Child Eye Exam – Why Should I Get My Child’s Vision Checked?

Child Eye Exam

child eye examUnless a child is showing obvious signs of vision impairment or poor eye health, many parents and guardians assume they don’t need to schedule an eye exam. Some even think their children’s eyes will be examined in school as a part of regular health screenings. Both of these are mistaken assumptions. At Metroicare, we agree with the the Canadian Association of Optometrists’ recommendations that children have at least one comprehensive eye exam before they start school and once a year thereafter.

Children often don’t complain about vision impairments because they don’t know whether their vision is abnormal. To them, blurry vision, not being able to follow words on a page, or straining to see a blackboard (or whiteboard) may seem perfectly normal. As they say, a fish doesn’t question how it swims, it just swims! Many vision impairments are only discovered once a child begins school or starts playing organized sports. Both situations require clear sight. But a comprehensive vision examination isn’t just a test of sight. It’s an examination of eye health. And for children, it can be one of the first steps in diagnosing an eye disorder.

Why Should I Get My Child's Vision Checked

At Metroicare, our pediatric eye exam includes a full review of a child’s health and vision history as well as tests for farsightedness, nearsightedness, color perception, astigmatism, and other common vision conditions. Identifying an eye impairment or disorder early greatly aids a child’s ability to learn and feel comfortable in a classroom, or on a playing field.

Metroicare’s comprehensive eye exams also look at eye function such as how well the eyes focus and work together, as well as overall health screenings. Did you know that in children, some binocular vision disorders are mistaken for behavioural disorders such as ADHD? Many family doctors treating children for ADHD often don’t detect or even consider that an ocular disorder, or malfunction, is the cause. Disorders such as convergence insufficiency, where the eye do not work in unison, may not be apparent in simple vision checks. Only optometrists with expertise in eye-teaming abnormalities, would be able to diagnose—and properly treat—these issues in children.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, it is also important for children to learn early about eye care and protection. Who better to impart this knowledge than the trained professionals at Metroicare? We know that too much screen time, or time spend in front of Ipads, tablets, computers, smartphones, and TVs can harm a child’s eyesight. Since the eyes of children and teens continue developing until they are about 20, many eye care professionals believe long hours spend in front of electronic devices can cause myopia, or near-sightedness. Both the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Canadian Association of Optometrists agree that the strain of “near work”— or looking at things close up—effects vision and can lead to conditions such as dry eye. Many experts are now recommending that children spend more time outdoors looking at things far away and absorbing beneficial sunlight and vitamin D.

Vision can be so important to learning and behaviour. A comprehensive eye exam will start your child’s school years off right. Call Metroicare today to book an appointment today.

Dry Eye Disease

dry eye diseaseYou may have seen the commercial on TV. An attractive doctor diagnoses her patient with chronic dry eyes, prescribes a drug to alleviate the symptoms, and announces that the drug helped her too. It was one of the most memorable American TV ads of 2013—making it to the Neilson top ten in advertising. One reason for its top-ten status was that it skillfully announced to the public how dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome (DES) is actually a disease, and not just an annoying temporary symptom.

It’s not often that eye disorders get such public attention, but dry eye disease confirms how important regular comprehensive exams are in treating conditions that patients sometimes brush off. Your optometrist can diagnose dry eye disease and set you on a path to better, more comfortable vision.

Dry eye disease is a chronic, or long-lasting condition. It happens when your eyes do not produce, or maintain enough tears to adequately lubricate the surface of the eye. Sometimes this is because of reduced tear production. In other cases, it arises as a result of the lack of lipid in tears. As medical professionals, we learn from current research—and dry eye is one condition where research and corresponding treatment is ongoing.

Dry eye symptoms run the gamut from dry and itchy, to burning and watering. They can also be painful, stinging, and irritated. It can even feel like you have a grain of sand in your eye. Dry eye effects different people in different ways, and treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms.

As for the contributing factors and causes? Dry eye can happen as a result of normal aging or hormonal change, environmental factors such as living or working in dry or dusty conditions. Air conditioning in summer and heating in winter can exacerbate the condition, as can staring at a computer or television screen for long periods of time. Researchers know that age and gender are factors in who gets dry eye. Women over 50 have a greater risk than men of the same age. Certain medications for blood pressure, allergies, and depression, can contribute, as well as having medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and thyroid disease.

Optometrists have a number of weapons in their arsenal for treating dry eyes. Treatment depends on isolating the cause and determining the severity. Often, we examine the effects of lifestyle with an eye on alleviating major contributors to discomfort. If the cause is environmental, you may be able to eliminate or avoid it—such as wearing wrap-around glasses or goggles in dusty environments, or making sure you blink often while staring at a computer, video, or television screen.

Dry eye treatment could also include using over the counter eye drops, prescription drops, or even prescription drugs (such as the one promoted in the television commercial). Many people find the limiting their use of contact lenses, and warm compresses on the eyes, can help, as well as eye scrubs. Long term treatment plans include eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, keeping hydrated with water and blinking fully and consistently.

If you believe you have been suffering from dry eyes, give us a call, we have a number of treatment options that can help replenish moisture on the surface of your eyes and help you feel better.

Glasses or Contact Lenses

Glasses or Contact Lenses

glasses or contact lensesSome people are contact lovers, some people are glasses fans. And some love both. The contacts vs glasses debate has a lot to do with personal style, usage, and comfort. Luckily, with the array of contacts and eyeglass lenses now available through metroicare.com and a little knowledge of the pros and cons, you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for comfort or convenience. You can choose what works for you when it works for you.

Eyeglasses Make a Statement

Most people begin their vision correction journey with glasses. Eyeglasses allow wearers to define their personal style and make a statement. Maybe you want to assert yourself like Clark Kent, or show the world your eccentric or artistic side like Andy Warhol. Eyeglasses will convey your message whatever your tastes. In addition, glasses are generally cheaper than contacts over the long run, and they offer some protection from dust, wind, and light. Glasses are easy to pop on and off for tasks and naps. In addition, if you have sensitive or dry eyes, glasses are also gentler on your peepers.

Convenience for Active Lifestyles

Contact lenses are great for people with active lifestyles who don’t like the feel of an appliance on their face when they play sports, hike, or run. Because they fit to the curvature of your eye, contacts give a wider field of vision than eyeglasses and won’t distort or reflect your view. As an added bonus, contacts don’t steam up when it is muggy out or fog up in freezing weather. There are also contacts available now that fit specific prescription issues such as astigmatism, as well as multiple prescriptions, far sightedness, and near sightedness.

The optometrists at Metro Eye Care would be happy to advise you on the proper fit for your eyeglass prescription, or the right contact lenses for you. We are conveniently located in downtown Toronto and are accepting new patients.

Does OHIP Cover Eye Exams

DOES OHIP COVER EYE EXAMS

does ohip cover eye examsIn order to obtain publicly insured health care services in Ontario, a resident of Ontario must possess a valid health card.

OHIP COVERAGE FOR OPTOMETRY SERVICES

OHIP covers the following service for:
• Children who are under the age of 19: A complete annual eye examination in addition to following up on the assessment that is needed.
• Seniors above the age of 65: A complete annual eye examination performed annually for the age group in addition to any follow-up assessment that is needed.

Adults between the age of 20 - 64: There is no thorough eye exam for the age group. They have the option of accessing private eye care or personal insurance eye treatment. Although it’s subject to some exceptions depending on the medical condition of the person. Consult your optometrist to see if you are qualified. The cover conditions are:
• Glaucoma
• Diabetes
• Amblyopia
• Cataract
• Retina disease
• Visual field defects
• Strabismus
• Corneal disease
• Optic pathway disease
• Recurrent uveitis

Here are some of the optometric services that OHIP does not cover:
• An additional full eye exam in the same year with an OHIP-covered exam.
• Eye examinations that are deemed compulsory by potential employers and third parties.
• Fitting exams for content lenses and progress check.
• Retina imaging like ocular coherence, tomography, retinal photography, Heidelberg retina tomography, etc.
• Laser refractive surgery-management (pre and postoperative) visits.
Treatment like:
• Contact lenses
• Eyeglasses
• Low vision aids
• Vision therapy (eye coordination exercises)
• Medications to apply to surrounding tissues and diseases of the eye.

PRIVATE THIRD-PARTY INSURANCE

Regular eye checks up was excluded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term care for adults’ patients of age 20-64 years old. The annual eye exam covers only adults with some specific medical problems under the Benefits for Optometry services schedule.

The significance of a regular eye examination is endorsed and promoted by the Ontario Association of Optometrists. You should check your health insurance company’s benefit plan (Sun Life, Manulife, Green Shield of Canada, Great-West Life) in case OHIP does not cover your eye exam for vision care coverage for eyewear, eye exams, and other optometric services. Some employers have extended health care benefits for employees. You are advised to contact your insurance carrier for further details.

An optometrist has the option of choosing if they should bill a third-party insurance provider directly or bill the patient. A third party might be entitled to reimbursement if the third party had already paid for an insured service.

Always Confirm What Coverage OHIP will and will not cover by visiting the Ontario Government website.

Coloured Contact Lenses

COLOURED CONTACT LENSES

coloured contact lensesColoured contact lenses are used to change the coloured look of your eyes, and helps you to look your best. If you want to rock a particular style or you simply want a crazy feel for special occasions such as Halloween, then coloured contact lenses could suit your sense of taste. They are found in Plano and prescription forms.

The prescription coloured contacts enable you to correct myopia which is commonly known as nearsightedness, astigmatism or hyperopia (farsightedness). While the plano coloured contact lenses are worn as part of makeup to change the color of the eyes.

Coloured contacts are rather expensive compared to regular contacts but they are well worth it according to its wearers.

TYPES OF COLOURED CONTACT LENSES

Mostly, colored contacts are designed to resemble the Iris, which is the colored part of the eye. These colored contacts are made of colourful shapes and lines or a series of coloured dots to enable the lenses have a natural appearance. Hence, the center of the lens is clear enough for you to see. Basically, they have three types of tints.

VISIBILITY TINT

This usually comes in a light blue color and it’s added to a lens to help you have a better view of it during insertion and removal. Although they are fast like in appearance, they have no effect on your eye color.

ENHANCEMENT TINT

This tint is translucent, hence; it’s a bit darker than a visibility tint. Its purpose is to enhance the natural color of your eyes. It’s perfect for people with light colored eyes when combined with tinted lenses because it causes the eyes to become more intense.

OPAQUE TINT

It can completely change your eye color because it’s non-transparent. People with dark eyes can use it to change the color of their eyes. They are available in different colors like green, hazel, brown, gray, amethyst, blue and violet. And it also includes theoretical or costume contact lenses. They are frequently used in the movies, and recently, they have become more available for novelty purpose because they create special effects.
With opaque lenses, you can take the role of a vampire and other specialized roles in movies.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOR

For contact lenses, some factors determine its suitability such as skin tone and hair color, but it also got to deal with your desired look, be it subtle, dramatic, romantic, or natural.
Color contacts are suitable for light eyes. And meant for those who want to change their approach subtly. It’s best to choose the kind of enhancement tint that deepens your natural color and defines the edges of your iris.

If you want your eyes to have a different color while still looking natural, then gray or green contact lenses are appropriate, especially when your eye color is naturally blue.

However, if you need a dramatic look that catches the attention of everyone, and if you have light colored eyes alongside a calm complexion with a blue-red undertone, then you should go for contact lenses such as light brown.
But if you have dark eyes, then, color contact lenses for dark eyes and opaque tints are the best for you. To have a change and still look natural, you can choose a hazel colored lens or lighter honey brown. However, contact lenses in vivid colors will enable you to stand out from the crowd easily such as violet, blue, and green. If you have dark skin, bright color lenses can create a superb new look for you.

If you are looking for coloured contact lenses in downtown Toronto contact our office at eyedocs@metroicare.com to book your appointment with one of our optometrists today. 

Types of Eye Emergencies

TYPES OF EYE EMERGENCIES

Your eyes are extremely delicate and complex too. They tend to get injured easily and they are irreplaceable. They are easy targets for infections and other forms of sickness. Have you ever thought about the reason for an eye emergency or when you should start going for one? Then this information is meant just for you.

WHAT AN EYE EMERGENCY IS AND WHAT IT’S NOT

Eye emergencies arise as a result of a sudden accident. It might be a foreign object in the eye, exposure to injury or harmful chemicals. Although, most eye infections can be very painful, makes you feel uncomfortable and unpleasant, some eye infections cannot be categorized as such that needs an eye emergency.

SYMPTOMS OF AN EYE EMERGENCY

types of eye emergenciesThere are several symptoms when it comes to eye infections and diseases. And a lot of them could be a warning that you should go for an eye emergency. They include:
• A sudden loss of vision or blurring of objects.
• A stinging, burning or painful sensation in the eyes.
• When one of the eyes fail to move in accordance with the other one as a result of paralysis or bulging of the eye.
• When one of the pupils of the eyes is different from the other.
• Severe sensitivity to light or double vision.
• Bleeding around the eyes.
• A severe headache that can not be explained.
Some of these symptoms occur suddenly in a severe state. When such happens, then you should know that you are experiencing an eye emergency, you should seek medical attention immediately.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AND NOT DO WITH EYE INJURIES

If a foreign body enters your eye, you should seek medical help immediately. Your eyes will be checked thoroughly by a trained professional who will use the right tools to examine your eyes and remove any foreign body without causing any damage to the eyes.
Avoid attempting to remove the foreign body on your own to avoid damaging your eyes. It’s important to cover your eyes when a foreign body enters the eye mistakenly. So that your eyes can stop tracking movement and light to avoid further injury.

If a chemical substance mistakenly splashes into your eye, bend your head towards the affected eye, so it will face downwards. Then pour cool and clean water into the eyes for about 15mins to flush out the substance from the eyes.
In some cases, a small object that enters the eye can be flushed with clean water or by blinking the eye. This will enable the object to move to the corner of the eye where it can easily fall off. Avoid rubbing the eye if it itches you, instead; seek medical help.

OTHER EYE INJURIES

There are other types of eye-related diseases that need urgent attention such as:
• A cut or a scratch on the surface of the eye.
• A black eye as a result of injury or a severe medical condition.

Sudden swelling in the eyes may be as a result of an allergy, disease or symptom of another illness.
Time is crucial for any eye related problem. So, it’s good to seek help even if you are unsure whether it’s an emergency or not. Rather than wasting time and the condition will only get worse.

Pediatric Eye Care

The National Health Interview Survey, in the United States, recently conducted a research and discovered that about 3% of children who are 18 years and below suffer from various forms of visual impairment, blindness or could not see even with the aid of glasses.
Some of the commonest visual impairments that where identified include:

Pediatric Eye Care - AMBLYOPIA

Some children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years were discovered to have cases of Amblyopia. It primarily causes vision loss in children. It is generated as a result of abnormal development of the neural connectivity between the eye and the brain during the child’s early life. Amblyopia is also referred to as “lazy eye.”
A typical case of a loss in vision can only affect one of the eyes, but children who suffer from Amblyopia are more likely to suffer from vision impairment in their later life than those who do not have it. With this, it’s therefore vital to detect amblyopia at its early stage so it could be treated and curbed in time before the child gets to the age of seven. If it’s neglected or not treated on time, it could lead to loss of vision permanently in one or both eyes.

Pediatric Eye Care - STRABISMUS

Strabismus is best described as the non-arrangement of the eyes, and it has affected 2% to 4% of children under the age of 6. Strabismus causes the brain to receive complex visual inputs because the eyes are oriented in different directions. This impairs the perception process and binocular vision development.

Pediatric Eye Care - REFRACTIVE ERRORS

This represents the most common causes of visual disorder in children. It can consist of hyperopia, astigmatism, and myopia. It results in blurred vision because the lights are not focused on the retina. When such refractive errors are not corrected in infants, and children in pre-school age, due to parental concerns regarding the developmental delay. Also, the clinically based deficiency in visual-motor and cognitive functions that might later affects the child’s readiness for school. But its prevalence varies among different studies due to different examination techniques and diagnostic criteria.

Pediatric Eye Care - MYOPIA

Myopia refers to any condition whereby the visual images focuses on the front of the retina and causes a defective vision of distant objects. According to reports, about 4 percent of children between 6 months to 72 months old and 9 percent of older children between 5-17 years are suffering from myopia. Its prevalence varies by ethnicity, race, and age.

Pediatric Eye Care - HYPEROPIA

Hyperopia occurs when the visual images focus at a point beyond the retina resulting in a defective vision of near objects. It’s also known as farsightedness because it makes nearby objects to appear blurry. Its occurrence is about 21 percent among children (6 months to 5 years of age) and 13 percent among children (5 to 17 years of age). Its appearance varies among race, age, and ethnicity.

Pediatric Eye Care - ASTIGMATISM

This is an irregularity in the shape of the lens or cornea which leads to a blurred vision of distant objects. About 15 and 28 percent of children under the age of 17 years old have astigmatism. Most children who suffer from myopia and hyperopia tend to have astigmatism too.

To book your Pediatric Eye Exam and consult with one of our optometrists call our downtown Toronto today. 

What is Orthokeratology?

What if you could temporarily correct your vision while you sleep? Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is a specially designed contact lens system that corrects myopia (shortsightedness) overnight. The effects last for up to two days, and the lenses can be worn again.

Ortho-k lenses are gas permeable contacts you wear overnight. Gas permeable, or rigid lenses are made of durable plastic that allows for more oxygen to reach the cornea than most soft contact lenses—making them “breathable” lenses. Ortho-k lenses work by gently reshaping the cornea, or front surface of the eye. In the morning, when the contacts are removed, the wearer can see clearly for up to 48 hours.

orthokeratologyThe lenses are prescribed for patients with mild to moderate myopia who are not eligible or don’t want LASIK surgery. They also assist in temporary correction of astigmatism, where the eye has difficulty focusing light for clear vision, and some cases of hyperopia (farsightedness). Ortho-k lenses have been proscribed to slow the progression of myopia in children, as well.

These overnight corneal reshaping contact lenses are prescribed and fitted by optometrists who measure the curvatures of a patient’s cornea to create a topographical map of the eye’s surface. Custom lenses are then ordered, or the optometrist can fit lenses that are in stock.

Patients report that the Ortho-k lenses are easy to adapt to, and comfortable for sleeping. Most have clear distance vision after only a day or two of overnight use. The effects of Ortho-k are cumulative, but also reversible, meaning people can stop using them and their eyes will gradually return to the previous corneal shape.

Ortho-k lenses are more expensive than regular contact lens systems, but about half the price of laser vision correction. There is no harm with long-term use and wearers can some using them and opt for laser correction (if deemed appropriate) within weeks or months of stopping Ortho-k.

Children’s Eye Exam – Wearing glasses

Glasses can help correct many types of vision problems.

  • If a child is very farsighted, nearsighted, or has astigmatism, the brain only receives blurry images. Glasses help the child see clearly, which helps vision develop normally.
  • If a child has crossed eyes, glasses can correct the problem and help vision develop normally. Glasses may be used to correct crossed eyes, even when vision is clear.
  • If a child has good vision in just one eye, glasses will protect the eye from injury. These glasses must be made of shatterproof material such as polycarbonate or trivex.

The doctor will:

  • Discuss your child’s vision and how glasses will help.
  • Give you a prescription for your child’s glasses

The optometrist’s prescription is used to make the lenses for your child’s glasses. The choice of frames is up to you. Here are some suggestions for choosing frames:

  • Let your child pick out the frames. If your child likes them, he or she will be more interested in wearing them.
  • Choose frames that are not too small or your child will look over them.
  • Make sure the glasses fit well, don’t slip or feel too tight or heavy.
  • Regular glasses won’t protect your child’s eyes from injury. Your child may also need safety glasses for sports.

For any tips on eye care for your children, selecting the right frames and ways of encouragement, give us a call today. Metro Eye Care is an optometrist office located in downtown Toronto and accepting new patients!

What you need to know about aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease

 

What is aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease?

Your tears do much more than indicate that you are crying. They have other functions. The tear glands supply your eyes with the tears required to keep them moist. Each time you blink, they supply the tears needed. Those tears keep your eyes moist, clean, and healthy. If your tear glands stop this supply for any reason, it can lead to the condition called aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease. This condition usually comes with vision problems, redness of the eyes, and eye discomfort or pain.

Causes of aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease

Many factors can cause or contribute to aqueous deficient dry eye disease but the two most common ones include Sjogren’s syndrome and advanced age. 

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is a disease that attacks both tear glands and saliva glands. Tear glands will no longer be able to produce tears and the glands that secrete your spit will also stop functioning. So, those who have the disease will usually have both aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease and dry mouth disease.

It has also been observed that women are more prone to Sjogren’s syndrome than men. The fact that about 10 percent of people with dry eye disease also have Sjogren’s syndrome underscores the strong link between both conditions.

Age

Just like most body parts, the tear glands function less as you grow older. Besides, since your immune system will also naturally get weaker with age, your chances of getting Sjogren’s syndrome, aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease, or any other disease, will become higher as you grow older.

 Other conditions causing aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease include:

• Damaged tear glands or tear ducts

• Virus infection

• Any of the following diseases can also lead to dry eye disease; Amyloidosis, Hemochromatosis, Sarcoidosis, Lymphoma, and Hepatitis C.

Symptoms include feeling dry and itchy.  You may also find it very uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. In addition, you may have blurred or fluctuating vision. There may be a burning sensation in your eyes. Eye pain and redness of the eyes have also been observed to be common symptoms of the disease. Sometimes, you may feel like there is dirt or sand in your eyes.  A dry eye exam can uncover the underlying cause of such symptoms. 

How to diagnose aqueous tear deficiency? 

The most effective way to diagnose aqueous tear deficient dry eye disease is through a reliable dry eye exam. While there are numerous dry eye tests, the best approach is through a comprehensive assessment using multiple tests including the Oculus Keratograph 5M Meibography and osmolarity.   The Oculus Keratograph 5M is an advanced test that involves the use of both color camera and keratometer for optimized external imaging of the eye. It also includes Meibography which is an imaging study of the morphology of meibomian glands in vivo.

Depending on the findings of your dry eye assessment you optometrist might recommend further testing for  Sjogren's syndrome.  Depending on the severity of your dry eye disease and the cause, your doctor will determine the best treatment for you.

The standard of care is usually to treating the underlying etiology that's causing the dry eye condition. Your doctor may also recommend the use of certain lubricating eye drops or supplements. You may also need to use plugs to prevent your tears from draining off. On rare cases, your doctor may suggest a surgery.  It's best to start with a comprehensive dry eye exam which will first determine the form of the dry eye disease involved.  To book your comprehensive dry eye assessment at our sister clinic please visit their Dry eye clinic page.