Q: My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?
A: Tired, burning, and irritated eyes are signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition. Women are more prone to developing dry eyes, and aging is a risk factor too. Eye dryness is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands, which causes the tears to evaporate too quickly. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dry eye, but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, Omega 3 nutritional supplements, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. Our eye doctors customize the treatments for each person and their specific condition.
Q: At what age should I bring my child in for her first eye exam? And how much does it cost?
A: The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that the first eye exam be done at the age of 6 months, then next around the age of 3, and then yearly thereafter. Your Optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams if he or she has something they want to monitor more closely. As for the cost; luckily, in many Provinces in Canada, children’s eye exams are covered by the provincial health care provider until the child’s 19th birthday. It’s not just “once per year” either; a child can come in as often as necessary and the province will cover it.
Q: Is it true that eating carrots will improve your eyesight?
A: While eating carrots won’t reduce your need for glasses, a diet rich in carrots and other vegetables is great for the long-term health of your eyes. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for night vision and helps prevent dry eye syndrome, cataracts and macular degeneration. It is found in many colorful fruits and vegetables such as apricots, papaya, and tomatoes as well as in fortified milk, beef, chicken, cod liver oil and eggs. Research suggests that obtaining a combination of nutrients from a variety of food sources provides the best results for slowing the progression of eye diseases. So do your eyes a favor and ensure that your diet includes a rich assortment of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils.