Digital Eye Strain 2021 (8 Best Optometrist Tips)

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Do I have Digital Eye Strain (Computer Vision Syndrome)?

Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome as it’s more commonly known, is a term for a number of eye symptoms that result from too much time spent in front of digital screens.

What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

Modern life! Computer screens emit blue light which affects our circadian rhythms and melatonin production. Prolonged digital eye strain comes from looking at digital screens during the day and can have a negative effect on our health, including difficulty sleeping.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

Your eyes will hurt from the strain if you spend hours each day looking at the little on-screen pixels. This can cause headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder discomfort. Neck and shoulder discomfort is also common due to bad posture, poor desk ergonomics and incorrect alignment while using digital devices and is sometimes referred to as part of computer vision syndrome by healthcare professionals. Too much time in front of a screen can cause many symptoms, including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye
  • Eye discomfort
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye itching
  • Eye redness
  • Eye tearing
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Luckily, the majority of computer vision syndrome symptoms are short-term or temporary. Typically computer vision syndrome symptoms will go away once you have stopped using your computer, laptop, or other screened devices. However, some symptoms may last longer with more extended, or increased, computer use or if you have an underlying eye problem.

Dry Eyes, contact lens care

About 80% of American adults say they use digital devices for more than two hours per day, and nearly 67% use two or more devices at the same time.

How Long Can Digital Eye Strain Last?

Unfortunately it doesn’t take long to develop digital eye strain, and after a couple of hours spent in front of the screen, you can get 1 hour or more of eye strain. 

This issue is compounded for knowledge workers who spend an average of 8+ hours in front of a screen. If you are able to limit yourself to less than a couple of hours on a device each day, your computer vision syndrome symptoms should only last 10-20 minutes but this will vary person to person. Contact us for an appointment if your eye strain persists even after you stop your screen time.

Can Digital Eye Strain Be Permanent?

Fortunately, digital eye strain isn’t permanent. The signs of computer vision syndrome may get better with time as a result of developing better, and new screen habits. Read the below optometrist verified tips.

The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer, either in the office or working from home. 

6 Tips to Correct Digital Eye Strain

Various methods exist for treating digital screen-related vision issues; however, most can be diminished by getting regular eye care and modifying how the screen is viewed. Individuals who do not require eyeglasses for their daily activities may find that glasses designed specifically for computer use can help them see better and feel less strain. In addition, if your prescription isn’t optimal for digital viewing it can contribute to computer eye syndrome. Try a combination of one or more of these tips. 

1. Relax Your Eyes

  • Cover Your Eyes. Block out the light with an eye mask, soft material, or use your hands to cover your eyes.
  • Palming. Warm your hands by rubbing them together quickly for around 5 seconds, then press the heel of your palms just below your eyes (where you can feel your eye socket bone).
Radio Frequency
Radio Frequency Treatment

2. Dry Eye Products and Solutions

Artificial tears, or eye drops, are a common treatment for dry eyes but the relief can often be short-term. Prescribed steroid eye drops cannot be used for an extended period of time without side effects. When using eye drops, we recommend preservative-free artificial tears.

However, there is now a better, more effective treatment that is safe, quick and has amazing anti-aging benefits as well.  

Radio Frequency is an advanced 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

It gently heats the skin, which helps open the oil glands on the eyelids – this prevents your tears from evaporating prematurely. It also promotes collagen and elastin activity around the eyes. This helps to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes as well as the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles in and around the eyes. This treatment can eliminate dry eye related eye fatigue, stinging and itchiness, and will leave you with an improved skin tone and a natural glow.  After a radio frequency session, you can return to your normal daily activities immediately following the treatment. Radio Frequency treats dry eyes, has substantial anti-aging benefits, is comfortable, safe & non-invasive and can take as little as 30 minutes.

3. Glasses Help Eye Strain

Whether you normally wear glasses or not, there are several types of lens filters or coatings that can help to prevent eye strain from happening in the first place, or to reduce additional symptoms that come with it. They are ideal to wear when you are in front of any type of digital screen. We 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, therefore full time wear of these glasses can be beneficial.  

  • Blue Blocker Lenses. Available with prescription glasses or without. They help reduce the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to everyday. For more information on blue blocker lenses check out our article here.
  • Anti-Fatigue Lenses. Ask your optometrist about lenses that help reduce strain on your focusing system if you have difficulty focusing on near objects. These lenses relax your eyes during near work. 
  • Anti-Glare Coating. A coating that practically eliminates all reflections from the front and back surfaces of your lenses. This allows more light to pass through into your eyes and eliminates distracting glare. The majority of individuals feel that anti-reflective or anti-glare coatings on their glasses are well worth the additional money.
digital eye strain

4. 20-20-20 Rule

It’s easy to get absorbed in our day and forget to take a break, so set yourself a timer. Set your timer for 20 minutes and every time the alert goes off, look at an object around 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. This will relax your eye muscles, reset your focusing system and prevent your prescription from increasing. Set the reminder on your smartwatch, or phone to help prevent computer vision syndrome.

5. Lifestyle Tips

With work from home more prevalent than ever, many of us now have more control over our work environment! To help prevent computer vision syndrome, try to implement one or more of the below:

  • Humidifier. Create moisture in your home or office by using a humidifier. This will help with preventing dry eyes.
  • Contact Care. Take out your contact lenses 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.
  • Adjust the Lighting. Ensure you have lots of lighting and that the room is softly lit. 
  • Workspace Optimization. Making these easy, small adjustments to your working environment can make a big difference.
    • Have your computer at least 40cm away from your eyes.
    • Don’t hunch over your screen, sit straight and if you are using a chair, correct the height so your feet can easily rest on the floor. 
    • Consider a screen glare filter.
    • Enlarge the text on your computer or digital device.
    • Certain digital screens, such as iPads and e-readers, can be viewed at arm’s length or slightly farther away to reduce the amount of digital eye strain experienced.

6. Regular Eye Exams

Your eyes, just like the rest of your body, are incredibly interconnected. Just like too much screen time can cause back and shoulder aches, certain eye conditions can cause symptoms that appear in other parts of your body. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting many eye conditions that can be treated if caught early, such as near and farsightedness, astigmatism, cataracts and glaucoma.  


Conjunctivitis Causes & Symptoms — Optometrist Verified (4 At-Home Pink Eye Treatments)

Dry Eye

What is Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)?

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation or infection that impacts the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and eyeball. Frequent symptoms are redness, itching, swelling, watering in the affected eye, a gritty feeling in your eye, and crusts on the eyelids from eye discharge during the night. Often it will spread from the initially infected eye, to the other eye. There are multiple causes, all of which are highly contagious and is spread through close contact with others.

If you have pink eye, it’s important to avoid spreading it to those around you, which may include staying home while you experience symptoms. Our optometrists have provided all the details you need to know, how it’s caused, when it’s safe to go to work or school, and how to best treat it.

How Do You Get Conjunctivitis?

There are two types of conjunctivitis, bacterial and viral. Viral is like most viruses in that it is spread through contact, such as hand-to-eye contact, or contaminated objects (pink eye discharge, fecal matter, or other infected discharge) coming into contact with your eyes.


On average, people touch their face around 23 times per hour.


Over the last 18 months, COVID has taught us that increased sanitation and hand washing can help prevent the spread of infection. The same is true for pink eye. It is spread when someone comes into direct, or indirect, contact with the infected fluid from pink eye. It can be spread through any of the following;

  • Unwashed hands, after coming in contact with an infected person
  • Sneezing, coughing
  • Close physical proximity to an infected person
  • Sharing objects that came into contact with eyes (contact lenses, glasses, towels, bedding, makeup, false eyelashes, or face products)

Similar to COVID, if you shake hands with someone who has pink eye and then touch your face prior to sanitizing your hands, you could contract conjunctivitis.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Conjunctivitis?

Viruses are the most common cause of pink eye. Coronaviruses, such as the common cold or COVID-19 are among the viruses that can cause pink eye.

What Does the Start of Conjunctivitis Feel Like?

Initially you will feel irritation in one eye or both, including redness or itchiness. It is also known as pink eye as it enlarges the tiny blood vessels in the white part of your eyes, causing them to turn red or pink in colour. 

Beyond the common symptoms of redness, pink eye can cause any of the following in one or both eyes:

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  • Watery eyes
  • Itching, burning, or gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Discharge: white, yellow, green or watery 
  • Crust build up on your eyelashes (which may prevent your eyes from easily opening in the morning)
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Unfortunately, you can experience these symptoms in addition to symptoms of a cold, the flu, and other viruses including COVID-19.

Pink eye shouldn’t impact your sight, if it does, be sure to immediately seek medical attention.

How Do I Know if I Have Bacterial or Viral Conjunctivitis?

The difference between the two types can be determined by the type of eye discharge. With bacterial, it is typically a sticky green or yellow eye discharge. In comparison, viral typically causes a watery eye discharge.

How Do You Get Rid of Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) Fast?

If you’re having bacterial pink eye symptoms, the fastest way to treat them is to see your eye doctor. Your eye doctor can provide the best treatment options based on the severity of your symptoms, while also taking into account your personal health history (such as compromised immune systems and allergies to medications). 


What Is the Best Treatment for Conjunctivitis?

Fortunately, pink eye doesn’t always require medical treatment but it is still recommended to speak with your eye doctor when you develop symptoms. Here are our treatment tips:

At-Home Pink Eye Treatment

  1. Cold Compress. Start by applying a cold compress, or an ice pack wrapped in a clean hand towel, to the affected eye to help reduce inflammation and provide relief. When wiping away eye discharge, use a warm washcloth and ensure other household members don’t use it afterwards.
  2. Artificial tears, or Eye Drops. Note, there are many different types of both over-the-counter and prescription eye drops so it is best to ask your eye doctor for recommendations. Steroid eye drops can be extremely effective but there is the potential for side effects so it is important to disclose your health history to your optometrist. The chance of side effects with steroid eye drops are lower with short-term use, and pink eye is a short-term infection. However, 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. Wear Glasses. If you usually wear contact lenses, switch to glasses or disposable lenses to avoid having to take special care disinfecting reusable contact lenses.
  4. Cosmetic Cleanse. Get rid of cosmetics that might have been in contact with your eyes recently. This can include accessories like false eyelashes,  

 Medical Treatments

Medical treatment for pink eye depends on how it was contracted, bacterial vs viral. If it is bacterial, then antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed; however, if you have viral pink eye, then antibiotics won’t help. See your eye doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Decreased vision
  • Blurred, or double vision
  • Eye redness worsens
  • Symptoms lasting beyond 7 days
  • Compromised or weakened immune system (either from an existing condition or if you are inflected with other viruses such as the flu, a cold, or COVID)

Seek medical treatment right away if you have a newborn with symptoms.

How Long Is Conjunctivitis Contagious For?

Pink eye normally stays contagious for as long as you, or your child, has eye discharge or tearing. Usually the symptoms improve within three to seven days. Symptoms usually peak between 3 to 5 days after you are exposed, and symptoms will clear up after 7 to 14 days.

Should I Stay Home With Pink Eye?

It is not mandatory to stay home, particularly if you are taking the necessary precautions to not spread it, including vigilant hand sanitization. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, you may need to stay home from school and work until your symptoms lessen. You are contagious for as long as you’re experiencing watery eyes and discharge. As pink eye typically lasts three to seven days, this could mean staying at home for several days. 

If your work requires close contact with colleagues or customers, you should stay home. Spreading pink eye is particularly easy if you touch shared equipment like cash registers, computers, phones, headsets, printers, or other items that are required to do your job. 

For children, it is recommended to contact their daycare or school to notify them. They may have policies in place to avoid outbreaks, or request your child stay at home if other viruses are in-play, such as COVID. It can be especially difficult for younger children to remember hand sanitization protocols, and maintain recommended physical distancing, so their school may request they stay home until their symptoms go away.

Of course, if you are not sure, always check with your eye doctor to find out when it’s safe to go back.

Why Real Eyes Optometry is the Best Pediatric Optometrist

Real Eyes Optometry has been voted Top 3 Pediatric Optometrist 3 years in a row!

We are a family-run, full scope optometry office that strives to provide the highest level of service. With over 30 years of experience, we continue to add the latest technology so that patients can come to us for all their eye care needs. Dr. Shaun Pati provides a comprehensive evaluation that includes your child’s refractive status, binocular vision system, and ocular health – all while keeping a smile on their face. His calm and comforting manner makes him great with kids, and the parents of his pediatric patients can attest to that. He is currently accepting families and patients of all ages, including kids!

Complete Guide to Astigmatism (5 FAQs & How to Fix it)

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Many of us haven’t seen much of the outside world during the pandemic; however, if you suffer from a refractive error, this is an ongoing issue. Refractive errors are a very common eye disorder that causes your eyes to not clearly focus on images from the outside world.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism (pronounced uh-STIG-muh-tiz-um) is a very common eye disorder that is a result of your eye not being completely round. When the eyeball is shaped like a perfectly round ball, light is able to enter the eye and bend evenly to give you a clear image. However, if your eye has a curvature imperfection (or more oval shaped) light is angled more in one direction than another which provides only partial focus on an object. This curvature, and non-ideal refraction of light, causes objects to look blurry, wavy or distorted. Here are a few distinctions you should be aware of:

Is Astigmatism a Refractive Error?

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error which occurs when your cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction than in another. Refractive errors occur when the shape of your eye prevents light from focusing correctly on your retina. In fact, it is one of the most common vision problems that impacts more than 150 million Americans. Eye exams are vital, as many don’t realize they could be seeing better with treatment. If you experience blurred vision, your optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to help you see clearly.

astigmatism correction

How Do You Fix Astigmatism?

Although it cannot be prevented, eye professionals can correct it if caught in time. Make sure to book your regular eye exam, your eyes depend on it. There are two treatments for astigmatism:

  1. Corrective Lenses. Glasses or contacts can correct almost all cases of astigmatism. Your eye doctor can prescribe a special type of soft contact lens called toric lenses, or eyeglasses, that aid in redirecting light to offset the misalignment. For more severe cases of astigmatism, your eye doctor may prescribe gas-permeable rigid contact lenses or recommend scleral lenses. Orthokeratology is also a viable option – this means wearing lenses while you sleep to help reshape your cornea (similar to how braces slowly correct the direction of teeth over time). Similar to braces, once your body starts to hold the new shape you can reduce how often you have to wear the lenses.
  2. Refractive Surgery. Laser surgery, such as LASIK and PRK, is able to change, or re-shape your cornea in order to correct the curvature imperfection. Ask your optometrist, as to be eligible for this option you typically need to have stable refractive error, healthy eyes with no retinal problems or corneal conditions.  

Refractive Errors At  a Glance

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  • Nearsightedness (myopia) makes far-away objects look blurry. 
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia) makes nearby objects look blurry.
  • Astigmatism makes both far-away & nearby objects look blurry or distorted.
  • Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects and becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65.

Most Common Symptom: Blurred vision.

What are Treatments? Eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser corrective surgery.

How Can You Tell If You Have Astigmatism?

See your optometrist! It is diagnosed by an eye exam that checks your eye health and refractive status that determines how your eyes bend light. Your optometrist will use various instruments, aim lights directly at your eyes, and look through several lenses to assess your eyes ability to bend light.

Symptoms may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Trouble seeing at night

What to Expect During Your Assessment:

  • You look through a series of lenses to find the ones that give you the clearest vision.
  • A keratometer or topographer uses a circle of light to measure the curve of your cornea.
  • Your eye doctor will use an autorefractor to shine light into your eye and measure how it changes as it bounces off the back. This provides information to your eye doctor on the types of lenses that would help you, if you have an astigmatism.


5 Astigmatism Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can You Go Blind From Astigmatism?

It does not cause blindness. It is a defect in the shape of the eye that causes light to refract incorrectly and results in distorted images. It causes blurred vision, eye strain, and headaches, and worsens over time, if left untreated.

2. Does Astigmatism Affect Night Vision?

Yes, astigmatism can negatively impact your night vision. Due to the light distortion from astigmatism, street lights and car lights may look streaky, fuzzy, or appear as halos, all of which can make it dangerous to drive at night.

3. Does Astigmatism Get Worse?

Yes, this eye condition only gets worse over time if left untreated. Blurred vision can, at times, be so severe it causes impairment. This is because without treatment, the skewed angle at which light enters your eye worsens, resulting in increasingly blurred and unclear vision.

Most eye conditions worsen over time and as we get older. Astigmatism typically stabilizes as you age – your eyelids lose their muscle tone, resulting in less pressure on the cornea that aids in maintaining its shape. Astigmatism can continue to progress as you age if you do a lot of near/computer work or rub your eyes a lot.

4. What Happens if Astigmatism Is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, astigmatism may cause eyestrain, headaches, and blurry vision. If you have astigmatism, you may not see objects in the distance or near without some form of distortion. Generally, astigmatism worsens if untreated. 

5. Can Children Get Astigmatism?

It is common for infants to be born affected but it frequently goes away within 12 months. As young children typically are unable to vocalize that they have a vision problem, it is important to keep an eye out for these below signs of a visual problem. Best practice is to start regular eye exams at about 6 months of age.

Behavioural Signs of Visual 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.

You can’t get astigmatism from reading in low light or sitting too close to the TV.

Astigmatism with healthy eye. Diseases of the eye. Comparative illustration.

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

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.

 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)

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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.

8 Tips to Prevent Digital Eyestrain | Protect Your Vision

What to Expect During Your Eye Exam, Refractive Surgery Evaluation, What to Expect During Your Eye Exam

Digital Eyestrain Testing

What is Digital Eyestrain?

Like most of us, you probably use screens for just about everything — to work, to relax, or just to keep up with daily life. Your digital devices may be to blame if your eyes feel dry and tired, your vision is blurry by the end of the day, or your head, neck, and shoulders ache all the time.

We often take our eyes for granted, but with a few simple tips on how to change how you use smartphones, computers, tablets, and other screens, you can keep from suffering digital eyestrain.

Do I Have Digital Eye Strain?

Digital Eyestrain

Digital Eyestrain

Find out more about Digital Eyestrain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome or visit an Eye Doctor for a Comprehensive Eye Exam. Learning how to manage our habits in front of a screen can help prolong our eye health for years to come.

8 Best Rated Tips to Prevent Digital Eyestrain (from Digital Devices)

Rest assured, you don’t need to cut out all screen time; however, here is how you can use your devices, and have it be easier on your eyes.

  1. Screen Distance: Have your computer screen about 25 inches (65cm), or an arm’s length, away from your face. 
  2. Screen Level: The center of the screen should be about 10-15 degrees below eye level. Using a standing desk can help both your eye level and your posture with prolonged time spent infront of the screen.
  3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This relaxes your focusing system. 
  4. Take a Break: Time passes very quickly when you are online or watching movies on your computer. Make sure you get up and take a break after every 2 hours you spend on your devices. A 15 minutes break will really reduce your risk of Digital Eyestrain.
  5. Artificial tears: Dry eyes are a common symptom of spending too much time infront of a screen. Eye drops can be used to refresh your eyes when they feel dry or irritated.
  6. Humidifier: Placing one in the room where you most often use a computer or other devices can help provide moisture for your eyes. Make sure you are well hydrated as well.
  7. Room Lighting: Ensure the lighting in the room you’re in is bright enough. The devices shouldn’t be brighter than the surrounding light. Starring at your computer in the dark can be harmful to your eye sight.
  8. Switch it Up: If you wear contact lenses, you can give your eyes a break by wearing glasses. Feeling irritated by your contacts is a sure sign that you need to get up fro a break.

How Real Eyes Optometry Can Help Prevent Digital Eyestrain

Our Eye doctors at Real Eyes Optometry recommend using ‘Blue-blocker’ lenses to prevent Digital Eyestrain. These lenses reduce visual discomfort and the harmful effects of blue light from our devices.

Regular eye exams are also very important. Visit us at Metrotown Mall in Burnaby, as you might need to use a different pair of glasses when you’re working on a computer.

Another option to consider is Radiofrequency. This is a non-surgical lid treatment that safely and effectively treats dry eyes at the source. This no needle, no downtime and treatment also helps with what people often describe as fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in a smoother, rejuvenated appearance around the eyes. At Real Eyes Optometry, we offer this treatment as well, contact us for more information.

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Dry Eyes Digital Eyestrain
Woman feeling eye pain when using mobile phone at night

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 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

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

Top 3 Ways to Protect my Kid’s Vision?

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.
children eye examinations kid's vision
Dr. Shaun Pati helping checking a kid’s vision

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 eye protection

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.

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

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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