What is the difference between cheap sunglasses and optical- quality sunglasses?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: What is the difference between cheap sunglasses and optical- quality sunglasses?

Answer: Inexpensive sunglasses and optical-quality sunglasses may look similar at first glance, but there are some key differences between the two. One of the main differences is in the quality of the lenses. Optical-quality sunglasses use high-quality lenses that are designed to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin from harmful UV rays and provide clear, distortion-free vision. Inexpensive sunglasses, on the other hand, often use low-quality lenses that can cause discomfort when worn for extended periods of time.

Another difference is in the materials used to make the frames. Optical-quality sunglasses are typically made from ophthalmic-grade plastics or metals that are designed to be durable and long-lasting. Cheaper sunglasses may be made from low-grade materials that are more likely to break or wear out quickly, or are lacking features that make them adjustable to get a proper fit. A quality frame will also often be able to have prescription lenses installed, whereas low-end pairs have not been designed to support the mounting of replacement lenses, prescription or otherwise.

While cheap sunglasses may be more affordable in the short-term, they may not provide the same level of protection, comfort and longevity as optical-quality sunglasses. Your optometrist or optician can advise you on what frames and lenses will work best for your lifestyle and whether you would benefit from having corrective lenses installed to give you maximum performance. Prescription sunglasses may even be a covered benefit if you have extended medical coverage, so be sure to check into your plan!

I have never worn contact lenses before

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I have never worn contact lenses before, but would like to wear them when I am exercising. How do I go about finding the right ones for me?

Answer: Contact lenses are an excellent option for those who require a prescription, but cannot or do not want to wear glasses. There are many factors that go into a contact lens prescription that make it different than a glasses prescription. The first and most important step is finding a contact lens that fits the eye well. Your Optometrist will take measurements of the front curve of your eye, and then select a lens to assess whether it fits properly. Afterwards, the power of the prescription will be checked to get you your best vision.

After the proper lens is selected, you will need to undergo a fitting and training session to ensure the safe handling of the lens. Proper cleaning and care protocols will also be discussed. For some people, the task of inserting a lens into your eye can be challenging at first, but our team can help make it the easiest and safest experience possible. After the initial fit and training, often a trial pair of lenses will be used to ensure the vision meets your day-to-day demands. Finally, a subsequent visit is set up to ensure everything is meeting expectations, the fit is good and the eye health after wearing the lens. If everything looks good, then you’re now a contact lens wearer!

My child wants to get colored contact lenses to go with their Halloween costume this year

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My child wants to get colored contact lenses to go with their Halloween costume this year. Are these safe for their eyes?

Answer: Cosmetic contact lenses can be a very exciting way to change a look or complete a costume. However, there are many reasons that a contact lens is considered a medical device. A contact lens that is not fitted or used correctly puts the eye at risk for many potentially serious complications. There are many ways to minimize this risk, including using a material that is safe for the eye, having a contact lens that fits properly, as well as proper use and handling of the contact. A contact made of a quality material will readily allow the front of the eye to breathe. Next, a contact must be fit properly to ensure that it isn’t too tight or loose on the eye. Finally, proper handling is required to minimize the risk of trauma or eye infections.

The safest option if you wish to wear decorative contact lenses for Halloween is speaking with your Optometrist. A visit to the Optometrist can help pick out a healthy lens (including coloured options), and ensure the best fit on your eye. Remember to book an appointment early as sometimes it can take multiple attempts for a child to be able to comfortably insert and remove a contact if they’ve never worn one before.

Do I need to see my Optometrist more often now that I am a senior?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: Do I need to see my Optometrist more often now that I am a senior? I have to hold the newspaper quite far away to read now, and I think my vision is worsening.

Answer: Current recommendations for adults 65 and older are to have their eyes checked every year. As we grow older we are at a higher risk of various conditions of the eye including cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Like most conditions, early detection of eye diseases tends to lead to much better outcomes. As well there are many conditions of the rest of the body that can be picked up during a routine eye examination, including cardiovascular diseases which have an increased incidence in seniors.

One thing that most people notice over time is the inability to see comfortably to read. Luckily this isn’t a disease and is just part of getting older. The inability to see up close is called presbyopia, and happens when the lens inside the eye has less of an ability to focus on objects at near. This happens to everyone, and most people start to notice it around the age of 40. Luckily there are many spectacle options available depending on your lifestyle and specific visual demands. There are pros and cons to all corrective lenses, and after ensuring your eyes are healthy, your Optometrist will be able to recommend a lens that meets your specific needs.

I need to wear safety glasses at my job

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I need to wear safety glasses at my job, but also wear prescription glasses. Can they be combined?

Answer: Yes! Prescription safety eyewear is a very common request, and is an excellent idea as it can keep you safe, increase your comfort, and prevent your normal prescription glasses from being damaged. There are many different types of safety lenses or goggles as well, depending on your specific needs. Different jobs may have specific workplace safety requirements and standards that need to be met. Everyday prescription lenses often don’t meet those safety requirements, and although they do offer some protection, they may not shield or protect the eye enough. Safety eyewear can also be much more comfortable when compared to putting generic goggles over top of your everyday glasses.

To build a pair of safety glasses, the first step is to visit your Optometrist to get an updated prescription. Afterwards, we will discuss your specifics needs, purpose, and preference to determine the optimal type and parameters of safety glasses. There are a variety of options available to make them just right for you. There are even protective eyewear options for more than just your workplace such as for sports or swimming. Whether they’re for squash, swimming, recreational shooting, or other activities, we can accommodate your needs to make everyday experiences more enjoyable, and visible!

What products do you recommend?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My friends recommend different brands of eye drops and I am unsure which would work best for me. What products do you recommend?

Answer: Excellent question, as not all eyes drops are the same! Even drops that are marketed for the same thing, such as lubricating drops, are all different in their composition and how they are best used. Generally, you shouldn’t be using any eye drops unless your eye care professional has suggested them. Often people assume that over the counter medications are always safe. However, any product used incorrectly has risk, and delaying appropriate diagnosis can make management of your condition more difficult to treat.

Your Optometrist can give recommendations based on your specific needs, as well as ensuring you are using the product safely. In some cases prescription drops are more appropriate than over the counter options. As well, there are treatments that are only available through an eye care clinic. Additionally, there may be therapies other than drops that are recommended such as supplements, Omega 3s, or hot compress masks.

Everyone’s eyes are different. Contact your Optometrist if you have any questions regarding what products they recommend, and what would be most beneficial to your specific needs!

My doctor diagnosed me with diabetes and said I need to see an Optometrist

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My doctor diagnosed me with diabetes and said I need to see an Optometrist to have my eyes checked. What does the eye have to do with diabetes?

Answer: Most people know that diabetes is a disease that affects the blood sugar levels in the body. But knowing how that impacts the body is another story. One of the main things damaged in diabetes are the small blood vessels. These small blood vessels go to all of our organs including the eyes, heart, kidney, and brain, among others. Your Optometrist can actually see these blood vessels inside the eye when performing a comprehensive eye examination. That information is used to help determine how the other organs that we can’t see directly are likely doing.

Diabetic changes in the eye can be varied, and include bleeding in the eye, or things like swelling or abnormal new blood vessel growth. If uncontrolled, these changes can keep progressing and eventually lead to blindness if left untreated. Luckily, diabetic changes in the eye are easily identified during an exam. If minor, they can improve with better control of the diabetes, or may require referral to a retinal specialist for treatment to minimize the risk of progression or blindness.

This information is very important to the physician managing your diabetes, and is why they will want your Optometrist involved as part of your health care team.

What exactly is astigmatism?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: What exactly is astigmatism?

Answer: This is a very common question and is one of the most misunderstood terms. Patients often describe that their eye is shaped like a football or is egg shaped.

Simply put, astigmatism is a long word for “the front of my eye (cornea) isn’t perfectly round”. That out of round causes distortion and that distortion of focus is interpreted by the brain as blurred vision. The blurred vision can occur at all distances and may result in significant eyestrain and discomfort.

Most of us don’t have a perfectly spherical cornea that is shaped like a marble. Small amounts of astigmatism are more the norm and minor vision imperfections will often go unnoticed. However, when the out of round of the cornea is more pronounced then the vision will be blurred and correction with prescription glasses or contact lenses will be necessary to see clearly and comfortably.

When significant astigmatism is corrected for the first time patients will often note that their new prescription is clear, but seems “off”. This is normal and luckily the brain adjusts to this fairly quickly, and most often within a week you’ll be seeing better than you ever have!

I have a family history of Macular Degeneration.

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I have a family history of Macular Degeneration. What steps do I need to take to determine if I have this condition too?

Answer: It is a very good idea to be tested for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), especially if there is a family history of it. If diagnosed early, there are treatment options that can potentially reduce the risk of progression and perhaps decrease its severity.AMD is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 60. It affects a small central portion of the retina called the macula that is responsible for detailed vision tasks. There are two forms of AMD; wet and dry. Both types of AMD can lead to vision loss in varying degrees although the treatments are different. The type of macular degeneration can be determined during an eye examination.

Your Optometrist will discuss family history, risk factors, and perform a detailed examination which often includes OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) imaging that can detect subtle macular changes. We provide these tests at our clinic during comprehensive eye exams, and have the technologies to detect early signs of AMD. Based on your examination and risk factors, treatments including sun protection and research backed supplements may be recommended to reduce the risk of progression of AMD.

My optometrist wants me to get a visual field test

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My optometrist wants me to get a visual field test after completing my routine eye exam, but my husband does not need to. Why is this?

Answer: An extensive visual field test is generally not a part of a routine eye exam. It is performed if your optometrist deems it necessary. There are many eye conditions that may require further investigation. The visual field test was developed to quantify and qualify the amount of peripheral vision you have in either eye. It is important to consider that peripheral vision is a much larger area than central vision, therefore requiring this extended testing. Using an automated visual field instrument, one eye is tested at a time and the machine will map out if there are any areas of field loss. Blind spots, or scotomas, can be detected during this test, along with determining where they are.

Essentially, it is an additional way for your optometrist to measure your peripheral vision. In your case, your optometrist most likely felt it necessary to get this additional testing done as they may have detected something in your vision that is not in your husband’s.