Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vision Problems May Be More Common In Children With An ASD

April is autism awareness month

Here is what you need to know about autism and vision in a nutshell.

Since autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect how we process and respond to sensory information, it’s important to evaluate exactly what visual sensory information is going in.

Recent studies have found that refractive errors, such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/or astigmatism, may be more common in those with an ASD. The same goes for strabismus (often called cross-eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye). These problems can be treated, corrected, and sometimes even prevented. Especially if we can catch them early in life.

For more information on how optometrists like us can help treat vision disorders in people with ASD, click here:

Watch these videos for more information:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alcohol and cataracts

A new study pubished in the journal Optometry & Vision Science found that heavy alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of age-related cataract. There was some evidence, but not as strong, that moderate consumption may help prevent cataracts. 

Cataracts require surgery to treat. The surgery is fairly common and usually results in a good outcome. However it is not without risks and bad outcomes like double vision and other problems can occur. It is best to avoid contracts altogether. Avoiding heavy drinking appears to be one way to do that.


Optometry and Vision Science: Official Publication of the American Academy of Optometry
Different Amounts of Alcohol Consumption and Cataract: A Meta-Analysis
Optom Vis Sci 2015 Apr 01;92(4)471-479, Y Gong, K Feng, N Yan, Y Xu, CW Pan

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ADHD Drugs and suicide risk

On this blog we often write about ADHD and the fact that ADHD symptoms often mimic the symptoms of common eye movement disorders such as convergence insufficiency. It is important for parents to be alive to the possibility that what was thought to be ADHD is actually a treatable eye movement disorder. Treatment of the eye  movement disorder may make the symptoms go away and avoid unnecessary medication.

A recent warning issued by health Canada about ADHD drugs underscore the importance of seeing in optometrist to test for eye  movement disorders such as convergence insufficiency before excepting a diagnosis of ADHD. 

Health Canada has warned that ADHD drugs may increase suicidal thoughts in patients. Here is a link to a news story that discuss the new warning:

To learn more about the connection between ADHD's type symptoms and convergence insufficiency click here:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Behavioural vision training for older adults improves contrast sensitivity and near accuity

Dr. Dominick Maino points out that  "it has taken science/medicine decades to catch up with an approach that functional/behavioral optometry has taken since the early 1900's. The brain can be changed for the better at ANY age!"

This is because the brain maintains significant neuroplacticity, even in older adults.  Neuroplacticity is the reason that the vision training approaches used for decades in vision therapy by behavioural and developmental optometrists help so many patients.

A new study published in Psychological Science supports the use of behavioral visual training to improve sight in older adults.  This has important implications for reducing falls and car accidents that are associated with loss of depth perception and contrast sensitivity.

The researchers used a perceptual-learning task  to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. The study's authors found that older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. In addition, the vision training therapy improved far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults. The researchers concluded that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.

Psychological Science
Improving Vision Among Older Adults Behavioral Training to Improve Sight
Denton J. DeLoss, Takeo Watanabe, George J. Anderse

Monday, February 23, 2015

Combination therapy for dry eye disease

In dry eye disease, the cause is sometimes the malfunctioning of the meibomian glands, which make an essential component of healthy tear film.  And many dry eye treatments are focused on getting those glands working again.

A new study published in the journal Cornea suggests that a combination treatment consisting of daily lid wipes, artificial tears and the right nutritional supplements can improve meibomian gland function and dry eye symptoms after three months compared with a regimen of warm compresses applied to the eyes once a day. 

 Warm compresses is an old and standard treatment and often the first thing to try for dry eye. The study suggests that skipping warm compresses and going with a combination of treatments works much better. 

As with any treatment, check with your eye doctor before trying it.

Effect of Using a Combination of Lid Wipes, Eye Drops, and Omega-3 Supplements on Meibomian Gland Functionality in Patients With Lipid Deficient/Evaporative Dry Eye
Cornea 2015 Feb 03;[EPub Ahead of Print], DR Korb, CA Blackie, VM Finnemore, T Douglass

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Glaucoma awareness month

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness. January is glaucoma awareness month! Help us preserve people’s vision by spreading the prevention message this month!

The term “glaucoma” refers to a group of disorders that damage the ocular nerve, leading to vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is most commonly caused by ocular hypertension, or high pressure inside of the eye.

Typically, There Are No Early Warning Signs

What makes glaucoma so frightening is that it often becomes a sudden problem. Most people don’t notice any of the warning signs or symptoms; however, with regular eye exams we can check the pressure of your eye and monitor your risk.

Who’s Most At Risk For Glaucoma?

Though certain factors put you at higher risk, it’s important for everyone to understand the risk factors. For example, glaucoma usually affects people in their middle age—and the elderly—but it can, and does, affect people all age groups. 

African Americans are at a much higher risk and that risk spikes as early as age 40. 

You’re at a higher risk over age 60 and even more so over age 80. 

Some medical conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease may increase risk.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are a much higher risk. 

Diagnosing Glaucoma Early Can Help Preserve Sight

There’s no cure for glaucoma; however, when caught early, we can take steps to slow or halt vision loss. Often treatments as simple as specialized eye drops that reduce the pressure building up inside of your eye can make a difference.

Everyone age 40 and over should get eye exams regularly. If you have any of the high risk factors listed above, you should get an eye exam even more often! Take the time to learn more about glaucoma.