COVID-19 Common Eye Care Questions
Our Toronto Eye Care doctors have a tremendous wealth of combined patient experience and in the following Q&A have graciously shared their views on current eye care questions.
Question for Dr. Mira Acs:
Is there anything special that I need to do keep my eyes healthy or protect them?
Dr. Acs’ Answer: In these stressful and turbulent times it is easy to get overwhelmed with health information, so we all need reminders about the important, but ordinary steps we have to take to keep our eyes healthy. Our eyes don’t work in isolation from the rest of our body, so these same steps are actually for over all, general good health.
1. Eat Well – Everything begins and ends with what you put in your mouth, so what should be on your plate are leafy green vegetables, vegetables of all colours, salmon, tuna and other oily fish, meat, eggs, nuts ,beans and other non meat protein sources, whole grains of all types, berries of all types and citrus fruits. The nutrients from these foods might help ward off age related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating well and being active lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
2. Don’t Smoke – Smoking is actually not good for anything, especially not your lungs, but it makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration, among many other medical problems. Smoking aggravates uncomfortable dry eyes resulting in more difficulty with focusing and visually demanding tasks. If you have never smoked, do not start. If you have smoked and quit, give your self a pat on the back, your eyes and lungs thank you. If you’ve tried to quit before only to start again, keep at it, you will succeed.
3. Wear sunglasses – Protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays which contribute to development of cataracts and macular degeneration and even skin cancer on eyelids. Choose a pair of shades that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side and polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive, boat or ski. If you wear contact lenses with UV protection it is still a good idea to wear sunglasses for an extra layer of protection. Hats block exposure to UV as well. Yes we need the sun to get Vitamin D, we get it through our skin, we do not have to get it through our pupils.
4. Use Safety Eyewear – Sports, especially racquet sports can lead to eye injury and you should always wear sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses. Be aware of your environment and the hazardous or airborne materials in it. Gardening can expose you to molds and spores in the soil that can irritate your eyes and cause allergic reactions and even infections. Aerosol sprays and paints should always be used with proper eye protection. Many eye injuries occur at home, so be aware of flying debris and hazardous chemicals, even with a simple task like changing an overhead light bulb there is a risk of eye injury.
5. Eye Exams – Everyone needs a regular eye exam; children, adults, seniors, everyone, even if you don’t wear glasses. Ask your doctor how often. Your age and risk factors like diabetes , high blood pressure, or a family history of eye disease will determine the frequency.
That’s it, five steps we can all take for healthy eyes.
To book an appointment with Dr. Acs please click here.
Question for Dr. Barbara Caffery:
I am taking great care to protect myself from the COVID-19 virus. My contact lenses are very important to me, but are they safe to use during this pandemic?
Dr. Caffery’s Answer: You may be wondering about the safety of contact lens wear during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, we do NOT recommend contact lens use if you are sick and that rule remains in place. Otherwise contact lens wear remains safe IF you:
• Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, and dry hands completely.
• Use daily disposable contact lenses if possible
• If solutions are required, use them appropriately. Specifically, do not top-up or re-use solutions.
• Replace contact lens cases monthly or more frequently. Rinse wipe and air dry contact lens cases every day
• Again, do not wear contact lenses when you are ill
There has been some discussion about the protective value of glasses at this time. Certainly, glasses provide a barrier to directed fluids but they are not a barrier to air born droplets. The only real protection from the virus are goggles and they fit beautifully over contact lenses.
Generally, please try to touch your face as little as possible. If you remove your glasses to clean them, wash your hands as well. Do not touch your eyes after hand washing and lens insertion and, of course, rewash and dry your hands before removing your contact lenses.
In general, stay home as much as possible, wash your hands often and be kind to neighbors and your community.
To follow-up with Dr. Caffery please click here.
Question for Dr. Angela Di Marco:
I think I have an eye infection because my eye is red, irritated. I think I may have pink eye. Could it be a sign of COVID-19?
Dr. Di Marco’s Answer: Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a common infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines the whites of our eyes. Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by an allergy or infection (viral or bacterial). When caused by a virus, symptoms include teary, red, swollen, slightly itchy eyes with some mucus discharge. Typically, it begins in one eye and then transfers to the other eye within a few days. There is no cure or treatment for a viral conjunctivitis; it merely needs to run its course (2-3 weeks). However, symptoms may be relieved with artificial tears and cold compresses.
Transmission of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, happens when an infected person coughs or sneezes and viral particles are transmitted onto the face or hands and then into the mouth, nose, and sometimes eyes, much like the common cold. If COVID-19 spreads to the eye, it may cause symptoms of a viral conjunctivitis that is otherwise indistinguishable from pink eye caused by the common cold.
As we know, the most commonly noted symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Recent reports suggest that a viral conjunctivitis may be a rare, secondary symptom of the virus. Without the main respiratory symptoms, it is unlikely that a viral conjunctivitis alone is a sign of COVID-19. Nevertheless, if you are concerned and think you may have contracted the novel coronavirus, please call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000. Additionally, if you think you have an eye infection and are unsure of what to do, you may contact our office for a virtual assessment.
In conclusion, to protect your eyes from COVID-19 it is vital that we avoid touching our eyes, especially when we are out of the house, and of course, continue to wash your hands frequently.
To follow-up with Dr. Di Marco please click here.
Question for Dr. Upen Kawale:
Due to COVID-19, I am working remotely and am on my computer a lot more than at work. This seems to be causing eye strain, headaches and dry eye. What would you recommend to solve this problem?
Dr. Kawale’s Answer: As we all do the right thing and stay home and follow proper physical distancing, we are not able to go to the office or live our normal lives. With technology today, many of us can work remotely with computers and conference calling. Some may have a desktop station at home, laptops and/or use their smartphone. Part of using any electronic device is the ergonomics of how you use them, whether sitting at a desk or on a lap.
Today, we live in a digital world and if you are having to lift your head constantly with your progressive lenses to see your monitor, you may be getting neck pain or headaches but there are solutions. I can give you an analogy to better understand this idea. We are all aware that one pair of shoes is not sufficient for every task and we know that you also need special shoes for better performance in sport. For example, you would use soccer cleats in the grass or turf to play soccer and would not use those cleats on a basketball court.
The same applies for vision. Regular progressives transition from your distance prescription at the top of the lens to the reading portion on the bottom, with a very small “mid-range” area for computer in the middle. Generally, this “mid-range” area is a small portion and is only good for quick tasks but many patients who use a computer for many hours in a day would invest in special computer progressive/computer lens glasses that are custom designed by your Toronto Eye Care doctor for your work station needs. Once the proper computer prescription is placed at the top of the lens and the reading at the bottom (no distance in the glasses at all), you will be able to see your computer screen perfectly clear without any head tilt or aches and still be able to read a document from the bottom. Many of our patients say they can’t live without their newly found computer glasses.
During Covid-19, if you don’t have computer glasses, you could try to change the ergonomics of your work station to allow for your regular progressive spectacles to function better. This may not work for all patients but is always worth a try. We recommend that you lower your monitor so that you are looking downward through your progressive lenses at a 20 degree decline angle without lifting your head which should cause the computer screen to become clear enough for your needs. If you can’t lower your screen, you can lift your chair to achieve the same effect and see if that works. Although this solution may not be 100% effective for all, it may work for some.
Here are a few more helpful tips on computer vision syndrome. Remember to blink or use hydrating eye drops to prevent dry eye. Studies show that people blink 60% less while using a computer. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away to 20 feet for 20 seconds to give more eye muscles a rest.
To follow-up with Dr. Kawale, please click here.
Question for Dr. Jerry Nolfi:
I received an email from your clinic stating that you were temporarily closed until further notice in order to comply with the social distancing mandate. What do I do if I have an urgent eye care problem?
Dr. Nolfi’s Answer: As health care practitioners we comprehend the seriousness of this pandemic and the potential negative consequences in the community including our temporary closure. It has disrupted our in-person primary care and ultimately delayed the eye care of many of our patients. Thankfully, a majority of these visits could be rescheduled to a future date while a minority required ongoing care that could be arranged by email, phone or video chat. Our busy clinic also dealt with an assortment of daily urgent eye care problems where most required an in person assessment to arrive at a proper diagnosis. Which brings us to the question above – what If I have an urgent eye care problem now that your clinic is closed?
Let me first define what is considered the most common urgent eye care problems:
• sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
• missing or distorted vision in one or both eyes
• intermittent flashing lights followed by floating spots, lines, cobwebs, spider-like objects in your vision
• eye pain or increasing pain associated with any other eye or physical symptoms
• eye infection with pain, discharge, blurred vision and/or increased sensitivity to light
• or any other eye symptom that you feel is abnormal for you
What do you do if you feel you have an urgent eye care problem?
• please contact us immediately by phone (416) 966-1955 and/or email us at URGENT EYE CARE
• one of our doctors will review your case and communicate with you to determine if an in-person urgent eye care visit at our clinic is necessary
• DO NOT go to the emergency room until you have communicated with one of our doctors and are advised to do so
In conclusion, please do not be concerned about eye care access during this challenging time especially if you have a pressing eye health issue. We will always do our best to help you with any urgent eye care problem. Stay healthy and be safe.
To follow-up with Dr. Nolfi, please click here.Leave a reply →