Tagged eye health

Solar Eclipse Safety Tips

There will be a total solar eclipse on August 21, between 1:10pm-3:49pm!! The last total solar eclipse visible in North America was in 1979, and the next one won’t be until 2024, so you won’t want to miss this one!
Here are some safety tips for viewing the eclipse:
– In Ontario, we will not be in the path of totality, so it will NOT be safe to look directly at the eclipse at any time.
– You must wear eclipse glasses with special filters. Here is a list of reputable vendors: https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters
– Looking through binoculars, regular sunglasses, polarizing filters, and other home-made filters, etc, is NOT SAFE.
– While you may be able to find something to dim the sun to a “comfortable” viewing level, it may not block to whole spectrum, so you could be damaging your retinas with infrared radiation… and you wouldn’t notice until afterwards. This video talks about how you can get solar retinopathy by looking at the sun

Meibomian Gland Expression

Attention pimple poppers!
If you secretly love watching pimple popping videos, you’ll probably get the same satisfaction from watching MEIBOMIAN GLAND EXPRESSION (aka squeezing)! If not, you should probably skip this video 😉

Meibomian glands are located in your eyelids, and they secrete the oily component of tears which keeps them from evaporating. When they are blocked or not producing enough oil, that is a leading cause of dry eye syndrome. They can also get clogged with makeup, so make sure you thoroughly clean your eyelids right to the base of your eyelashes every night.

If you suffer from redness, gritty/sandy feeling, stinging, occasional blurry vision, or uncontrollable watering – call (905) 666-4848 to get an eye exam to determine whether you have Dry Eye Syndrome. Yes it sounds weird, but even watery eyes is a sign of dryness!

For now, please enjoy this wonderful video of meibomian gland expression Imagine how nice it would feel after you open up those clogged pores! #FunFriday #OnlyFunForDrLee

(not my video)

Eye Cancer Found On Routine Exam

People always think they would notice if something was wrong with their eyes, but that’s not always the case!

I had a patient last year, who had come in just because she felt like she needed stronger reading glasses. In fact, she almost cancelled her appointment because she was busy that day. Everything checked out: distance vison was great, and she did just need a boost for up close. Everything appeared normal up until the very last step of the exam. After dilation, I was able to see to the edges of her retina, and found a choroidal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma is the most common primary malignant eye tumor and the second most common type of primary malignant melanoma in the body. She was referred immediately and received radiation therapy. I saw her again this year, and so far she is doing well  

The first picture below is a straight on view of her retina. Everything looks normal. The second picture is what was visible when she looked to the side. The melanoma was way off on the edge of her retina, which is why she did not have any symptoms or notice any changes in her vision.

A “virtual” sight test would not have caught this. If she was issued a renewed prescription online without a comprehensive eye exam, this would not have been found. #VisionHealthMonth

eye cancer
normal retina

Are Online Eye Exams Accurate?

The short answer is: No.

This is a response to the article: Warby Parker wants to check your eyeglass prescription with an app but some are calling the approach ‘dangerous’

“4. In about 24 hours, you get your results sent via email. If it hasn’t changed, the doctor will write you a new one. If it has, the doctor might recommend a visit to the optometrist.”

First of all, if the prescription has changed – you still have to go see your optometrist! This will not save you money.
If it hasn’t changed, you still have to come in for a comprehensive eye exam. I have seen many patients with health conditions that have required care, even though the “numbers” on their prescription hadn’t changed. No change in prescription does NOT always mean no health issues!

Warby Parker claims that their test is “accurate,” and that may be true, but their test only scratches the surface of 1 out of 12 components of a regular eye exam. Don’t be fooled – their goal is to maximize profits, not advocate for your health and wellness.

Diabetic Retinopathy Video

The back of your eyes is the only place we can actually SEE blood vessels without cutting open skin. Not only can your Doctor of Optometry see changes due to diabetic retinopathy, but also other general health conditions such as high blood pressure, and more!
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years for healthy adults, even if you are not noticing any changes in your vision. Adults over age 60 should be seen yearly.


The Truth About Hubble Contact Lenses

While it might seem like you could save money by switching to a new online brand of contact lenses, you might actually be over-paying for a lower quality product. I’ve been reading a lot of misinformation on the web and in reviews of the product, so I’m here to address some of your concerns and help you separate the truth from fiction!

No offense Dr. Lee, but I want to skip the middle man
Contact lenses are MEDICAL DEVICES. They are not one-size-fits-all, and what works best for you might not work for someone else. When choosing a contact lens for you, I have to consider other factors aside from just the prescription, including the conversion from glasses to contacts, the material, the size of the lens, and the curvature.

One very important property of a lens material is oxygen transmissibility (Dk/t). This is a measure of how much oxygen can pass through to reach your cornea, while taking into account the thickness of the lens. Hubble contacts are made with an old material called methafilcon A, which has a Dk/t of 18.8. Research shows that a Dk/t of 24 is necessary to maintain cornea integrity and avoid swelling. This is why, as your Doctor of Optometry, I will choose to not sell certain products which can cause problems for my patients, despite being lower cost.

A quick search will reveal that other contact lens companies have offered this material in the past – It’s nothing new. A well-trained optometrist would not offer this to you now because of all the increased risks of side effects! Sometimes you need an experienced, educated middle (wo)man looking out for you 😉

They’re daily lenses, so they’re automatically healthier.
TRUE, sort of – Yes, daily disposables are more hygienic, but not all daily lenses are the same, which leads me to….

Contact lenses are one of those medical devices that (unfortunately) haven’t changed in eons
FALSE. There’s been a lot of changes in contact lens materials, including a whole new category material (silicon hydrogel), so now we can obtain Dk/t up to 156. More oxygen means much healthier corneas, and we see a lot fewer complications like swelling and neovascularization. There’s also many new lens designs, and more options available for people with high prescriptions or astigmatism. People used to have to stop wearing contacts in their 40s when they started needing reading glasses, but now it’s possible to keep wearing them with new multifocal technology!
If you were told in the past that you couldn’t wear contacts, ask your doctor about your options now, because so much has changed, even in the last 10 years!

Wearing old materials is like buying a computer with Windows 98…. It works alright, I guess… but Windows 10 is so much better!

But these lenses feel so comfortable!
These are high water content lenses, so they do tend to be very comfortable. They feel more flimsy, and they’re so thin when you take them out of the package… and thin means it’s better for your eyes, right? WRONG. Comfort isn’t always a good indicator of good fit, and also high water content doesn’t always mean more oxygen – but that’s a whole other topic (Guys, there are seriously so many better options out there!)
The problem with contact lenses is that you can’t “feel” a good fit. They are not like clothes. If your pants don’t fit, you know right away. However, contact lenses can sometimes FEEL great, but they may be too tight, which hinders circulation to your eyes. Even a lens in a good material can cause problems if it’s too tight.
One of the more serious contact lens-related threats to vision, aside from an infection, is neovascularization. Neovascularization is when blood vessels grow into your cornea (the clear part of your eye, where blood vessels do not belong), due to lack of oxygen.
Here’s a picture of corneal neovascularization, which used to be a really common problem with old contact lens materials.

Picture from Online Journal of Ophthalmology www.onjoph.com

This isn’t my patient, but I had one that looks just like this. Guess what? He doesn’t feel a thing. Over time, the blood vessels will continue to grow towards the center, which can cause irregularity in your cornea and impair your vision. In severe cases, this might require a corneal transplant.

Look, if you want to deprive your eyes of oxygen…. I have access to these old lens materials. I can order them, if you insist. But as your Doctor of Optometry, I do not offer sub-standard options. My patients deserve nothing but the best! 🙂

But I don’t want to come in every time I need more contacts….
Yes, it’s going to take a little bit more effort if you’re a new patient to the office, but it’s worth it to make sure your eyes are healthy and that you can continue wearing contact lenses long term. Once we have your lens design and fitting information on file, we can deliver your order to your doorstep after your yearly eye health exam. Shipping is free on your 1 year supply!

But these are so cheap!
This company doesn’t ship to Canada, but let’s compare prices. Their monthly subscription is $30 USD, or $264 USD for one year (currently $347 CAD).
If you want dailies, we have options with Dk/t ranging from 26 to 156. You can get a 1 year supply starting as low as $344 CAD, with our office discount and rebate programs (subject to change). There are tons of options though, so call the office to schedule an appointment and I can help you pick what’s right for you.
Furthermore, if you get your year supply from us, you’re covered for visits for any contact-lens related problems throughout the year. It’s like getting membership to our health plan! Also, within a whole year supply of lenses, chances are there might be one or two defective ones that might rip when you take them out of the packaging, so we can replace those for you, no problem (good luck getting replacements from online retailers). If you get your contacts elsewhere, contact lens-related visits are not covered by OHIP, so there is a charge for any problems throughout the year.

So this new brand isn’t really offering you anything new. They’re just trying to trick you into buying a sub-standard lens at inflated prices. If you were offered a first generation iPhone for $250, or the choice to pay an extra $50 for an iPhone 7 …. which one is the better deal?


Do I Need Sunglasses In The Winter?

It’s going to be sunny this weekend – Don’t forget to protect your eyes! UV protection is important year-round. UV exposure increases on reflective surfaces, such as snow, so you can suffer from sun damage even in the winter. Make sure you grab those sunglasses before you leave the house!

Here are some helpful tips from this article (Don’t Forget To Protect Your Eyes This Winter)

  • When eyes absorb too much UV light,  growths on the front of the eye and eye cancers, especially on the delicate skin surrounding the eyes.
  • People with lighter coloured eyes and skin are even more at risk for damage as they have less of the protective pigment that helps absorb these rays.
  • UV rays are stronger during the spring and summer months, but we should be particularly mindful in the winter since UV exposure increases on reflective surfaces, such as snow.
  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses with wrap-around frames to keep the sun out from the sides, and broad-brimmed hats.
  • Maintain regular visits with your optometrist who will assess your individual eye health and discuss the best options for protecting your eyes year-round
  • Comprehensive eye exams with a doctor of optometry can also reveal insight about your overall health – eg. eye diseases, but also serious health conditions which often have early warning signs present in the eye.
  • The eyelid area is one of the areas of the body where skin cancer is first diagnosed.
  • Good vision and good eye health are often unrelated. You may have 20/20 vision but you may also have risk factors for UV related eye disease.