February is AMD Awareness Month. With Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) you lose central vision, usually in both eyes; this condition is the leading cause of vision loss in people ages 65 and older.
There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry.
The most common form of the disease is Dry AMD; it’s characterized by blurred central vision or blind spots. Dry AMD can progress at any time to wet AMD. When the wet version of this disease occurs, symptoms usually progresses very rapidly, and may make things appear visually distorted.
There is currently no cure for AMD, but taking multivitamins or eating foods rich in zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene may slow the progression of the disease. Omega3 fatty acids, as found in fish, are excellent for your eye health too.
For more information about Age Related Macular Degeneration, visit the Friends for Sight webpage.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. From eye injuries to Computer Vision Syndrome, whatever your occupation, take care of your eyes!
If you work in a place where your eyes might be injured from debris or projectiles, or contaminated by chemicals, you already know that PPE safety eyewear is no joke! Take time this month to review your safety plans, inspect your equipment, and refresh staff on eyewash station procedures.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Staring at a computer all day can be a real headache; lessen the strain by taking frequent breaks, staying hydrated, and ensuring that your computer is at the right height/distance from you. Use the 20-20-20 rule (look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes) to prevent eye strain. Blink, use eye drops, and stay hydrated to avoid excessive drying. If it’s late at night, use blue light protection on your phone or monitor to reduce your exposure so that you can get a good night’s sleep.
These are just a few of the things to think of this month as you consider your eye health and wellness at work. For more information, visit Prevent Blindness’ webpage.
April is Sports Eye Safety Month! Spring has sprung and the kids want to get out there and play! Staying active is great for your overall health as well as your eyes, but don’t forget the often overlooked eye protection. Whether it’s baseball, soccer, or even badminton: if something could hit you in the face, you need to wear protective eyewear.
If you need prescription lenses to see, you can either go for contact lenses and safety sport glasses, or prescription sport glasses to keep your eyes safe.
Are you a swimmer? Remember that contact lenses and water don’t mix. If you need to see in the pool, use prescription goggles, and leave the contacts in the locker room. Swimming pools are breeding grounds for bacteria, which is why they use chlorine in the water. But chlorine won’t kill everything, and contact lenses may trap the bacteria you pick up on your eye, exposing you for longer. Your contact lens can also absorb chlorine, even if it’s just hanging in the air, so if you do decide to wear them under goggles, make sure you use dailies, and dispose of them when you’re done.
The ACAO will be holding the Annual General Meeting in Calgary on April 27th,2019. Registration is open from February 15th,2019-April 19th,2019.
This year we will be inducting three talented Opticians into the Optical Hall of Fame. This ceremony will take place on Saturday April 27, 2019 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Calgary in the Imperial Ballroom.
June is Cataract Awareness Month. Cataract is one of the leading causes of blindness. The longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully remove the cataract and restore vision. As with many eye conditions, early detection and treatment is key.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. Symptoms of a cataract include:
- Faded colors
- Blurry vision
- Halos around light
- Trouble with bright lights
- Difficulty seeing at night
Most cataracts develop with age, and some are the result of injury to the eye. Rarely, an infant is born with or develops a cataract; congenital cataracts sometimes requires surgery to correct.
To learn more about cataracts, visit All About Vision’s page.
October is Halloween Safety Month! Scary makeup and spooky contact lenses are fun additions to your Halloween costume, but they can pose hazards to your eyes. Make sure that you apply eye makeup on the outer edge and not the inner rim of your eyelids, and always visit a regulated health professional, such as a Registered Contact Lens Practitioner (RLCP) for cosmetic contact lenses and training. Remember: your eyes are precious, and contact lenses can be dangerous if you don’t know how to properly insert, remove, and care for them.
Do you have costume contacts from last year that you’re planning to use again? Never use contacts past the expiration date; 3 months doesn’t mean “3 months of wear,” it means “3 months from the time you open the package.” Microorganisms can contaminate your contact lens case in the interim, posing a risk to your eye health.
Decorative lenses are amazing as long as you make sure you’re smart about what you put in your eyes. Visit our Contact Lens page for more information.
Diabetic Eye Disease
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Do you have or know someone who has diabetes? Diabetic eye diseases include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. These eye diseases can cause severe vision loss and blindness.
Did you know?
The most common type of diabetic eye disease is Diabetic retinopathy. Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Early detection and treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss.
Your vision is one reason why it’s important to make sure you keep your diabetes under control.
Luckily, there are ways to slow or halt the progression of diabetic eye diseases. Taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet can all help to prevent or delay vision loss.
Learn more about diabetic eye diseases by visiting the National Eye Institute’s website.
December is Safe Toys (and Celebration) Month. Does Ralphie want a BB gun for Christmas? He’ll shoot his eye out, kid!
In all seriousness, though: Please make sure that the cool new toys you buy your kids this season are safe for them to use! Don’t let kids under the age recommendation on the package use projectiles; also, make sure to supervise them. And of course, never forget the importance of safety eyewear!
Roughly 1 in 10 of the eye injuries that bring children to the ER are caused by toys. Don’t become a statistic: play safe!
For a checklist to ensure you’re choosing safe toys, visit this article from the Mayo Clinic!