The Dangers of Blue Light and What You Can Do
We are privileged to live in an advanced age at the turn of the 21st century. Electronic devices are everywhere in our world today and make our everyday interactions with the world around us ever easier, safer and more convenient. Although many positive effects have resulted from these devices in our everyday lives, a darker, more dangerous side exists to all of this progress and convenience.
Blue light, also known as high energy visible light, is emitted by many of these electronics, and is a serious threat to eye health which was previously unknown and irrelevant in generations past.
Living in such an advanced age, each of us, on average, spends roughly 25 hours every week staring at the screen of one of our electronic devices. To put this in perspective, that means that each of us spend more than one entire day, without sleeping, in front of devices that emit blue light that is proven to do serious damage to our visual system. Eyestrain, headaches and fatigue are common side effects. Even more alarming, recent studies indicate that blue light exposure has the potential to increase risk of macular degeneration significantly over time. Those with a history of macular degeneration are at special risk, as well as children, due to large pupils and shorter arms, which cause them to hold electronic devices closer to their faces, both of which allow more blue light to penetrate the eye.
Fortunately, cutting edge technological solutions to this growing epidemic exist. BluTech Lenses are special lenses specifically designed to selectively filter out blue light, enhancing visual comfort and minimizing eyestrain. These lenses boast a special state-of-the-art filtering agent within the lens material itself that duplicates elements in the eye, called ocular lens pigment and melanin, which the body naturally produces on its own, and which help filter out just the right amount of blue light entering the eye to protect against unfettered blue light penetration, while allowing proper visual contrast.
Recharge is another cutting edge option to help cut down on the harmful effects of blue light. HOYA is the advanced eye care company that produces these lenses, which reflect up to 30% of harmful blue light away from the eye.
Between the filtering effect of BluTech and the reflective properties of the Recharge coating, a large percentage of otherwise very harmful blue light never reaches the eye. This is an extremely important element in the long term health of your eyes.
Patients who spend hours on electronic devices are at increased risk of eyestrain and glare, macular degeneration or problems falling asleep at night. For more information about blue light and recharge lenses, speak to the optometrists and our team today at Dr Pink Sidhu and Associates.
What is Myopia? Why Should I be Concerned?
In myopia, light focuses in front of the retina due to the elongated eye. This causes blurry vision in the distance. Myopia as known as “nearsightedness”, is not only a refractive error, but it is a chronic, progressive eye disease characterized by eye elongation and increased risk of eye diseases: cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration.
Although higher levels of myopia are associated with greater risk of developing eye disease, it is imperative to know that any amount degree of myopia increases the risk of vision threatening conditions that could lead to blindness in a lifetime.
For every one diopter of increased myopia, the risk for developing myopic macular degeneration or loss of vision by 67%. If you’re under -3.00 myopia, the risk is 20x and this risk is 40x if the myopia is greater than -6.00 myopia.
What is myopia control & why have I never heard about it?
Myopia control includes a group of treatment methods backed by Science to slow down the progression of myopia. There is no current method that can completely stop the progression as of yet, but the goal is to flatten the risk curve.
In years past, the only treatment offered to a progressing myopia was to prescribe stronger glasses or contact lenses to allow them to see well, and the eye was allowed to progress until it plateaued once growth was complete, typically in the mid to late teen years
What puts your child at risk?
1. UNSTABLE BINOCULAR VISION
An unstable binocular vision is a risk factor for early onset of myopia and myopia progression. Your binocular vision can be examined by booking a binocular vision appointment with Dr. Pink Sidhu and Associates.
2. MYOPIC PARENTS
There is a 25% chance that a child will develop myopia if one PARENT IS MYOPIC.
The number jumps to 50% if both are myopic.
3. INCREASED SCREEN TIME
There is a link between increased screen time and reduced outdoor time.
School-aged children who spend 7+ hours per week or more using computers or mobile video games TRIPLE THEIR RISK for myopia.
Current Myopia Control Options
Specialty Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses +
Spectacle lenses or contact lenses may be the right choice for you and your family. It is a non-invasive, safe, and effective option for younger children. DIMMS technology has been proven to slow down 60% of myopic progression.
Atropine Use +
Low-dose atropine eye drops are another form of myopia control for children, recommended by Dr. Pink Sidhu and Associates. These drops are administered to your child on a daily basis to reduce eye strain and slow the progression of myopia. The drops temporarily reduce the eye’s ability to focus at near, relaxing the eyes and controlling myopia. This is a prescription item and dispensed at a compounding pharmacy.
Ortho-K is a type of nearsightedness control for kids where they hard lenses overnight to change the shape of the eye. This lens serves as a night time brace. The corneal reshaping will reduce the myopia and allow for daytime freedom form any glasses or contacts.
Vision Therapy/Vision Training +
Vision therapy is helpful to all patients, but it is especially beneficial for emergent/pre-myopes and early myopes because it helps strengthen near vision skills. Myopia is a symptom and an adaptation to an overloaded or fragile near visual system due to modern day activities ( increased screen time, excessive near tasks and limited outdoor time). Function alters structure. VT helps delay the process for those who are transitioning from an “as if” myopic visual system, and adapting to an “is“ myopic visual system.
Weston Eyecare Promos
It’s almost back to school time for college students and whether this is your first time away from home or you are already a pro, you want to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible to live safely on your own. This knowledge includes eye and vision safety, as failing to take care of your eyes today could cause damage to your eyes and vision now and in the future.
So put down your textbooks for a second and learn these four simple lessons about protecting your precious eyes.
Blue Light Protection
College students spend a lot of time in front of screens. From each class, homework assignment, and research project, to texting, dating apps and watching Netflix and gaming – life is largely digital.
This comes with a slew of potential side effects known as computer vision syndrome, including sore and tired eyes, headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain, dry eyes and blurred vision, largely due to the effect of the blue light emitted from the screens. The additional computer usage also increases dry eye symptoms. Studies show that blue light can also impact your sleep quality and may possibly be connected to the development of retinal damage and macular degeneration later in life.
You must always protect your eyes and vision from blue light and computer vision syndrome, and here’s how you do it:
- Use computer glasses or blue-light blocking coated lenses or contact lenses when working on a screen for long periods of time. These lenses are made to allow optimal visual comfort for the distance and unique pixelation of working on a computer or mobile screen, by reducing glare and eye strain. They also block potentially harmful blue-light radiation from entering your eyes.
- Prescription glasses may be considered as well. Many students who never needed glasses previously experience eyestrain with extensive hours studying in university. A minor prescription can make a big difference in reducing eye fatigue and helping to improve concentration. See our clinic Pink Sidhu and Associates for your eyecare needs.
- Although there is no clinical support for the 20-20-20 rule, Implementing the 20-20-20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds allows your eyes to have a healthy medium between work and rest for your eyes from the intensity of the computer screen.
- Depending on your environment, eye drops, and other dry eye services and products can be prescribed from the eye doctor to assist with dry eye syndrome that often accompanies increased screen time. Did you know that your blink rate often goes down substantially when you are concentrating on reading or computer work, thus exasperating dry eye symptoms? Have you tried eyedrops that just never seem to work? Come see Dr. Pink Sidhu and associates to discuss a personalized dry eye treatment plan for you. Did you know that 80% of dry eye sufferers have some form or meibomian gland dysfunction?
Our clinic offers treatment and management to tackle your dry eye symptoms stemming from this dysfunction. This may include meibomian gland expression. You may read more about our dry eye services in our dry eye clinic tab.
We have discussed vision correction, computer strain, dry eye, and blue block lenses. Let’s now talk about proper contact lens use.
Many college students opt for contact lenses as they are convenient and great for cosmesis and another means of vision correction, but they come along with responsibility.
The busy days and late nights can sometimes make contact lens care difficult. You must follow your eye doctor’s instructions for proper care.
Speak to Dr. Pink and Associates about your contact lens interest today. Always follow the wearing schedule and never sleep in lenses that are not designed for extended wear.
Clean and disinfect as needed, and don’t rinse them with anything other than contact lens solution. No, saliva is not safe for your contact lens, yet many students will admit they do it.
Failing to follow the proper use and hygiene for contact lenses can result in irritation, infections and even corneal scarring which can result in vision reduction and/ or vision loss.
One-day disposable lenses can be a great option especially for college students as they offer ultimate convenience (no cleaning and storing) and optimal eye health.
Further, if you enjoy wearing contact lenses, then remember to get a proper fit from your eye doctor. Many “exclusive” contact lenses available online may actually be poorly fit and made from inferior materials. Contrary to popular belief, one size does not fit all.
Lastly, let’s talk about sun protection and UV Protection.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun are known to cause long term eye damage and lead to vision-threatening eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Additionally, in extreme cases of unprotected UV exposure, you can get sunburned eyes, known as photokeratitis, which can cause a gritty, dry feeling, burning, swelling, light sensitivity, vision changes, and sometimes serious pain. These symptoms typically go away within a day or two.
Wearing 100% UV reflective sunglasses whenever you are outside – rain or shine – is the first step to eye protection. A large brimmed hat to protect the eyes from exposure from the top and sides is also a recommended addition for sunny days. It’s especially important for the light colored eyes.
Get a regular eye exam
To start off college with the right foot forward, it’s recommended to get a comprehensive eye exam prior to the start of the school year, especially if you haven’t had one recently. This way you can ensure that your eyes and vision are in top shape and, if you wear glasses, that your prescription is still accurate.
The last thing you want to worry about when getting adjusted to college is problems with your eyes and vision. It’s also recommended for students that are going away to another city to get a recommendation for a local eye doctor in case of an emergency. Most eye doctors know of colleagues located in other cities who they could recommend.
Just remember to think about your eyes because the better you take care of them now, the healthier eyes and vision you will have down the road. It’s one pair of eyes that will last you a lifetime.
Most college students have vision insurance. Most of our patients are Humber college students because of how close your campus is to the office. Check with your insurance or have our office at Dr. Pink Sidhu and associates check it out for you. We have student specials to make for an affordable and educational visit.
This summer, whether you’re headed across state lines on a family road trip, flying off to Europe, grabbing a quick weekend getaway, or taking a vacation in your own backyard, don’t forget to protect your eyes!
Summer Eye Care Near You
Check out our top 4 tips for ensuring healthy eyes this summer, and remember, your eye doctor is here to help make the most out of your vision. Dr. Pink Sidhu sees patients from all over the York, Toronto area. Let us give you the top-quality eye care you and your family deserve, not only during the summer, but all year long.
Don’t Leave Home Without It
If you have a chronic illness and need to head out of town for a few days, you would never leave home without your medications, right? That’s because you know that if something happens and your meds aren’t with you, you could suffer discomfort or complications to your health.
The same is true for your vision. If you suffer from dry eyes, make sure to take artificial tears or medicated eye drops with you when you travel. Preservative-free eye drops are a traveler’s friend. They’re also available as individual strips, which are recommended since there’s less risk of contamination.
Running low on disposable contact lenses? Include an extra pair in your carry-on suitcase and stock up on new lenses ahead of time. If you wear eyeglasses, bring a spare set and a copy of your prescription along with you, just in case they get lost or broken.
We recommend speaking to Dr. Pink Sidhu before you leave for vacation to make sure your vision needs are all set.
It’s Getting Hot Outside
Usually, most people think of protecting their skin from sunburns when they’re at the beach, by the pool, or just spending time outdoors.
Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned, too?
This happens when the cornea is exposed to excessive UV rays. When the sclera (the white part of your eye) looks red, that’s a sign that you’ve got sunburned eyes. You might also notice symptoms like a sudden sensitivity to light, or your eyes may feel like something is stuck in them, or they could feel sore.
The best way to prevent sunburned eyes? Always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection.
Watch Out for the Pool
Swimming is one of summer’s greatest pastimes. There’s nothing quite like a dip in a pool or ocean to cool off from the sweltering summer heat. While you’re slicing through the water, remember to protect your eyes.
Remove contacts before going swimming, wear goggles while underwater, and rinse your eyes with cold water when you get out of the pool (it helps get the chlorine or salt out). If your eyes feel dry or scratchy after a swim, use some moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes.
Back to School is Sooner Than You Think
Your kids will be back in school before you know it. Help them prepare for the upcoming school year by scheduling an eye exam now. If they need new glasses because their prescription has changed or your teen simply wants a new look for the new school year, come in to Pink Sidhu and Associates for a consultation and take a look at the newest selection of frames and contact lenses.
Have you had a sudden eye injury or emergency while on vacation? Don’t wait until you’re back home to handle it — seek immediate care today. Certain eye injuries can damage your vision or lead to ulcers, so if you notice symptoms like redness, eye pain, changes to your vision, or flashing light, contact your eye doctor right away.
At Pink Sidhu and Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision this summer and throughout the year.
The Eye See Eye Learn program is an organization providing comprehensive eye exams and glasses to Junior Kindergarten children in certain school regions for free, courtesy of the participating sponsors (Nikon Lenswear and OGI). The eye exams are covered by OHIP, as are eye exams for any child 19 years or younger with a valid Ontario health card.
Eye See Eye Learn is a relatively new program in Ontario. The program provides comprehensive eye examinations to Junior Kindergarten children in certain school regions (including the Thames Valley District School Board). The eye exams are covered by OHIP, as are eye exams for any child 19 years or younger with a valid Ontario health card.
The exciting part of the Eye See Eye Learn program is that if the child in Junior Kindergarten needs glasses, they will receive them for free courtesy of the participating sponsors (Nikon Lenswear and OGI).
This program was developed to raise awareness among parents of the importance of having their children’s’ eyes examined upon starting school. Children who can’t see the board or focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential. Vision problems can also impact their social development and hand-eye coordination for physical activities. 80% of learning comes directly through vision.
Children who are born with blurry vision, due to high prescription or eye health abnormality, don’t know what “clear” vision is and wouldn’t know to complain of vision problems. Catching these problems early is key. The Eye See Eye Learn program aims to give Junior Kindergarten students the best start to learning.
To find out more about the Eye See Eye Learn program or to see if your school board is participating, visit: http://www.eyeseeeyelearn.ca or learn more about OHIP Coverage.
Good Vision Requires More Than Just
Aspects of vision Good vision is the ability to gather information and make meaningful interpretation of what is seen.
A binocular vision examination tests for the following visual skills:
Fixation : Aiming/Aligning
Oculomotor Skills: Tracking
Vergence: Eye Teaming
Visual Motor Integration: Eye Hand Coordination
Eye Focusing and Accommodation +
This is an eye-focusing problem resulting in blurred vision—up close and/or far away— frequently found in children or adults who have extended near-work demand. They have difficulty shifting their focus from near to far, or far to near. This is a common condition and most often leads to headaches or inability to carry on with visually demanding tasks.
Vergence and Eye Teaming +
The ability to use both eyes as a “team,” or a single functioning pair, is what allows our brain to fuse the two separate pictures coming in from each eye into a single image with depth perception. This skill is called binocular vision.
Some people have difficulty fusing these images, and thus, perceive double vision (a separate image from each eye). Not all people experience double vision. At times, the brain with turn off one eye in order to avoid double vision.
There are two conditions in which the eyes fail to “team” together:
Tracking is the ability to control where we aim our eyes. This is called oculomotor skills.
Our ability to possess good tracking skills allow us to succeed in everyday life including sports and school or work activities.
There are three basic types of eye movements:
Fixations: ability to hold eyes steady without moving off target
Saccades: the ability of our eyes to make accurate jumps as we change targets
Pursuits: the ability of our eyes to follow a moving target
Fixation is the most basic eye movement skill from which other skills develop. Good fixational skills allow us to maintain a steady gaze without our eyes moving involuntarily off target. Poor fixation skills must be addressed early in a treatment program before other oculomotor techniques are attempted because it is the foundation skill upon which others build.
Saccades are eye jumps–the sudden, quick voluntary change in fixation from one object to another. Saccades involve any shift in gaze, such as from road sign to speedometer, board to paper, notes to computer screen. During reading, accurate saccadic movements are critical
Pursuits are types of eye moments that are used to follow a moving target. Accurate, smooth pursuit eye movements allow us to make spatial judgments as to the speed and position of the moving target. Pursuit eye movements are especially important in driving and sports.
Tracking and Reading +
Reading involves complex eye movements. in order to read fluently along a line of a text our needs to make short, rapid eye movements from one word to the next without overshooting or undershooting. These eye movements are called saccades and in between each saccade our eye movement must stop to fix on the word being read. At the end of each line our eyes need to make a sweeping movement backwards and downwards to accurately locate the start of the next line.
Symptoms of Tracking deficiencies or OMD +
A child lacking in these skills will most often struggle with reading. This child is unable to aim, and jump from word to word, or jump from line to line accurately. The reading material becomes jumbled together and illegible. It’s no wonder why these children struggle with reading comprehension.
When the eye movements are poorly controlled or defective, it affects our ability to read. This defect is called Oculomotor Dysfunction or Tracking Defect.
Some Tell-tale signs of tracking include:
- Writing is poorly spaced or crowded or messy
- Difficulty reading fluently
- Losing place or start of next line
- Missing out or repeating words or lines
- Adding words or transposing them
- Using a marker or finger to follow the lines
- Finding top lines of text easier to read than middle sections
- Moving head and/or body instead of eyes when reading
- Poor understanding of text being read
- Difficulty copying from white board
What Is Vision Therapy? (VT) +
Everyone’s vision is unique. Hence, a vision therapy treatment plan is tailored and individualized to address your vision issues and help strengthen any areas of weakness. Treatment begins with a series of therapeutic exercises using dedicated devices. The exercises are progressively adjusted to encourage further visual improvements over time.
What Is The Goal of Vision Therapy? +
The goal is to help children and adults relearn and improve visual skills to optimize visual performance and comfort. The basic principle in any therapy plan is Repetition. This allows for newly learned skills to form new neural networks in the brain.
VT to Improve Reading Movements +
The basic principle in any rehabilitation exercise is repetition. By repeating certain behaviors, in this case saccadic eye movements, we can form new neural networks in the brain. The aim of all these exercises is to practice using your eyes to make the short accurate movements required between the symbols or words whilst keeping your head and body still and without using aids to read. VT implemented to improve oculomotor skills leads to:
- Improved accuracy and speed of pursuit and saccades
- Reduced number of refixations and regressions while reading
- Increased span of recognition
Vision Therapy to Treat Strabismus and Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) +
For adults and children who were told, strabismus and amblyopia cannot be treated past a certain age were misinformed.
Traditional Strabismus /Amblyopia treatment typically involves prescribing glasses and then patching the stronger eye with an eye patch or using eye drops to blur the better-seeing eye while doing daily activities. This is the common traditional approach taken by many medical practitioners for amblyopia and the duration of the patching can vary from two to six hours per day depending on the severity of the amblyopia. Today, studies have shown that combining vision therapy with patching is a more effective treatment for lazy eye in children and adults than just patching alone.