Monthly Archives: January 2018

What Does an Optometrist Do?

When you go to see a doctor about your eyes, you have choices. If you are specifically looking to get your eyes checked and need a new pair of glasses or contact lenses, the doctor you want to see is an optometrist. The role of this type of doctor is often misunderstood and confused with that of an ophthalmologist.When you go to see a doctor about your eyes, you have choices. If you are specifically looking to get your eyes checked and need a new pair of glasses or contact lenses, the doctor you want to see is an optometrist. The role of this type of doctor is often misunderstood and confused with that of an ophthalmologist.

What Does This Type of Doctor Do?

Optometrists are frequently also referred to simply as “eye doctors.” They perform specific duties related to the care of the eye and have concentrated specialties of study. An eye doctor does the following:

  • Specializes in examining the eyes, making diagnoses of eye conditions and treats, manages and prevents eye diseases and disorders.
  • Diagnoses various ocular manifestations of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as complications of the eye such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Prescribes medication for the treatment of specific eye diseases.
  • Prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  • Provides vision therapy and rehabilitation for individuals with low vision.
  • Works with healthcare providers to deliver high-quality care.
  • Educates patients on eye health so they can make better decisions regarding their vision.

What Kind of Environment Do Optometrists Work In?

Eye doctors practice in a variety of different settings, including private practices, hospitals, clinics and even in teaching positions. It also isn’t unusual to find an optometrist working at a store that sells and specializes in eyeglasses and other vision needs.

No matter what the environment, optometrists must have a setting that is well-lit, clean and comfortable for patients. They work standard business hours and sometimes in evenings and on weekends to meet the needs of their patients. Although emergency calls to optometrists were previously uncommon, it has become more standard for patients to contact their eye doctor in emergency situations, especially as they have the ability to prescribe medications for a number of eye conditions and disorders.

Education and Training Requirements

In order for someone to practice optometry in Canada, a Bachelor of Science or higher degree is required. The individual must also earn a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree.

After a person has completed their studies and earned their optometry degree, they must go on to earn a license, which is awarded by the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO).

These types of doctors often study courses in pharmacology, biochemistry and systemic diseases. Some optometrists specialize in specific areas of practice that requires a one-year postgraduate clinical residency program. Doctors who wish to specialize in family practices, geriatric optometry, pediatric optometry and ocular diseases, for example, require this course of study.

Generally, optometrists must have their licenses renewed every one to three years. They must also enroll in continuing education courses to renew their licenses.

To learn more about our Optometrist click here.

What Contact Lenses are Right for You?

Finding the right contact lenses depends on a number of factors, such as why you want new contact, the best types for your eyes, and your visual needs. Your optometrist can perform an exam and determine what will work best for you so that you can make an informed choice for your vision. However, it is good to be prepared for the appointment so you can effectively weigh your options.

Soft vs. Gas-Permeable Lenses

One decision that must be made is whether to go with soft or gas-permeable contacts. Soft lenses are made from a combination of oxygen and water. The percentage of water allows oxygen to pass through to the eye, which makes wearing the contact more comfortable.

Many soft lenses can be thrown away after a certain period and replaced with a new pair. Frequent replacement reduces the risk of eye infections, more comfort, and less maintenance. However, soft lenses that are thrown away daily, weekly, ever two weeks, or monthly can be costlier than soft lenses that are worn annually.

Annual soft lenses are typically custom made for the wearer. They are more comfortable than gas-permeable lenses that are made of silicone. Not as much oxygen is able to pass through silicone, but they are ideal for those suffering from astigmatism. Vision tends to be clearer through a gas-permeable lens than a soft lens. Toric lenses also work well for people with astigmatism.

Another type of lens is the bifocal lens that helps you when you can no longer focus up close. Bifocal lenses are available in gas-permeable and soft.

Last is the monovision lens. These lenses are needed when one eye can see up close and the other can see far away. Your optometrist can come up with a contact lens combination that will help your eyes work together better if you are suffering from monovision.

Situations that Warrant Contacts

When determining which contact lens type is right for you, it’s good to evaluate your lifestyle and needs to see how they coincide with different types. For instance:

  • You may want to wear your lenses continuously, which will warrant the use of extended wear. These lenses don’t necessarily have to be removed before sleep but will have to be thrown away and replaced after a certain amount of time.
  • If you need to see sharper with gas-permeable lenses but can’t wear them comfortably, there are hybrid lenses available to give better comfort and vision.
  • If you only want to occasionally wear contact lenses for physical activity and wear eyeglasses the rest of the time, soft lenses will work best for you.
  • If you’re 40 years of age or older, you may not want to have to wear reading glasses. In this case, bifocal or multifocal lenses may serve you well.

You can take this information and give yourself an idea of what you may or may not want for your eyes. However, your contact lens exam and fitting will determine what will work best for you.

This article is for reference only. Please consult with your optometrist for a professional recommendation.

Choosing the Right Eye Glass Frame for Your Face & Style

When it comes to choosing a pair of glasses, most people try on different styles until they find something they like. The problem with this approach is that it takes time and can be quite frustrating, especially if you have no clue what you’re looking for. A better approach is to follow some basic guidelines that can help you narrow down your choices.

Face Shapes

The human face can come in many shapes and sizes. This is one of the biggest reasons why someone else’s eye glasses might look better on them than on you. The shape of your eye glass frames should contrast with the shape of your face, while their size should be in scale. Frames should also match your best feature, such as the color of your eyes.

While there are many variations, human faces can be narrowed down to a few basic shapes. The most common facial shapes are oval, round, oblong, square, diamond, base-up triangle and base-down triangle.

Oval faces are considered ideal, due to their balanced proportions. Frames that are at least as wide as the broadest part of the face will complement its natural symmetry. Walnut-shaped frames are also suitable, provided they’re not too deep or narrow. Glasses that cover too much of the face should be avoided.

Round faces require frames that make them look longer and thinner. Narrow, angular frames can add an appearance of length to the face some and a clear bridge can widen the eyes. Look for frames that are wider, rather than deeper, such as rectangular frames.

Oblong faces are longer than they are wide, with long noses and straight cheek lines. Deep frames can make oblong faces seem shorter. Decorative temples (arms) can contribute to the illusion of more depth and a low bridge can shorten the appearance of the nose.

Square faces feature broad foreheads and prominent jawlines, with equal proportions in width and length. Narrow frames with more width than depth can help lengthen the face’s appearance. Narrow ovals can soften the face’s angles.

Diamond-shaped faces appear narrower at both the eye and jawlines, with broad cheekbones. Frames with detailed or distinctive brow lines, rimless frames, or oval shapes work best with this rare facial shape.

The base-up triangle face is wide at the top and small at the bottom. Frames that are wider at the bottom help minimize the width of the top third of the face. Rimless frames are ideal and light colors work best.

The base-down triangle is essentially the opposite, with a narrow forehead and broad chin/cheek areas. Frames that are heavily accented with color along the top can help emphasize the top part of the face. Cat-eye shapes are also suitable for base-down triangle faces.

Skin Tone

In addition to the shape of your face, your skin tone can also help determine which types of eye glass frames look best. Skin tone has more impact on the appearance of your eye glasses than hair or eye color. Your best bet is to select a shade that closely matches your skin tone.


Your way of life should also come into play, when choosing eyeglass frames. Give some thought to what types of activities you will be involved in, while wearing your glasses. For example, flexible frames are ideal for individuals with active lifestyles. If you’d like to look sharp at the office, you might want to look into styles that convey a sense of business savvy.

People often look to find the right contact lens for them as well as the best frames. Reason for this is lenses often are better during physical activity and then glasses are worn the rest of thet ime.


Your eyeglasses also serve as an expression of your personality. For this reason, some people like having one set to wear on weekends and another set for work. This allows you to select a more colorful set to express your fun-loving side when it’s appropriate, while still looking professional at the office.

As you can see, you don’t need fashion expertise to pick a pair of glasses that look good on your face. These tips help break the selection process down to key aspects that matter most. Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. It’s still up to you to choose the frames you’re most comfortable with.

For help finding the right eyeglasses for you and to ensure you have an up to date prescription connect with our optometrist in Dartmouth on Baker Drive.


Are Anti-Glare and Anti-Scratch Coatings on Your Lenses Important?

Sometimes you may wonder if the little extras are worth the bother. When you’re ordering a new pair of prescription lenses, they usually ask if you’d like anti-glare or anti-scratch coatings applied to them. You’ve always been careful with your glasses, so you’re not sure you actually need either one. For just a few extra dollars, can they really be all that necessary? Let’s take a look at them to see if they can help you.

An anti-glare or anti-reflective coating, often called AR, will reduce the glare that reflects off your lenses from the sun and other light sources. Without that glare, more light is able to reach your eyes, allowing you to see clearer and sharper images. (Speaking of the sun, don’t forget that having this coating applied to your sunglasses could also be beneficial.)

Lenses Almost Invisible

Today’s AR coatings make eyeglass lenses almost invisible. When people look at you, they won’t see the glare from your lenses, but your eyes and their expressions. They will see you.

By keeping the glare away from your eyes, the anti-reflective coating allows them to relax and thus reduces the strain on your eyes. This can be especially helpful when you’re working at a computer for several hours a day or when you’re driving, either in sunlight or at night with headlights in your line of sight.

About ten years ago, the manufacturers of the AR coatings arrived at a great breakthrough in the way the coating was made and applied to the lens. Before that time, an AR coating was likely to peel away causing you to lose the protection and making them look streaky and cheap. Now, the anti-glare coating is a part of the lens, going through a “thorough and detailed heating process”.

Nothing is Completely “Scratch Proof”

As far as your eyeglass lenses are concerned, there is no such thing as totally scratch-proof. However, having an anti-scratch coating will make them resistant to the scratches that are liable to occur through everyday usage. When not being worn, it would be helpful to keep your glasses in a case with a soft lining and use a microfiber cloth to clean them and wipe away the smudges. Scratches are guaranteed if you clean your glasses with a paper towel or with many types of cloth. The type of glasses frames you choose play a part in how protected your lenses are from scratching as well.

These lens coatings will upgrade the way your lenses perform and the way your eyes respond to them. They will extend the life your eyeglass lenses. They will even save you money because you won’t need to replace them simply due to scratched lenses.

Anti-reflective coatings come in many varieties. You will need to consult with your optical care provider to decide which one suits your lenses the best. Plastic or glass lenses are only two things to take into consideration. Your vision specialist will be able to assist you.

So, if you’re still wondering whether or not the anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings are worth the small, additional price you would pay to have them added to your new glasses, the answer is yes – absolutely. They will improve your vision, get rid of most of your eye strain, allow others to make clear eye contact with you, and will make your lenses resistant to scratches. These “little extras” are a very important and useful investment.

Ensuring you have your eyes examined by your optometrist is essential to keeping your prescription up to date and your eyes healthy. Click here for more about our about our eye exams and optometrist.

Bifocals vs Progressive lenses which should you go for?

If you’ve realized that you need a new prescription for your glasses, one that probably will have to include a bi-focal, it may help to know that you have some options. Bi-focal lenses must be placed in larger frames and include that tell-tale line that is a division between the two different lenses. Smaller, more fashionable frames didn’t work with these lenses until engineers came up with a lot of adjustments.

Many advances have been made in the way combination lenses are created. Bi-focal lenses are still available and may be better for some people. However, Progressive Lenses or no-line bi-focal sales have been on the rise and are now the preferred lenses, by far, for those who need dual strength lenses.

Progressive Lenses = More Natural Correction

Progressive lenses give a more natural correction of presbyopia or far-sighted vision. These lenses will give you a multi-focal view and their multi-powered lens strength takes into account the need to see long distances, intermediate distances and to read or view things up close and lets you do all of these comfortably.

With a traditional bi-focal lens, there tends to be a need to allow the eyes to adjust from reading to viewing things at a long distance. There’s a kind of a “jump” between the two lens strengths, making part of the vision temporarily out of focus.

This does not occur with the progressive lenses. Your optical caregiver will carefully measure your range of vision as well as the glasses frames so these lenses will allow you to properly see all the things around you, both near and far. You will be able to see across the room, work at your computer and do fine handwork or read a newspaper article. All these things will be clear for you.

A progressive lens will give a better correction of your far-sighted vision than will the traditional bifocal or trifocal. Those glasses have only two or three strengths in the lenses but a progressive lens has many different strengths, progressing, as it were, from one power to the next. This allows you to easily see at a variety of ranges and distances.

Something discuss when deciding on the right frames and lenses for you, is whether or not you will invest in anti-scratch and glare coatings for your lenses.

Precise Measurements Done by an Optometrist

Because your optician or eye care practitioner must take such precise measurements not only of your vision requirements but also of your chosen frames, they can now fix these specifications into those currently more stylish and designer frames. Your progressive lenses, being line free, will never give away your age.

While the changes made with progressive lenses means that more people are opting for them, they will not be suitable for everyone. Some people, for example, find it difficult to see when going up and down stairs. The progressive lenses make it seem like the stairs are bouncing. Given a couple of weeks to adjust, this problem will often right itself. Still, the eyes of some will not be able to adapt. Bifocals may be best for them.

Consult with your optical caregiver to see which glasses will work best with your eyes. Most people, however, will be able to find a kind of progressive lens that is best for their lifestyle.

To learn more about our Optician click here.