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See Under the Sea & in the Swimming Pool Too

Wear goggles for clear & healthy underwater vision

You don’t swim naked at a public beach or swimming pool, and you shouldn’t swim with naked eyes either! At the beach, it’s hard to know if ocean water is really clean and not polluted, and the sand and salt content can make your eyes sting. If you prefer swimming in a pool, remember that while pool water can be clean, that’s only because it’s packed with chlorine, which can seriously irritate your eyes, stripping away your lubricating film and causing redness, pain, and blurry vision.

Goggles are the ideal solution for protecting your delicate eyes against the harshness of water. Also, due to advanced materials and modern engineering of the lenses in swim goggles, they provide crisper underwater vision than ever before! Your knowledgeable Sherwood Park eye doctor explains about the benefits and features of goggles:

Prescription goggles

If you normally need eyeglasses or contacts to see above water, our Sherwood Park optometrist strongly recommends buying a pair of prescription goggles for underwater vision. For you to see, light rays reflect off an object, enter your eyes, and are focused on your retina clearly. However, light rays don’t function the same way when they are in water. That’s why the floor of a swimming pool appears higher up than it really is. In general, goggles correct this problem by creating an air-filled gap around your eyes. But this doesn’t give sharp sight to swimmers who need vision correction. If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you’ll need prescription goggles to see.

Wearing contact lenses and standard goggles

A lot of people are in the habit of wearing standard goggles over their contact lenses, instead of purchasing a pair of prescription goggles. What’s the problem with this? Actually, water is the problem.

Water in all bodies – lakes, pools, oceans, and hot tubs – is a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms. While your body and your eyes have a built-in defense system to protect against these menacing microbes, contact lenses interfere with your eye’s protection. Consequently, swimming with contact lenses increases your risk of getting an eye infection.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is an extremely hazardous eye infection caused by amoeba being trapped between your contact lens and your cornea. Sometimes, amoeba start to live in your eye, leading to corneal ulcers and permanent vision loss. This type of infection only happens to people who wear contact lenses, which underscores our Sherwood Park eye doctor’s warning against swimming with contacts!

Now, we also realize that many people will insist on wearing contact lenses at the beach or pool – despite all of our warnings. If you’re one of those people, here are some tips to help you minimize the danger to your eye health:

  • Wear daily disposable contacts for swimming, since you throw them out after a single use. Remove them immediately after you come out of the water, rinse your eyes with artificial tears and replace your lenses with a new, clean pair.
  • Even if you’re didn’t fully dip into the water, if any drops fall into your eyes, remove your contacts immediately and throw them out, or disinfect them if you aren’t wearing disposables.
  • Never open your eyes underwater
  • Never go swimming and then doze off on the shore or poolside with your lenses still in your eyes

Top features for goggles – recommended by our Sherwood Park optometrist

  • Prescription lenses, if you generally need eyewear with vision correction
  • Shatterproof lenses
  • Anti-fog treatment
  • Leak-free lenses that seal comfortably around your eyes
  • Built-in UV protection
  • Surfers should wear polarized lenses to protect against reflected glare, which can be very intense on the water
  • Competitive swimmers and divers should choose frames with a low profile
  • Recreational lap swimmers do best with larger lenses (they give wider peripheral vision), and more padded frames

More questions about swimming and vision? Ask our Sherwood Park eye doctor!

Before you dive into the blue, sparkling waters at the beach or swimming pool, consult with an expert optometrist near you. We’ll help you find the safest way to have sharp underwater vision and a fabulous look! If you do experience irritated eyes, strange discharge, pain, sensitivity or redness after wearing your contact lenses while swimming, contact us immediately for an eye exam at Aspen Eye Care.

DRY EYE TECHNOLOGY IN Sherwood Park

When tears decrease in frequency,
Dry Eye is typically the result.

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome, referred to as DES, is a chronic eye condition that occurs when the eyes produce an insufficient amount of tears or when the tears lack the essential oils that lubricate the eye’s surface. (This often results in watery eyes and excessive tearing!). A well-lubricated eye blocks foreign bodies or substances from irritating the eye’s surface.

Dr. Aleem Bandali treats patients from all over Sherwood Park, Alberta who have Dry Eye symptoms, helping them achieve long-lasting relief from Dry Eye Syndrome.

Woman putting eye drops in her eyes
Girl sneezing from allergies

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry Eye can result from a number of factors, including genetics, the natural aging process, or prescription medications, to name a few.

Hormonal changes are a common cause of Dry Eye. In fact, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking oral contraceptives, or experiencing menopause find that their eyes feel dry and uncomfortable during these times. Women over the age of 50 have a 50% greater chance of developing DES than men of the same age.

Common Symptoms of Dry Eye

Patients with DES experience a number of symptoms that can disrupt their daily activities or cause chronic pain.

The most common signs of DES include the following:

  • Blurriness
  • Burning
  • Dryness
  • Feeling as if something is in your eye
  • Irritation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Pain
  • Red eyes
  • Stinging
  • Watery eyes

Dry Eye Treatment and Relief

Those who suffer from DES often try to alleviate the pain by blinking either less or more often, rubbing their eyes, or by using over-the-counter artificial tears.

Why is blinking important? Blinking is healthy because it naturally moisturizes the eyes and gets rid of tiny particles that may enter the eye. Less blinking can increase dryness, itching, or redness, making DES symptoms even more acute.

Rubbing your eyes, especially when they’re already irritated, can intensify your symptoms. This is because the added pressure can make the pain worse. If your hands aren’t 100% clean, you can unintentionally spread germs or bacteria into your eyes when you rub them. Rubbing the eyes can also cause tiny blood vessels to break, increasing the redness of your eyes.

Artificial tears provide some temporary relief by lubricating the eyes with a medicated solution. These can be quite effective at alleviating soreness and itchiness, however, excessive use isn’t recommended. Many brands include preservatives, which aren’t good for your health in the long-term. Other preservative-free brands can, over time, fail to relieve the basic Dry Eye symptoms. Patients may find that having to continuously purchase artificial tears can become costly, and consistently using them throughout the day disrupts their daily activities.

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment

Typically, DES is treated with medicated eye drops, anti-inflammatory drops, or a heated compress. Occasionally, the doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These are tiny devices that are inserted into the eye’s tear duct, blocking any drainage. This can alleviate DES symptoms by preventing moisture from draining out of the eye, instead keeping them inside the tear duct area. This increases the moisture level, giving longer-term relief. Plus, punctal plugs are not permanent and can be easily removed or replaced, making them a simple, affordable solution to alleviate symptoms.

Beaker with sand and origami inside

Dry Eye Technology

Advancements in medical technology and scientific breakthroughs have made treatment for Dry Eye easier, with quicker results, and longer-lasting benefits. Three of the up-and-coming technologies for DES treatment are InflammaDry, LipiFlow, and TearLab.

Aspen Eye Care has some of the most cutting-edge and advanced technologies to quickly and effectively test for Dry Eye Syndrome. Let Dr. Aleem Bandali and the talented, experienced staff help get you started on the path to real long-term relief from Dry Eye.

Our tears contain a natural protein enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase-9, or MMP-9. Patients with Dry Eye usually have elevated levels of this protein. The InflammaDry system measures MMP-9 levels by analyzing the tears taken from inside the lower eyelid. The entire process is fast and results are received in about 10 minutes. The disposable test is performed in the office, making it a top choice for doctors and DES patients.

Meibomian glands are located by the eyelashes, towards the edge of the eyelid. These glands secrete oils, which lubricate the eye and keep your tears moist. When the glands become blocked, Dry Eye occurs.

The LipiFlow system takes detailed images of the tear film in the eye, so that the doctor can determine if you have MGD. Then a combination of gentle heat and light pressure are applied on both the inside and outside of the eyelid, removing the blockage and stimulating your eye’s natural moisture. The procedure takes around 12 minutes to administer and is done in the doctor’s office.

The TearLab device measures concentration levels in human tears. This helps diagnose DES by noting any levels of tear concentration that are elevated, which can be a sign of Dry Eye.

TearLab consists of a 3-in-1 device: the test card, test pen, and countertop unit. The test card is a single-use microchip that collects a tiny sample of tear fluid in under 30 seconds. It sits inside the test pen, which analyzes and sends the data t the reader, which is in the unit. The unit rests on a flat surface and displays the test results in seconds.