Blog

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Moved UP to the 8th floor

Thank you for the support over the last 20 years.  Next time you visit look for us on the 8th floor of the same building.  Our new address is #800 – 736 Granville Street.  Our phone number and email address are staying the same.

We strive to constantly change and improve your experience.  We will be able to provide you with more space and a more private and enhanced patient and client experience.

Now accepting direct billing to insurance

We are now able to direct bill many extended health insurance plans!  When you come in for your eye exam please bring your insurance card and register yourself on the insurance company’s website, then we can let you know if your plan can be billed directly.  Unfortunately, at this time there is no way for us to tell how much your plan will cover until we make a submission.  If you are curious how much your plan covers please check before arriving at our office.insurance-logos

List of companies we are able to direct bill:

  • Green Shield
  • Great West Life
  • Blue Cross
  • Manulife
  • Sun Life

List of companies we can submit to on your behalf:

  • Standard Life
  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Maximum Benefits
  • Johnston Group
  • Industrial Alliance
  • Camber of Commerce

 

Blue Light Filter For Glasses

We are connected to a digital world almost 24-7, could this be harmful to our eyes?

Blue light is emitted from all our electronic devices, such as smart phones, tablets, TVs, and even energy efficient light bulbs.  A blue light filter on your glasses helps to prevent the potentially harmful blue wavelength light from getting into our eyes.

Blocking blue light helps prevent eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Before you purchase your next set of glasses be sure to ask us about the blue light filter.Man is viewing to eye examination chart on display through eyeglasses

 

 

 

 

TWECS Eye Care Mission 2015: Return to Tacloban

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The following are dispatches sent by Dr. McDougall from his eye care mission to the Philippines in November, 2015.

November 11, 2015:  Today is Remembrance Day

I feel even more grateful than usual. Grateful for the country I live in, grateful for health and peace, and grateful that I am free to make my own choices about how to live my life. But as I am packing up to leave for the next three weeks, I am particularly grateful for the comforts of my home, my friends and family, and of course my dog jackson :)

Tonight, Walley and I are headed to the Philippines with TWECS, for an eye care mission to the city of Tacloban, on the island of Leyte. It has been exactly two years since Super-Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban, killing thousands and displacing over one million people in the surrounding area.

I joined the TWECS trip that went to Tacloban two months after the disaster, and the images of destruction I saw, and the stories of loss that I heard from survivors will stay with me for life. Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastating portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early-November 2013. It will be an interesting return for me, to hopefully see progress and rebuilding; yet I know that there are still thousands of people living in makeshift homes, and large tent cities that were created as temporary housing.

The focus of this trip will be to help those who have not yet recovered from the effects of the natural disaster. Poor vision is not only a quality of life issue, but also an educational issue, an economic/work issue, and for many a safety issue. The moto of TWECS is “your old eyeglasses can make a world of difference”, and I have seen this myself over and over again.

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Building Community

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We believe in building community inside and outside of our office.  And around the world.

Everyone at the Vancouver Block Optometrists donates their time, and helps raise money for local charities including the C.N.I.B, B.C. Guides Dogs, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Vancouver Food Bank, and Covenant House.

July 11, 2014: Essilor Opening Eyes Program at the Canadian National Special Olympics held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. ****(Photo by Bob Frid 2013) All Rights Reserved : cell 778-834-2455 : email: bob.frid@shaw.ca Web: bob-frid-images.photoshelter.com ****We are also deeply involved with Special Olympics B.C.  Dr. McDougall is a clinical director of the “Opening Eyes” vision care program of Special Olympics Canada, and all of our doctors and staff volunteer their time to examine Special Olympic Athletes at provincial and national Games.  Watch a video of our office volunteering at the 2014 National Summer Olympic Games held in Vancouver:  Special Olympics videoIMG_3871

We have an ongoing commitment to international organizations that provide vision care to underprivileged people around the world.  Our doctors have travelled to Africa, Central America, South America, and East Asia providing vision care to people in need.  Vision is a human’s primary sense, and it’s importance is not just a quality of life and health issue, but also an educational, economic and safety issue.  Sometimes the difference in being able to succeed in school, or provide for your family is simply a pair of eyeglasses.  To read more about our care around the world, check out our blog: Eye Care Mission Blog

The 20-20-20 Rule

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Many of us spend a good deal of our time staring at screens, from laptops, computers,smart phones, gaming systems and television we can put a lot of strain on our eyes or cause eye fatigue. This quick rule can help to reduce some of that stress. When using your screens give your eyes a break.

Use the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada

It is Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada and I wanted to share some facts from my blog on how diabetes and its complications can affect not only your vision, but the delicate structures inside your eye.

Facts from the Canadian Diabetes Association:

  • With an estimated 3.4 million Canadians living with diabetes, it touches most of us.
  • Untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause severe health problems and even be fatal.
  • Early detection for those who have the disease can decrease complications and improve an individual’s quality of life.
  • To find out your risk of developing diabetes visit Dontberisky to take a short survey.

World Sight Day

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World Sight day is an annual awareness day that falls on the second Thursday of October. Its objective is to bring attention to blindness and vision impairment. WSD is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. The global theme is “Universal Eye Health” and this year IAPB asks us to think about:

Eye care for all.

World Vision Facts from IAPB:

  • Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness
  • Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment 90% of blind people live in low-income countries
  • Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable – i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable
  • Restorations of sight, and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care
  • The number of people blind from infectious causes has greatly reduced in the past 20 years
  • An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired
  • About 65% of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises only 20% of the world’s population
  • Increasing elderly populations in many countries mean that more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists encourages all Canadians to think about their eyes on World Sight Day and every day.

Smoking and Eye Health

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While many people know the risks of smoking to their overall health, often there is less awareness of the impact of smoking on vision and the eyes. Avoiding smoking or taking steps to quit, lowers your risk of vision impairment and vision loss.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists indicate that smokers are at higher risk for the following conditions:

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

The macula is the central most part of the retina, the inner layer at the back of the eye responsible for detailed central vision. It is used for reading, driving and recognizing people’s faces. Macular degeneration is a condition that causes the center of your vision to blur while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected. It is generally related to the aging process, and is also commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is the leading cause of blindness in North America in adults over the age of 55. High-risk groups include smokers and people who have had extensive UV exposure. AMD is also associated with conditions such as high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, and those with a family history of AMD.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye. The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy which occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result. Several factors that increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include smoking, high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and pregnancy.

Cataracts

Cataracts are the result of aging changes that occur within your eyes that cause the lenses to become cloudy. This may be due to advancing age or it may be the result of heredity, an injury or a disease. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight, cigarette smoke or the use of certain medications is also risk factors for the development of cataracts. Cataracts usually develop in both eyes, but often at different rates.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

The most common cause of temporary vision loss is known as a transient ischemic attack. It is more commonly known as a TIA, or a “mini-stroke,” and tends to occur most often in seniors. A TIA may only last a matter of minutes but it should not be ignored since roughly fifteen per cent of patients who survive their first TIA or mini-stroke will suffer another one within one year. Risk factors for TIA: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, IV drug use, cocaine use, excessive alcohol, use of oral contraceptives, and lack of exercise causing obesity.

In 2011 the Canadian Journal Optometry (CJO) published the article:

Smoking and Blindness: What Optometrists Want Their Patients to See.

Abstract: Most smokers are not aware that their tobacco use is a preventable cause of blindness. Despite the important role optometrists can have impacting patient health choices; their voice has been largely silent in the development of tobacco cessation practice guidelines and health promotion strategies. In this study, we use the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC) Four Country Survey to describe the level of Canadian smokers’ knowledge of the association of smoking with blindness and we use focus groups to elicit ideas from Canadian optometrists and senior optometry students about blindness-related graphic warning labels.

Considering quitting smoking? Get help!

Pregnancy & Vision

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Women experience a myriad of physical changes during pregnancy such as body tenderness, water retention, and nausea – but few women know about the impacts pregnancy can have on their vision according to the Doctors of Optometry of Canada.

Every mom-to-be experiences hormone fluctuations, but what most don’t know, is that these changes can cause them to develop conditions such as blurred vision and dry eye and severe changes to vision, may be the first sign of a more serious condition such as gestational diabetes.

While pregnant, here are three vision conditions to keep an eye on.

Blurred Vision

Slight vision changes are common for pregnant women to experience. If you notice that your vision has steadily changed or is periodically different, you’re likely experiencing refractive changes caused by fluid retention.

Not to worry, for most women these changes are temporary and return to normal after delivery, but for some, these changes are permanent and may require a trip to a Doctor of Optometry for a new prescription.

Doctors of optometry recommend that women wait between six and nine months after delivery before making changes to their prescription to ensure their eyes have fully adjusted.

Dry Eyes

Stinging, gritty, scratchy and uncomfortable feeling eyes are all common signs of a chronic condition called dry eye.

Hormone fluctuations common during pregnancy can cause a decrease in the production of natural tears, leading to the development of the condition. These symptoms usually dissipate after delivery, but for some women, the condition cannot be cured and will need to be managed with a prescription.

If dry eye is left untreated, it can be harmful and can even lead to tissue damage and scarring that can impair vision.

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, your comfort can be improved by visiting your Doctor of Optometry, who can prescribe artificial tears, gels and ointments that can be used to alleviate the discomfort.

Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes

Most pregnancy-related vision issues are not serious, but women with diabetes or gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing serious eye conditions that often worsen during pregnancy and can lead to permanent damage to the blood vessels in the eye.

Visual symptoms to watch for include severe fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and flashes and floaters within the eyes.

Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes should be seen by an optometrist once per trimester to monitor the blood vessels in the eye and to ensure steps are being taken to mitigate the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to permanent blindness.

Eye Health

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The most important thing you can do to preserve your eyesight is to visit your eye doctor for regular checkups. Like the rest of your body your eyes will change gradually as you age. However, unlike the rest of your body, the eyes often don’t hurt if something is wrong. We’ll advise you when it’s time to be re-examined. So, don’t rely on broken glasses or lost contact lenses to remind you of your next appointment. Follow the advice of experts, have your eyes examined by an eye doctor on a regular basis.

Why should you see an Optometrist?

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventative blindness today, and can be detected by regular eye health exams with an eye doctor. It is caused by increased pressure in the fluid inside the eye which causes damage to the optic nerve and loss of peripheral vision.

equipment vi ottico 2014Diabetic patients are 25 times more likely to become blind than those without the disease, so annual eye health exams are essential.

Seniors should be on the alert for eye conditions such as macular degeneration, the leading cause of central vision loss among older people. Early detection is essential, as its damage is permanent. Cataracts are another common effect of aging that can be easily detected by optometrists.

Computer vision syndrome is very common in those who work in front of a computer terminal all day.  An optometrist can recommend strategies to prevent eyestrain and improve eye health.

Children should have their eyes examined before the age of three for childhood eye disorders. School-aged children should be examined every year, as at least 80 per cent of all classroom learning is visual. Parents should watch for rubbing or blinking of the eyes, poor hand/eye coordination, poor reading skills, headaches, eye-covering or head-tilting as signs that a child’s eyes need attention.

For more information on Eye Health issues check out the following informational websites: BC Association of Optometrists or Canadian Association of Optometrists.

All information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not a substitute for the advice of your optometrist.

New Technology for Eye Health Assessment

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We use high-tech digital photography in our clinic. The digital retinal camera takes pictures of the inside of the eye, so that the doctors can monitor any eye health changes in the retina (including the optic nerve, macula, and vasculature of the retinal blood vessels).

The eye is the only part of the body where blood vessels can be examined directly without using an invasive procedure. Your doctor will be watching for early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases. Your photo will be archived so that the doctor can watch for change in these structures over time.

We also utilize a Humphrey visual field machine. This sophisticated, computerized instrument allows us to map the peripheral vision of each eye, which is valuable in assisting in the early detection of many diseases such as glaucoma, optic neuritis, stroke, or brain tumors affecting the visual pathway. These conditions may not affect your eyesight until the condition has become severe. In some cases, a visual field mapping may be the only effective way of detecting these problems, if they exist.

Healthy eyes for a better life

Enjoying good vision and eye health may be something we take for granted, but taking care of your eyes now can mean a lifetime of seeing as well as possible.

Protect your eyes at work, rest and play. Eye injuries can be devastating. Encourage children to wear protective eye wear by wearing it yourself. Properly fitted protective eye wear won’t hurt performance and may save your sight.

Protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV. Getting children to wear sunglasses from an early age is one of the best habits they can develop. We get most of our UV exposure before we turn 18. Children spend about triple the time outside as adults do, and since up to 75% of UV can penetrate the front structures of a child’s eye (compared to only 10% when we reach 25 years of age), it is extra important for their eyes to be protected. The crystalline lens of the eye absorbs most of the UV, which contributes to the development of cataracts.

A healthy diet and lifestyle is one of the best ways to stay healthy, and to maintain eye health. Don’t smoke (smokers have a six fold increased risk of macular degeneration), exercise regularly, and get a variety of nutrients from eating a combination of healthy foods everyday.

The following are some of the top nutrient rich foods for eye health:

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Ever wonder what a person with a colour deficiency sees?

Awesome Animation Shows You What Color blind People See

Colour blindness, or colour vision deficiency, affects approximately 1 in 12 males, and 1 in 100 females. There are various causes for the condition. For the majority of sufferers, the condition is genetic. However, illnesses such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis can cause degeneration of sight and cause vision deficiencies.

So have you ever wondered what the world looks like to the colour blind?

Colorblind

Tears

https://youtu.be/keMF8YzQoRM

Did you know that there are different types of tears?