Preventative Eye Care Tips
Why Eye Exams Are Important
We all know that eyesight is one of our most precious possessions. In fact, our sense of sight is responsible for 80% of what we perceive
Yet in today’s busy lifestyle it’s so easy to take it for granted. Any deterioration in vision can be so gradual that it can go unnoticed - which is why eye care is so important. While we take our general health seriously, we often overlook our eye health, despite the fact that most vision impairments are preventable in nature.
Why is an Eye exam necessary
Proper eye care is absolutely critical to prevent eye health problems at a later date. These problems can occur at any stage in life and there are several eye conditions that you need to guard against.
Children with reduced vision can face learning difficulties in school. Teenagers are at risk of visual stress due to hours spent in front of a mobile or computer screen. Adults may need to get their vision corrected as they age, and deal with over-exposure to ultraviolet rays. Moreover, risk of eye diseases and other eye problems dramatically increases as we age.
1 in 7 patients presenting for an eye exam have an asymptomatic eye disease, meaning they have no symptoms and therefore would not have discovered the disease without getting an eye exam.
Apart from assessing ocular health, eye examinations can also help diagnose other ailments, including life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders and some tumours.
How often do I need an eye exam
At Royal London Optometry we recommend regular eye examinations, starting at 6 months and then yearly thereafter for the entire family.
What should I expect
We offer comprehensive & holistic eye examination: where we not only diagnose your ocular health but also guide you on correct eyecare practices, ocular disease prevention, and nutrition. By focusing on you as a person as opposed to simply the presenting complaint, we can determine the cause of your symptoms. Many people don’t realise how interconnected their eyes are with the rest of the body.
From the moment you arrive in our store, our friendly staff will walk you through the whole process and answer any questions you might have relating to your eye care requirements. This doesn’t just include advice concerning the best glasses and lenses for your eyesight. Our team of professionals are also trained to give expert recommendations on sunglasses, contact lenses, eye health, nutrition and even supplements to help improve your eye care. We take into account your lifestyle while making our recommendations so that you can find vision care products that best suit you.
At every stage we’ll inform you what we’re doing and why. We want you to feel relaxed and comfortable at all times.
At the end of your exam, Dr. Bains will discuss her findings with you and inform you of any change in your prescription, or whether you need glasses or contact lenses for the first time. She will explain what it means and recommend suitable lenses to provide you with the best vision and comfort.
And if she has detected signs of any eye condition/general health problem she may carry out extra tests and prescribe medication to treat certain eye conditions, such as infections, inflammations, allergies and injuries. If required she can also refer you to your GP/Ophthalmologist.
Your eyes are precious; let us look after them!
Book an appointment online, call us on  294-2236 or in person.
- Eye Examinations (Babies to Seniors)
- Holistic Eyecare & Nutriceuticals
- Contact Lens Fitting & Management
- Ocular Disease Management (Dry Eyes, Allergies, Red Eyes, Infections, Foreign Body)
- Refractive Laser Surgery Co-Management
In an emergency please call us at  294-2236.
Wherever possible we will endeavour to see you on the same day. If we are unable to offer a same-day appointment, we will be able to direct you to your local eye emergency unit.
Learn more about Eye Conditions
Common Eye Conditions
From cataracts to glaucoma, presbyopia to macular degeneration, we can help you understand the ins and outs of different eye conditions and how to manage them.
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Call on  294-2236, or book an eye exam online with our Doctor of Optometry, who will be happy to explain any eye condition in detail.
Myopia is very common. Distance objects appear blurred, while closer objects are clear. This is either due to the power of the eye being too strong, or that the eye itself is too long. Either way, the image of the object you see is formed before it reaches the retina and so is blurred. Myopia is corrected easily with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Lasik is also an option.
Hyperopia is also common, and distant objects are generally clear but near objects are blurred. This is because either the eye is not powerful enough, or the eye itself is too short. Either way, the image of the object you see is formed after it reaches the retina and so is blurred. Hyperopic people can increase the power of their eyes by accommodating and making the image clear, although this becomes more difficult as you get older or if you do a lot of concentrated work. Hyperopia is corrected easily with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Lasik is also an option.
Astigmatism can occur in combination with myopia, hyperopia, or on its own. It occurs when the cornea (front of the eye) is not perfectly spherical (often described as 'shaped like a rugby ball/American football). So the image of the object you see is focused at two different points and so is blurred. Astigmatism is corrected easily using spectacles or contact lenses. Lasik is also an option.
As you get into your 40s, the flexibility of the lens inside your eye reduces. This means that you are less able to focus on things that are close to you, so you may need to have reading glasses, bifocals, multifocals/progressives, or contact lenses.
Ready-made/off the shelf reading glasses can help, however only correct if both of your eyes have the same prescription and you have no astigmatism. Research has shown that they are often not made to the same standards as prescription glasses so we would recommend you have a prescription pair for your ‘main’ pair of reading glasses, although it is ok to have ready-made glasses as spares.
Also as presbyopia is caused by the lens stiffening, and not the muscles weakening, wearing glasses will not make your eyes worse.
Strabismus is a misalignment of the eye/s either in/out/up/down that typically starts in early childhood. This needs to be treated promptly to avoid permanent vision loss in the form of amblyopia (lazy eye). Treatment includes spectacles, contact lenses, prisms, vision therapy or surgery.
Amblyopia occurs when one eye has poorer vision than the other, due to anisometropia (assymetrical prescription), uncorrected prescription, or strabismus (eye turn) resulting in the connection between the eye and the brain to deteriorate.
Simple therapy such as wearing glasses or a patch for prescribed periods could be all that your child needs. In some cases surgery is required. The earlier that eye problems are picked up (before age 7), the better the outcome will be.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelids that makes the eyelids red and eyelashes crusty and makes you feel irritated or itchy. It usually affects both eyes, and can lead to burning, soreness or stinging in your eyes. In severe cases, your lashes may fall out, and you can develop small ulcers or styes, and your eyelids become puffy. The symptoms tend to be worse in the morning and may find your lids are stuck together upon awakening. Blepharitis is a chronic (long-term) condition, which means it can come back even after it has cleared up. You can usually treat it by warm compresses and a specific lid cleaning regime. Sometimes ocular lubricants and anti-biotics may be prescribed by your Doctor of Optometry.
A stye is an infection on the rim of the eyelid that appears red, swollen and feels tender. Vision is not affected, and usually styes heal on their own. However a hot compress can be help, and if recurring then antibiotic ointment can be used.
Dry eye is a common condition that is when your eyes do not produce enough tears, or because the tears that you have evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly across the front of your eye. The symptoms are usually in both eyes and can make your eye feel scratchy, irritated, burning and red. In severe cases, it may temporarily make your vision blurry. Confusingly one common symptom is the eyes watering excessively, especially in windy weather.
It is more common in women and people over 65. Some drugs or health problems may affect your tear film, and in women, changes in hormone levels, for example during the menopause, pregnancy or while using the contraceptive pill, can increase the risk of dry eye.
A few things you can do for yourself: Avoid using make-up and keep your eyelids clean; Be aware of your environment, use lubricant drops/gel.
After our initial testing we will create a customised treatment plan for you to best address your Dry eye condition.
Cataract is where the lens in the eye becomes misty, as though you are looking through a veil or a fogged up window. Usually these will develop in both eyes, although one may be worse than the other. At first this may simply mean that your glasses need changing more often, or that you find bright lights, such as sunlight/driving at night, more dazzling than you used to. If the cataracts become bad enough to affect your lifestyle, you can have them removed during a routine day operation with local anaesthetic and takes 15-45 minutes; where the opaque natural lens is replaced with a clear artificial lens.
The main cause is age, however smoking and exposure to sunlight have been linked to the formation of cataracts. Younger people can develop cataracts if they have an injury to the eye, and some medical conditions including diabetes or certain medications may also cause them. A very small number of babies are born with a cataract.
There is evidence that suggests wearing UV protection outdoors; and a diet rich in vitamin A,C, E & selenium; avoidance of smoke, alcohol & pollution have preventative benefits.
Age-related Macular degeneration (or AMD) affects the area of the retina (macula) that deals with sharp central vision. It generally affects people over the age of 65 and there are two types; dry and wet.
Dry macular degeneration is more common, it progresses slowly, affects the vision more mildly but cannot be treated.
Wet macular degeneration is less common and can be treated, but may progress quickly causing total loss of central vision in extreme cases. If you notice a blurry, blank or distorted patch near your central vision, please contact us straight away.
Prevention is key, as treatment is limited depending on the type. Much research has been put into UV protection, nutrition, and dietary supplements which contains specific vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help delay AMD. These can be purchased at Royal London Optometry.
Diabetes is an ever-increasing condition where the body is unable to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Symptoms can be very mild initially, but long term poor control of blood glucose affects the eyes by causing retinal blood vessels to leak. Generally speaking, the earlier diabetic retinopathy is detected the better the outcome. Diabetics are also more prone to cataract and macular changes causing a further visual problem. Because of this, diabetic patients are advised to have regular eye exams.
Glaucoma is when the pressure inside your eye causes damage to the optic nerve at the back of your eye. It is painless and usually without early warning signs, so it is important that you have regular eye examination. Risk increases over age 40.
very short sighted, of African or Caribbean origin, or closely related to someone with glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma affects peripheral vision leading to irreversible tunnel vision and blindness.
A less common type of glaucoma causes severe eye/head pain, haloes and nausea/sickness - in these cases immediate urgent assessment is advised.
Usually glaucoma is treated with eye drops, oral medication, laser surgery, surgery, or a combination of; with the goal being to halt vision loss.
Vitreous is a watery jelly-like fluid inside the eye ball. Many people are aware of tiny specks in the vitreous swirl around as you move your eyes which are more noticeable on bright days or when looking at light coloured objects, e.g. a page of a book.
Near-sighted people are more aware of floaters, and they are also more common with age. Usually these floaters are perfectly normal, however if you suddenly notice a large increase in floaters, any flashes of light, or even a shadow across your vision, you should book an eye exam as soon as possible as this may indicate a more serious problem such as a retinal detachment.
Sight-testing is a basic automated prescription check offered by some optical stores in certain provinces. As the eye itself is not examined, it cannot detect health problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, AMD, diabetic retinopathy, high blood pressure, brain tumours.
Many of these serious conditions do not blur a person’s vision, or only do so once the disease is more advanced. So when you book your eye examination with our Doctor of Optometry – you can help us, help you look after your eyes.
Caring for your eyes
With conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration on the rise, it is important to take precautions to help prevent damage. During your eye examination your Optometrist will go through advice & precautions, and explain to you how diet & supplements can help preserve your eyesight for life.
- Have regular eye exams. Our eye exams are extremely thorough and can pick up eye conditions and other health problems. The sooner we detect, the more we can protect.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, kale, sweetcorn, orange and yellow peppers, kiwi fruits, blueberries, oranges and mangoes are all great sources of the nutrients you need to help protect against some eye conditions. If your busy lifestyle means your diet isn't always as healthy as you'd like it to be, ask about eye-health supplements next time you're in.
- Protect your eyes from the sun & indoor tanning beds. Over-exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause a number of problems, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygium and certain lid cancers. Nowadays there is an increase in UV penetration in our atmosphere even on a cloudy day, and often people forget that UV protection is just as important in water and snow environments. In these environments, always wear sunglasses or UV Blocking eyewear which provide 100% UVA & UVB protection.
- Stop smoking. Smokers are up to three times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers, and also more likely to have AMD - another good reason to quit. )
- Take short, frequent breaks from the computer to prevent eyestrain and tiredness. Even if you don't get up, an 'eye break' - when you look away from the screen and focus on objects at varying distances will help.
- If you play a lot of sport, buy protective sports goggles to shield your eyes. This is especially important if you're keen on racquet sports; squash is the main cause of serious eye injuries. We carry Rx and non-Rx sports glasses and goggles.
- Eye injuries at home are common. Always wear safety goggles to avoid injuries caused by flying wood chips or metal shards. If your job requires you to wear protective eyewear, enquire about the OVP (Occupation Vision Plan) Program which we participate in. We work with the BCDO and certain Employers to provide workers with low cost or no-charge safety glasses. Talk to your employer to see if you qualify.
- If you get dust or grit in your eye, don't rub it. Use an eyewash, or blink frequently to help the lower lashes and tears sweep and wash away the foreign object. If you have difficulty, come in to see us or your local emergency department if we are closed.
- If you wear contact lenses, regular aftercare check-ups are vital to ensure your lenses remain comfortable and your eyes stay healthy. At Royal London Optometry, unlimited aftercare is built into the price of the contact lenses.
- If you notice any changes in your vision, pain in or around your eyes or if you keep getting headaches, book an appointment.
- Children’s Vision Resources
- AMD Alliance International (Age Related Macula Degeneration)
- American Academy of Optometry (AAO)
- American Optometric Association (AOA)
- Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO)
- BC Doctors of Optometry (BCDO)
- Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO)
- Canadian Diabetic Association
- Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
- Contact Lens Council (CLC)
- Eye Bank of B.C.
- Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada
- Glaucoma Reseacrch Society of Canada
- National Eye Institute (NEI)
- Optometry Giving Sight
- Patient Guide to Nutrition & Health
- The Pediatric Glaucoma & Cataract Family Foundation
- School of Optometry - University of Waterloo
- Third World Eye Care Society of Canada (TWECS)
- Vision Institute of Canada
- Vision 2020 Canada
- World Council of Optometry