Makeup, Keep it Clean!

A light application of makeup can often help you to look and feel your best. Without proper care, however, it may impair your capacity to see your best.  Whether you are going for a natural look or something more dramatic, it is important to use discretion when applying around your eyes.

Keep it clean:                                   

Make sure your hands are washed before you begin.  Use only your own makeup and brushes.  It may seem fine to borrow a swipe of mascara, but even your BFF may have germs that are harmful to you.  Infections from poor hygiene or contamination may lead to itchy, swollen eyes and light sensitivity.

Do not disturb:                                   

Only apply eye makeup in a setting where you can be relaxed and focused.  Putting on makeup in a vehicle risks injury at every stop and bump during your commute.  Take your time and don’t rush; not only will you get better results, but you’ll do better to avoid poking yourself in the eye or scratching your cornea.

Contact lens wearers:                 

It is better to put in your soft contact lenses before your makeup routine.  When choosing a mascara, avoid mascara with lengthening fibers, which can scratch, and waterproof mascara, which may stain your lenses.  At the end of the day, remove your contacts, clean them, and place in fresh solution before you wash off your makeup.

It can be rewarding to use cosmetics, but safety should always be top priority.  If your makeup causes you to experience irritation or injury, discontinue use and contact your optometrist.


Blog contribution by Kaitlyn Sanchez, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.

Overnight Vision Correction

Wouldn’t it be great if you could correct your eyesight and reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses — without having to undergo eye surgery? Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable (GP) contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up. GP contact lenses are not the same as the soft contact lenses that you may already wear; instead they are made of a firm, durable plastic that transmits oxygen.

How does an Ortho-K lens work?

The central portion of the lens fits closer to the eye than a standard contact lens exerting a gentle pressure. The outer part of the lens surrounds the central visual zone and is farther away from the cornea, allowing room for the cornea to change shape:



Ortho-K lenses are custom made for each individual, but not everyone qualifies for this corneal refractive therapy. Two important factors that determine the candidacy for orthokeratology includes the curvature of the eye and the prescription. Your eye care practitioner will measure the exact shape of your cornea and prescribe lenses with the curvature, size, and corrective power that suit your eyes. Ortho-k is recommended for low to mild nearsightedness (-5 diopters or less).

When you begin to wear ortho-k lenses, you will likely have mild awareness of the lenses on your eyes until you fall asleep. Because the corneal reshaping effect is temporary, little risk is involved, and you can discontinue wearing the lenses at any time.

In summary:  no glasses, no daytime contacts, no surgery, 20/20 vision…no kidding!


Blog contribution by Eric Saidi, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.

Healing the Eye

Our eyes are exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions such as extreme weather, work environment and wearing contact lenses.  Sometimes these conditions may be so harsh that they stress the cornea, the outermost eye structure. Occasionally a patient will present in my office with an extremely compromised cornea. Such cases sometimes need a form of an eye band-aide to properly heal.

Enter the Amniotic Membrane

Such a bandage is an amniotic membrane which is derived from the placenta of an elective c-section. Human amniotic membrane is a unique collagenous membrane derived from the innermost submucosa of the placenta. Harvested under sterile conditions from the placenta of elective C-section after a full term pregnancy in medically cleared donors. This type of tissue has been used widely in the treatment of surface ocular diseases as it aids epitheliazation, reduces inflammation and fibrosis, prevents structural damage, and is also known to have some antimicrobial properties. It is used for a wide variety of ocular surface disorders such as: corneal ulcers, chemical or thermal burns of the cornea, and persistent epithelial defects.

An example used in our office is the ProKera Ring. It is a cryopreserved, sutureless amniotic membrane clipped to a plastic ring. ProKera is placed on the eye in a similar fashion as a large contact lens. ProKera does not require an operating room and can be performed in the office. Most importantly, it is reasonably well tolerated by patients.

Blog contribution by Lilia Babakhan, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.


Addressing the Dress

The Dress Debate of 2015 has divided people around the world into two teams: Blue and Black versus White and Gold. However, this debate can be resolved with the knowledge that color is a visual perception, and is open to interpretation to all people. In our retinas, we have different color-sensing receptors that identify various levels of blue, red, and green. All of these different color sensors are stimulated in different amounts by light entering our eyes, and therefore, our brains interpret particular colors. However, it gets more complex, with the integration of the visual cues around The Dress that make us perceive two different color patterns. For example, if we take a color swatch from bright lighting conditions, and bring it into a shadow, our brain will perceive that color swatch as a darker color. Side-by-side, an identical color swatch can be perceived as two different colors! This is known as color constancy—a phenomenon that is responsible for causing the perceived color change based on surrounding colors and shadows. This further proves that we see the world with our brain, where the eyes are an eminent relay station, and that the brain itself is influenced by our experiences and assumptions.

Blog contribution by Anna Parfenova, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.


SOAP, Beyond Clean! Part 2

After attaining a good patient history, it is important for me to assess the patient’s condition objectively. This is the second part of the S.O.A.P note; subjective, objective, assessment, plan. Something that is subjective is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, and opinions. To be objective, something must be rooted out independent of these personal feelings and opinions. The patient will report the subjective details about the reason for their visit then it is my duty to further investigate. Objective signs are used to support the patient’s symptoms and ultimately, my final diagnosis. It is critical that I be able to objectively come to a conclusion without relying on the patient’s self-reported symptoms. This allows me to verify the patient’s diagnosis based on facts and clinically traceable signs.

Let’s look at the example from SOAP Part I again. The patient presented with a complaint of “my eyes are often red.” Once I ask a series of problem focused questions, I have a thorough medical history which helps me narrow down my potential diagnosis. For this example, the diagnoses are infection, allergy, and dryness. The objective signs I expect to see are different for each of these diagnoses. In the case of infection, the main difference I may expect to find is discharge. For allergy, I would expect to find swelling of various parts of the eye, papillae behind the eyelids and no pre-auricular node hardness. Finally, dryness would show decreased tear break-up time and corneal defects would be evident with staining.

As you can see, the patient can come in with subjective symptoms which are shared by multiple conditions. The objective signs however, are more unique for each condition. To make an accurate diagnosis, objective evidence is needed to clearly and accurately come to the correct diagnosis. Stay tuned for the next part of the series SOAP, Beyond Clean to learn about the assessment of the diagnosis, the “A” in SOAP.

Blog contribution by Jennifer Aslam, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.

SOAP, Beyond Clean! Part 1

Recording a good history of a patient during an examination is the first step to a proper diagnosis. This is why S.O.A.P notes, an acronym for subjective, objective, assessment, and plan, are so important to all health care professions. First, this essential framework of a medical examination consists of noting subjective elements, such as a chief complaint.  These help paint a picture of why a patient is presenting in my chair and include medical conditions, medications in use, smoking status, family and social history. Often I can formulate a diagnosis based on this essential step.

This may not seem intuitive, but effectively utilizing subjective questions can develop a chief complaint that may be vague. For example, many patients present with a complaint of “my eyes are often red”. Red eyes commonly illicit thought of the viral infection pink eye. However, red can signify allergy, dryness, or a host of other infections. Gathering subjective history allows me to determine when and how the redness began, if it is constant or intermittent, occurring in one or both eyes, or if there is a related medical history.  I can then quickly narrow down potential diagnosis.

Another common example is a chief complaint of blurry vision either at distance, up-close or both. During my subjective course of an examination I will review social issues regarding daily use of vision such as driving, reading, and computer use. I proceed to discuss what patients do for a living, often uncovering a 12-hour day of digital device use!

Discovering such facts about a patient’s daily routine exemplifies how this first piece of my examination help me determine which tests I will need to complete to find a diagnosis and treatment.  Watch for the next part of the series SOAP, Beyond Clean! for a look at the objective examination, or the “O” of SOAP.

Blog written with Moamen Rizk, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences

The Future of Glasses?

In recent years, there have been innovations in eyewear aimed at helping those suffering from presbyopia, the gradual inability of the eyes to focus due to age. Presbyopia usually begins starting at around age 40 and can affect anyone, even if you have never worn glasses before. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people in the world were presbyopic as of 2005. Current eyewear treatments include bifocal and Progressive lenses, but advancements in technology offer new solutions.

One example is Superfocus, which is based in California. These glasses have an adjustable slider on the bridge that lets you change the prescription from distance to near or anywhere in between. This is accomplished by a pocket of soft silicone between two lenses that changes the shape of one of the lenses, and therefore the prescription. This mimics the movements of the lens in the pre-presbyopic eye. The other lens is removable and can be switched to a tinted lens, for example.

Another lens innovation was called emPower, a line of electronic eyeglasses offered by Virginia-based company, PixelOptics from 2011 to 2013. These glasses allowed the wearer to switch between two prescriptions, near and distance. They could be programmed to react either to a fingertip pressing the temple of the frame or to a downward tilt of the head, which triggered an accelerometer. The lenses consisted of LCD materials between two layers of plastic and when an electrical charge hit the LCD, the molecules realigned and the prescription changed. The near prescription was made up of an oval-shaped area in the bottom half of the lenses that disappeared instantaneously when the distance prescription was triggered. In terms of price, the glasses retailed from $1,000-$1,500. Besides being a costly investment, there were issues with emPower’s optics, electronics and design, and PixelOptics declared bankruptcy in November 2013. Although these particular glasses are no longer being offered, the technology exists and perhaps with some modifications, a similar concept could revolutionize the presbyopic eyewear industry.

We’ll keep our eyes open and report on it here at the BOG Blog when a new prospect arises!

Blog contribution by Lorraine Lopez, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences

Could going to the movies be an indicator to get your next eye exam?

Could going to the movies be an indicator to get your next eye exam?


In today’s world, 3D technology has become more popular and common in gaming systems, television, and especially movies. Most people are able to enjoy this thrilling experience through its realistic and close-up features. Nonetheless, there are some who find viewing 3D films gives them discomfort or makes them nauseated. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), viewers who feel the 3 D’s of 3D viewing (Dizziness, Discomfort, or lack of perceived Depth perception) should get a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrists.

Studies indicate that the problem may arise from eye conditions known as amblyopia (a difference in visual strength between the two eyes) or strabismus (the misalignment of the eyes). However, one of the biggest problems with 3D is the inability to accommodate. When we look at something close, our eyes have a “near reflex”—accommodation, convergence, and miosis (pupils get smaller). Convergence occurs when an object is pointed towards your nose. The muscles that control your eyeballs work in sync by rotating them inwards. You can try this by placing your finger 6 inches away from your friends face—you’ll notice that your friend will now look cross-eyed. Accommodation occurs when you are focusing on near objects. These functions are all completely normal in the real world. In a 3D movie however, when we see objects coming towards us, we converge but don’t accommodate—thus only two of the three “near reflexes” are working normally. This inability to perform all three “near reflexes” may cause eye discomfort or headaches.

If these problems continue to persist, one of the solutions may be to get your eyes checked by an eye doctor. Not only can a strabismus or the inability to accommodate  prevent you from watching 3D movies, it can also cause difficulties in other aspects of your life.

Blog contribution by Jeffrey Dang, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences

What are computer glasses?

Do Computer Glasses Help Reduce Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a condition where individuals who uses computers for a long period of time or in an unfavorable environment generate symptoms that affect their vision. The distance the eyes focuses when using a computer is different compared to when a person reads or looks at a far distance. When the eyes have to focus for a long time at the computer working distance, CVS symptoms may develop because the visual demands are greater than what the eyes can handle. Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, and blurred vision. Some conditions that can contribute to CVS are glare, lighting in the environment, sitting posture, and time spent on the computer. Visual conditions like near-sighted, far-sighted, or astigmatism can also contribute to the development of CVS.

One way to help reduce symptoms of CVS are computer glasses. Computer glasses are designed specifically to alleviate the symptoms of CVS by using different lens power, tints, or coatings. Some frames have smaller amounts of optical power to decrease the demand of accommodation (focusing), thus decreasing the amount of work the eyes must endure. Some designs like the ‘wrap-around’ are made to decrease the amount of air current traveling between the frames and the eyes. The goal of these prescriptions is to achieve maximum visual function and comfort while relieving CVS symptoms. According to a study done by Ohio State University College of Optometry, computer glasses showed an 80.7% decrease in symptoms for patients that were presbyopic.

Because computer glasses can help alleviate symptoms does everyone benefit? It depends on an individuals’ visual demands, occupation, eye health and overall comfort that results from using computer glasses.

Blog contribution by Vally Moua, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences

Can Smoking Cause Cataracts?

Cigarettes can have an adverse effect on our health, but not everyone is aware that smoking cigarettes can have a negative effect on our vision. Research has shown that smoking cigarettes can affect our natural lens, the focusing structure within our eye. Damage to the lens can lead to deterioration or opacification, leading to decreased vision, increased glare at night, and decreased accommodative (focusing) ability. Additionally, smoking can lower the amount of oxygen that is able to reach your eye which can decrease tear production and cause dry eye.

Recently, a study was done by a team of researchers in Sweden who wanted to know if there is a correlation between former smokers and their risk for cataract formation. This study followed an approximate 45,000 subjects. They found that men who currently smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day have a 42% greater risk of having cataract surgery than men who had never smoked. For those who have quit smoking for more than 20 years, it was found that they were at 20% greater risk for cataract formation compared to men who had never smoked. For men who had been light smokers, the increased risk of cataract formation fell more quickly after quitting. Their research has shown that the risk of former smokers developing cataracts had decreased to about half 20 years after quitting. According to this study it takes a longer time for the lens to recover with higher smoking intensity.

Importantly, smoking cigarettes will not only affect the smoker, but anyone living in the same household. Today, second hand smoke is considered a Class A Carcinogen. A person who is exposed to second hand smoke is at a greater risk to be diagnosed with tobacco-cigarette related illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer and cataracts.

Blog contribution by NataliaTemboni , Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences