Why do my glasses hurt?

We've been there. You've ordered new glasses and you're excited to wear them and finally see clearly again. When you put them on things look amazingly clear and wonderful and you're happy... that is until a few hours later when you have a headache and you have to take them off. What a disappointment!

So how can we avoid this? What can we do to make sure you not only see perfectly with your glasses but that they're comfortable too? There are a few steps and unsurprisingly it starts with your frame.

This is not how you should feel when you're wearing your glasses.

This is not how you should feel when you're wearing your glasses.

Picking the right frame

Frames come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. Partly this is for fashion reasons but also because people come in different shapes and sizes too! A frame that is too narrow will pinch on the sides of your head. A frame that is too wide will slide down. We also want to make sure we pick a frame with long enough arms. If the arms are too short your glasses will constantly slide down your nose. If the arms are too long we have to curl them around your ear! You may also have noticed that some frames are made of metal and have nose pads on them while other frames are made of plastic. Frames with nose pads can be adjusted to fit the bridge of your nose perfectly and also allow us to make the frame sit a little higher or lower. Plastic frames cannot be adjusted to fit your nose. Either they fit you, or they don't. That's part of why it's so important to try on frames before you buy them!

Picking the right lenses

Lens selection is very important for having comfortable glasses, especially if you have a higher prescription. You can pick a frame that fits really well and is light as air but if you get the wrong lens material it can end up still being heavy. This doesn't have to be complicated but it's something people sometimes overlook.

Having your frames adjusted

One of the best parts of getting your frame from a professional is making sure they're properly adjusted for you. A frame that is the right size and shape with the right lenses can still be uncomfortable if it's not fitting well! It might pinch behind your ears, slide down your nose, sit crooked on your face or sometimes your vision might even be blurry or distorted if the glasses aren't adjusted properly! Our opticians are experts at making sure that your frames are properly adjusted to avoid having problems.

So what do you do if you know you have the right frame with the right lens and it's been adjusted and it's still bothering you? Come on back in and have the adjustment tweaked! Sometimes what looks and feels great when we adjust them ends up pressing on a pressure point. The area behind our ears can be very sensitive and if your glasses are lightly pressing in just the wrong spot it can cause a lot of discomfort! The problem is it often takes a few hours for that to be something you notice. Obviously we try to anticipate problems like that but sometimes there's no way to know what will work until we try. The good news is that adjustments are always free at our clinic so if your glasses are bothering you stop in and let us help!

Still having issues? Things look distorted, blurred or something else isn't quite right? Come back soon for a new blog post about what to do if your vision is blurry with your new glasses.

Not sure if your glasses need adjusting? Feel free to contact us on TwitterFacebookGoogle +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744. 

Hyperopia - A frustrating lack of focus

Much like myopia (or nearsightedness), hyperopia isn't a word you hear very often. If you've heard the term if was likely in your optometrists' office and you probably have it. Your doctor of optometry might have taken the easier route though and called it by it's common, though misleading, name 'farsightedness'.

I don't know about you but when I see the word farsighted it implies that you can see far away but not up close. That simply isn't true. A farsighted person may see clearly at all distances, may have trouble at near or may have trouble seeing at all distances! To understand why we need to understand what hyperopia really is.

Hyperopia occurs when the eye is 'too weak' and light focuses behind the retina. This generally is because either the cornea (the front of the eye) is too flat OR the eye is too short (it may be a combination of both). We are all born somewhat farsighted and as we age our eyes get bigger and the farsightedness decreases. In some people the farsightedness never fully goes away. Depending on how much farsightedness there is it can cause problems like amblyopia, only cause headaches and strain while reading or even go completely unnoticed for many years. How is this possible!?

Being able to see clearly without glasses while being farsighted is all thanks to the lens inside of the eye. Its job is to flex and change shape so we can see all distances clearly without needing reading glasses. One way of thinking is that when we are reading our eyes, without the lens, would be 'too weak'. The lens changing shape gives us more focusing power so we can see. People with hyperopia have eyes that are 'too weak' at all distances, not just looking up close. The natural lens in the eye compensates for the eye being too weak both far away and up close. If they have a mild amount of farsightedness this usually doesn't cause problems but as the prescription goes up the eye and lens have a harder and harder time compensating for the uncorrected hyperopia! This can lead headaches, eyestrain or blurred vision which in children can cause amblyopia.

Light focuses behind the retina in hyperopia

One of the very frustrating things about hyperopia is that in many people it doesn't become an issue until they are in their 40's. Hyperopia is different from presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) but the same thing that causes us to need reading glasses also causes distance vision to become blurrier in farsighted people. Remember how I mentioned that the lens in the eye compensates for the eye being too weak? Eventually, in all of us, that lens doesn't work as well as it once did. That will usually start with trouble reading but in farsighted people they also eventually have blurred distance vision as well. Going from never needing glasses to needing them to see at all distances is immensely frustrating to my farsighted patients and is sometimes difficult to adapt to.

So how do we deal with farsightedness? Glasses and contact lenses are the most common and easiest forms of treatment. Both glasses and contacts refocus the light coming into the eye allowing it to focus on the back of the eye clearly. You can also consider surgery, like LASIK or PRK though they don't work as well for hyperopia as they do myopia. I'll talk about surgical options more in another blog.

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.

Myopia? What's myopia?

Myopia is one of the most common eye conditions out there. I bet many of you reading this blog have myopia! So what is it? Myopia is the official, technical term for nearsightedness. Myopia affects approximately 40% of the North American population making it one of the most common vision problems. Despite that, many people don't really understand what myopia is! Let's shed some light on this important topic.

Myopia occurs when the eye is 'too strong' and light focuses too soon. This generally is because either the cornea (the front of the eye) is too steep OR the eye is too long (more commonly it's a combination of both). Most of us, including me, start becoming nearsighted in childhood and our vision gets progressively worse until early adulthood (around 25) at which point it stabilizes. In some cases myopia still gets worse even once we're in adulthood. It's important to remember that 'stable' vision really just means it isn't changing as much or as quickly. There are always some small changes year to year so the term stable is a bit misleading.

Luckily, myopia is very easy to treat. Glasses and contact lenses are the most common and easiest forms of treatment. Both glasses and contacts refocus the light coming into the eye allowing it to focus on the back of the eye clearly. You can also consider surgery, like LASIK or PRK which I'll talk about more in another blog.

The most common question I get from people about nearsightedness is how they can prevent it from getting worse. There are a few techniques that may help reduce how quickly a person becomes nearsighted or reduce how nearsighted they become and I'll discuss them all in more detail in a future blog. Current options to control myopia include multifocal contact lenses, Ortho-K lenses, progressives/bifocal glasses and atropine drops. The two that have shown the most success have been multifocal contacts and Ortho-K lenses and are believed to work by reducing defocus in the peripheral retina (meaning the outer edge of your eye isn't as out of focus as it might be with traditional lenses).

The biggest challenge facing us with myopia is that we still do not fully understand it. Your genetics play a role in whether you end up nearsighted or not but it isn't the whole story. Some recent research has found that people who spend more time outside have lower nearsighted prescriptions than those that spend more time indoors. The jury is still out on whether this is related to lower vitamin D levels, due to things just being further away or something else we haven't thought of yet.

If you have any questions about this or anything else feel free to contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744.