Welcome to Yonge & College Optometry

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

Back to School

With kids already back in school, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement. We’re buying new clothes, backpacks, books and school supplies to make sure our kids are completely prepared for school. However what often slips the minds of many parents is the importance of an annual eye exam!

Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning in school is done visually? Eye and vision health affect every child’s learning. In fact, many perceived learning disabilities, attention issues and behavioural problems are often vision problems in disguise. Undiagnosed vision problems can affect a child’s performance not only in the classroom, but also in sports and can cause your child to struggle both academically and socially.

But aren’t vision screenings at school good enough?

This is a question we hear a lot. Unfortunately vision screenings performed by a school nurse or by your child’s pediatrician is not equivalent to a comprehensive eye exam. These vision screenings are designed to alert parents to the possibility of a potential vision problem. However they should not replace a proper visit to an eye doctor. Vision screenings are helpful, but they can, and often do, miss serious vision-related problems that an eye doctor would catch.

Because eye exams for children are so important, OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) covers a yearly comprehensive eye exam for every child in Ontario. Experts recommend having an infant’s first eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age and then yearly afterwards in order to ensure proper development and optimal learning. There are many objective measurements that allow us to check the vision and health of your child’s eyes. They do not need to be able to communicate with us during the exam.

So this year when you’re checking off all the things you need to get your kids while they’re back in school, make sure you have them visit the eye doctor!

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2020 Vision

What Does 20/20 Vision Mean?

Have you ever wondered what it means when someone says you have “20/20 vision”? You’re definitely not alone! This is one of the most common questions we get asked on a daily basis, so I’ll explain what it means.

20/20 vision is  a common term used to describe normal visual acuity or clarity of vision. It is determined by testing a person’s vision at a distance of 20 feet away from a visual target of a specific size. So if someone has 20/20 vision, it means that they are able to see a specific target 20 feet away in the distance.

 

How does your eye doctor determine if you have 20/20 vision?

Ever notice those strange mirrors and projectors in the eye exam room? They’re not for wacky decoration! These mirrors are used to “extend” the length of the room to simulate a distance of 20 feet for this type of vision testing. The instruments project the eye chart onto a wall and then the image is bounced off mirrors to be visible directly in front of you. This makes things seem 20 feet away, rather than the actual length of the exam room (which is usually only ten feet long).

 

Objects Closer than they Appear

It is important to have regular eye check ups even if you feel your vision is good or if you think you are not having difficulty seeing. Most eye diseases begin with little or no visual symptoms at all, so waiting until something feels wrong can have consequences on your vision health. The earlier your eye doctor is able to detect these problems, the better the outcome will be – and the better the chances of your eyes remaining healthy. A regular eye exam can also give your eye doctor insight into your overall systemic health, and a comprehensive eye exam can pick up health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia, stroke, and brain lesions. So while it may feel like no big deal to skip that annual eye exam, make sure to keep your appointment and get checked out. Don’t neglect your eyes – they can be the first line of defense for disease detection!

Focus Chart 20/20 Vision

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Close up of an eye - dilate my eyes

Why Do Doctors Dilate My Eyes? A Retinal Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

There’s an age-old saying that the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul. While it may not be a literal window into the soul itself, the pupil (the opening in the centre of your eye) does allow an eye doctor a glimpse into the internal structures of your body. So how come your doctor always wants to dilate your eyes?

 

Open Wide!

When dilated, the pupil widens and allows your eye doctor to see more than is possible in a normal eye exam, like a better view of the optic nerve, retina, arteries, veins and the macula.

A dilated eye exam allows your eye doctor to diagnose common systemic conditions and eye diseases. Many systemic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated intracranial pressure are often first diagnosed at an eye exam because of signs visible inside the eye. This is why eye doctors often want to dilate your eyes so that they can make sure there is no early evidence of these conditions.

As annoying as the effects of dilated eyes can be, this only lasts a few hours and is worth the results that a truly comprehensive eye exam can provide.

A chart explaining diabetic retinopathy - visible with a comprehensive eye exam.

A chart explaining diabetic retinopathy – visible with a comprehensive eye exam.

 

What are the Benefits of a Retinal Photo?

Just like any photograph, a retinal photo captures a moment in time. The reason this is so helpful is because a photo can be used as a point of comparison for future examinations. Photos can be used in a side-by-side comparison every year to detect and monitor subtle (early) changes that may be occurring in your eyes.

Retinal photographs are also an invaluable educational tool that can help your eye doctor to better explain the state of your health and wellbeing. By reviewing your images with your doctor, they can point out changes or areas to observe and also explain treatment options. Another age-old saying is that knowledge is power, so the more educated you are about eye health, the better you’ll understand what is being recommended to you and why it’s important.

w inside of an eye - you can see the retina, optic nerve and macula in this retinal photo.

The view inside of an eye – you can see the retina, optic nerve and macula in this retinal photo.

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TOMS Eyewear for Kids Toronto

Look Great and Give Back with TOMS Eyewear in Toronto

We love eye health, and we love fashion. So it’s a natural fit for us to announce that you can now buy TOMS eyewear in Toronto – right at our clinic.

Our optical partner (and next door neighbor), Economy Optical, is proud to be a carrier of TOMS Eyewear. While you may know TOMS for their trendy and charitable footwear, they also have a line of glasses and sunglasses that live by the company’s One for One model. TOMS Eyewear is stylish, well-crafted, and innovative in design with a wide range of styles for men, women, and kids.

But this line of stunning frames and sunglasses has also helped to restore sight to over 360,000 people around the world.

Each TOMS Eyewear purchase provides a sight-restoring service to a person in need – meaning that the person receives an eye exam and then a treatment such as prescription glasses, medical treatment, or sight-saving surgery. Through their network of Sight-Giving Partners, TOMS is able to invest in clinics, hospitals, and local organizations so ophthalmologists and optometrists can provide sustainable eye care to communities in need.

If you’re looking to update your look with a new set of frames or sunglasses, visit us to check out  the collection of TOMS Eyewear in downtown Toronto. Why not update your look and give back?

 

Here are some Neat Facts and How TOMS Eyewear Makes a Difference

  •   90% of the world’s visually impaired people are in developing countries. TOMS seeks out ways to bring sight services to remote communities.
  •   Two-thirds of people who are blind are female. Over 50% of TOMS sight services are dedicated to women and girls.
  •   80% of what we learn is through sight – which makes a difference when kids can’t see well in school.

Check out a video about the program here:

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Four Foods for Healthy Eyes

4 Foods for Healthy Eyes

Chances are you have been told to eat more carrots because they’re good for your eyes. Well, thank your mom because she was on to something.

There are many different foods for healthy eyes, and they are great to keep in mind when trying to balance your nutrition. Many studies link the relationship of a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of diseases. So here are four foods for healthy eyes to add to your dinner plate.

 

Carrots and Vitamin A for Eye HealthCarrots

What makes carrots sought-after for eye health is that they are high in rhodopsin and beta-carotene (which is converted by the body into vitamin A). Vitamin A and rhodopsin help support a healthy retina, especially the components associated with low light and color vision. Carrots also contain lots of antioxidants and other carotanoids. All these positive components may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration, and may actually slow down the progression of the disease in patients who have already developed it.

 

Kiwi for Healthy EyesKiwis

Vitamin C is a nutrient powerhouse for our wellbeing. It is an antioxidant commonly found in fruits and vegetables. It’s been shown to improve many aspects of our bodies, including hair, skin and nails, but it also plays a major role in our visual health. When incorporated in your daily diet, Vitamin C has been shown to lower the risk of developing cataracts and slowing the progression of macular degeneration when it is taken in combination with other essential nutrients.

Surprisingly, the fruit that has the highest concentration of Vitamin C is the kiwi. Other good sources of Vitamin C are oranges, strawberries, orange/red peppers and broccoli.

 

Omega-3 Oil for Eye HealthFish

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that maintain the integrity of our nervous system. They are also extremely important for optimal visual development and retinal function. Studies have shown that two types of Omega-3s are important to the visual system: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Low levels of both have been associated with eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity. Additionally, Omega-3 deficiency is also linked to dry eye disease.

Both EPA and DHA are contained in fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. They can also be taken as supplements and found in lower amounts in foods like nuts, flaxseeds and vegetable oils.

 

Fruits Vegetables for Eye HealthFruits & Veg &…Egg Yolks

While fruits and vegetables may be an obvious choice for a healthy diet, egg yolks may be a surprising choice. What they all contain are two specific carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These carotenoids help with multiple functions in the eye, like helping to filter harmful, high-energy blue light (read more about Bad Blue Light). They also act as antioxidants that help support a healthy retina and play a role in the prevention of cataract formation. They may also help prevent macular degeneration.

Unfortunately, our bodies are not able to produce the Lutein and Zeaxanthin that we need, which means it’s important to get them from the foods that we eat. Vegetables like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens are great options, as are fruits like oranges and papayas. And egg yolks.

 

As Optometrists, we help patients deal with the debilitating nature of vision loss, and often discovered too late. We are passionate about educating our patients on the importance of a health lifestyle and balanced diet because this has significant impact on the visual system. So grab a kiwi and visit us for a consultation.

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The Light Spectrum and Blue Light

Digital Eye Strain: Your Smartphone and Bad Blue Light

Have you wondered if computers, tablets, or smart phones can damage your eyes?

New research suggests that extended use of digital devices like smart phones increases our exposure to “Bad Blue Light” that can be harmful to our eyes.

What is Bad Blue Light?

Blue light wavelengths between 415-455 nanometers – a wavelength range found to be detrimental to our eyes. Sources that emit higher portions of “Bad Blue Light” include Daylight, Cool White LED screens, and Compact Fluorescent light bulbs. High-resolution computer screens and smart phones have been found to emit up to 30% blue light.

Exposure to Bad Blue Light

A study by the American Association of Optometry explored the relevance of this to our current lifestyles. It found that 67% of adults spend more than 7 hours a day on their computer or cell phone, and 65% of people reported experiencing symptoms of digital eyestrain.

Most surprising was that the study found the most vulnerable age group is children. Nowadays, children are exposed to digital devices from a much earlier age than previous generations. However, young children have not yet built up the natural crystalline lens pigment that would otherwise help protect them from blue light damage.

Blue Light Filters and Digital Devices

How can you help reduce your exposure to blue light?

Blue light filters.

New lenses have been specially designed to block these harmful wavelengths from entering the eye and causing damage. These filters are especially useful for people who spend their workday in front of a computer or who experience eyestrain from using digital devices for extended periods of time.

The Balance of Blue Light Exposure

Interestingly, other studies have found that some level of blue light wavelength absorption is important to regulating our circadian (sleep/wake) cycle; what that exact level is still being studied. Therefore, we should aim for a balance of how much blue light we expose ourselves to and protect ourselves from excessive and prolonged exposure that is proven to be harmful.

In the meanwhile, computer-users should stick to regular eye exams to help prevent and manage any eye conditions.

Want recommendations to fit your lifestyle? Book an eye exam and we can help ensure you’re on the path to eye health.

Blue light infographic

Image: Essilor Canada

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