How can I maximize my visual function in the workplace?

A:  Help preserve your vision by planning a regular visit to the optometrist for a complete eye examination. Just as a doctor assesses your overall health, the optometrist will assess your eye health and can detect changes in your eyes that you might not have realized.

In the Office

Minimizing eyestrain will increase your comfort and productivity levels and help to reduce ailments, such as headaches, that may keep you from working. Learn more about computer vision syndrome.

Industrial Work

The human eye is one of the most intricate organs of the body. It has come equipped with some basic anatomical and protective mechanisms, which help protect it every day, such as eyelids and eyelashes. But the rigors of industrial and construction work are more than what the regular eye defences can handle. It is critical that workers protect their eyes to avoid a severe eye injury including blindness.

When you are putting on your hardhat, work gloves and safety boots, remember to slip on proper protective eyewear that is CSA approved.

To help prevent eye related injuries assess the following at your worksite:

Distance of Work

  • Is it close to you, arm's length away, fixed or changing?
  • Work area size; is it large or small, restrictive, open area?
  • Speed & motion of objects; are they rapid, slow, fixed, rotating?
  • Lighting; is the area well lit, contrasts, is there glare?
  • Surface of work; is it secure, unstable, slippery, coated or ergonomic?
  • Potential eye hazards; is there debris, dust, metal, lasers?

Assess yourself

  • Clean your visors and protective goggles
  • Avoid scratching your protective eyewear - scratches create strain on the eyes and might make it difficult to see your work properly
  • Report any unsafe conditions or broken eyewear to your Health and Safety team
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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

I am a diabetic...

Q.  I am diabetic but have had very stable blood sugar levels for years now and wonder why I need to get my eyes checked if I’m not having any problems?

A.  Here is some information as to why all diabetic individuals should have routine eye care.  Diabetes can lead to eye complications which can cause severe vision loss and in some cases even blindness.

Diabetic eye disease can include:

  1. Diabetic Retinopathy… damage to the retinal blood vessels.
  2. Cataract… clouding of the lens inside the eye and usually occurs earlier in diabetic individuals.
  3. Glaucoma… pressure increase inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of side vision.  A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma compared to non-diabetic adults.

Of course, individuals whose blood sugar levels are poorly controlled will develop diabetic eye disease more rapidly.  However, diabetic eye disease can occur at any time and in many cases may affect a portion of the eye that does not necessarily correspond with your central vision (and therefore would not notice “any problems”).

Eye examinations for diabetics are OHIP insured so there should be no reasons not to have your eyes examined by a qualified eye health professional.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a vision disorder that occurs when the normally round cornea (the front part of the eye) becomes thin and irregular (cone) shaped. This abnormal shape prevents the light entering the eye from being focused correctly on the retina and causes distortion of vision.

In the early stages of this condition eyeglasses and soft contact lenses can be used to correct the prescription which generally contains astigmatism.  As the condition advances and the cornea thins more, the “cone” is more protruded and rigid contact lenses are the best option.  In a few cases, corneal transplants are necessary but contact lenses and/or glasses are still necessary.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What should I look for when choosing a pair of sunglasses?

No matter what sunglass styles or options you choose, you should insist that your sunglasses:

  • Block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • Screen out 75-90 percent of visible light (fashion tinted lenses usually do not meet this level);
  • Are perfectly matched in color and are free of distortion and imperfection;
  • Have lenses that are gray, green, or brown
  • Should cover a larger area of the eyelids than some prescription eyewear so that light from above and other angles is fully blocked out.
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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What visual milestones should I watch for as my infant develops over his first 6 months?

Q: I am pregnant with my first child and am curious what visual milestones I should be watching for as my infant develops over his first 6 months?

A: In his first week, your baby sees little detail. His first view of the world is indistinct and in shades of gray. His eyes don't yet have the ability to focus on near objects, including mom's face. However he can see many colours after week one : red, orange, yellow and green. In the first month, your baby's eyes are not very sensitive to light – 50x less sensitive than an adult's, so do not hesitate to leave some lights on in the nursery at bedtime. Your baby's eyes may seem uncoordinated at this time – this is common, however if you notice large and constant eye misalignments, notify your optometrist right away. At 2-3 months, infants develop sharper acuity and their eyes begin to move as a team. Your child should now be following moving objects and reaching for things he sees. At 3 months, he is only 10x less sensitive than an adult in detecting light, so you may want to dim the lights at bedtime. By 6 months, infants have developed much more detailed acuity as well as full colour vision. His eyes are moving quicker and more accurately which correlates with better eye-hand coordination allowing him to quickly locate and pick up objects. By age 6 months, your baby should have his first eye exam. Even though he is unable to recognize symbols on the eye chart, your optometrist will perform non-verbal testing to assess his acuity, eye alignment, ocular health and look for conditions that might interfere with normal and continuing vision development.

Dr. Pozzer is accepting new patients...babies always welcome!

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Dr. Kristyn Pozzer

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What type of tint should we use for ski goggles or sunglasses?

Q: My family and I are avid skiers and our question is:  What type of tint should we use for ski goggles or sunglasses?

A. The type of tint for ski goggles will vary on the time of day and the weather conditions.  On dull weather days, skiers would benefit from brown or rose coloured tints as these are high contrast tints that make variations in terrain stand out more.  For later in the day and overcast conditions, an orange tint will do better.  For nighttime skiing, a yellow tint will lighten everything up.  For high sun conditions a grey tint works best as it is a relief tint that makes things dimmer.  Polarization and a back side anti-reflection coating (on sunglasses) is recommended for all these type of conditions.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

Is it true that nutrition is beneficial for eye health?

Q. Is it true that nutrition is beneficial for eye health especially in cases of macular degeneration?

Yes, nutrition plays an important role with retinal health and with macular degeneration (AMD) being the leading cause of blindness, it is something we can all benefit from.  If one parent has AMD, you have a 45% chance of getting it.  Research indicates that exercise, nutrition, and cessation of smoking are the best ways of preventing AMD to occur.  Anti-oxidant vitamins (vit A, C, E) with lutein have been studied and are in over-the-counter remedies such as Vitalux and Ocuvite.  It has also been recommended that fish oil (or eating fish such as sardines, chunk tuna, salmon 3X/week…or flax for vegetarians) along with spinach are highly beneficial to maintain the proper macular pigments.

Annual eye health examinations with your eye care practitioner will indicate whether there are any drusen in the macular region, which is one of the earliest signs of AMD.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What is new in contact lenses?

Q.  My daughter desperately wants to wear contact lenses but I am concerned about the health aspects of wearing contacts…could you tell me more about what is new in contact lenses and what sort of options there are?

A.   Contact lens overwear and abuse is quite common and bad habits that start young can cause serious ocular health problems down the road.  So you are absolutely correct in being concerned.  On the other hand, contact lens materials have improved dramatically…silicone hydrogel lens materials allow much more oxygen transmission to the cornea which in turn allows for more comfortable wear and longer wearing times.  Disposable contact lenses, either monthly or daily, are the best option.  Again, these allow for better oxygen transmission and discarding the contact lenses according to the proper wearing schedule keeps the wearer ahead of the protein deposits that form on the contacts (protein deposits occur as a natural process the body undergoes to make the foreign substance look like its own self…unfortunately these break down the lens material and are difficult to see through when located centrally).

Be aware that poor air quality can reduce the wearing schedule…for example a smoky/dry environment or ocular allergies can reduce the amount of time a contact lens can be worn.  Good cleaning with the recommended solution, wearing schedules as well as lubricating drops allow for maximum use out of contact lenses.

Contact lenses need to be fit properly so discuss these options with your eye care professional…contact lenses are great when used and worn properly.

CHECK YEARLY TO SEE CLEARLY!!!

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

What is iris coloboma?

Q.   My daughter has an iris coloboma.  What are the causes of this and what are the visual consequences?

A.   An iris coloboma produces a different shaped pupil which can be described as an upside down pear shape or a cat’s eye pupil.

It is due to an incomplete closure of the optic fissure during the 5th week of gestation.  Isolated findings within families indicate a sporadic inheritance (non-genetic) while some families show an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern.  It occurs in 1 out of 10,000 births.

Depending on the extent of the incomplete optic fissure closure, the coloboma may only affect the pupil but it can also extend to the optic nerve and retina.

Vision is generally good as long as the macula (central vision portion of the retina) is not affected by the coloboma.  Some light sensitivity may be associated with an iris coloboma as light may scatter more in the peaked portion of the pupil.  UV protected sunglasses are strongly recommended.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066

Why should I consider polarized sunglasses over regular sunglasses?

A light wave which is vibrating in more than one plane is referred to as unpolarized light.  Light emitted by the sun, by a light bulb, or by a candle flame is unpolarized light. Such light waves are created by electric charges which vibrate in a variety of directions and produces an electromagnetic wave. It is possible to transform unpolarized light into polarized light. Polarized light waves are light waves in which the vibrations occur in a single plane. The process of transforming unpolarized light into polarized light is known as polarization.

The most common method of polarization involves the use of a Polaroid filter. Polaroid filters are made of a special material which is capable of blocking one of the two planes of vibration of an electromagnetic wave.  This type of filter in sunglasses helps reduce glare coming off horizontal surfaces such as water or the hoods of cars.

Polarized sunglasses reduce glare by using this filter to minimize undesirable light to the eye.  The resulting vision from polarized sunglasses compared to unpolarized sunglasses is that you have sharper vision, more vibrant colours and better depth perception.

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Dr. Patricia Fink

OPTOMETRIST

Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066