Most people are familiar with that blue aura glowing from tablets and laptops….it looks cool but is it harming you? We know that this blue light (now this is blue visible light, not UV light) triggers certain things in the brain. One is that it can disrupt sleep patterns. So some people have taken to wearing orange lenses for the last few hours before bed…..others have just put the devices away and read a good old fashioned paper book.
Recent close call eye injuries to the Jets’ Andrew Ladd and Flyers’ Chris Pronger have brought the issue of eye protection in the NHL back into view. Vancouver Canucks player Manny Malhotra suffered an almost career ending eye injury which he has had continued surgery in the summer of 2011. NHL reports about 60% of players wear visors. While the debate rages on as to whether NHL players should wear visors, it should be a no brainer that rec-hockey players should wear one, but I am still amazed by they number that don’t.
The age old argument that visors hinder one’s ability to perform on the ice is becoming harder to defend, considering 9 of the top 10 NHL scorers in 2011 wear a visor: Sedin, Perry, Stamkos, Iginla, Ovechkin, Selanne, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Richards all wear them. So does Crosby, Skinner, Lidstrom and Kesler. Hard to argue with success, so I vote to put on a visor.
Michael Nelson, OD FAAO
The main components in an allergic reaction are:
- Allergen: This is the microscopic thing you are allergic to. Pollen, dust, cat hair, etc.
- Mast Cell: These are cells lining the surface of your eye and inside your eyelids. Think of this as a glass jar filled with marbles. When the allergen attaches to the wall of the mast cell it will “break this jar and release the marbles”.
- Histamine: Think of these as the marbles inside the jar. When histamine is released it will attach to the surface of the eye and cause your symptoms of swelling, redness and itching.
There are number of places in the allergic reaction that you can deal with your symptoms. And there are different products that will do this for you. Here is a list of solutions you can try.
- Avoid the Allergen. With seasonal allergies this is probably not possible but it can work for other allergens like pets.
- SYSTANE ULTRA: Dilute and wash away allergens before they attach to the mast cell. You do this with artificial tears. You will need to use artificial tears regularly (4-8x/day or more) to do this. Artificial Tears can be used throughout the day and long-term without any risk of problems, but beware there are many different drops to choose from. Our recommendation is Systane Ultra. It is available over-the-counter and we sell it a little less than drug stores for your convenience.
- OPTICROM®: Opticrom blocks the allergen from attaching and breaking the mast cell. This is an effective way to deal with seasonal allergies. Opticrom is available over-the-counter and is used 3-4x per day for the allergy season- it can be used for months at a time. It works reasonably well but it can take up to a week to start to work – just think, if you already have allergy symptoms that means that some mast cells have already been broken. Opticrom will prevent new mast cells from being broken but you will have to wait out the current symptoms you have. This is a good solution for seasonal allergy relief.
- Naphcon-A: Naphcon-A is an antihistamine eye drop (the A in most eye drops stands for this). It is useful for immediate and short term allergies like pet allergies. After the histamines have been released it blocks them from attaching to the surface of they eye and reduces your symptoms. They are intended to be used 3-4x per day for 1-2 days but not long-term – just like you wouldn’t think of taking Reactine/Clariton every day for weeks. The problem with most antihistamine eye drops, in particular Visine brands, is that they have a vasoconstrictor in them which makes your eyes less red but used over time these can have a rebound effect and actually make your eyes more red.
- PATANOL or ZADITOR: These are prescription eye drops which are available from your family doctor. They will effectively stabilize the mast cells and block histamines and are safe to use long-term. These are excellent options for seasonal allergy relief.
Michael D. Nelson, OD FAAO
New technology has greatly improved our ability to detect eye disease, which is changing what is involved in a standard eye exam, even from just 5 years ago. At Waverley Eye Care we strive to provide you with access to the best eye care we can provide, please let us introduce you to what we can offer you at Waverley Eye Care.
Baseline Eye Exam
A baseline eye exam is the minimum assessment of what you should expect from any Optometrist you see. There are 3 main components to a baseline eye exam:
Binocular coordination will assess the movement of your eyes and how your eyes work together. Abnormalities could cause eye strain, double vision or could indicate health problems like tumours, multiple sclerosis or blood vessel occlusions.
The refractive status is what most people think of when they need new glasses and is the determination of the power of lenses that will put images in focus. Although this is the primary reason why most people schedule an eye exam, it is important to assess the binocular vision and ocular health in all individuals because these findings will often help in the determination of your glasses prescription.
The ocular health component screens for eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, contact lens eye disease, lid disease, retinal problems, optic nerve disease and much more. While a baseline eye exam is a great start to healthy eyes, there are advances in eye care that could provide you with even more thorough exams.
Detailed Retinal Exam
A baseline eye exam will allow your optometrist to do a quick screening of the eye for disease but it will only allow them to view 20-30 degrees of the retina. In order to screen for retinal tears, tumours or blood vessel problems you need to look at the entire retina. There are 2 ways to do this:
Dilated Fundus Exam
This involves using eye drops to increase the size of the pupil temporarily so that the optometrist can look inside the eye better.
Thanks for dropping by. Now I can only assume that if you have taken the time to stumble across our blog you are almost as passionate about vision as we are. I hope we can help inform and perhaps entertain a little.
Unit 1 - 1200 Waverley Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2P4
Hours of operation
Monday: 9am - 5pm
Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
Thursday: Noon - 8pm
Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - Noon
M, T, W, F: Walk-In EyeClinic 11am-noon CALL FIRST
(Closed Saturdays in June, July & long weekends)