 11:31 AM PT | Last updated April 14, 2020


With spring right around the corner, we are saying goodbye to winter and the dreary weather. It also means we are faced with seasonal allergies. This year, with COVID-19 being so prominent, it can get confusing to know if the symptoms you are experiencing are from seasonal allergies, the seasonal flu, the common cold or COVID-19. To help differentiate between them, we have gathered up some of the main symptoms each of these conditions can present with. 

Main symptoms of COVID-19 

  • fever 
  • tiredness
  • dry cough
  • shortness of breath occuring 5-10 days after developing a fever. 

Less Common Symptoms that can be confused with the flu, a cold or seasonal allergies include:

  • body aches and pains 
  • wheezing
  • diarrhea
  • nasal congestion 
  • runny nose 
  • sore throat

Common Symptom of Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever): 

  • runny nose
  • itchy eyes mouth or skin
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion 

Less common symptoms are:

  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath 
  • fatigue

    After confirming that you indeed are dealing with seasonal allergies, contact your local optometrist to deal with your itchy eyes.

The Main Symptoms of the Seasonal Flu (Influenza) are: 

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • muscle/body aches
  • headache
  • and tiredness

Less Common Symptoms are:

  • sneezing 
  • sore throat 
  • runny nose
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • and shortness of breath if you develop pneumonia

Main Symptoms of a Common Cold are:

  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • chest discomfort

Less Common Symptoms are:

  • fatigue
  • body aches

It can be a confusing time for everyone, if you do develop any of the above symptoms and are unsure if they are from Seasonal Allergies, Seasonal Flu, Common Cold or COVID-19, we recommend you contact your family doctor or call the 811 line for more guidance. We also advise self-isolation for 14 days for any symptoms that could resemble symptoms from the Season Flu, Common Cold and COVID-19 categories above. 

Info from www.bccdc.ca: May 2021 Update

We are learning that some symptoms, like fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, and trouble breathing are more likely to be COVID-19 than seasonal allergies. New guidance for when to get a COVID-19 test reflects this new evidence.

What you need to know

  • Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19
  • A COVID-19 test is recommended if:
    • you had a contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and have any one of the symptoms below.  
    • you are experiencing  symptoms as described below.
  • If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. 

Where to get tested for Covid

There are some private pay clinics that offer testing for a fee to people who require asymptomatic testing for reasons that fall outside of B.C. public health recommendations such as for travel or employment.
Please note that the following listings are provided only as a convenience and their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the Government of British Columbia or the BCCDC.

Should I get tested if I don’t have symptoms?

If you don’t have any symptoms, testing is not recommended even if you are a contact. 

If you are unsure, use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

There are some private pay clinics that offer testing for a fee to people who require asymptomatic testing for reasons that fall outside of B.C. public health recommendations such as for travel or employment.

If you are experiencing symptoms, stay calm, stay home, and call a healthcare provider.

Important FAQs on COVID 19 and Eye Health

Covid and Eye Health

Tips on how to get through your Covid 19 and eye health experience

Posted: Mar 23, 2020 11:31 AM PT | Last updated Mar 23, 2020


Are contact lenses safe to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The short answer is yes. It is safe to wear contacts. Contacts do not effect COVID 19 and eye health as long as you are not experiencing any cold or flu symptoms.

The most important thing to know about Covid 19 and eye health is to maintain your hygiene. Before putting your contact lenses in your eyes, the most important things are to wash your hands with soap and warm water, and dry your hands with an unused paper towel.

If you use monthly or biweekly replacement contact lenses, it is ideal to use a hydrogen peroxide based contact lens solution to store and clean your contact lenses. Make sure to store them for a minimum of 6 hours in such a solution or refer to the solution instructions package for further specification.

Remember to dispose your contact lenses at the correct replacement frequency. The replacement period is from the date you opened the new pack of lenses, regardless of how many days over the month or two weeks that you wore the contact lenses.

If your eyes get irritated or red, then remove your contact lenses immediately and contact your optometrist for the best advice on Covid 19 and Eye health.

Covid 19 and Eye Health
covid 19 and eye health

Covid 19 and Eye Health: Should you wear contact lenses if you have the cold or flu?

You should NOT wear contact lenses if you have the cold or flu. It is recommended that contact lens wear be discontinued during a cold or flu. If you wear monthly or biweekly disposable contact lenses, it is ideal to dispose of the contact lenses you are currently wearing and start a fresh pair of contact lenses when your cold or flu resolves. 

Covid 19 and Eye Health: Should you disinfect spectacles and sunglasses?

Spectacles and sunglasses are on your face, it is important to clean them regularly. With COVID-19 and Eye Health, cleaning your glasses daily can be beneficial. A simple way to clean your glasses is with warm water and mild dish soap, making sure to clean all areas of the frame, nose pads and the lenses. Then dry your frames with a clean, and soft (non-abrasive) towel. After that, you can further clean your lenses with a lens cleaner spray and lens cloth. 

Can COVID 19 effect your eye health?

Several reports suggest COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye). However, there have been very few documented cases. Several reports suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva (the tissue lining the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eye). This is another reason why it is important to frequently wash your hands with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and eyeball. It’s characterized by redness or “pink eye” as well as irritation and itching. Often a discharge forms a crust on your eyelashes during the night and can be very uncomfortable. If you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect you have pink eye, please avoid scratching and touching your eyes and contact a healthcare provider for treatment to prevent further spreading of the infection.

Treatments ofconjunctivitis include antibiotics, usually given topically as eye drops or ointment, for bacterial conjunctivitis. Antibiotics may help shorten the length of infection, reduce complications, and reduce the spread to others.


For more information read the following article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology https://www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context

If you are experiencing symptoms, stay calm, stay home, and call a healthcare provider.

Profiles of Excellence in Burnaby Now (Top 3 Pediatric Optometrists)

Profiles of Excellence

Real Eyes Optometry | Featured Profiles of Excellence | Burnaby’s Rated Top 3 Pediatric Optometrist

Some seeds are planted early in life, and then grow into beautiful blooms when the time is right.
For Dr. Shaun Pati, an experience in his childhood led unexpectedly to a career that he loves – and that has now brought him full circle back to Burnaby.

He was just six years old when his mother was in a car accident that left her with eye injuries from broken glass. Shaun accompanied his mother to countless visits to a local optometrist, Dr. Tony Wang, who helped her fully regain her eyesight. The family continued with Dr. Wang as patient in the coming years.

Profiles of Excellence
Profiles of Excellence – Dr. Pati, Dr. Amit Sahota, Alison Kruizenga & Christina Nan

The experience left him with a fascination for the science of sight and the medicine of optometry.

“It really changed me, and I became so interested in how the eye worked, how optometry helped people,” he said. “We were patients of his for a long time – he even gave me my first eye glasses.”

Shaun later moved to the US to study at a university in Oregon, where he met his future wife, and became a Doctor of Optometry in 2015. The next year, by sheer chance, he bumped into Dr. Wang at a conference in Vancouver.

“We started talking and catching up and fast forward one year, we teamed up and I bought his practice and moved here,” he said.

Dr. Wang continues to work part-time with Shaun, along with a growing team of doctors and staff, now under the name Real Eyes Optometry.

“We have a wonderful group here, honest and trustworthy and always putting the practice first – this team is really like part of the family,” he said.

“we want people to know we are here for them (Burnaby Now Profile of Excellence)

REO profiles shaun
Profiles of Excellence. Profiles of Excellence. Profiles of Excellence

Everyone at the clinic has a focus on not just providing top-notch patient care but also education and customer service.

“We want everyone who comes here to feel well informed and educated, that the whole experience was positive and informative, and well taken care of,” he said.

“Being included in the Profiles of Excellence means that a patient visiting here knows they’ve been treated with respect, they understand what’s happening, and if they need to get glasses or other items that they can get them with a fair price and helpful service.”

Shaun says his focus on education includes both in-person – talking to patients when they are in the office – but also offering resources and information online through his website.

“That digital transformation is important in this field too, so we’re creating ways for people to learn more online,” he said. “People can connect with us online, make appointments and get information and education there, too.”

Located in Metrotown, the office is a central location for patients in Burnaby and beyond, with a full spectrum of services from eye exams through eyeglass and contact sales. Shaun says many new patients find them through the recommendation of family and friends, and it’s always rewarding to hear that their reputation is growing.

“We are grateful for our profile of excellence in Burnaby now and hope that it will encourage new patients to come to us when they have anything going on with their eyes at all,” he said. All too often, people will attend a family physician first for eye conditions, only to be referred back to an optometrist. “That’s what we’re here for, whether it’s redness or an infection or any other thing going on with your eyes, we hold our medical eye care to an extremely high standard, and we want people to know we are here for them.”

Top 3 Ways to Protect my Kid’s Vision?

kid's vision

How to protect my kid’s vision?

The top 3 things to do is to:

  • Provide nutritious meals that are packed with antioxidants and micro-nutrients like vitamin C, E, Zinc, Omega 3 and lutein, which are in fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish.
  • Prevent your child from any impact to the eye. You can do so by providing protective eyewear when playing sports, etc. Please check out the different types of eyewear here.
  • Provide vision correction to prevent kid’s vision from getting worse and proper UV coated lenses to protect your children’s eyes from the sun’s rays. We recommend regular eye examination. Children under 18 years old is covered by BC MSP and have free annual examinations.

When Should a Child First See an Optometrist?

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends a kid’s vision exam should be done by 6 months of age, again at 3 years, and every year after that time. This is because it is important that any potential sight-threatening condition be caught early to prevent blindness and to allow your kid’s vision to achieve its maximum potential. Children’s eye exams should be performed annually until they are 18 years old.

However, if you have a family history of ocular problems, or if you notice any of the below behavioral signs, we highly recommend booking before the yearly eye exam.

Behavioral Signs of a Kid’s Vision Problems

  •  Squints, closes, or covers one eye.
  •  Tilts head while doing activities that are near (50cm+ away from eyes).
  •  Feels objects rather than looking at objects.
  •  Avoids looking at books and puzzles, prefers toys they can handle.
  • Holding books too close to their face or holding their face too close to a desk surface is sign that your kid’s vision may need an exam.
  • Sitting very close to the TV (when repeatedly moved back).
  • Cannot stay within the lines when colouring (age dependent) or ignores the lines when colouring.

How Do I Find the Best Optometrist?

If you are looking for a new pediatric optometrist, or a place for your kid’s vision exam, asking family and friends for recommendations is a good first step. However, just like selecting any other type of health care professional, it is a personal choice that needs to work long-term for you and your family.  Luckily a lot of the qualifications you would look for when seeking a new optometrist for adults are the same when looking for a pediatric optometrist. Meaning once you find a great optometrist, they are somewhere you can take your entire family to with confidence.

Confirm the Pediatric Optometrist Credentials

As a parent, time is particularly precious. You can save yourself a lot of time by relying on reputable sites such as ThreeBestRated, that rank, review, and list the Top 3 Pediatric Optometrists. Every year, experts at ThreeBestRated recommend the Top 3 Pediatric Optometrists in Burnaby, BC and put all pediatric eye doctors through a rigorous 50-Point Inspection which includes the below. Your child deserves only the best!

  • Ratings
  • Reputation
  • History
  • Complaints
  • Satisfaction
  • Trust
  • Cost
  • Location
  • General excellence

Convenience, Convenience, Convenience

While your child is younger, more frequent eye exams are recommended. So selecting a nearby pediatric optometrist that has an office in a convenient location, with free and accessible parking, and good office hours will add a lot of convenience into your life. Another consideration for the parent-on-the-go, is selecting an office location that is centralized and near other stores. This helps facilitate getting your never-ending errands and appointments completed without having you driving all over the city. Consider being able to run to a grocery store, make a clothing return, and grab a quick bite, all while taking care of your kid’s vision.



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Discover Summer Eye Protection | 4 ways to Avoid UV Vision Damage

Summer is a season when everyone enjoys spending time out under the sun. All our optometrists at Real Eyes Optometry want to ensure that everyone is having fun and staying safe.

summer
Can Your Eyes Get Sunburned?

Summer Eye Protection

Wear authentic 100% UV Filtering Sunglasses – Not only do sunglasses make you look cool, but it can protect your eyes from sun damage and prevent conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygium and corneal sunburn. Ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn, are also harmful to your eyes. Be sure you select lenses that filter UV rays for you and your family.

Summer Calls For Hats

Sunglasses are definitely the first step in summer eye protection, but there are gaps on the sides of the sunglasses that still allow UV rays in. Combining your sunglasses with a hat provides additional protection from the harsh summer rays and minimizes your exposure. The best hats are those with a wide brim around the entire hat, such as a bucket hat or “boater”. A baseball cap is also a good solution, ideally, the brim is approximately 3 inches wide to provide consistent protection around your eyes. There are also significantly more wide brim hat options available, particularly for women, over the last few years that are both stylish and provide necessary summer protection. 

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Even prior to COVID-19, washing your hands and avoiding touching your face and eyes was one of the best ways to protect yourself from communicable diseases — and this still holds true. The simple habit of washing your hands on a regular basis can help avoid contracting eye conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye). 

If you recently had eye surgery, such as LASIK/PRK, you are at increased risk for infection. Heightened cleanliness and avoiding touching your eyes will be vital. This includes putting in, and taking out contacts, applying eye drops, and avoiding touching your eyes in general.

80% of a person’s lifetime UVR exposure occurs prior to the age of 18.


Stay Hydrated – Drinking enough fluids will also help your eyes produce more tears to keep them nice and

– The World Health Organization

Summer Eye Protection includes Drinking Plenty of Water

It is easy for us to become dehydrated in the warmer months and this can affect our eyes. With severe dehydration, our body has a more difficult time producing tears which can lead to unpleasant dry eye symptoms that include:

  • 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
summer

Drinking plenty of water can prevent and counteract the negative effects of dehydration, and provide adequate moisture for normal eye function.

  • Hydrate. Not all liquids are equal, ensure you have lots of water or drinks with salts and electrolytes.
  • Limit Spirits. Alcohol can impair your body’s ability to cool itself, so it is best to limit consumption during hot and extreme temperatures.

Use Eye Drops

Even with following all of these tips for summer eye protection, sometimes we need a bit of extra help. Eye drops usually are the first step in dry eye treatment. With plenty of brand options and many available over the counter, meaning you are able to purchase without a prescription, artificial tears are an accessible and easy way to treat dry eye symptoms.

Summer can be a particularly troublesome time if you have allergies, and you may benefit from eye drops. However, given there is a range of formulas, some of which may not be ideal for your lifestyle, we recommend discussing with your eye doctor if you have a chronic need for eye drops. There are a variety of treatments available. 

Schedule an Appointment with an optometrist at Real Eyes Optometry to find your sunglasses prescription today. Please call 604-433-4280.

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Blue Blocker Lenses (#1 Way to Beating the Blue Light Blues)

Blue Blocker Lenses

Blue Blocker Lenses and Beating the Blue Light Blues

You are exposed to all kinds of light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation every day from sources such as sunlight, fluorescent lights, computers, laptops, smartphones, and TV. Blue blocker lenses are used to reduce the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to every day.

Blue Blocker Lenses: What is Blue Light?

Blue-violet light is the most energetic out of all the light that can be seen by the human eye, also known as the visible spectrum. You already know the visible spectrum if you can name the colors of the rainbow (hint: ROYGBIV). This is why blue blocker lenses are important to your eye health.

Blue Blocker Lenses: What makes Blue Light Different?

Blue-violet light has the highest energy because it has the shortest wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum because energy and wavelength are inversely related. That means the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy and vice versa.  The wavelengths of the visible spectrum range from approximately 400-700 nanometers (nm).

So red light, at around 700 nm, has the least energy and blue light, at around 400 nm, has the most.

Blue Blocker Lenses: What is Ultraviolet Light?

Even more powerful than Blue-Violet light is Ultraviolet Light, X-Rays, and Gamma Rays. Ultraviolet light, also known as UV light, is invisible to the human eye and can cause cancer! It’s the reason why we wear sunblock and sunglasses when we’re out in the sun and its wavelengths range from around 10-380 nm.

The Good

Ever notice how a little sunshine can improve your mood? That’s because moderate exposure to certain types of blue light is essential to your well-being, and along with elevating your mood, it can make you feel more alert and even help with memory. Blue light exposure also keeps your biological clock ticking on time – one of the biggest sources of blue light is the sun, and when it sets, your body takes the hint that it’s time to start getting ready for a restful night of sleep.

Blue Blocker Lenses
What we call light is only a small range on the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, which also includes radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and the previously mentioned gamma rays. (Images provided by Dr. Shaun Pati)

The Bad

Prolonged and constant exposure to blue light can cause your eyes to discomforts such as strain and glare. Also, since blue light is important in regulating our circadian rhythms by letting our body’s natural clock know when it’s time to sleep, too much blue light exposure right before bed will negatively affect the quality of your sleep and can make you feel more tired and less alert the next day.

This is becoming an increasing issue as some of the main sources of blue light (aside from the sun) are our electronic devices (such as your smartphone, notebook, TV, and computer). That’s why you should use blue blocker lenses and think twice about using your phone and computer right before bed!

The Ugly

Blue light exposure puts you at increased risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, especially for people over the age of 50. This condition, which affects the part of the retina known as the macula, is non-curable and affects the sharpness and clarity of your central vision, which you depend on to drive and read. Too much exposure to UV light can cause cataracts and even temporary blindness (known as photokeratitis) due to sunburns on the cornea. Just another reason why you should NEVER stare directly at the sun!

What Can You do?

You can’t (and shouldn’t) try to avoid all blue light, but instead take steps to reduce your exposure with blue blocker lenses. This can take on many forms- from reducing your time staring at a screen (especially right before bed), to using blue-blocking lenses as filters. At Real Eyes Optometry, we recommend using Crizal Prevencia No Glare lenses which not only blocks harmful blue light (while letting the good blue light through), it also offers comprehensive UV protection.

If you use Sunblock for your skin, you should use Blue blocker lenses for your eyes. It’s that simple.

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