Welcome to Yonge & College Optometry

Opening Hours : Mon to Fri - 9am to 6pm. Sun by appointment only.
  Contact : (647) 748-3937

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects many people. This condition can be persistent and extremely uncomfortable to those who suffer from it. It can vary in severity and symptoms but is ultimately a pesky issue that almost anyone can be affected by.

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the natural lubrication system of the eyes is not functioning adequately or is being hindered by a range of factors. Dry eye can occur if you don’t produce enough tears, or if the tears that you do produce are of poor quality.

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Why Get An Eye Exam?

Quite often people neglect their ocular health, leaving it in the background of concerns about their general wellbeing and overall health. However, your eyes are an integral part of the body and often provide much more information about your overall health and wellbeing than you may realize. For this reason it is recommended to have annual eye exams, much like you have annual physical exams with your family doctor or annual dental exams with your dentist.

There are countless reasons to get an eye exam, and in an ideal world everyone would have them as part of their regular yearly health check-ups. Here are some specific reasons to have your eyes tested annually.

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Glaucoma Awareness Month | Glaucoma Facts

Glaucoma Awareness Month | Glaucoma Facts

Did you know that Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada? This particular disease causes progressive degeneration of the optic nerve at the back of the eye, which over time, can eventually lead to gradual, irreversible vision loss. January was Glaucoma awareness month, and since this eye disease affects so many people it’s important to be educated and proactive. 

Information about glaucoma is easy to obtain. In our blog today, we’ve put together some handy glaucoma facts. Don’t forget you can always reach out to us here at Yonge College Optometry for glaucoma screenings and any other questions you may have. 

Glaucoma Awareness Month – Information About Glaucoma

According to the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada, more than 400 000 Canadians suffer from Glaucoma today. It is often called the “silent thief of sight” because progression happens very gradually, and often causes absolutely no pain and very few symptoms, if any at all. As such, keeping up on your yearly eye exams becomes very important in order to catch any possible changes that would require prompt treatment. Below are some facts about the disease.

Q: What causes Glaucoma?

A: The exact cause is unknown. This group of diseases is often associated with increased fluid pressure in the eye, however, damage can still happen when eye pressure is normal (a form of glaucoma referred to as normal tension glaucoma). Other theories point to poor blood perfusion or inadequate blood supply altogether.

Q: Who can get Glaucoma? 

A: There are a few major factors when it comes to being at risk for glaucoma. Diabetics, individuals who have family members affected by the disease, and people over the age of 60 are just a few people at higher risk. Certain ethnicities – such as African, Asian or hispanic descent are also at higher risk for glaucoma. Additionally, damage or injury to the eye may also open up risks to developing the disease at any stage in life.

Q: How is Glaucoma diagnosed?

A: Your optometrist will do a thorough eye exam, which includes measuring the ocular pressure, as well as examining your optic nerves. 

Q: How is Glaucoma treated?

A: Glaucoma is treated with either medications and/or surgery. A number of medications are available that work to decrease elevated intraocular pressure. Patients will often take more than one medication to keep their eye pressure at an optimal level. Additionally, there are a few different surgeries that also aim to decrease intraocular pressure. These surgeries do not restore vision loss, but instead attempt to prevent further damage by keeping intraocular pressure low.

Q: If I have loss of vision due to Glaucoma, will I ever get it back?

A: Unfortunately, no. Once vision is lost due to Glaucoma, it cannot be restored. This is one of the most important reasons we recommend having your eyes checked regularly. Early stages of glaucoma are most often completely painless and don’t cause any visual symptoms. It’s important even for those individuals with 20/20 vision, to have routine eye exams. 

Glaucoma awareness month is a perfect opportunity to remind all individuals that Glaucoma can affect anyone! Yearly eye exams are just as important as regular check ups with your family doctor. We hope this information about Glaucoma is helpful in preventing unnecessary progression of the disease in anyone! For more questions call us on (647) 748-3937 or click here to request an appointment online.

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Winter Eye Health - Tips for Cold Weather Eye Care

Winter Eye Health – Tips for Cold Weather Eye Care

As with the rest of our body’s routine, our eye care may need to change up a bit when cold weather comes around. Winter eye health can mean taking extra precautions to ensure our eyes are protected from the elements. 

Just like in summer, whether you use contacts or glasses, it’s important to ensure your eyes have what they need to brave the cold temperatures. We’ve got a few tips for you for cold weather eye care below.

Cold Weather Eye Care – Tips to Protect Your Eyes in Winter

When the outside temps drop, indoor temps tend to rise a little bit. This changes the humidity in the air, and it exposes our eyes to abrupt changes in temperature. You also have to consider the UV radiation that comes from direct light reflecting off snowy and icy surfaces. Keeping your eyes clean, moist and protected requires a bit more persistence in the colder months. 

  • Hygiene – It may sound silly, but for many, winter brings on holiday parties and much merriment. When enjoying the company of loved ones, we sometimes slack in our daily routine. Colder months are when many take vacation time, so being lazy and letting go of some of your hygienic habits go. This can mean possibly going to bed without washing your face, or even washing your hands less. This in turn means if you rub your eyes or brush your face, you’re spreading bacteria where it shouldn’t be!
  • Stay away from heat sources – This is a big one when talking about winter eye health. Heat sources such as space heaters, open fires, or furnace vents sure feel nice, but that direct heat so near your open eyes can dry them out pretty quickly.
  • Protect your eyes – When the conditions are snow covered outside, wearing UV protected sunglasses is a must. If you’re hitting the slopes for any winter outdoor activities, make sure you use UV protected goggles. Not only is it important to protect your eyes from the sun, but from snow or particles you may come in contact with while on the move or in case of a fall.
  • Keep your eyes moist – You can utilize lubricating eye drops to help keep your eyes moist. You may also want to consider eating a healthy diet heavy in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can boost your overall eye function, and keep them healthy year round. Drinking plenty of water is also a great way to make sure your body can keep your eyes moisturized.
  • Tools to help keep your eyes moist – Utilizing a humidifier, as well as artificial tears can help keep your eyes moist. You can also try and regulate temperatures indoors to keep your transition from indoors to outdoors less abrasive. 
  • Take precautions when driving – Make sure your windshield is clean, that your headlights are in good working condition, and take steps to add an anti-reflective coating to your glasses if you wear them full time. If you don’t already wear glasses but know you have trouble seeing at night while driving, now is a good time to speak to your eye doctor.

Monitoring your eye health in winter doesn’t have to be a challenge. It just takes a bit more vigilance to ensure your eyes stay healthy year round. Have further questions? Please book an appointment with the team at Yonge & College Optometry. Call us on (647) 748-3937 or click here to request an appointment online.

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3 Reasons To Book an Eye Exam in 2020

3 Reasons To Book an Eye Exam in 2020

A new year is upon us. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults in Canada will make a New Year’s resolution this year. Of these, 73% will break their resolutionsMany of us focus on better health as a New Year’s resolution. In fact, up to 55% of all resolutions are health related. From hitting the gym more to watching what’s on our plate, coming out of the holiday season we clearly have health and wellness on our minds. 

What you may not realise is that your eyes can be an indicator of underlying health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and tumors to name just a few. When was the last time you had an eye exam? If it’s been over two years, it’s time for a check-up. An eye test is one health resolution that’s easy to stick to in 2020!

3 Reasons to Book an Eye Exam in 2020

Just like your annual dental check ups, an eye test is an important part of your overall health checks. Here are 3 reasons to book an eye exam in 2020. 

1. Many of us are overdue 

We all lead busy lives. Between work, social commitments, family and general day to day admin, an eye exams often drops to the bottom of the priority list. Alarmingly, a study commissioned by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) found that up to 59% of Canadians experience some symptoms of a potential eye disease, with only 54% seeking advice from a healthcare professional. 

Promisingly, the Canadian Association of Optometrists notes that “over 75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable.” Don’t delay any longer, make 2020 the year that you book in your eye exam. 

2. An eye exam can help detect other health conditions

We’ve all heard that our eyes are the windows to our soul. But did you know that an eye exam can actually help to detect underlying health conditions? Some health problems that an eye test can detect include:

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol 
  • Inflammatory conditions 
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Tumors 

3. Your eyesight is constantly changing

Just as our body’s change with age, so do our eyes. Our eyes will operate differently in our 60s than they did in our 30s. Most changes are entirely normal and can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or in some cases, surgery. 

Ignoring changes to your eyesight can often make the problem worse. Squinting to read or holding items close to your face may provide a temporary solution, but it’s certainly not a permanent one. 

Make 2020 the year that you commit to better eye health. The team at Yonge & College Optometry provides full comprehensive eye exams, vision testing, glaucoma testing, binocular vision testing, and complete dilated retinal evaluations. To book an appointment, please call us on (647) 748-3937 or click here to request an appointment online

 

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Contact Lens Recycling

Contact Lens Recycling Program

For contact lens wearers, there’s just a bit more effort that goes into their every day. Making sure you’ve got enough contacts and solution, ensuring you’ve got your spare glasses in case of emergency. Maintaining eye health can require a bit more vigilance as well. A tiny scratch can mean glasses for a few days or even weeks. Depending on the type of contact lens you use can mean changing out your lenses daily, biweekly, or monthly. 

Regardless of the length of use for your brand of contact lens, it’s important to know you have some options for lens disposal that can leave less of an impact on the environment. Did you know that more than 290 million contact lenses end up in Canadian landfills or waterways every year? Contact lens recycling programs can help reduce landfill waste as it allows for the proper disposal and recycling of packing material and lenses. But why should you participate? And just how easy is it to help out our planet by recycling your contact lens materials? We’ve got a few answers to your frequently asked questions below.

Contact Lens Recycling – Things to Know

Bausch and Lomb has launched an extensive contact lens recycling program to help keep the byproducts of contact lens use out of landfills. One of the biggest environmental concerns with single use packaging is how irresponsible and wasteful it is. Contact lens users, especially those using a daily disposable lens, produce a large number of foil and blister pack waste. Thanks to Bausch and Lomb, this waste can now be sent to them for recycling. Before this recycling system was put in place, contact lens plastic waste unfortunately got filtered out from normal plastic recycling waste in processing plants because of their small size.

What Type of Products Can Be Recycled?

Thanks to Bausch and Lomb, their contact lens recycling program is incredibly inclusive. As a result, you can recycle all brands of contact lenses along with their used top foil, and empty blister packs. The program is not exclusive just to Bausch and Lomb lenses! Don’t send in unused blister packs. You won’t need to wash any of your used materials, and you’ll be able to drop your contact waste off at your eye doctor or print out a label at Bauschrecycles.com. If you print out a label, you’ll be able to schedule a pickup or you can drop it off at a local post office. Your package won’t have a weight limit, either, so you’ll be able to mail as many or as few as you’d like. Once received, your contact waste will be sorted and cleaned and recycled respectively.

What Does Bausch and Lomb do with Recycled Materials?

Bausch and Lomb, in collaboration with TerraCycle®, announced on Nov. 13th, 2019 that materials from the recycling program would be donated as custom training modules to the Guide Dog Foundation. The training materials are set to include tables, benches, waste stations and an agility ramp. All materials are made from used contact lens materials collected through the recycling program.

Participating in the contact lens recycling program can help reduce how much waste comes out of the disposable lens industry. Therefore, it leaves less of an environmental impact on this gorgeous planet we live on. Not only this, but recycling your contact lens materials helps to support a great cause. 

We are proud to announce that Yonge & College Optometry is one of the first sites in Toronto to offer a recycling system for our patients’ contact lens waste. For more information, please call us on (647) 748-3937 or click here to request an appointment online

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How Does Diabetes Affect My Eyes

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

Diabetes is a fairly common disease that roughly 10% of the public deals with in their daily lives. Whether you’re born with a childhood type of diabetes or it’s a disease you are afflicted with later in life, it’s important to know the symptoms and other ways the disease can affect your health. Blindness and diabetes can unfortunately go hand in hand – this is why it’s incredibly important to be vigilant and take potential symptoms seriously. In our blog today, we discuss how diabetes can affect your eyes. 

Blindness and Diabetes – How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

The changes our bodies make when we’re handling any stage of diabetes can be unpredictable and hard to process. If diabetes is new to you or someone you know, it can be scary to process all the changes that may be taking place. While the things you should be aware of are numerous, one big change to pay attention to can be the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. It may be surprising but diabetic retinopathy or diabetes related loss of vision may be a sudden onset health issue. There is typically not much warning, so it’s very important to be aware of sudden changes in eyesight if you have diabetes.

Below are some things to look out for when it comes to your vision if you have been diagnosed with diabetes:

  • Dark floating spots or streaks in your line of vision – In later stages of the diagnoses, blood vessels may rupture or leak into the vitreous centre of the eye. If left untreated, this bleeding can cause scarring or become worse with time.
  • DME – DME, or Diabetic Macular Edema, is when the blood vessels of the retina leak fluid which causes swelling in the macular part of the eye. This can cause blurry vision in patients who are experiencing this issue.
  • Neovascular glaucoma – Another unfortunate issue that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy can be a condition where the blood vessels actually grow out of the retina and cause proper drainage of fluids from the retina. 
  • Retinal detachment – In very severe cases, if other ailments are left untreated, scar tissue and trauma can cause the retina to separate from the eye. 

Can Diabetes Cause Blindness – Who is at Risk?

Aside from other serious symptoms, your vision health can be severely impacted by diabetes. It doesn’t matter what stage of the disease you’re living with, the effects can impact your vision in a negative and permanent way. If a person’s blood sugar is allowed to elevate to an uncontrollable and dangerous level, it can impact blood vessels and cause damage that may be irreversible to your eyes structure and anatomy.

If you or someone you know feel as though you may be suffering from any stage of diabetic retinopathy, please get in touch with us at Yonge & College Optometry. In the early stages, correction and treatment may be possible. Aside from the obvious ocular symptoms, it is also important to seek assistance from a doctor to get any diabetic problems under control as they can affect many aspects of your overall health. Being vigilant and proactive can help save your body from the negative effects of diabetes, it just takes staying on top of it! Call us today on (647) 748-3937, or click here to request an appointment online. 

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Contact lens tips and mistakes

6 Contact Lens Tips & Mistakes

When starting out wearing contact lenses, users are usually very diligent in following instructions to take care of their contacts. We are careful about washing our hands before putting them in or throwing them away at the right time. But as time goes on, these rules can start to get lax – we get lazy, tired, and distracted.

  • But what happens when you fall asleep with your contact lenses still in?
  • Or are you really doing harm if you don’t wash your hands before taking them out?
  • And, really, what’s the big deal if you keep wearing contact lenses for weeks past their recommended time?

These common contact lens mistakes may seem relatively harmless, but each one has much more serious consequences than you might realize. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that there are 930,000 visits to the doctor and 58,000 ER visits each year for keratitis (corneal inflammation) or other contact lens related issues. That’s a lot of avoidable visits to the doctor!

Wearing contact lenses is not the risky part, it’s the care and habits that are involved. Most contact wearers do not follow proper contact lens hygiene and care, which puts them at an increased risk for things like bacterial infections, decreased oxygen supply to the cornea and scariest of all, permanent damage to the corneal surface.

Contact Lens Tips

1. Hand-Washing

First and foremost, not washing your hands properly before putting them in or taking them out is a major problem. Think about everything you’ve touched during the day – doorknobs, subway poles, handshakes, money… Then picture the different types of bacteria or viruses on each surface that has been transferred to your hands. Without proper handwashing, you welcome the bacteria and viruses to your lenses where they fester and multiply.

2. Solution and Cases

The same principle of not re-using potentially contaminated materials applies to your contact solution – it’s a no go. Use fresh solution each time!

We also recommend rinsing off your case with solution and letting it air dry during the day.

3. Don’t Sleep in Your Contacts

This is terrible – and painful. When you’re awake, your eyes receive oxygen from the air and your tears that lubricate the cornea. But when you’re asleep, there is much less oxygen, lubrication, and nourishment because your eyelids are shut. Think about it – you don’t blink when you sleep, so your tears can’t lubricate the cornea.

There are only a few types of contact lenses approved by the FDA to sleep in, so unless your doctor specifically has given you the green light to do so, don’t sleep in them.

4. Change up your Case

This is an instance where “reduce, reuse, and recycle” should be avoided. Using the same contact lens case for years increases the chance of eye infection. As a rule of thumb, you should swap out your contact lens case when you get a new bottle of solution (which is why they’re often included in the packaging). Nifty! Use your case for up to 3 months, and then throw it away. In the trash. Far, far away.

5. Say No to H20

While we would think it natural to wash our contact lenses or cases with water, you should never do this. Contact lenses tend to absorb water, making them swell. This swollen contact lens changes shape, often fitting your cornea much more snugly than it should (and causing small breaks in the corneal surface). Plus, water carries a ton of microorganisms that are now absorbed into your contact and transferrable into your cornea’s surface. This is why you may get nagged by your doctor about not swimming or showering with your contact lenses on!

6. Penny Pinching Problems

You open a package of two-week contacts, but only wear them once a week for hockey or going out. So, that means you can wear them once a week for 14 weeks, right?

Wrong.

The two-week mark is strictly for when you crack open the packaging (not individual uses). After the two-week mark, the lens material starts to break down and absorb the bacteria, protein, and mucous that exists on your corneal surface and eyelids. This, in turn, can lead to an eye infection. Put plainly, it’s not worth the health risk to try and extend the use of your lenses like this, just stick to the recommended use and take the precautions noted above to stay healthy.

 

Overall, our mantra is: When in doubt, take them out!

Or even better: when in doubt, throw them out!

 

For more information, check out this article.

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Sunshine and UV Protection Myths

Whenever you’re out enjoying the sunshine, it’s crucial you wear sunglasses. Many people are aware of the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin, however, very few realize the dangerous effects it can have on our eyes.

There are different types of UV radiation; the 2 types that predominantly affect our eyes are UV-A and UV-B, both of which can have short term, as well as long term effects.

Being exposed to large quantities of UV radiation in a short period of time can cause a condition called photokeratitis, sometimes referred to as a “sunburn” of the eye. This condition is extremely painful and can cause symptoms such as redness of the eyes, excessive tearing, light sensitivity, and a burning/gritty sensation. More often than not it is caused by artificial exposure to UV light, such as during welding, when the eyes are not properly protected, but it can also occur with direct exposure to intense sunlight.

Longer term effects of unprotected UV exposure are the increased risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts or their occurrence at an earlier age.

There are many way to ensure protection of our eyes from harmful UV rays.  Wearing sunglasses that block out 99- 100% UVA and UVB is a good way to start. Many eye care specialists recommend wearing wrap-around styles that block rays from getting around the frame.

Another good idea would be to wear a hat with a wide brim if you know that you’re going to be in the sun for a long time. Additionally, certain contact lenses also provide some UV protection as well.

Kids need UV protection more than adults do! Children are actually more susceptible to retinal damage caused by UV radiation, because the lens inside their eye is clearer than an adults’ lens, making it easier for more UV to penetrate deep into the eyes and cause damage to it’s internal parts.

Common Misconceptions:

The amount of UV protection is related to how dark sunglasses are.
This is not true. A very light colored lens can have 100% UV protection and vice versa, a dark lens can have little to no UV protection.

There is less UV radiation emitted on an overcast, cloudy day.
this is also not true. UV rays are invisible and can easily penetrate clouds, so it’s extremely important to wear sunglasses outdoors on these days as well!

Sunglasses are not necessary in the winter.
The exact opposite is true. Fresh snow can reflect 80% of UV rays, nearly doubling your exposure to solar UV radiation, especially if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding. Choosing proper ski goggles is very important!

If I wear UV protected contact lenses I don’t need to wear sunglasses.
This is not true. A contact lens only covers the cornea. It does not cover the conjunctiva or any other portion of the eye and the surrounding eyelids. Wearing sunglasses is always important to wear when you’re using your contact lenses outdoors.

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Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Why is my eye twitching and how do I make it stop?!

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this question….

Eyelid twitching is a very common issue that many of our patients ask us about. It usually happens on the lower eyelid of one eye but occasionally the upper eyelid can be affected as well. Twitching often comes and goes, and unfortunately can last a few weeks, or even a few months. The good news is that this condition is most often completely benign, meaning it is not a serious medical problem. The bad news is that it is annoying as $#!@!.

The medical term for an eyelid twitch is “myokymia” and it can be caused by many different factors, but I’ll review the three most common causes:

Stress: It’s almost impossible to live a completely stress- free life. Daily stressors are not only common, but are usually the norm in today’s fast pace lifestyle. Many patients tend to experience myokymia during periods of intense stress- an unusually long exam period, a tense divorce, or the passing of a loved one are a few examples. In these situations things like breathing exercises, yoga, meditation or spending time with friends and family can help alleviate the stress that may be causing the myokymia.

Fatigue: Lack of sleep, regardless of the cause, is associated with myokymia. Sometimes not sleeping enough is tied to stress and anxiety, and you can attempt some of the options suggested in the last paragraph to help alleviate the situation. Lack of sleep can also be associated with a cold, insomnia, or even too much excitement. Regardless of the reason, catching up on rest and sleep will help!

Caffeine: Too much caffeine can cause myokymia. If this is the case, try cutting down on your caffeine intake (including coffee, tea, chocolate and soda) for a few weeks to see if the eye twitch gets better.

As frustrating as an eyelid twitch can be, there is no quick solution to this common problem. Addressing the root of the problem, whether that be stress, lack of sleep or fatigue will help solve the problem!

Note:  Common eyelid twitching, as described above, should not be confused with blepherospasm (involuntary increased blinking that leads to spasming in both eyes) or hemifacial spasm (involuntary muscle twitches on one side of the face), which are both less common neurological conditions that would need to be assessed and diagnosed by an eye care professional. If you are concerned about these, please make an appointment to see your eye doctor. 

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