I should see an eye doctor for that? - Grandma had glaucoma



There is a lot of confusion about what optometrists really do. We are so stereotypically associated with asking people "Which is better, 1 or 2?" and correcting vision problems that people are sometimes surprised to hear that we do a lot more! To help with the confusion I decided to start this blog series "I should see an eye doctor for that?". Some might surprise you, some might not. In today's blog we're going to talk about your why if grandma had eye problems, like glaucoma, you need to have regular eye exams.

Alright, we don't really mean JUST if grandma had eye problems. Grandma shouldn't take all the blame. If someone in your family has an eye disease it's important for you to know what it is and who has it! Why should it matter to you, a healthy person with perfect vision, that someone in your family has an eye disease? Unsurprisingly since you share at least some of their genes their health history could be your health future. 

It's all in your genes.

Many eye diseases are genetic which means that if someone in your family had them, you could too. Much like if someone in your family has diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease you're at a higher risk of developing those same problems if someone in your family has glaucoma, macular degeneration or a host of other diseases you too are at a higher risk.



A couple important points. When I say someone in your family I mean 'blood relatives'. For example if your step mother has glaucoma or your sister-in-law has macular degeneration you don't share their risk because you don't share their genes. It's also important to point out that an increased risk does not mean certainty. Simply because your mother has diabetes or glaucoma does not mean you are doomed to have the same problems but it does mean you need to be careful and get your health, including your eye health, checked regularly.

So what has a genetic link? Almost everything unfortunately. The big three eye diseases, glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataract all have a genetic component. Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke to name a few all directly impact the eye as well and often signs of those diseases will show up in the eye before they show up anywhere else!

This is one of the main reasons (though not the only one) why I recommend yearly eye exams. 80% of eye disease has no symptoms in its early stages and the only way to detect the problem and prevent it from getting worse is to have an eye doctor check the health of your eyes. Even if your vision is perfect there may be something going on that hasn't made itself obvious just yet.

As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else feel free to contact us on TwitterFacebookGoogle +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744.

I should see an eye doctor for that? - Eye Infections

There is a lot of confusion about what optometrists really do. We are so stereotypically associated with asking people "Which is better, 1 or 2?" and correcting vision problems that people are sometimes surprised to hear that we do a lot more! To help with the confusion I decided to start this new blog series "I should see an eye doctor for that?". Some might surprise you, some might not. In today's blog I want to go over one that should be obvious: eye infections.

Eye infections, often known as pink eye, are really common. Your eye might be red, gooey, watery, itchy, sore and your vision may be blurred. They aren't pleasant. So if you wake up with a nasty red eye who are you going to call? If you said Ghostbusters congratulations for being born in the 80's. Assuming your eye isn't haunted though you're going to need a doctor. So, do you go see your medical doctor or your doctor of optometry?

Medical doctors are of course fully trained to deal with eye infections and can prescribe you what you need. So, why would you see an optometrist instead? 

1. Optometrists have specialized equipment. This equipment is designed to look closely at the eye to determine what type of infection you have, how serious it is and if it is actually an infection or something else. Most MDs do not. Having this information means we can target the infection directly leading to faster healing times and a lower chance of a misdiagnosis (which could make the problem worse depending on what is prescribed).

2. There's no wait! You can generally get in to see an optometrist within a few minutes. My MD is great but I almost always have to wait to get in even when I have an appointment. The wait times at an ER for something like this will be brutal because it's not an emergency and you'll be waiting for ages.

3. It's fully covered by Alberta Health Care. So long as you provide us with your Alberta Health Care number a visit for an eye infection is considered medically required.

So, it's faster, it's free and we have all the specialized equipment and training to make a good diagnosis and fix your infection. There's no reason not to come see an optometrist! After all, if you had a toothache would you go see your medical doctor or would you see your dentist?

If you want to read more feel free to check out the following links or as always you can contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744.

Canadian Association of Optometrists - Conjunctivitis

American Optometric Association - Conjunctivitis

All About Vision - Pink Eye

Snap! - what to do when your glasses break

If you wear glasses chances are you've been in the nasty situation of having your glasses break. It's possible you stepped on them, they fell onto something hard, the dog ate them or they were just getting old and snapped. No matter how it happened you have an issue because you need those things to see. I always recommend that people have a back up or spare pair of glasses for situations like this but I know from personal experience that glasses seem to break at the worst possible time and usually when you don't have a spare pair.

The first question everyone asks is "Can this be fixed?" The answer is frustrating because it really depends on what type of damage has happened. We generally need to see the frame to know if we can do a quick repair, whether we need to order in parts or if the glasses are a lost cause.

Before I mention some common breaks and what we can and cannot do about them here are some things we cannot do and some things you shouldn't do.

Things we can't do

Sometimes when a frame breaks people wonder if they can use their same lenses in a new frame. Generally this is a really bad idea. Lenses are set into your frame in a very specific way so that the optical centre of the lens lines up with your pupil. In the process of cutting a lens down and putting it into a new frame this is unlikely to line up properly and will lead to poor vision and eye strain. The frame chosen also needs to be the same size and shape or smaller in order to insert the lenses and this often restricts you to frames that don't actually fit you well. For a progressive (no line bifocal) it's essentially impossible to reuse the lens without cutting off the reading portion and having the lenses sit at the wrong height, angle and distance between the eyes resulting in terrible vision at all distances, distortion and eye strain.

Things you shouldn't do

Never, ever, ever super glue your frame. If you have a warranty on your frame and you use super glue the warranty will be void. Please don't do this. I would much rather you didn't have to pay for your repair and I bet you'd rather not pay either.

Never, EVER use superglue on your glasses. Never.

And now for those common breaks and what we can and cannot do.

The temple or 'arm' of the frame has broken off

If the arm of the glasses has come off it might just be a missing screw. If that's all it is we can fix that very easily for you and at no charge! If it looks like the picture below where the screw is still in place and the metal itself has snapped we would have to order in a new arm to fix it. If the frame is older and has been discontinued then unfortunately there isn't anything we can order. In a case like this we do have special shrink wrap that can be used to solidly hold the arm in place (it's much, much better than tape, I promise) but you won't be able to bend the arm anymore and it will be obvious that there's shrink wrap on your glasses. It's not perfect but it is a solution that allows you to still wear your glasses until you are able to get new glasses.

Sometimes when a temple or 'arm' breaks off it's an easy fix. Sometimes we have to order in a new part. In this picture we would need to get a new part to fix this break.

The arm has snapped in half or the frame has broken in the middle or around the lens

This is a nasty one. If the frame is metal, but not titanium, it can be soldered back together but the break remains a weak point and may break again. If the frame is plastic or titanium there is no way to repair it and a new part needs to be ordered. If the break is right in the middle over the nose we can use shrink wrap to temporarily hold it together but there is a good chance you will look like you starred in the Revenge of the Nerds. If the frame is older it again may have been discontinued and the part may not be available.

This kind of break is the worst and a new part almost always has to be ordered.

The nose pads have broken off or are missing

If the nose pad itself (the clear plastic oval) is missing or has broken off that's an easy repair. We have lots of nose pads and even the tiny nose pad screws in our office so there's no need to suffer by having the metal part dig into your skin. We don't charge for this type of repair so there's no reason not to get it fixed! If the metal part is broken (that's the upside down U shaped part that connects the nose pad to the rest of the frame) it can be soldered if it's metal but not titanium though this is difficult. For most metal frames and all titanium frames a new piece needs to be ordered assuming the frame has not been discontinued.

Nose pads are great at keeping your frames sitting in the right place and staying comfortable... unless they're broken and then it feels like you have a knife stabbing into your nose.

At our office we really, really hate it when a frame breaks and we can't get parts anymore because it's been discontinued. We don't carry discontinued frames and all of our frames come with at least a one year warranty for manufacturer's defects (meaning don't run it over with your car and expect the manufacturer to replace everything at no charge but anything reasonable is covered). It's also important to keep in mind that 'old' is relative. Often a frame that is only 1 or 2 years old is 'old' in the frame world and may have been discontinued (much like if you bought a sweater you really liked and two years later it ripped. If you went to get same sweater there would be a good chance it's not made anymore).

There are going to be situations where you might come in with a frame you bought elsewhere or even one you got from us that cannot be repaired because the parts are no longer made. We will always work with you to find a solution no matter what the situation is and no matter where you bought the frame. We don't want to leave you high and dry (and visually impaired)!

If you have a broken frame and want to know if it can be fixed feel free to bring your frame to us or contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744.

More questions? Book now and speak with one of our doctors!