How do I know which frames are the best for me?
A Licensed Optician will be able to help you with selecting the perfect frame. The frame must fit you properly, provide optimum support for your prescription lenses (after all the purpose of the glasses is to see better) and suit your fashion needs. Your Licensed Optician is trained to guide you through this process including which shape will look best with your face shape, which size will look in proportion with the size of your face, which colour will be attractive and, most importantly which frame(s) will fit you well. As well, since the thickness and weight of your lenses can be dramatically influenced by a poor frame choice, your Licensed Optician will coach you, explaining and demonstrating how to balance fashion, function and fit.
How do progressive multifocal lenses differ from standard multifocal lenses?
A standard multifocal lens has an abrupt transition from the distance power to the reading power or the intermediate power. There is a visible line of demarcation between powers. The transition in a progressive multifocal lens is smooth and gradual so instead of the power changing suddenly, there are multiple power 'steps' going from distance to near, allowing for good vision at all distances. Thus many people refer to this type of multifocal as an 'invisible' bifocal. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. Wearing any kind of a multifocal represents a compromise of some kind and there are many choices to make. Fortunately, there are many lens products that can be may be tailored to meet your needs. Your Licensed Optician can guide you through those choices.
If I look for sunglasses that state "UV protection", is that all I need to consider?
All lens materials will have a certain degree of UV absorption. For sunglasses, it is important that they filter 100% of UV light for maximum protection. Some very inexpensive sunglasses are made from triacetate which does filter UV, but only about 40% of it. It is also important to have good quality optically ground lenses so that the lenses are distortion free, and not warped which will cause eye fatigue and strain. The color of the lens is also important, particularly depending on the use of the sunglasses. For general every day use, neutral lens colors which do not alter the colors of objects are best. For certain sports, or extreme light conditions such as skiing, different colored lenses may provide additional protection and enhance vision. A Licensed Optician will be able to assist you with prescription and non prescription sunglasses that are the best for you.
Why does the anti reflective coating on my lenses look slightly green?
Anti-reflective coatings tend to have a very slight colour which is noticeable when lights reflects off the coating itself. Most are either a purple, blue or green colour. Anti reflective coatings reduce reflections off the front and back surface of the lens allowing more light to pass through so that the individual can see better. Anti-reflective coatings may be added to any lens material, and are particularly advantageous with hi index or thinner lenses as this lens type is much more reflective due to the material. In addition to improving vision, these coatings offers some scratch resistance, UV protection and are easier to clean than the original version of this coating.
If I am having issues with my close vision, does it mean that my distance correction is too strong?
As a person ages, so do the ligaments in the eye that allow the natural lens to adjust focus when looking at near objects . This is called presbyopia. It will affect everybody at some point after about the age of 40. The correction requires magnification. An individual who requires corrective lenses to see distance may find for a time that reading will be comfortable without the distance correction because near objects look bigger without the eyeglasses. But as presbyopia progresses, more magnification is needed than can be achieved through the removal of the eyeglasses. Generally, an optician will recommend multifocal eyeglass lenses or contact lenses with multiple powers to assist the eye to see at all distances.
I don't wear contact lenses very often so which type would be best for me?
As always, when purchasing something you're going to put into your eye, you need to discuss the entire scope of your needs with your Licensed Optician including budget and intended use. With that being said, daily disposable lenses may be the best option for anyone wearing soft lenses on a casual basis. They allow high amounts of oxygen transmission and thus are healthier for the cornea, and you don't need to worry as much about lens contamination because you throw them away upon removal. Daily disposable lenses eliminate the need for a contact lens case and cleaning as you put in a new clean pair everytime you wear lenses. Discuss your lens wear needs with your Licensed Optician and they will determine the best lenses for you.
How can my optician tell I have been over-wearing my contact lenses?
Contact lenses float on the cornea which is the clear outer layer of the eye. The cornea is unique in that it gets its oxygen supply from the air, not from a blood supply. When a contact lens is placed over the cornea, it reduces the amount of available oxygen, and over time small blood vessels will grow into the cornea to supply the oxygen that is being blocked by the contact lenses. There is no pain or symptoms associated with this, so most contact lenses wearers would not realize there was a probem. If lenses are being worn too long, your eyecare professional will be able to see these small blood vessels in the cornea and will recommend that you reduce your wear time, discontinue lens wear, or change to high oxygen transmissible lenses or extended wear lenses. The vessels, if allowed to continue to grow, may creep into the part of the cornea in front of the pupil and impair vision.
Can using my tablet and smart phone hurt my eyes?
Digital eyestrain is a common complaint amongst individuals who spend many hours per day on their tablets, smart phones and computers. One of the major concerns with these types of devices is blue light. The visible spectrum, which is the portion of light we see as colors is made up of a range of wavelenghts of light from blue/violet (HEV) to red. Blue has the shortest wavelenghth of the visible light, and the shorter the wavelenghth, the more energy that is created. Current studies suggest that long term exposure to this type of light may contribute to eyestrain, and also to age-related macular degeneration which can lead to vision loss. Blue light is found in natural sunlight and does have some positive effects on the body. In its artificial form, it is found in most of our hand held devices, computers, LED TV's, and LED light bulbs. Your Licensed Optician may recommend a blue light filter for your eyeglasses.
My child does not play any active sports so why is my optician recommending safety lenses?
Even if the child isn't involved in organized active sports, children - almost by definition - are exposed to potential eye injury in their daily lives from ordinary things in their environment. Your Licensed Optician wants to reduce that risk for your child by recommending the most break resistant lenses, which would be polycarbonate or trivex.
Why does my Licensed Optician want me to come for a recheck before I order more contact lenses?
Even if you believe that you are seeing fine, and that your lenses feel fine, it is important to see your Licensed Optician on a regular basis to prevent any issues from developing. A recheck includes observing your cornea under high magnification thus revealing early stage issues that you might not notice from day to day. Some contact lens related issues are not painful so it is possible to not be aware of problems. During the recheck, a Licensed Optician will verify that your visual acuity is the best it can be, that your corneas are clear, and that the lenses are fitting properly.
If I have 20/20 vision, do I need to worry about seeing an eye care professional?
Even those individuals who do have 20/20 vision need regular eye health exams to monitor any emerging pathology. Specific groups of people are at risk for eye disease; for example, anyone with prior family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or high blood pressure. The Canadian Ophthalmological Society recommends that if you are not at risk and are between the ages of 19 and 40 years, you should have an eye health examination every 10 years. In addition, visual acuity is not the only factor that determines comfortable and accurate vision. It is possible for a person with 20/20 vision to still require a special type of eyeglass lens to assist with a muscle imbalance, double vision, or eyestrain when reading or working on a computer. You may also need information on sunglasses or sports eyewear. See a Licensed Optician for recommendations on these items, and for referral for eye health examinations regardless of your visual acuity.
My mother no longer has 20/20 vision due to macular degeneration and can't read the paper. How can an optician help?
Even those who cannot be corrected to 20/20 vision may be helped by a Licensed Optician. With high contrast filters, telescopes, and special magnification, A Licensed Optician trained in low vision may be able to assist an individual to be able to read newsprint, or complete other day-to-day tasks.
Are the different colored lenses for ski goggles just for look or is there another pupose?
For all types of sunglasses, goggles and sports glasses the color of the lens serves a purpose other than fashion. A Licensed Optician will assist you with finding a tint which offers the best combination of color definition, contrast, depth perception, eye fatigue protection, visible light transmission and UVA/UVB protection. In low light or foggy conditions, lenses which are yellow, orange or amber filter blue light which will enhance contrast allowing the wearer to see bumps in the snow better and would be recommended for skiers and snowboarders. Rose color lenses increase contrast on partly cloudy or sunny days, but do distort the perception of other colors to the wearer. In bright light, dark tints such as amber or brown will increase contrast on grass and against blue skies which could be useful for golf, baseball, and skiing. Green colored lenses give a slight increase in contrast, but maintain color balance. This color lens may be recommended for many things including driving, golf and baseball. Gray lenses reduce overall brightness but preserve color recognition, so are a good general tint for a bright sunny day and can be used for any activity. For visible light transmission (VLT), a lower number is recommended for bright sunny days and will result in less eye fatigue, whereas a higher number is recommended for better color and depth perception for low light conditions.
I can't wear contact lenses, but keep breaking glasses when I play sports. Should I just play without anything?
Having good vision is essential to all activities, and your performance will be affected if you do not wear a prescription, if you need one, while playing sports. Also, in many instances, proper sports glasses will offer valuable eye protection. Sports glasses can be made in just about any prescription and it is equally important to match the right sports frame to the specific sport. For the lenses, a polycarbonate or trivex material will be used as this is more impact resistant than regular plastic, and this material is available in prescription or non prescription format. The frame must strike a balance between providing scope of vision and protecting not only the soft tissue of the eyeball but also the bony orbit surrounding the eyeball. This is particularly true of combat sports. A Licensed Optician will be able to assist with frame selection and other features, and provide information on glasses for racquet sports, diving or snorkeling, swimming, skiing, mountain climbing, hang gliding and many other activities. In some cases, the best option is glasses or contact lenses under a protective shield.
I have a strong prescription. What type of eyeglass lenses are best for me?
Hi-index lens materials will provide excellent vision with the added benefit for someone with a strong prescription that the finished lenses will be thinner and lighter than they would be with standard lens materials. Why is this?
To achieve proper vision, the function of the lens is to bend light so that it falls in the proper location on the back of the eye. In addition to being more efficient at bending light, hi index lens material achieves the correction with less thickness than standard plastic or glass lenses.
Are polarized sunglasses the best option for all activities?
How are you going to use the sunglasses?
Do you rock climb?
Do you surf?
Do you snow mobile?
Are you a long distance driver?
Different tints will filter different wavelengths of light, reduce brightness, may affect how a person sees color and may also impact depth perception. Specific lens colors may even enhance your vision. Some are tailored to specific sports, but may not be as good for driving. Polarized lenses are specifically designed to reduce glare off of a horizontal surface such as a calm lake or a flat road. This makes them particularly popular with fisherman, or those doing water sports. Polarized lenses may cause issues for someone who is trying to read an LCD or an LED screen, as the polarization reduces the visibility of images on these surfaces. These displays are found on hand held digital devices such as smart phones, and on screens for instant teller machines and gas pumps. Even some cars have these displays for the dashboard, so even though polarized lenses are great for reducing glare when driving, if you have this type of dashboard they may not be the best choice. Talk to your Licensed Optician about your activities and needs and they will be able to advise you as to the best type of sunglass lenses for you.
How do I know that my glasses have the prescription that was recommended by my eye care specialist?
Licensed Opticians use a special piece of equipment called a lensometer to measure the power of lenses. When your eyeglasses are received from the lab, a Licensed Optician must verify that the lens power matches the requested prescription and that they meet the rigid standards of the official tolerance chart before dispensing the glasses to you. If the glasses are not acceptable, they need to go back to the lab to be redone. This instrument also allows the optician to duplicate existing glasses.
What dangers are associated with using non prescription contact lenses?
Other than the fact that there is no refractive error in non prescription contact lenses, they are no different than prescription ones when it comes to fit, assessment and follow up. Your Licensed Optician will still measure your cornea to determine if that curvature will work with a given lens design as contact lenses are not a one-size-fits-all type of product. Certain theatrical or halloween style contact lenses are much larger in diameter, covering a much larger portion of the cornea which may result in more damage if not monitored by your optician carefully. All contact lenses require proper instruction on wear, handling and storage and should never be worn by someone other than the person who has been fit for them.
Is a photochromatic lens a replacement for sunglasses?
Prescription sunglasses are the best option for those of you who want glasses which will work for many different purposes. Though photochromatic lenses may sound like a good option due to the fact they darken when exposed to sunlight - allowing the wearer to use them day or night - photochromatic lenses will not darken when behind the windshield as the glass filters most of the UV light. Photochromatic lenses are useful to assist with bright light conditions, but they are not a replacement for sunglasses in all situations. Discuss your requirements with a Licensed Optician for advice on what will be best for you.
Why must I lift my glasses to read with my progressive lenses?
Properly fit progressive lenses should work for the wearer without having to lift the frame in order to read. The most obvious answer to the question is that over time the eyeglasses have become loose, are sliding down your nose and consequently the reading area is drooping too low for easy access. However this could also be due to a poorly measured lens or a poorly fit frame. There are many complex considerations a Licensed Opticians has to assess when performing an accurate fit. For example, the optician needs to know about the person's occupation and working environment before setting the height of the optical system in the lens. Posture plays an important role in determining the placement of the fitting height. Some people naturally keep their chins down and look more through the upper portion of their eyeglass lenses. Others keep their chins up and look through the bottom. The frame selected needs to have enough depth to allow room for the reading area. And of course ultimately the finished product needs to be expertly shaped and fit to ensure it stays on your face. If you're experiencing this problem, you should visit your Licensed Optician to have it addressed.
Why can't I wear regular contact lenses if I have astigmatism?
Some degree of astigmatism is quite common. When astigmatism is present, you need visual correction in two separate meridians of the eye. Regular contacts only correct your vision in one meridian. Astigmatism may be corrected easily with eyeglasses and in most cases with contact lenses, but the contact lenses will have to be toric lenses, or rigid gas permeable lenses in order to provide proper vision.
Why do I get red marks on my nose when I wear my glasses?
The red marks are due to pressure points where the bridge of the frame meets the wearer's nose. This may be because your glasses are out of alignment, which a Licensed Optician will be able to adjust for you. Or it could be due to an improperly fitting frame. A Licensed Optician will find a frame where the natural slant of the wearer's nose matches the slant of the frame's bridge, and will guide with lens selection to keep the overall weight to a minimum. The greater the touch area between nose and bridge the more support there will be for the weight of the eyeglasses and the less likely you are to get red marks. A well fitting plastic bridge frame will be very comfortable, but a plastic bridge is not adjustable so if there isn't a good nose/bridge match, a metal frame with adjustable nose pads may be a better choice as it allows for a more custom fit.
Why are my new eyeglass lenses thicker than my old lenses?
There are many factors that an optician will consider if a person is concerned about lens thickness such as lens material, and frame selection. If your new glasses are thicker than a previous pair, it could be due to an increase in the prescription, a change in lens material, or frame choice. Hi index lens materials reduce lens thickness considerably over regular plastic, and there are different types of hi index lenses that will reduce lens thickness by differing amounts. Besides this type of material, a Licensed Optician will recommend frames which are smaller, and more even in shape. Round lens shapes will have the least amount of thickness, while shapes with corners or angles will tend to be thicker. Rimless frames, or nylor frames would not usually be the first choice of an optician. When there is a frame, the lens is beveled, or cut to a bit of a point to fit into the groove in the frame. With a rimless frame, the lens is cut flat, which leaves it at its full thickness.
How does occupation affect the choosing of my optical products?
There are many things to consider with occupation. In some instances, regular everyday eyeglasses are fine. But in some cases, different eyeglasses specifically designed for work may be recommended or even required. A person who wears bifocals or multifocals may require a lens designed with an atypical placement of the near and intermediate vision areas, or even a lens with a near addition at the top and one at the bottom. For example a plumber working overhead may find it advantageous to have a bifocal at the top of their eyeglasses as well as at the bottom. Other occupations might have safety concerns. Lens materials, or tints may be necessary for some occupations. Opticians will suggest different options depending on the type of work, and the working distance.
How can I keep my glasses from getting too loose?
There may be many things affecting why glasses get too loose, but one factor is in how you take them off. Eyeglasses should always be removed with two hands to keep from pulling them more to one side which will cause the hinge to flex beyond 180 degrees, widening them on one side which makes them fit improperly. Things such as spring hinges, which allows for the hinge to stretch past 180 degrees, but then return to the normal 180 degree position will help to keep glasses in alignment longer. Regular visits to your Licensed Optician will keep your eyeglasses fitting like they did when they were new.
If I wear contact lenses with a UV filter, why is my optician still suggesting sunglasses?
Contact lenses with UV filters are effective for people who work outdoors in various weather conditions, however, the UV Filters in contact lenses only protect the portion of the eye that they cover. Adding a full frame pair of sunglasses adds important everyday protection to the cornea and the crystalline lens which may lessen the onset of cataracts. The addition of good quality sunglasses with a UV filter is still recommended as this protects the eyelids and surrounding skin from sunburn and aging. The full frame sunglasses also provide protection from debris that may get into the eye, sneak behind the contact lens, and scratch the cornea.
Is vision screening a useful tool for school aged children?
Vision screening is a useful tool for identifying vision issues in children at elementary school age. In many cases, children have never had a complete eye exam by the time they enter school. And though vision screening is not a replacement for a complete eye health exam, it is an opportunity to catch those who have not been tested and educate parents and teachers as to why a complete eye health examination is so important. At this time, their eye muslces are developing and a common problem uncovered is amblyopia. This is a condition whereby the eye muscles are not coordinating properly and one eye may be turning in or out rather than focusing. A Vision screening may detect depth perception issues, color deficiencies and the need for glasses. If a child is to fully participate and to learn or even to play, it is clear that reduced visual acuity will become a handicap if not addressed early.
I keep hearing a lot about blue light. What is it exactly?
Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. These waves emit energy, and range in length and strength. The shorter the wavelength; the higher the energy. The length of the waves is measured in nanometers (nm), with 1 nanometer equaling 1 billionth of a meter. Every wavelength is represented by a different colour, and is grouped into the following categories: gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet (UV) rays, visible light, infrared light, and radio waves. Together these wavelengths make up the electromagnetic spectrum. However the human eye is sensitive to only one part of this spectrum: visible light and blue light is one of the wavelengths or colours of the visible spectrum. Visible light is that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is seen as a range of colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Blue light has a very short wavelength, and so produces a higher amount of energy. Blue light has many sources and uses and is important to sleep/wake cycles. Studies suggest that, over time, prolonged exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum could cause serious long-term damage to your eyes. Learn more about blue light here*.