Emergency Ocular Examinations

Ocular emergencies are some of the most frequent type of visits seen at an optometrist’s office.  Many types of emergencies present to an eye doctor’s office on a daily basis.  Many are acute and serious conditions that require serious attention.  This article will outline some of those common emergencies and what should be done when you are concerned that you might be experiencing them.

eye emergency

Q: I just started seeing floaters and flashes in my vision. What should I do about them?

The symptoms of recent onset floaters are often associated with a detachment in the eye’s vitreous (the gel inside the eye ball).  Often times this detachment is described as PVD or posterior vitreous detachment.  However, those symptoms are also sometimes associated with flashes that accompany them and could represent a real emergency if the retina is involved.  If you experience any of those symptoms you must see your optometrist immediately or report to the nearest hospital emergency room for a dilated fundus exam to rule out signs of retinal breaks, tears or detachments.

Q: I have a sudden sensation that sometime is in my eye and I can’t wash it away. What should I do?

Foreign body sensation symptoms are a common presentation at an optometrist office.  Many times this occurs while people are working with tools or in their backyard gardening and a small foreign body hits their eye.  These cases can vary widely depending on the type of foreign body, the size of it and the part of the eye that it hits.  Corneal foreign bodies are the most common and the most painful and are considered vision threatening if they are lodged in the patient’s visual axis.  Corneal foreign bodies should be examined immediately and removed to prevent further damage and complications. Depending on the location of the foreign body and how deep it has penetrated the eye, different tools are used by the optometrist to remove it.

Q: I woke up with a pink eye with watery and yellow discharge.  What should I do?

Pink eye presentations are quite common and they can be caused by a variety of reasons.  Some are more serious than others.  Causes can be inflammatory in nature or infectious and can be bacterial, viral or allergic.  Patients with pink eye presentation are instructed to practice caution, as the nature of some conditions can be contagious.  If you are experiencing any signs of pink eyes see your optometrists immediately for treatment and management.

Q: My vision is suddenly blurry. What should I do about it?

Blurry vision is another symptom that can be caused by serious ocular conditions or as a result of refractive change over time.  Blurry vision can occur suddenly or over time and can occur in both eyes or just one eye.  Many reasons can be attributed to blurry vision and only through a thorough eye examination by an eye doctor can they be assessed and managed.  If you are experiencing blurry vision you should see your optometrist for a full assessment to determine the cause and treat the condition.

Important facts about dry eye disease

What is dry eyes?

Dry eye is a medical condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears. You may wonder why that is a problem. The human eye needs to produce a certain amount of tears to remain healthy and comfortable so if the eye does not produce enough tears, it is a problem. A common type of dry eye disease is when the eye does not produce the right type of tears and tear film.

Understanding the importance of tears

dry-eyes

Each time you blink, a film of tears spreads over your eyes to keep their surface clear and smooth. In other words, your tear film promotes clear vision. There are three layers of tear film and they are the mucus layer, watery layer, and oily layer.

The oily layer is outside the tear film and its purpose is to make the eyes’ surface smooth. It also prevents the tears from drying up too quickly. The oily layer is produced in the Meibomian glands. The watery layer is the middle of the tear film and it makes up most part of the visible tears. Its major function is to clean the eyes by washing away dirt or particles from the eyes. This layer comes from the Lacrimal glands right in the eyelids.

The mucus layer is the inner layer of the film and it ensures that the surface of the eyes is always moist by spreading the water layer over the eyes’ surface. This layer comes from Conjunctiva. Sometimes the eyes do not produce enough tears or one or more of the three layers become dysfunctional. Either case will lead to what is known as dry eyes. Dry eye can be diagnosed through three major tests that have been outlined below.

Common dry eye tests used during a dry eye assessment

Osmolarity Test

This test can be carried out using various osmolarity instruments. The osmolarity test assesses the quality of tears with results displayed in most/l. An elevated reading, >300 mOsm/L, indicates loss of tear film homeostasis. When the inter-eye difference is >8 mOsm/L, it indicates instability of the tear film. The iPen and Tearlab are two common examples.

Schirmer’s Test

To perform this test, a patient is first given numbing drops to reduce the discomfort that the test may cause. The optometrist will then pull down the lower eyelid and place a strip of paper beneath it. After that, the patient will close their eyes and leave it closed for 5 minutes. The strip is removed thereafter and the amount of moisture in it is measured. Dry eye disease is diagnosed if the amount of moisture is insufficient.

Red Thread Test

This is a very similar version of the Schirmer’s test. The main difference is that the strip is replaced with a red thread in this test.

Oculus Keratograph 5M

This is an advanced form of corneal topography coupled with specific dry eye tools. It consists of a keratometer, topographer and a color camera that has been optimized for external imaging. Apart from topography and external imaging, the equipment helps to evaluate the lipid layer, measure the tear meniscus height and performs a non-invasive tear film break-up time. Optometrists use this tool to diagnose the specific type(s) of dry eye disease involved. It also helps provide comparative pre and post treatment analysis.

Meibography

This is an imaging study of the morphology of meibomian glands in vivo. The test is for the purpose of examine the upper and lower meibomian glands and to assist in diagnosing Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Patients with dry eye syndrome are advised to see an optometrist with the right equipment to run a comprehensive diagnostic battery of tests. Specific tests tailored for the diagnosis of dry eyes will help narrow the diagnosis and the root cause of the condition and ultimately helps in providing a guide for a targeted treatment.

To book your appointment at our dry eye clinic, contact our Queen St office or fill in this dry eye assessment request form.

What takes place during pre-testing for your routine Eye Exam?

Many people are used to going through the motion of the different tests done during their eye exam visit, but many don’t know what is actually being tested. We would like to use this article to highlight some of the common tests done during pretesting.  Pretesting is usually done in a different room before the patient is ready to see the optometrist by an optometric assitant, ophthalmic technician or an optician.  Here are few of the most common eye tests done during the pretesting stage of your eye exam:

Advanced Diagnostics in Downtown Toronto

NCT (Non-contact Tonometry)

 Non-Contact Tonometry is used by eye care professionals to measure the intraocular pressure in an individual's eye. Intraocular pressure is the fluid pressure within the eye. Intraocular pressure is useful to measure because it can determine if the patient is more likely to develop glaucoma. Glaucoma is when there is damage to the optic nerve and be caused by an increased intraocular pressure. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. A Non-Contact Tonometer uses a puff into the individual’s eye. It measures the intraocular pressure by the eye’s resistance to the puff.

Autorefractor

             An auto-refractor is a computer-controlled machine that is used to provided an objective measurement of a person's refractive error and a starting point for prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Refractive error is a problem with focusing light properly onto the retina due to the shape of an individual's eye. Common types of refractive error are near-sightedness, which is when you can see objects near you clearly but object far away are not clear, and farsightedness, is when you are able to see objects far away clearly but are not able to see objects up close clearly. An autorefractor works by shining light into the eye and measuring how it changes as it bounces off the ocular fundus, which includes the retina, optic disc, macula, and fovea. An image of an object is shown to the patient moving in and out of focus and a number of measurements are taken of the reflection to determine when the eye is properly focused. When these figures are put together a level of correction needed for the patient is formed.

Auto-Keratometry

            Auto-keratometry measures the anterior curvature of the cornea, which is the front of the eye. This test can be taken at the same time as the auto-refractor in some cases. An image is reflected off of two points in the cornea, and the relationship between object size, size of the image reflected and distance between the object and keratometer are all utilized to get the result of a minimum and maximum curvature valued for the cornea. This measurement helps with contact lens fittings.

Pachymetry

            Pachymetry is the process of measuring the thickness of an individual’s cornea. This measurement is taken just before the NCT is preformed. This is useful in regards to refractive surgery candidacy and certain corneal diseases.

Retinal Imaging

            Retinal imaging is an image that is taken of the inside of an individual's eye. It uses high-resolution imaging is used for the picture. This is used to assess the health of an individual’s retina. Within the picture an individual's retina, optic disk, and blood vessels can be seen. Retinal imaging is highly recommended when an individual has diabetes, since it can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina.

To book your Eye Exam today with one of our optometrists in the Toronto Downtown area contact us at metro@360eyecare.ca.

What’s new in the eyecare world?

Eyecare and Technology

Technology plays a tremendous role in every industry and the eyecare industry is no exception. We see advancements in technology impacting all aspects of the eyecare practice. From new revolutionary diagnostic equipment that help optometrists pick up settle ocular changes that were missed in the past to new advancements in contact lenses and glasses, the future of eyecare is bright.

eye-technology, Metro Eye Care

The OCT

The OCT (optical coherence tomography) is one of the diagnostic tools that have revolutionized the way optometrists and ophthalmologists practice over the last several years. OCT is a non-invasive technology that’s able to take a cross section of internal ocular structures including the optic nerve, macula and other sections of the retina. This advanced technology allows the eye care professional to see beyond what could be discovered on a standard clinical examination through biomicroscopy or retinal imaging. This tool is specially important for patients with family history of macular degeneration or glaucoma. It’s also great for monitoring disease progression in patients who have already been diagnosed with the disease and would need to be monitored closely for change.

Contact lens inovation

Another eyecare area that has been tremendously transformed by technology over the last several years is the contact lens market. The technology in this arena has come a long way over the years. Daily lenses now come in silicone hydrogel material that allows for greater oxygen transmission through the lens and better comfort. Given that these lenses are now manufactured at a larger scale the cost of the lenses has also come down significantly, so wearing these lenses has become much more affordable as well. The custom rigid gas permeable lenses and scleral lenses advancements have also been instrumental in allowing optometrists to help more patients who otherwise would have not been able to help in the past. Example of such cases include those with dry eye disease who had developed intolerance to soft contact lenses or those with corneal disease such as keratoconus, and post surgical patients.

Glasses

On the glasses front, digitally manufactured spectacle lenses now allow for more customization than ever. Such level of accuracy and customization now allows for most optimized vision. The days of having only generic stock lens options are long gone. Thanks to digital lens surfacing, we’re now able to specify how a patient chooses to wear a frame to the fabrication of the lenses for most optimized clarity and comfort.

Surgical front

On the surgical front, we have seen many technological advancements that have increased the options available to patients in need of ocular surgeries. In refractive surgery for example, new laser technology such as the custom all-laser wavefront Lasik or transepithelial PRK has allowed corneal surgeons to deliver more accurate and safer outcomes for their patients.

Emerging Technologies

One of the most exciting technologies that are starting to emerge now is the wearable technology. We are seeing small launches in the eyewear arena but likely there will be much more to come in the near future.

To learn more about eye health, eyewear or to book an Eye Exam or a consultation with one of our Optometrists call or email us at our Downtown Toronto University Avenue location and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

 

 

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. 

 

 

Top Methods Used To Test Your Eye Pressure And Why It Is Important

Testing your eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure or IOP, is an integral part of a comprehensive eye exam and a primary reason to see your optometrist regularly. Frequency of eye examinations can vary depending on each patients. Patients diagnosed with Glaucoma for example will require a closer monitor and more frequent visits than patients who are being monitored due to family history.

Commonly used methods to test eye pressure:

• Goldmann applanation tonometry

testing_eye_pressure

Goldmann applanation tonometry is one of the most accurate techniques used to check the eye pressure. It is still the gold standard for measureing intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients. This technique examines your eye pressure by determining the amount of force required to flatten a corneal surface area. Optometrists using this method to test eye pressure use a tonometer that consists of a tonometer arm, contact prism, contact probe, and measuring drum.

Before an optometrist starts checking your pressure, some detailed instructions highlighting the process are offered to the patient. Below is a complete procedure on how to go about this method. The procedure starts by instilling anesthetic drops and small amounts of fluorescein into the eye. Once the patient is ready and situated in the slit lamp the probe is gently moved towards the corneal centre. One the tip touchs the cornea the knob is adjusted until the edges of the two mires are just touching. Once this is achieved the reading obtained is recorded.  This represents the amount of pressure taken to flatten the surface. 

• Tono-Pen tonometry

Tono-Pen tonometry is a method of testing the eye pressure where an optometrist touches the cornea with a pen tip until a reading is displayed. This method is not only accurate but also reliable and it's used in many clinical settings.  One advantage of this instrument is it's mobility and portability.  It's great for patients who are wheelchair ridden and have limited mobility.  An optometrist can repeat the procedure several times if the final measurements differ by more than two mmHg to ensure an accurate measurement is obtained. 

• Non-contact tonometry (NCT)

Non-contact tonometry (NCT) is a method of testing the eye pressure that works on a time-interval principle. Optometrists’ uses the tonometer to measure the total time it takes from the first generation of the puff of air to where your cornea flattens. Note that it takes milliseconds for a puff of air to obtain the reading. This method is commonly used in screenings and as a part of a pretest in routine examinations. 

Why is it essential to test for eye pressure?

Testing for eye pressure helps in determining the risk for glaucoma. Undetected elevated pressure in the eye can lead to glaucoma, an eye condition that's characterized by a damage to the optic nerve. It’s never too late, book an appointment with your optometrist to have your eyes checked. Make it a routine to stay safe and healthy.

To book your eye exam with one of our optometrists in the downtown Toronto area call our office today at 416-782-7301 or email us at eyedocs@x8t.d92.myftpupload.com. 

Keratoconus treatment with scleral lenses

What is Keratoconus and how it can be corrected with scleral lenses?

Keratoconus is a corneal disorder that is mainly characterized by the thinning of the irregular cornea. It is believed to be caused by a combination of factors such as genetics, hormonal and environmental factors. Keratoconus may result in blurry vision, nearsightedness, double vision, light sensitivity as well as severe astigmatism.

While the condition can be corrected during its initial stages, the damage may become permanent if the cornea degradation continues. As a result, patients with who might experience early symptoms are advised to see an optometrist for a full ocular health assessment. In many cases, the condition can be corrected with scleral gas permeable (GP) lenses.

What are gas permeable scleral lenses?

They are large diameter lenses that rest over the sclera and vault the cornea entirely. Unlike conventional contact lenses which rest on the cornea. As a result, there is a space between the lens and the cornea. Usually, the lenses are inserted after filling with sterile isotonic fluid.

As a result, these lenses can be used to correct corneal ectatic diseases which result in high irregular astigmatism. These include keratoconus as well as pellucid marginal degeneration.

How can the lenses correct Keratoconus?

The field of Scleral contact lenses (ScCLs) has seen much advancement in terms of both design and lens materials. As a result, GP scleral lenses are now replacing the older corneal rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses which are less useful in cases where the conicity of the cornea increases dramatically (a major characteristic of keratoconus),

ScCLs contains three parts:

•the Scleral portion (Haptic) which rests on the sclera

•the vault, this section is responsible for corneal as well as limbal clearance of the lens

•the optical part of the lens, this is usually 0.2mm more extensive than the horizontal iris diameter.

This design ensures that the lens does not move too much on the eye after fitting

A few other design features may also be included to enhance ScCLs.  Those include:

•Front surface eccentricity (FSE), these act as wavefront aberrations correction to the spherical scleral lens.

•Air-ventilation or fluid ventilation, this will help in providing oxygen to the ocular surface.

It’s important to note that the fluid reservoir found on the scleral lenses is able to mask irregular astigmatism. Therefore, the lenses have to align the haptic to the sclera perfectly. This is made possible through the application of submicron lathe machines as well as computerized lathe machines to produce custom lenses for each patient. This also allows the adding of toricity to match the edge lifts for each individual patient.

Advantages of using gas permeable scleral lenses to correct keratoconus:

1.Improved oxygen transmissibility due to their thin nature that allows oxygen to permeate through them freely.

2.Reduced amount of debris collection between the lens and cornea

3.The lenses are much more comfortable to wear compared to others

4.The minimal movement ensures that the lens stays in position and therefore allows for better, more stable vision.

5.Fenestrations that help in oxygen delivery as well as tear exchange.

If you are interested in scleral lenses contact our downtown office today at eyedocs@x8t.d92.myftpupload.com for further information or to book your eye exam and consultation with one of our optometrists.

What is astigmatism and how to correct it?

What is astigmatism? 

 Astigmatism is a refractive error that is quite common for both children and adults. It is a condition in which the eye fails to focus light onto the retina evenly. Astigmatism arises when the light that strikes the cornea is bent differently. It is because the shape of the cornea or crystalline lens is irregular as opposed to the typical spherical shape.  Simply, the eye is not perfectly spherical. Astigmatism correction is done using special spectacle lenses or contact lenses.

A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist is undertaken by patients who might suspect astigmatism.  The optometrist will provide glasses or contact lenses prescription if necessary at the conclusion of the eye exam. 

Astigmatism results in a blurred or distorted vision to some degree. Common symptoms associated with astigmatism include headaches, eyestrains, and squinting. Some patients having slight astigmatism will fail to notice the change in their vision. It is therefore essential to have regular eye examinations to determine astigmatism.

Astigmatism

How to correct astigmatism? 

Spectacle lenses (Glasses)

The use of glasses is the most common method used to correct vision. Eyeglasses having cylindrical lenses are the most popular way of correcting astigmatism.  Studies have shown that most patients with high astigmatism prefer glasses. Glasses are either positive or negative depending on the type of prescription. These glasses have special cylindrical lenses, which compensate for astigmatism by providing additional powers in certain areas of the lens. In most cases, a single-vision lens is provided which serves to provide clear vision. Nonetheless, patients who are over 40 years and have presbyopia may be prescribed an additional progressive or bifocal lens.

Contact lenses

Contact lenses are also another way of correcting astigmatism. Some years back, astigmatic patients could not use soft contact lenses; instead, the correction was only possible by the use of hard contact lenses, an example being the gas permeable contact lenses. Today, astigmatism correction is carried out using unique toric soft contact lenses. These contact lenses can have toric on either the back or the front surface. The contact lenses having toric on the front surface will correct both lenticular and corneal astigmatism of up to 4.5 D. Corneal astigmatisms is corrected by contact lenses having a toric back surface. Usually correction is up to 60. D with the custom designs. 

The use of custom contact lenses is known to remedy high astigmatism as well as allowing favorable conditions for binocular vision. Many patients also prefer contact lenses over glasses for cosmetic reasons. 

Since these contact lenses are worn directly to a patient’s eye, they should ensure that they are regularly cleaned and cared for to protect their eye health.

Laser vision correction 

For the right candidates, procedures such as LASIK, LASEK, or PRK can also correct astigmatism. 

Patients with astigmatism have a broad range of options to correct their vision condition. Upon consultations with the optometrist, patients can select the treatment that best fits their visual needs and life style. To book your eye exam and consultation with one of our optometrists call our downtown Toronto today. 

Optometrist: Primary Eye Car provider

Optometrist: Primary Eye Car provider

 

The roles of optometrists in primary eye care goes beyond the testing of vision and prescribing spectacles and contact lenses. In this blog, we'll highlight some of the work optometrists are involved in.

Optometrists are often the first point of contact for patients with vision problems. They also receive referrals from the patient’s family doctor. A patient who has a condition that affects sight will be referred by the primary doctor to the optometrist for further tests and treatment.

eye exam, optometrist

Medical ocular diagnosis and treatment:

 

Optometrist are primary eyecare doctors. Monitoring the retina for diabetic complications, treating and managing dry eye disease and other chronic conditions, and removing foreign bodies from the eye are some of the many conditions patients see optometrist for.

What is the role of the optometrists in management of diabetes?

 

Diseases like glaucoma and diabetes usually have no obvious early symptoms. Optometrists will conduct a dilated fundus exam to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes.  Early detection and treatment of such diseases will help minimize the risk of developing permanent vision loss. The importance of regular eye exams cannot be stressed enough.  Your optometrist plays a vital role in management of your diabetes.  Most ocular complications due to diabetes are usually asymptomatic in the early stages.  When detected early, the progression of further complications is minimized and usually treatment is most successful. Your optometrist will communicate with your family doctor or endocrinologist with the test results. 

Comprehensive eye examinations involve numerous tests starting with preliminary external tests following by refraction and dilated retinal assessment.

External ocular examination and refraction:

 

The eye doctor performs examinations to measure the depth perception, ocular motility, color perception and eye coordination. They also determine the deviation of the eyes and provide a leading role in vision therapy when needed as a rehab treatment. Vision therapy includes orthoptic exercises, prismatic correction, and occlusion therapy.

The optometrists conduct other preliminary eye tests such as automated refractory, streak radioscopy and vision assessment. Optometrists play a significant role in the treatment of refractive errors. Once refraction is completed, the optometrist will provide a prescription for glasses. Contact lenses including soft and gas permeable lenses are also fitted and prescribed by your optometrist. Optometrists who are trained in low vision are also able to provide low vision aids to correct and amplify vision for people with subnormal vision.  Patients with enucleated eyes can be fitted with prosthetic shells or lenses cosmetically. 

The importance of regular Eye Examinations:

 

Optometrists are often the first point of contact for patients with vision problems. They also receive referrals from the patient’s family doctor and other health care practitioners. Usually a patient who has a condition that affects sight will be referred by the general practitioner to the optometrist for further assessment and management.  Individuals are advised to take regular eye exams even if they are otherwise healthy or experience no visual symptoms. Eye exams can help detect eye conditions early enough when it is more likely to be successfully treated.  The exam will allow the optometrist to evaluate the patient's eye health as an indicator of the overall body health and communicate with the patients family doctor as needed. If you are looking to book an eye exam in downtown Toronto contact our office at eyedocs@x8t.d92.myftpupload.com to book your appointment with one of our optometrists today. 

 

Anti-reflective coatings and other lens treatment options

what are lens treatment options?

More often than not, the final step in the creation of a pair of glasses is applying lens treatment. This step can sometimes be opted out of, usually due to cost. When purchasing lenses for your eyeglasses prescription, you should be educated on the available coating options and which ones might be best suited for your prescription. 

There is a multitude of treatments available for prescription lenses; all applied during the manufacturing process. The most common one is the Anti-Reflection Treatment (or AR), which cuts glare from highlights – a feature which is very useful in some instances, especially when driving. This treatment also improves clarity and comfort. Other common lens coatings are photochromic (changing tint with protection against UV rays), polarized (enhances contrast and visual clarity, also reduces glare), scratch-resistance, or mirroring. Also, a patient can also opt for having their lenses permanently tinted with various colors. 

By far, the most common lens treatment is the Anti-Reflection coating. However, not all AR treatments are created equally. There are several levels of AR treatments, from basic to more elaborate. Let’s see the differences:

- Basic. The most standard AR lens treatment comes with a basic scratch-resistant coating, along with the standard anti-reflective coating. This treatment does get the job done under most conditions, but without additional coatings many suffer from issues like dust collection, scratches and usually difficulty cleaning them.

- Intermediate: The next level of AR lens treatment includes an oil-resistant hydropholic coating which also with the added layers improves scratch resistance and helps keep your glasses cleaner for longer periods. The hydrophobic coating will help if you get caught in the rain – the droplets will simply slide of your lens.

- Top: The next additions are UV protection and static resistance, along with optimum scratch-resistance strength.  These coatings will help minimize dust buildup and are much easier to clean .

In recent year, the top-level AR treatments can benefit from one more type of coating: a blue filter which is great for filtering light produced by electronic devices, such as computer and phone screens. That’s about all the technology that can fit into your lens at this moment in time.

If you’re in the market for lenses and want some of the best coatings available at this moment, there are a couple of manufacturers whose quality is undoubted. Nikon is one of them, with their SeeCoat series (SeeCoat Premium and SeeCoat Blue are the highlights of that particular line), and another one is Hoya, with their EX-3 series. Both these producers have many years of experience in manufacturing high quality lenses, which can also be seen in their photographic work – Nikon produces excellent cameras and sensors, while Hoya manufactures some of the greatest filters on the market.

All in all, it’s essential to know what your budget is when choosing the coatings for your lenses and what you need them to do. Some people dislike dust on their glasses most, while others despise smudges and constantly having to clean them. Blue light protection is always useful given how much time we spend in front of screens, but at the end of the day, the decision is yours.

For further information, before purchasing your next pair of glasses visit our Metro Eye Care clinic on 40 University in the Toronto downtown core and ask to speak to one of our opticians or book an appointment with one of our optometrists.  We will gladly walk you through all the options for your prescription.