Dr. Leong, Dr. Bui And Dr. Yan Answer Your Eyecare Questions
Q: What causes cataracts to form?
Dr. Leong: When a cataract forms, the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, like a frosted window. They are NOT caused by overuse of eyes on computers or reading. A cataract is also NOT a tumor or growth of film which cover the front of the eye. Often, cataracts develop as part of the aging process from a change in the chemical composition of the lens. Years of exposure to sunlight and other sources of UV light can contribute to cataract development. Also cataracts can be caused by eye injuries, certain medications such as steroids, certain eye diseases and body conditions, and some birth defects. No one can predict how quickly cataracts will progress. Your eye doctor can assess cataracts and tell you if cataract surgery is required.
Q: Which Allergy Eye drops Should I Use?
Dr. Leong: While it is common for toddlers and young children to skip words or lines while reading, this symptom may indicate certain visual skill problems in older children. Using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, complaints of eyestrain and eye fatigue are also warning signs that important visual abilities are missing. This will make simple tasks such as reading or copying notes from the board very difficult.
Q: I’ve noticed my child skipping words and lines while we read together. Should I be concerned?
Dr. Bui: While it is common for toddlers and young children to skip words or lines while reading, this symptom may indicate certain visual skill problems in older children. Using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, complaints of eyestrain and eye fatigue are also warning signs that important visual abilities are missing. This will make simple tasks such as reading or copying notes from the board very difficult.
Annual comprehensive eye exams are essential for children 18 years old and under to ensure potential visual problems are detected and treated before they hinder a child’s learning experience. If the above symptoms persist, a Vision Therapy assessment is then recommended.
Visuals skills, such as eye-tracking, eye-teaming and eye-focusing abilities, are evaluated and compared to age-related norms. If a child lacks certain visual skills, an individualized treatment plan can be constructed to teach, improve and stabilize those important abilities.
Multiple research studies have shown that Vision Therapy does improve visual skills, if given the proper dedication and time from the patients and parents. Once completed, Vision Therapy graduates no longer struggle with reading for extended periods of time, headaches or eyestrain, which makes learning an easier experience.
At Foresight Eyecare, Drs. Leong and Bui would be happy to discuss any visual concerns you may have at your children’s next eye exams.
Q: How Can I Prevent Macular Degeneration?
Dr. Yan: Fortunately, there is prevention and treatment for AMD if scarring has not yet occurred. A study called AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study) was started in 2001, and AREDS2 results were released in 2013. Compiling over 3000 subjects over 10 years provided data on a special formulation of vitamin supplements that reduced the risk of advanced AMD.
AREDS2 supports supplementation of Vitamin C, E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin in patients with intermediate or advanced AMD. AREDS did not find any benefit in taking lutein or vitamin supplements for those who do not have AMD, nor AREDS also showed no benefit in subjects that were already well nourished with lutein in their diet.
An appropriate diet for those at risk for AMD can be found in “Eyefoods” which include food rich in carotenoids such as kale (nature’s sunglasses), orange peppers, spinach, and other examples found in the nutrition tab of our website.
Prevention of AMD can be achieved also by regular exercise, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, no smoking, and wearing sunglasses and blue blocker coatings to block UV light and high energy blue light.
Another controversial preventative measure includes genetic testing for CHF gene (complement factor H) and ARMS2 gene. The research on gene testing suggest that certain nutritional supplements may be appropriate or harmful depending on your genotype.
In our aging baby boomer population, the number of people affected by AMD will increase. Our knowledge about AMD is increasing, and AMD is treatable if detected early enough. Drs. Leong and Bui would be happy to see you and discuss your macular health at your next eye exam.
Q: What are the Risks of Online Shopping for Contact Lenses and Glasses?
A: The ‘real deal’ on contact lenses is that they are medical devices that require a proper fit, as one size does not fit all. The fitting process needs a professional that has been trained to assess lens sizing, appropriate lens movement on the eye, and healthy eye response to lens wear over time. Many people buy contact lenses online because of convenience and may not see that it is not always the least expensive option, and that wearing contact lenses requires maintenance.
Like driving your vehicle, if not maintained at least annually, problems are likely to arise. Contact lenses can become warped, eyes can change shape, and change in environment, medications or pregnancy etc may affect lens wear. From the Doctor’s perspective, patients often report that their lenses feel dry. When the doctor looks under the microscope, the “dryness” is actually inflammation requiring more intense treatment than over the counter dry eye drops.
Routine contact lens checkups ensure that serious eye complications are avoided. At Foresight Eyecare, we also provide warranties, include replacement lenses if a lens is torn, defective, or a lens power change has occurred. We also keep you up to date on new lens technology to better suite your vision needs and lifestyle demands. Drs. Leong and Bui focus their energies on total well being.
Many contact lens wearers rely on their contacts, and cannot remember the last time they updated their glasses. A back up pair of glasses is important, so Foresight Eyecare provides special bundling packages for contact lenses, glasses and sunwear to ensure that the eyes stay protected. If shopping for glasses online, you risk dealing with an unreliable reseller – a site that is dealing with grey market products or could go out of business.
Buying online does not always include Rx verification, advice on frame fit, adjustments, repairs, warranties and more. Often P.D. measurements are requested by online sites, but they are missing the total positioning of the lens in front of the eye. This can result in eye strain, headaches and other vision issues.
Our doctors and trained technicians would look carefully at selecting the most suitable (not necessarily most expensive) lens material, design and coating that meet your daily needs, and find the best fitting frame also.
There is no safer and smarter substitute than dealing with eyecare professionals in your own backyard. At Foresight Eyecare, our team enjoys getting to know our patients to provide optimal service, know-how and value.
Q: How does diabetes affect the eyes?
A: The most obvious way that diabetes affects the eyes is that the vision can fluctuate. People unaware of diabetes often have good days and bad days with their vision, as their glasses prescription can actually be different if blood sugars are high or low.
Double vision can occur too as diabetes can affect the eye muscles that help with focusing and eye movement. There are many non-obvious ways that diabetes affect the eyes that need a visit to the eye doctor.
The front surface of the eyes (cornea) can lose sensitivity, cataracts develop at an earlier age, and the fine blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina) become weakened. If the blood sugars and blood pressure remain out of control for a long period, this damages the blood vessels to the extent that they break open and leak.
This causes poor blood circulation and when the vessels cannot get enough oxygen and nutrients, blindness could occur from the retinal damage.
Thankfully, if diabetes is detected by the eye doctor at earlier stages, treatment can be arranged with a retinal specialist and a plan can be coordinated with the health care team for the right diet, exercise, and medication.
If you or a loved one has diabetes or pre-diabetes, November is the month to remember to get your check-up!
Q: Are carrots really the best food for my eyes?
A: Although carrots are very healthy, it is NOT the top eyefood. Kale has been called “Mother Nature’s sunglasses”. We offer a book called “Eyefoods”, in which one of the co-authors Dr. Laurie Capogna comments that the top 5 eye foods are: kale, orange peppers, spinach, eggs, and wild Alaskan salmon. They are rich in antioxidants and carotenoids to help prevent age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases.
Q: It’s back to school time. How can I help my children best prepare for school?
A: Vision is a significant part of a child’s learning experience. Therefore, a great first step is ensuring your children have complete eye exams before school starts. Full eye exams not only detect vision changes but they can also determine if there are any health concerns. Remember, annual eye exams are recommended for children under 18 years old because their eyes and/or vision can dramatically change within a short time period.
Q: Do polarized sunglasses block more UV light than non-polarized sunglasses?
A: Both provide the same amount of UV protection, but quality polarized lenses greatly reduces glare from water, sand, snow, and sun in your eyes when driving. UV blockers protect your eyes from sun damage, but polarized tints block reflected glare and benefit you by enhancing contrast (Maui Jim lenses also enhance colour) to help you see more comfortably.
Q: Do polarized sunglasses block more UV light than non-polarized sunglasses?
A: Both provide the same amount of UV protection, but quality polarized lenses greatly reduces glare from water, sand, snow, and sun in your eyes when driving. UV blockers protect your eyes from sun damage, but polarized tints block reflected glare and benefit you by enhancing contrast (Maui Jim lenses also enhance colour).
Q: I have glasses that I normally wear every day. Are those good enough to protect my eyes while I play sports?
A: Unfortunately, your every day eyewear (also known as “dress” glasses) do not adequately protect your eyes. In some cases, it can be even more dangerous. This is because the lenses themselves can shatter from impact or projectiles and can come into direct contact with your eyes. Therefore, Dr. Leong and Dr. Bui recommend proper sports eyewear to protect your eyes while providing you with great vision. Drop by Foresight Eyecare, the doctors and staff will be happy to discuss the best options for you.
Q: When my eyes get itchy, does eye rubbing harm my eyes?
A: YES. Rubbing initially helps the eyes feel better, but it will increase the allergy response causing mores swelling and redness. If you don’t have medicine or eyedrops on hand, even getting into cooler temperatures and putting a cold towel on the eyes will reduce itchiness.
Q: Why do my contact lenses feel worse when it is allergy season?
A: Allergies can swell the front surface of the eyes so the contact lenses do not fit the way they normally do. Your tears also have higher concentrations of oil and mucus that deposit onto the lenses.
Q: Can I use allergy eyedrops when I am wearing my contact lenses?
A: Most allergy eyedrops are NOT compatible with contact lens wear, as preservatives in the eyedrops can bind onto the lens and irritate the eyes. You could use CL rewetting drops when wearing CL, and you could put a good prescription allergy eyedrop in at least half hour prior to CL insertion.
Q: True or False: We can see High Energy Visible (HEV) light.
A: True. This is seen as blue-violet light (400-455 nm).AMD has been proven to be associated with long term exposure to outdoor light without UV protection. Kids in this generation have the risk of AMD from early exposure to screen time and HEV light. Get protected!
Q: True or False: We can see Ultra Violet (UV) light.
A: False. UV light up to 380 nm (some 400 nm) is invisible.
Q: What is Vision Therapy?
A: Vision therapy is an individualized treatment plan prescribed by a Doctor of Optometry. It is used to treat eye conditions, such as strabismus (eye turn) or amblyopia (“lazy eye”). Through Vision Therapy, a Doctor of Optometry also teaches, improves and or reinforces important visual skills, such as eye tracking, eye focusing and eye teaming abilities.
Without these visual skills, simple tasks like reading or copying notes from the board become difficult. Skipping words or lines while reading, using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, eyestrain and/or eye fatigue are also common symptoms.
Q: What does the puff of air test for during an eye exam?
A: The puff of air comes from a machine called a non-contact tonometer, which doctors use to determine the pressure inside your eye.
The machine emits a gentle puff of air onto the surface of your eye and then measures the time it takes for the air to return to the machine after creating a slight area of compression on the cornea. The instrument then uses this to determine the pressure inside the eye.
Q: Why can’t I see colours at night?
A: There are two types of photoreceptors – rods and cones. Cones see colour, but they are not stimulated when it is too dark. Rods help you see at night, but they do not see colour. Green is the easiest colour to see when it is dark.
Q: Test your “Eye-Q” on UV… True or False: Tinted lens automatically has built-in UV protection?
A: False – regular plastic lens (CR39) do not provide sufficient UV protection even when tinted. A UV coating has to be added. Dollar store sunglasses have UV protection. Maybe – many have “spray’on” UV coatings that can wear off with cleaning.
Q: What is Blue Light?
A: Dr. Leong answers some questions about blue light in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVtZriNExrQ
Q: Can you see Ultra-Violet (UV) light – T or F?
A: FALSE – UV light up to 380 nm (some 400 nm) is invisible.
Q: You can see High Energy Visible (HEV) light – T or F?
A: TRUE – This is seen as blue-violet light (400-455 nm)
Q: Polarized sunglasses reduce glare just as much as regular sunglasses – T or F?
A: FALSE – They reduce MORE glare than regular sunglasses, because they reduce reflected glare from smooth or shiny surfaces like water or snow, as well as reducing overall light intensity.
Q: Dollar store sunglasses have UV protection – T or F?
A: MAYBE TRUE – UV filters are NOT always combined with tints. Tints soften the brightness but only UV filters reduce glare. Often UV protection is sprayed on and may not endure. Also, lens distortion and frame quality would be “left to the jury”.
Q: I don’t need to worry about UV protection in the winter because the sun is not as strong as it is in the summer. – T or F?
A: FALSE – Remember our answer on polarized sunglasses? UV light reflects off of fresh snow and water, sometimes creating even more glare and dazzle than during the summer.
Q: Clear lenses don’t have UV protection.- T or F?
A: FALSE – Many clear high index lenses have built-in UV protection. The Trivex lens is a clear lens that blocks UV and is used for safety glasses (great for kids’ sports glasses if they play basketball or baseball).