Content written by: Osuagwu Levi RO, RCLP
Content originally published in the Spring 2010 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 1EC credit.


Blinking is a protective mechanism for the cornea and conjunctiva, serving to maintain a tear layer over the ocular surface that is necessary for epithelia health and optical performance1.

Discussing this topic has not only become necessary due to the effects of industrialisation in our societies which predisposes people to environmental and climatic conditions that could result to dry eye complaints but also due to the increasing number of contact lens wearers in the world. Complete blink among other things, helps to maintain a clean and wet anterior contact lens surface; causes debris to be swept into the inferior marginal tear strip allowing a cleaner tear layer to be distributed as the upper lid ascends; and maximizes the extent of distribution of tarsal goblet cell mucin. Forceful blinking can significantly increase lipid layer thickness provided the meibomian glands have adequate reservoir or secretion, and the gland orifices are not blocked with clusters of keratotic cells2.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Summer 2014 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 2EC credits.


In Canada, more than 2.5 million people have cataracts. This number is expected to increase to 5 million by 2031 according to recent statistics provided by The National Coalition for Vision Health.

Statistics from the World Health Organization state cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness world-wide and un- operated cataract is listed as the second major cause of visual impairment globally. Most of the people who are blind or visually impaired from cataracts live in developing countries. How fortunate we are to live in a country where few  people are blind from this condition?

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Content written by: Osuagwu Levi RO, RCLP       
Content originally published in the Winter 2011 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 1EC credit.


Symptoms of dry eye states are universally recognized as frequent principal complaints of the adult population presenting for eye examination. Dry eye symptoms are readily understood if accompanied by marked vital staining of the cornea or other frank signs associated with dry eye states. When clinical signs correlating with these symptoms are absent, however, a clinical confusion exists.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Spring 2014 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 2EC credits.


As of 2014, more than two million Canadians have a diagnosis of diabetes, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Approximately, 1 in 17 Canadians are afflicted with the disease—5.5 per cent of all women in the country and 6.2 per cent of all men. It is estimated another five million – 15 per cent of the country’s population – are pre-diabetic.  Among older Canadians (aged 75 to 79), 22 per cent have been diagnosed with diabetes. The CNIB reports blindness due to diabetes as the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians under the age of 50. These figures are cause for great alarm.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Spring 2015 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 1EC credit.


Endocrine disorders are complex and can have widespread systemic effects. Hormones are small molecules that are released into the bloodstream by the glands of the endocrine system.  Hormones include cortisol, thyroid hormones, insulin, testosterone, estrogen and many others. They act as messengers, delivering signals and commands that help to control growth and development, reproductive functions, metabolism, responses to stress as well as electrolyte and fluid balance.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Summer 2015 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 1EC credit.


Autoimmune diseases occur when a person’s immune system does not distinguish between healthy tissue and antigens.  An antigen is any substance foreign to the body that evokes an immune response. As a result, the body sets off a reaction that destroys normal tissues. Normally the white blood cells in the body’s immune system help to protect against harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells and blood and tissue from outside the body. These substances contain antigens. The immune system produces antibodies against these antigens that enable it to destroy these damaging substances.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Fall 2012 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 1RF credit.


The term “elderly” is characterised by many negative stereotypes. Of course, a person can stay young at heart even at the age of eighty or older, but age eventually takes its toll on the body.

The definition of the word “elderly” as described in several resource dictionaries is: a: rather old; especially being past middle age – b: old-fashioned

Hmmm, that should give all of us something to think about. How soon will we be considered elderly? Sooner than we would like to think for many of us, I suspect.

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Content written by: Osuagwu Levi RO, RCLP
Content originally published in the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 editions of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 2EC credits.


Eye care practitioners are faced with the challenge of maintaining good sight for each and every patient that walks into our clinics. Many times we come across patients whose prescriptions keep changing and wonder if we have continuously refracted these patients incorrectly or if something else is going on. Inquiries into our patient’s systemic conditions will often times resolve the problem. As opticians, we will do these patients a lot of good if we advise them properly concerning issues that surround their health. Most times, we might be the first point of call for some of these patients who haven’t had the opportunity to visit either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. An understanding of the some more ‘complex’ eye conditions will be of value in such cases in delivering comprehensive eye care service.

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Content written by: June Smith-Jeffries – FCLSA, NCLE, COT
Content originally published in the Winter 2014 edition of The Eighth Line

This resource is followed by a quiz worth 2EC credits.


A study commissioned for the National Coalition for Vision Health in 2007 states that 278,000 Canadians are visually impaired and an additional 108,000 are legally blind. (Visual impairment is defined as difficulty seeing ordinary newsprint or clearly seeing the face of someone from a distance of four meters or 12 feet.) The chances of developing an irreversible, serious loss of vision are one in nine by age 65 and this figure increases as one ages. Current projections indicate that over the next twenty-five years with our aging population, these numbers will increase dramatically, perhaps even doubling. Dr. David K. Foot, a professor at the University of Toronto, predicts an epidemic of blindness and impaired vision as the members of the baby boom generation reach their 70’s. That time is close at hand. 

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