I had laser surgery a few months ago. Do I still need to get my eyes checked regularly?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I had laser surgery a few months ago. Do I still need to get my eyes checked regularly?

Answer: Yes! It is very important to receive routine eye examinations after laser eye surgery.

Laser vision correction reduces the need for visual aids by eliminating the common prescriptions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  However, it does not cure or correct anything to do with the health of the eye. Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other health risks are generally only able to be detected and managed through specific testing during eye exams. Most diseases of the eye are much easier to treat with early detection, hence the importance of regular routine eye examinations.

Although the goal of laser vision correction is to reduce the dependency on visual aids, as we age there will often be a need for glasses for specific tasks, such as reading, computer use, or night driving.

Your surgeon will have instructions for post-operative care, which usually includes multiple visits to your Optometrist to assess the healing over the course of the first year. After that, routine eye examinations are usually recommended every year or two depending on age and any risk factors for other diseases.

I have a difficult time seeing road signs when driving at night.

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I have a difficult time seeing road signs when driving at night. Can I fix this?

Answer: Road signs and hazards are hard to spot at night in general but if you feel like you are having additional trouble then a visit to your Optometrist is recommended. Many mild symptoms people notice during the day are much more pronounced during the night, or when its raining. Usually things are made worse because light is limited, and your pupil is larger than during the day, exacerbating any small issue to begin with. There are multiple underlying causes that can range from an uncorrected prescription to something like cataracts. Finding out the cause of worsened vision is the first step to fixing it.

One of the most common causes for poor vision is an uncorrected prescription. Commonly this is from near-sightedness (myopia) or astigmatism. Both of these will cause overall blur, making signs harder to see, as well as halos which worsen oncoming headlights. Astigmatism in particular will cause starbursts and streaks around lights. Luckily, this is easily fixed with a pair of glasses. There are even specific lens designs for driving or night driving! If the cause of the difficulties is another condition your optometrist will treat it based on the cause, or refer you if surgery is required.

Night driving is a fact of living in Canada, much as driving in the rain is a fact of living in Victoria. Luckily, there are ways to lessen the visual burden, so you can enjoy the season!

My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently, and it often feels like there is something in them. My friend thinks that it is dry eye. What is dry eye and how do I treat it?

Answer: Those symptoms among others including irritation, fluctuations in vision, and tired feeling eyes, are all very common with dry eye. Dry eye can be caused by many things. A visit to your Optometrist would be the first step to determine what type of dry eye you have, which will ultimately determine the best treatment course for you. Often this will include the use of artificial tears, warm compresses, and a discussion about how your environment can affect your dry eye. Further recommendations may be made based on your personalized treatment plan.

One of the biggest offenders in dry eye is our increased reliance on electronic devices. When we stare at them for hours at a time there is a tendency to blink less. This causes the tears on the eye to evaporate more readily and worsens the dry eye. An up to date glasses prescription can help reduce strain, along with following the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break from working on a computer screen, looking at something at least 20 feet away. Finally, if you often look back and forth between a monitor and desktop at your workstation, try positioning your screen at arm’s length away from you and 15 to 20 degrees below eye level.

How do I get fitted for contact lenses?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I am getting married in a few months and do not want to wear my glasses. How do I get fitted for contact lenses?

Answer: Contact lenses are a great alternative for special events, especially when lots of photos are being taken. Many people want to see their happy eyes on their big day and not their glasses!

As contact lenses are considered a medical device, a comprehensive eye exam must be done within the past year before obtaining a contact lens prescription. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that your prescription is as up-to-date as possible, as well as ensure the contact is fitting properly and is healthy for your eye. Furthermore, because of the shape and size of the lenses, as well as the fact that they sit directly on the eye, a contact lens prescription is not the same as a glasses prescription. A fitting appointment will be scheduled to discuss your prescription, along with the pros and cons of different types of contacts. In your case, disposable daily lenses may be the way to go if you are only wearing them occasionally. You will be trained to safely handle, care for, and clean the lenses. You will leave the fitting appointment with a pair of trial lenses, and most likely a date to return roughly a week later to see how they are working before an order is placed. If no changes need to be made, an order can be placed for you to have a contact lens supply in time for your big day!

When should my child have an eye exam?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: When should my child have an eye exam? They are going into elementary school this year and I would like to ensure that they do not have any vision problems.

Answer: Excellent question! Given that up to 80% of a child’s learning is through vision, having a comprehensive eye examination for your child is very important. The visual system is very complex, and typical vision screenings can miss at least 50% of vision problems. Nearly one in ten children have a vision problem significant enough to impact learning.

A comprehensive eye examination can help your child see their best and most comfortable both at school and during extracurricular activities. At their appointment many parts of the visual system are assessed to see if there are any issues with how the eyes are focusing, working together, tracking, developing, or any visual processing or ocular health issues. If any abnormalities are found then appropriate treatment options will be recommended. If this includes glasses or contacts, our dispensing team will help to assess what frames and lenses would work best. Having an exam before going back to school in September is a good idea to make sure everything is up to date.

We recommend children have their first eye examination before they’re one year old for a general assessment, and then every year once they reach the age of three.

Do the photochromatic lenses in my everyday glasses have the same effect as sunglasses?

Dr Stephen Taylor










Answer: Photochromic lenses (commonly known as Transitions ™) are a great option for adding convenience and comfort to your prescription lenses. Photochromatic lenses use a proprietary UV sensitive technology that allows them to remain clear inside yet tint darker when outside in the sun. The difference between photochromatic lenses and sunglasses is that photochromatic lenses change between tinted and not, whereas sunglasses stay tinted all the time. The biggest health advantage to photochromatic lenses is that they are UV blocking, although most people like them for the convenience of having one pair of glasses that darken and lighten automatically when they go in and outdoors.

There are still advantages to having prescription sunglasses, as most often the prescription sunglasses will provide more protection for the eye. Most standard frames are designed to ensure you have a wide field of view and good vision, but are not focused on protection from UV light. Sunglass frames are generally larger to cover a greater area, as well as often curved to further protect and minimize exposure from UV light that would otherwise enter from the sides of the frames.

There are advantages to both photochromatic lenses and prescription sunglasses, with many factors such as comfort, convenience, fashion, and visual demands that should be considered when making a decision for one, or both options.


Harvey's gets an eye exam!!

An eye exam is important for everyone, but especially those at high risk for vision loss. Find out how often you should get an eye exam, and learn about the risks associated with not getting regular eye exams.

You may need glasses or contacts.

If you wear contact lenses, make sure you keep them clean and properly lubricated. Also, make sure you see an optometrist every two years for a comprehensive eye examination.

Chamber’s 2022 Greater Victoria Business Awards

The Chamber’s 2022 Greater Victoria Business Awards shine a light on hard-working businesses, businesspeople and community leaders. Finalists were chosen by an independent panel of prominent business leaders who served as judges. The Awards were presented at a gala evening on May 7 at the Fairmont Empress where our CEO (Chief Eyecare Officer) Mary Lou Newbold was honoured as the 2022 Chamber Member of the Year.

Eyes Are Red and Itching. What Can I Do?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My allergies have been worse this year, and now my eyes are red and itching. What can I do?

Answer: This year has been a tough year for allergies, and part of living on the beautiful west coast is that allergy season starts earlier here than anywhere else in Canada. Luckily, there are many options for the treatment of allergies, and ocular allergies. The vast majority of people that experience seasonal allergies also experience ocular allergies. Some people may only experience allergies in their eyes. The first step is to visit your Optometrist to determine the cause of your symptoms, and many of them including redness and irritation can have multiple causes. Your Optometrist can ensure the proper cause so the right condition is being treated. Based on your examination and the severity of symptoms an appropriate management plan will be discussed. This may include different types of prescription drops, over the counter medications, or lifestyle changes. There are even contact lenses that can be worn that both treat your allergies, as well as correct for your prescription!

Although allergies are a part of life, there are many ways to make sure that you and your eyes are feeling the best they can.