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Can We Stop Myopia From Progressing?

boy and a girl with myopiaIf you think more powerful prescription glasses are the right solution to keep your child’s myopia from getting worse, think again. Talk to us about myopia management, which can slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) by up to 78%.

How Does Myopia Worsen?

In nearsighted people, the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, is more curved than in non-myopes. This elongated eyeball shape refracts incoming light in front of the retina rather than directly on it. The result? Blurred vision.

In other words, the longer the eyeball, the more severe the myopia.

The following can contribute to myopia progression:

  • Eye growth – as children grow, so do the eyeballs. And in certain cases, they become elongated (myopia).
  • Hereditary factors – if one or both parents have myopia, the condition is likely to progress at a rapid pace.
  • Not enough outdoor time –1 to 2 hours a day outdoors is recommended to prevent myopia progression.
  • Excessive screen time – myopia development and progression have been linked to extended screen time.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is a custom-designed treatment plan that identifies slows or stops myopia progression. Our optometrists provide diagnostic eye exams and create a myopia management program to keep your child’s nearsightedness in check.

Why Is Myopia Management Important?

Myopia doesn’t just affect your child’s ability to see distant objects; it can increase your child’s risk of developing these serious eye problems in adulthood:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Myopia macular degeneration
  • Retinal detachment

The sooner your child begins myopia management, the better the chances of slowing myopia’s progression and reducing the risk of eye diseases later in life.

Myopia Management Can Preserve Your Child’s Vision

If you’re eager to preserve your child’s eyesight now and in the future, myopia management can help. Book an appointment at Lowy & Sewell Eye Care today!

Our practice serves patients from Concord, Thornhill, North York, and Bathurst Manor, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

Q: Does screen time affect myopia?

  • A: Yes. In a study published in The Lancet Digital Health (October 2021), an international team of researchers found that at least 3 hours of screen time per day can increase the risk of developing myopia by 30%. Other research suggests that reducing your child’s screen time and encouraging more outdoor activities can prevent myopia and keep it from progressing.

Q: When should one start myopia management?

A: As soon as possible! Research shows that the earlier a child becomes myopic, the faster their myopia will progress. Act quickly if you want to have the greatest impact on slowing myopia progression.

 

June 27 Is National Sunglasses Day!

Monday, Jun 27, 2022 is National Sunglasses Day, so grab your favorite pair of sunnies and celebrate!

Many people think sunglasses are little more than a fashion accessory or a way to minimize glare while driving.

But the truth is that wearing sunglasses is vital if you want to safeguard your eye health and vision.

Why Sunglasses are Important

The number one reason to wear sunglasses is that they prevent ultraviolet (UV) light from entering your eyes.

UV light has been shown to age every part of the eye, from the delicate outer eye tissue to the tiny structures within the eye itself. Chronic UV exposure raises your risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and corneal damage.

The skin on your eyelids is the thinnest skin of your body, and UV light exposure can further thin eyelid skin, leading to premature aging and the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags. Additionally, wearing sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles because you’ll squint less in the sunshine. Who knew sunglasses can be a key player in your anti-aging routine?

Moreover, UV light has been shown to slow the cornea’s ability to heal itself, making sunglasses a medical necessity for people who’ve recently had eye surgery like LASIK, or those who frequently wear contacts (overwearing contacts can irritate the cornea).

Finally, sunglasses are a fun way to show the world your personality and accessorize any outfit.

Activities for National Sunglasses Day

Not sure how to celebrate National Sunglasses Day? Here are a few ideas you may enjoy.

Sport your favorite pair of sunglasses during an outdoor activity, whether it’s a barbecue with friends, a concert at a stadium or time spent in the park.

You can also celebrate National Sunglasses Day by gifting a pair of quality sunglasses to a friend, spouse or child!

No matter how you choose to celebrate National Sunglasses Day, we hope you enjoy and keep your eyes protected.

For all matters related to eye health, ​​Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord is here for you. Contact our eye doctor today!

FAQ With Our Optometrist

Should kids wear sunglasses?

Yes, children of all ages should wear sunglasses whenever they’re outdoors. In fact, it’s crucial because a child’s crystalline lens within the eye is much more clear than an adult’s, letting more light through. Contact us to learn more about kids’ eye health or to schedule an eye exam.

Can sunglasses block blue light?

Sunglasses with lenses that have a yellowish tint offer the most amount of blue light protection, from the sun and other sources. If you’re interested in blocking the blue light that’s emitted from your digital devices, speak with us to determine if computer glasses are right for you.

What’s The Connection Between Dry Eye And Asthma?

Woman with Dry Eye And AsthmaResearchers have already established several known risk factors for developing dry eye syndrome: the quality of your tears, excessive screen time, air pollution, hormonal fluctuations, aging, certain medications and medical conditions, and even one’s gender (females are more prone).

Here’s another risk factor that’s recently been added to the list: having asthma.

Asthma is a disease of the lungs that affects about 300 million people around the globe. Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and breathlessness.

Fortunately, asthmatic patients are usually able to do the activities they enjoy by taking prescription medications that facilitate easier breathing.

But medical professionals have noticed that individuals taking these medicines, and sometimes even asthmatic patients who don’t, have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome.

If you have asthma or any other risk factors for dry eye syndrome, let your eye doctor know. The eye care professionals at Lowy & Sewell Eye Care can identify the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and provide you with lasting dry eye relief.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes consistently lack proper lubrication, either due to insufficient tears or tears that lack essential oils.

Here’s a list of the common dry eye symptoms:

  • Burning, gritty or itchy eyes
  • Eye dryness
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Stringy mucus around the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty or inability to wear contact lenses
  • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Most cases of dry eye syndrome result from the dysfunction of the meibomian glands in the eyelids, which produce the vital oils needed for healthy tears, and which reduce tear evaporation. But dry eyes can also be caused by some autoimmune diseases, hormone replacement therapy, certain medications and, it appears, asthma or the medications that treat it.

Environmental factors that can bring on dry eye syndrome include exposure to wind or airborne irritants, pollution, infrequent or incomplete blinking (people blink less when they use digital devices), heating, air conditioning and dry weather. Certain makeup products, including mascara, and application methods such as applying makeup on the eyelid margin, can block the glands that lubricate the eyes.

Can Dry Eye Syndrome Be Cured?

There is now a wide range of treatment options that can successfully manage your dry eyes. The key is to allow us to find and target the underlying cause of your condition, so we can create a plan to minimize and sometimes eliminate your dry eye symptoms.

What’s the Link Between Asthma and Dry Eye Syndrome?

Several studies have examined the relationship between asthma and dry eye syndrome and found that although a link exists, researchers aren’t sure exactly why.

One study, published in BMJ Open (2019), found that asthmatic people of Australian, Caucasian and Asian descent have higher rates of dry eye syndrome than those without asthma.

Another study, published in Medicine (2020), established a significant link between asthma and dry eye syndrome, and found that children with asthma tend to have an unstable tear film — a common cause of dry eyes.

One hypothesis is that asthma medications, like inhaled corticosteroids, oral antihistamines and leukotriene receptor antagonists may contribute to eye dryness by inhibiting tear production, but further research is needed.

Could asthma itself be the culprit? Possibly, but more research is needed for a better understanding. What is known, however, is that having low blood oxygen levels caused by severe asthma can deprive the front section of the eye (the cornea) of oxygen, potentially leading to dry eye syndrome.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Research shows that having asthma may increase your risk of experiencing dry eye symptoms.

If you have asthma, speak with your optometrist about lowering your risk of developing dry eye syndrome and make sure to bring all of your asthma medications to your next eye exam.

If you already have certain symptoms of dry eye syndrome, promptly contact Lowy & Sewell Eye Care to schedule a dry eye consultation. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan so you can enjoy long-term relief.

Our practice serves patients from Concord, Thornhill, North York, and Bathurst Manor, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

Q: What at-home remedies can relieve dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunglasses whenever outdoors. If you use an indoor heater or air conditioner, direct the airflow away from your face. Use a humidifier at home and at work. You can also try using a warm eye compress. Ask your eye doctor for instructions on how to do so. But keep in mind that trying to manage dry eye syndrome without seeing a dry eye optometrist won’t be as effective.

Q: How is dry eye syndrome treated?

  • A: The type of treatment depends on what’s causing the symptoms. For example, if premature tear evaporation is the problem, your optometrist may prescribe eye drops. Or if your meibomian glands aren’t functioning as they should, unclogging the glands may do the trick. Medicated eye ointment or drops may be prescribed, or we may recommend certain in-office dry eye treatments. Each treatment plan is carefully formulated with your eyes and lifestyle in mind.

4 Facts You Should Know About Scleral Lenses

Woman wearing Scleral Lenses scenic viewDo you have keratoconus or another type of corneal irregularity due to a medical condition or post-surgical complications? Are you considering giving up conventional contacts due to dry eye syndrome?

Consider scleral contact lenses! Contact Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord to learn more and to discover a new sense of freedom with sclerals!

What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Sclerals are customized rigid gas permeable lenses that are wider than conventional lenses. Their name reflects the fact that they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye.

Scleral contact lenses are 14-24 mm in diameter, while regular contacts are 9mm. This gives sclerals room to accommodate irregularly shaped corneas and provides a reservoir of moisture to soothe dry eyes.

4 Essential Facts About Scleral Contact Lenses

1. Sclerals Are the Right Fit for Irregularly Shaped Corneas

Keratoconus, astigmatism and complications from eye surgery can all result in an irregular-shaped cornea, and wearing contact lenses when your eyes are hard to fit can be challenging. Because sclerals are larger than regular contacts and don’t sit on the sensitive cornea, they provide lots of space and a comfortable fit.

2. Scleral Contact Lenses Can Reduce Dry Eye Symptoms

If you have dry eye syndrome, you may be tempted to give up on wearing contacts altogether. Scleral lenses are ideal for people with dry, itchy and irritated eyes. A lubricating pool of saline solution inside each scleral lens can reduce or even eliminate dry eye discomfort.

3. Sclerals Create a Wider Field of Vision

The width of sclerals not only makes them more comfortable but can extend your field of vision. Their diameter can expand your optic zone and make your peripheral vision sharper and clearer.

4. Sclerals Are Durable and Long-Lasting

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses, including scleral lenses, last longer than conventional soft contacts. Their durable materials are designed to resist wear and tear, which is also why scleral lenses don’t require frequent replacements.

Enjoy the convenience and clear vision scleral lenses by scheduling an appointment with Lowy & Sewell Eye Care and discover whether scleral lenses are the right choice for you.

Our practice serves patients from Concord, Thornhill, North York, and Bathurst Manor, Ontario and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

Q: Can I exercise with scleral lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses are ideal for people who lead active lives—whether you’re a professional athlete or just like to pass a ball around with friends at the park. Thanks to their greater width, scleral lenses stay in place on the eye more than standard lenses while simultaneously providing clear crisp vision. That said, scleral lenses aren’t recommended for martial arts and other sports with a higher-than-usual rate of facial injuries.

Q: If I have keratoconus, can I avoid corneal surgery with scleral lenses?

  • A: A study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology (2018) that examined 51 patients with advanced keratoconus found that 40 of them didn’t need surgery after wearing scleral lenses. In fact, wearing them reduced the need for corneal transplant or keratoplasty by half during a 5-year period.

Could Working From Home Be Hurting Your Vision?

Working at home is a great way to ditch your commute and enjoy more flexible hours, but there can be an unexpected consequence—digital eye strain. If you’re like many workers, you probably spend most of your day on a computer or other digital device, and likely experience the headache, blurred vision, sore eyes or achy back so common with digital (computer) eye strain.

In contrast to being in the office, where workers take coffee breaks and socialize, working solo at home often translates into spending more time on the computer without breaks, and often beyond the typical 9 to 5 schedule. This can increase the likelihood of developing digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), affects an estimated 70% of adults, especially those between the ages of 18 and 34.The eye strain results from extended hours focusing on a computer screen, and may be worsened by hours of exposure to blue light, high-energy visible light emitted by digital screens.

Blue light can cause short-term eye strain and discomfort.

Moreover, staring at a screen, or even a printed book, causes people to blink up to 66% less often. Blinking is essential as it hydrates your eyes and stimulates the release of oil from the tiny glands in your eyelids. This oil also prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, thus drying out the eyes. Dry eyes can cause blurry vision, which further exacerbates eye strain.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

The following are common symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye soreness
  • Headaches Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Neck, back and shoulder pain

How Can I Prevent Digital Eye Strain?

No need to ditch your job in order to avoid eye strain. There are other, more practical, ways to lessen the negative impact of screen time on our eyes. Below are some helpful tips.

Take Breaks

Even if you aren’t at the office and may not have co-workers to hang out with at the coffee machine or water cooler, make sure to take frequent breaks that don’t require screen time. Perhaps take a walk or reward yourself with a short nap. These breaks not only give your eyes a rest, but can rest your mind for a few minutes so you can work more efficiently.

Consider adopting the 20/20/20 habit. For every 20 minutes you spend in front of a screen, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This will prevent you from overstraining your eyes and will encourage you to blink more, providing your eyes with much-needed hydration.

Adjust Screen Brightness

Bright screens can place a significant burden on your eyes. Simply adjusting your screen’s brightness can help rest your eyes.

See Your Eye Doctor

If you spend prolonged periods in front of the screen, it’s important to schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor to discuss whether you would benefit from lubricating eye drops or a pair of computer glasses. These computer glasses (or blue light glasses) allow your eyes to relax and make you feel as if you’re focusing on faraway objects. They also reduce glare and filter out blue light.

Whether you’re suffering from any of the symptoms related to digital eye strain or simply want to prevent it, we invite you to book an appointment with Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord. With the right eye care and work habits, you should be able to successfully and quickly reduce and prevent eye strain.

Q&A With Our Optometrist

How long does it take to recover from computer eye strain?

If you don’t have an underlying eye condition, symptoms of digital eye strain can sometimes disappear within a few hours or days. But if you have recurrent eye strain, speak with your eye doctor, as the right eye drops or computer glasses could improve your visual comfort and quality of life.

Can digital eye strain affect my work productivity?

You may think spending hours in front of a computer screen will improve your productivity, when in reality, it may have the opposite effect. According to a study at the University of Alabama/Birmingham School of Optometry, even minor vision problems, such as eye strain, disrupt worker productivity by at least 20%.

So make sure to take steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen and establish proper working distances and posture for screen viewing. To learn more and to alleviate or prevent eye strain, contact Lowy & Sewell Eye Care today.

How Myopia (Nearsightedness) Can Affect Your Child’s Life

child in school unable to work due to myopiaMyopia (also known as nearsightedness) is nothing short of a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, 27% of the world’s population has myopia, and that number is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.

Myopia almost always begins in childhood and can progress rapidly until the late teens or early twenties. Children with moderate or severe myopia are at a much greater risk of developing eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even blindness.

Fortunately, there are proven ways to slow and sometimes halt myopia’s progression during childhood, to safeguard your child’s vision for a lifetime.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is often inherited, but other risk factors include spending too many hours indoors engaged in ‘near work’ like reading and staring at electronic screens.

Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows longer, which causes light rays to refract incorrectly, focusing images in front of your retina instead of on your retina. This results in blurry vision.

How Myopia Can Impact Your Child

Nearsightedness can affect your child in many ways:

Difficulties at School and While Playing Sports

Sometimes parents don’t realize their child is experiencing myopia-related blurry vision until they notice a recurrence of poor grades on their report cards or tests.

Eyestrain

Trying to focus on faraway objects to see them with more clarity when they appear blurry often results in eyestrain. Yet many parents and teachers don’t realize that a child’s headaches, tired, burning, itchy eyes, blurry vision, neck and shoulder pain may be caused by myopia.

Poor Sports Performance

When you try to catch a ball, aim for a target or locate a goal post, you need to see clearly at a distance. Nearsightedness can interfere with a child’s ability to succeed on the sports field.

How Does Myopia Affect Quality of Life?

Myopia isn’t just about difficulty seeing faraway objects. Rapidly progressing myopia increases a child’s risk of developing serious eye conditions in the future. They include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Cataracts
  • Myopic maculopathy

What is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is the area of optometry devoted to slowing down and even halting the rapid progression of myopia in childhood. Myopia can be managed thanks to a customized treatment program provided by an eye doctor near you. The sooner a child’s myopia is managed, the lower the risk of myopia-related complications in adulthood.

To find out how myopia management can transform your child’s vision, confidence and success in life, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lowy, Dr. Sewell, and Dr. Wan today.

Our practice serves patients from Concord, Thornhill, North York, and Bathurst Manor, Ontario and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

Q: Can Myopia Be Cured?

  • A: While there’s no cure for myopia, myopia management has been scientifically proven to slow and at times halt myopia’s progression. LASIK and other laser surgeries aren’t an option until a child with myopia reaches adulthood and their eyes have stopped growing (meaning, their eye prescription has stopped changing).

Q: What is High Myopia?

  • A: High myopia is a more severe form of regular myopia, usually above -3.00 dioptres. Children who develop high myopia often have rapidly progressing myopia that begins in early childhood and are at a higher risk of developing serious sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Myopia management can help slow or halt the rapid progression of myopia, offering the child a higher quality of life in the long term.

    What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

    If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

    Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

    Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

    What is an Eye Chart?

    An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

    Are All Eye Charts The Same?

    There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

    There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

    History of the Snellen Eye Chart

    The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

    Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to standardize the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

    For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

    How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

    The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

    Your Concord eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

    In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

    If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

    If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

    Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

    No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local Concord eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

    For more information, give us a call at 905-738-6680 or visit us in person at Lowy & Sewell Eye Care, today!

    Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

    How do you keep your eyes healthy?

    You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

    Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

    • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
    • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
    • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
    • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
    • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
    • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

    What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

    A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

    The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

    The Link Between Dry Eyes and DepressionDepression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

    Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

    Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

    What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

    Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

    Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

    The most common dry eye symptoms include:

    • Dry eyes
    • Red or irritated eyes
    • Itchy eyes
    • Gritty eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • Blurry vision

    Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

    This is what researchers are trying to find out.

    In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

    After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

    Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

    The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

    The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

    Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

    A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

    Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

    Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

    If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your consultation.

    How We Can Help

    At Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

    We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

    Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

    Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

    • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
      – Aging
      – Hormonal changes
      – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
      – Prolonged screen time
      – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
      – Eye allergies
      – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
      – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
      – Vitamin A deficiency

    Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

    • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
      – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
      – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
      – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
      – Quit smoking
      – Use lubricating eye drops
      – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
      – Have regular eye exams

    Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

    You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

    But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

    Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

    When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

    So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

    Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

    • Dry eyes
    • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
    • Lack of sleep
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Spending too much time in front of the computer

    Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

    At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

    Conjunctivitis

    You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

    There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

    If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

    • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
    • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

    If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

    Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

    Dry Eye Syndrome

    If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

    • Dry, irritated eyes
    • Burning or stinging eyes
    • Discharge from the eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
    • Blurred vision
    • Watery eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

    Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

    In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

    Uveitis

    In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

    • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
    • Infection
    • Medication side effects
    • Cancer (in rare cases)

    Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

    Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

    Eye Injury

    It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

    Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

    Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

    Glaucoma

    In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

    While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

    If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

    • Family history of glaucoma
    • Aged 60+
    • African American, Asian or Hispanic
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure

    Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

    Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Dr. Lowy at Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord today.

    Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

    Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

    LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

    What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

    If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

    • Tonometry – eye pressure test
    • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
    • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
    • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
    • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

    Are Myopic Parents More Likely to Have Myopic Children?

    Myopic Parents 640×350If you have myopia (nearsightedness), can you pass nearsightedness on to your children? Yes, you can. Having myopic parents greatly increases a child’s risk of developing myopia.

    Due to heredity and other risk factors, myopia is reaching epidemic proportions – with more than 50% of the population expected to be myopic by 2050. That’s worrying, as having moderate to severe myopia greatly increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life.

    What Is Myopia?

    If you have myopia, distant objects will appear blurred. This happens when your cornea or eye lens is oval-shaped and excessively curved. As a result, the light entering your eye focuses images in front of your retina instead of directly on it, causing blurred vision.

    Can Myopia Be Inherited? What the Stats Say

    The answer is yes, myopia can be passed on from parents to children. There are 40 genes that influence the eye’s development and shape, and these could be responsible for nearsightedness.

    Children with one myopic parent are 1.5x more likely to develop the condition, and the risk is tripled if both parents have myopia. This makes getting a comprehensive eye exam a must for any child of nearsighted parents.

    Other risk factors include spending less than two hours a day outdoors and engaging in “near work” activities like reading and spending time on an electronic device, such as a computer or cell phone. Fortunately, there are ways to manage, slow and sometimes halt myopia progression.

    What’s Myopia Management?

    Myopia management is a systematic approach to preventing the progression of myopia. It includes lifestyle changes and treatments that help keep your child’s myopia from progressing.

    ​​We use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

    Protect Your Child’s Vision With Myopia Management

    Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lowy, Dr. Sewell, and Dr. Wan at Lowy & Sewell Eye Care in Concord. We’ll use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

    Our practice serves patients from Concord, Thornhill, North York, and Bathurst Manor, Ontario and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lowy

    Q: What are some ways I can reduce my child’s screen time?

    • A: It isn’t easy to change habits, but as a family, you can work together to reduce screen time. Try the following:- Set limits on total amount of screen time per day
      – Create routines around screen use–such as after homework and chores
      – Model healthy screen use for your child
      – Talk to your children about why it is important to limit screen time
      – Engage in physical activity and outdoor sports as a family

    Q: When Does Myopia Typically Develop?

    • A: Myopia begins in children as young as 6 and tends to progress until roughly the age of 20. The more it progresses, and the higher the prescription, the greater your child’s risk of developing potentially sight-threatening eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment later in life.