10 Fascinating Facts About Your Eyes

They've been called the window to the soul. But your eyes are also one of the most unique parts of your body, with over 2 million individual components, making them the second most complex organ... after the human brain.

Here are 10 other strange-but-true facts about your eyes.

1. You See the World Upside Down & Split in Half
When you first view an object, the image is actually processed by your eyes upside down (not unlike how the mirror in an old fashioned camera works). What's more, the image is split in half and distorted. Your retina flips the image, matches the two pieces together and clears up the distortion before sending the visual signal to your brain—with all of this occurring in nano seconds.

2. You Blink 9 Million Times a Year
On average you blink 17 times each minute. That works out to nearly 25,000 blinks a day and over 9 million blinks a year. Your eye also happens to be the fastest muscle in your body, which is how a single blink can happen in less than four-tenthsof a second—all of which may explain the old saying "in the blink of an eye."

3. Your Retinas Can't See Red
The receptors in your retina that process colours are actually only capable of detecting yellow-green and blue-green combinations. Your brain combines these different signals and identifies colours that are missing as being red. 

4. Different Things Produce Different Tears
While the main purpose of tears is to remove dirt and harmful bacteria from the eyes, research has found that our tears are actually chemically different depending on the situation. Scientists have found that "reflex tears" (such as those caused by allergies or getting something in your eye) were dramatically different than "emotional tears" (such as those caused by pain or feelings of sadness and joy). In fact, scientists don't really know why we produce tears when we're upset.

5. Your Eyes Are the Same Size Now as When You Were Born
Unlike other parts of your body (such as your nose and ears) your eyes stay basically the same size throughout your life. Scientists speculate that this is because your eyes are so complex that even subtle changes in growth could affect your overall vision. In fact, babies' eyes start to develop in the womb just two weeks after conception takes place.

6. "Red Eye" is Caused by Blood Vessels
Red eye may be the bane of photographers everywhere, but there's actually a fairly simple explanation behind this well-known phenomenon. Red eye occurs because light from the flash of the camera bounces off the back of your eye, hitting the choroid, a layer of tissue located directly behind the retina. The choroid also happens to contain a lot of blood vessels that are captured by the camera and why your eyes end up appearing red on film.

7. Your Eyes Are More Unique Than Your Fingerprints
We often assume that our eyes are similar to other people because we have the same prescription or the same eye colour. In fact, your eyes are incredibly unique. To put this into perspective, your fingerprints have only 40 unique identifying characteristics. Your eyes, on the other hand, have over 256 identifiable characteristics just in your irises alone. This may explain why governments and banks around the world are now looking towards biometric eye scans as a new form of identification. 

8. Only 1/6 of Your Eyeball is Exposed
It turns out that only a small portion of your eyeball is exposed at any given time. That's because a lot of what happens with your vision occurs inside your eyeball and involves millions of sensitive nerves and blood vessels. In fact, human skulls have evolved over the years to offer a maximum amount of protection to the part of your eyes that are unexposed.

9. Your Eyes Process 36,000 Bits of Information Per Hour
It turns out that your eyes are constantly taking in information that's then analyzed by your brain. In fact, researchers estimate that your eye will focus on about 50 objects per second. That's roughly comparable to the amount of data that's processed by a powerful computer.

10. Shark Corneas Are Used in Eye Surgery
It turns out that some of the most successful corneal transplants haven't come from human donors, but rather from sharks. That's because scientists have discovered that shark corneas have thick reinforcing fibres that function much like rebar does in concrete buildings. These fibres strengthen the cornea and prevent it from swelling and turning cloudy, like human corneas can do. In addition to transplanting shark corneas into human patients, scientists have continued to research sharks to understand human eye diseases.

To learn more about your eyes, check out our blog!.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or book an appointment online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca




UV Radiation and Your Eyes

Summer is officially upon us and Canadians across the country are excited to get outside and enjoy the sun. While most Canucks recognize the importance of sunscreen to prevent sunburns and skin cancer, many are unaware that UV light can cause serious eye damage. In fact, overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a variety of eye problems, one of which is cataracts, a condition where the normally clear lens of the eye become cloudy and opaque.

June is Cataract Awareness Month, and with an estimated 3.2 million Canadians living with the eye condition, Doctors of Optometry are urging residents to book an annual eye exam with an optometrist and take the necessary precautions to protect your vision from the sun’s harmful rays.  What can you do?

  • Avoid sources for UV radiation. Don’t stare directly at the sun and be aware of reflections from snow, water, sand and pavement. If you’re a welder, hairdresser, lighting technician, paint and resin worker, or work outdoors, be sure you’re in the know about potential risks and how to avoid UV exposure.
  • Protect your peepers. Wear sunglasses that are 100% UV blocking against both UVA and UVB rays, and are close-fitting with a wrap-around style frame to help keep light out. If you wear corrective contact lenses, consider wearing UV-blocking contact lenses for an added layer of UV protection. In addition to cataracts, these steps help protect against:
    • Age-related macular degeneration
    • Eyelid skin cancer
    • Corneal sunburn
    • Age spots
    • Tissue growths on the surface of the eye
  • Stay informed. Get regular eye exams to monitor eye health, maintain good vision and keep up-to-date on the latest in UV protection (Check out the UV Canada smartphone app for up-to-date info on UV radiation in your location).
  • 10-4. Keep out of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Children are at high risk. It’s estimated that 50% of lifetime exposure to UV happens before the age of 18. Keep children younger than six months out of direct sunlight, ensure children of all ages wear sunglasses and sun hats when outside and consider using a canopy or umbrella as a sun-shield when at the beach or in the back yard.
  • Recognize the symptoms. If you’re experiencing immediate pain, an inflamed cornea, or an aversion to light, see your Doctor of Optometry right away.

Your Doctor of Optometry can make specific recommendations to ensure your eyes are well-protected and to fit you with your perfect pair of sunglasses. Booking a comprehensive eye exam can identify early onset of eye-health conditions related to UV that may not have apparent symptoms.


For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or book an appointment online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca



Glaucoma - The Invisible Threat to Vision

March 8th – 14th is World Glaucoma Awareness Week and since glaucoma is the second most common cause of preventable vision loss in seniors, Optometrists are urging Canadians to get their eyes examined. After all, early detection can help control the disease.

What are the symptoms?

Unfortunately, there aren't any! Glaucoma often develops gradually and painlessly without noticeable symptoms until vision loss begins and, once symptoms of vision loss are present, they are irreversible.

What causes glaucoma?

While the exact cause is not completely understood, glaucoma is commonly caused by the overproduction of fluid and/or a decrease in fluid being drained from the eye, which damages the optic nerve.  As the fibers that make up the optic nerve are damaged due to increased pressure on the nerve, the amount and quality of information sent to the brain decreases and a loss of vision occurs. In some cases, glaucoma can occur when eye pressure is normal; this is called normal pressure or normal tension glaucoma.

Who is at risk?

Though cases are more frequent in those over 40 years old, anyone can be diagnosed with glaucoma. Pay attention if glaucoma runs in your family, you’re diabetic, have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or a history of eye injury – you may be at greater risk.

How is glaucoma detected?

A comprehensive eye health examination is the only way to check and is the key to preserving vision. At Highstreet Eyecare, we use a variety of instruments such as our visual field analyzer and digital retinal camera to help detect signs of glaucoma and many other eye conditions.


For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or book an appointment online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca


Not All Solutions Are Made Equal

A large percentage of contact lens wearers cannot recall the brand name of the solution they use to disinfect their contacts. The problem with a random product selection is that all solutions react differently on the contact lens material, leaving the patient susceptible to eye irritation or, in rare cases, corneal ulcers.

All the contact lens solutions on the market today are very effective at killing bacteria and other pathogens on contact lenses. However, some brands of solutions are much better suited for a particular type of contact lens. Contact lens solutions are not considered dangerous but it is the combination of the solution with the contact lens material that may cause the problems if the correct ones are not used together.

A Doctor of Optometry will assess the compatibility of a contact lens on a patient’s eye by examining the corneal staining pattern with a biomicroscope. If a patient has a high percentage of corneal staining, then they typically would experience an increase in lens awareness and irritation. The chance of developing a corneal ulcer also increases. Research has shown that some contact lens solutions can yield varying degrees of corneal staining depending on the contact lens brand. These findings stress the importance of using the correct brand of contact lens solution recommended by your Doctor of Optometry. Of particular concern is the use of private label solutions supplied by larger Big Box chain stores. They typically have more compatibility issues.

The incompatibility of contact lenses with solutions could potentially lead to a toxic reaction that is commonly caused by the preservative in the solution. When this occurs, alternative contact lens solutions or even daily disposable contact lenses should be considered. Toxic reactions can also occur by using expired contact lens solution.

It is always best to consult with your Doctor of Optometry to ensure that your contact lens solution is suitable for use with your contact lens brand.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online atwww.highstreeteyecare.ca


Highstreet Eyecare Awarded a Bronze Medal

We're very proud to be awarded a Bronze medal for our participation in the 2014 Optometry Giving Sight World Sight Day Challenge.

There are over 600 million people in the world who are visually impaired simply because they do not have access to basic eye care. We are proud to know that we (and our wonderful patients) have helped to provide some of them with an opportunity to SEE!

Thank you to all of our patients who participated in our fundraising efforts!

Colour Deficiency

What is colour deficiency?

Colour deficiency occurs when your ability to distinguish colours and shades is different than normal. The term “colour blind” is often used, but usually incorrectly. Only a very small number of people are completely unable to identify any colours, a condition called achromatopsia. Colour deficiency is more common in males than females, with one in 10 males having a colour deficiency.

What causes colour deficiency?

Colour deficiency is usually an inherited condition, passed from mother to son, but it can also result from certain diseases, trauma or as a side effect of certain medications. Colour deficiency is the result of an imbalance in the three kinds of cones in the retina that allow us to perceive colour.

What types of colour deficiency exist?

There are three types of colour deficiency: two different kinds of red-green deficiency and one called blue-yellow deficiency. The red-green deficiencies are by far the most common and are usually inherited, resulting in the inability to distinguish between certain shades of reds, browns, pinks and oranges, or greens and blues. Blue-yellow deficiency is very rare and is usually acquired secondary to damage to the optic nerve and results in the inability to distinguish between certain shades of blue, as well as shades of yellow. People with complete colour blindness see objects in shades of black, white and grey.

How is colour deficiency detected?

Children who are colour deficient are generally unaware of their condition. They assume that everyone sees things the way they do. As a result, a complete optometric examination, including a test for colour vision, is recommended for every child. The test for colour deficiency is a relatively simple one, typically involving the viewing of a series of coloured plates with numbers or designs. The plates have been created in such a way that a person with normal colour vision can see certain figures in the designs. A person with a colour deficiency will either see a different number of designs or will be unable to distinguish the figures.

When should a person be tested for colour deficiency?

Every child should be checked for colour deficiency by at least age five. It is important to detect colour deficiency early because colour coded learning materials are used extensively in the primary grades. In addition, colour deficiency may affect the career path of an individual, since the ability to distinguish colours is an important aspect of some jobs, such as pilots, electricians, some military personnel, police officers and others.

Can colour deficiency be cured?

Unfortunately, a cure for colour deficiency has not yet been discovered. A person with a colour deficiency can, however, be taught proper colour naming and to accurately distinguish colours. For example, you can be taught to recognize the brightness and location of a traffic light rather than the colour itself. It is sometimes possible to increase the ability to distinguish colours with the use of special filters. For example, a special red tinted contact lens can be used in one eye, to aid people with certain colour deficiencies.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca


All About Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease in which elevated pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve. This can lead to serious vision loss of not detected and treated early. The optic nerve is the nerve that takes all of the information the eye sees and transmits that information to the brain. The elevated pressure is due to either an increase in the production, or a decrease in the drainage, of fluid normally produced inside your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada.

What causes glaucoma?

The exact cause and mechanism of glaucoma is not known. For some reason, there is an overproduction of fluid and/or a decrease in fluid being drained from the eye. This results in fluid building up within your eye and increasing pressure on the optic nerve. This pressure can easily damage the nerve fibers and blood vessels in the optic nerve. An injury, infection or tumor in or around the eye can also cause the pressure to rise. These situations are referred to as secondary glaucoma because their cause is a result of something else.

Who gets glaucoma?

Glaucoma most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40 and there is a hereditary tendency for the development of the disease in some families. There is also a greater risk of developing glaucoma when you have diabetes, high blood pressure and a history of eye injuries. Regular optometric examinations are important for people of all ages to assess the presence of, or your risk for glaucoma. Glaucoma cannot be detected without an eye exam.

Why is glaucoma harmful to vision?

The optic nerve, at the back of the eye, carries visual information to the brain. As the fibers that make up the optic nerve are damaged due to increased pressure on the nerve, the amount and quality of information sent to the brain decreases and a loss of vision occurs. Usually peripheral vision is affected first, followed by central vision during the later stages of the disease.

Will I go blind from glaucoma?

If diagnosed at an early stage, eye drops and laser treatment can control glaucoma and little or no further vision loss should occur. If left untreated, peripheral vision is affected first, followed by central vision loss during late stages of the disease. Complete blindness may occur.

How can I tell if I have glaucoma?

Primary open-angle glaucoma often develops painlessly and gradually. There are no early warning signs. It can gradually destroy your vision without you knowing it. Regular eye exams are important for people of all ages to assess the presence of, or your risk for, glaucoma. Glaucoma cannot be detected without an eye examination. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a more sudden type of glaucoma and may have warning signs and symptoms such as nausea, eye pain, red eyes, blurred vision and haloes around lights.

How is glaucoma detected?

A comprehensive eye examination is often the only way to detect glaucoma. Our doctors here at Highstreet Eyecare will perform a simple and painless procedure called tonometry during your routine eye exam, which measures the internal pressure of your eye.

Every adult routine eye exam also includes retinal imaging to help assess the health of the optic nerve and a visual field test to help check your peripheral vision.

How is glaucoma treated?

Treatment with daily eye drops and laser surgery is usually effective at maintaining your remaining vision. But once vision is lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be restored. This is why regular preventive eye exams with your Doctor of Optometry are so important.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca


The Truth About Kids and Contact Lenses

When deciding on the best type of vision correction for your child, you have options to consider. In most cases, glasses would be the first choice, and these would be worn according to the recommendation of the eye care professional that prescribed them.

However, does your child find that wearing their glasses during sports or dance is an inconvenience? Are your child’s glasses always, dirty, crooked and broken? Is it a nuisance when their glasses steam up when they come into the house from the cold weather? Does your child want to wear sunglasses in the summer months or perhaps goggles for winter sports? If your child has trouble adapting to their new world with glasses, you may start to consider contact lenses. It has been shown that children younger than 12 years of age report better vision-related quality of life when wearing contact lenses compared to glasses.

Some assume children are too young for contact lenses. Here are some truths about contact lenses for children:

Fiction: The prescription should be stable before a child can be fit with contact lenses.

Fact: The prescription does not need to be stable prior to fitting children with contact lenses. Indeed, in most cases, the prescription continues to change as a child grows. Most children are fit with disposable (or planned replacement) soft lenses, which are replaced every day. When the prescription changes, the next order of contact lenses can be adjusted to reflect the new prescription.


Fiction: Contact lenses are expensive.

Fact: Contact lenses may be no more expensive than glasses in the long term. As previously mentioned, changes in the prescription can be accommodated easily with contact lens wear. Changes in the prescription for glasses require a new set of glasses lenses each time. In the hands of children, glasses may become damaged in a very short period of time and require regular repairs or replacement. Scratched glasses lenses may need to be replaced regularly, incurring significant costs each time.


Fiction: If I have contact lenses, I don’t need glasses.

Fact: Contact lenses do not replace glasses for all activities, such as school science labs. Contacts cannot be worn by teens more than approximately 12 hours per day and should not be worn if you are sick or have an eye infection or eye injury.


Fiction: Children can’t handle contact lenses.

Fact: It has been shown that children as young as eight can successfully handle contact lenses. With appropriate instruction, most children can put contact lenses in their eyes and remove them easily. A recent study indicated that the average time to instruct a child on how to handle contact lenses is about 30 minutes, which is similar to the time it takes to instruct an adult.


Fiction: My child is too young for contact lenses.

Fact: Children of any age can be fit with contact lenses. In fact, babies as young as a few weeks old can be fit with contact lenses to promote better visual development after, for example, cataract surgery. Children as young as eight years old can be very successful contact lens wearers.


Fiction: Children are more prone to complications related to contact lens wear than adults.

Fact: Contact lens complications are no more prevalent in children than in adults. If the parents and children adhere to the instructions they have been given regarding, wearing time, replacing the lenses regularly and using the solution regimens appropriately then the risks of contact lens wear are significantly minimized.


Fiction: Children can’t look after contact lenses.

Fact: Caring for contact lenses is relatively simple and children are just as capable at looking after their contact lenses as an adult. If there is a concern about compliance with contact lens care products you should discuss the option of daily disposable contact lenses for your child with your Doctor of Optometry to eliminate the requirement for using daily contact lens solutions.

It is important to realize that not all children (or adults) are suitable for contact lens wear. Some more complicated prescriptions can pose a challenge when it comes to fitting contact lenses and some people just do not seem to be able to tolerate wearing contact lenses. Your Doctor of Optometry will be able to use a variety of diagnostic lenses to find the right one for your child and if after the trial your child is deemed to not be a suitable candidate at that time, you will be advised accordingly.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca


8 Interesting Facts About Our Eyes

Human are a highly visual species. Most of the information is captured in our brain is though our eyes. It is also a mode of expressing our emotions and feelings. But we bet you didn’t know everything about it.

Fact 1: The eye is the second most complex organ in our body (after the brain)

It is composed of more than 2 million operational parts which can process 36,000 bits of information every hour!
It involves complex pathways and mechanisms and with the help of several structures like retina, pupils, iris, lens, cornea, ciliary muscles and optic nerves. Proper assembly of these parts helps the eye to function properly and makes our vision perfect.

Fact 2: Cornea is the only tissue in the eye that doesn’t need blood

Cornea is essential for vision and the presence of blood vessels would have interfered in this process. So, this is the only living cell in our eye that is not directly connected with blood vessels. It gets oxygen and nutrients from the tear fluid in its outer part and the inside part gets nutrition from aqueous humour (the thick watery substance between the lens and the cornea). Scientists say that the factors which promote the formation of blood vessels are absent in cornea, hence it is devoid of blood vessels.

Fact 3: The eye muscles are the strongest in our body

The external muscles of the eye are noticeably large in relation to the small size and weight of the eyeball and when it comes to strength, they are the strongest muscle for the job they do. This is so because; the muscles of the eye constantly move to readjust the position of the eye even when the head is in motion. Apart from that, they also work during sleep as we constantly move our eyes during rapid eye movement sleep (REM). In this way, the eye muscles work restlessly. However, the muscles of the eye are subjected to fatigue as well. This is the reason why our eye needs rest after working constantly for 1 hour.

Fact 4: All of us have a blind spot in our eyes

Light enters the eye by passing through the pupil and hits the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is covered with light-sensing proteins. They send the information to the optic nerve which carries it back into the brain. The problem is, the optic nerve ends in the field of the retina itself. This creates a blind spot. The blind spots in each eye are aligned symmetrically so that most of the time, one eye’s field of vision will compensate for the loss of vision in the other. 

Fact 5: The eye requires no rest

The eye is the only part of the human body that can function at 100% ability at any moment, day or night, without rest. But you should give rest to the eyelids and the external muscles of your eyes for its better functioning.

Fact 6: We blink 25000 times a day

Large number, isn’t it? Blinking has two purposes – to keep the eyes lubricated and to protect the eye from foreign particles. Our eyelashes have short, curved, hair which serve as dust-catchers. The blinking reflex causes them automatically to lower, when exposed to harsh elements.

Fact 7: The amount of light entering the eye is constantly controlled

The central opening of your eye is known as the pupil. It changes size depending on the amount of light entering in the eye. The colored area around the pupil is called the iris which controls the size of the pupil. The colour of the iris, whether black, brown, blue or green is actually responsible for imparting the eye colour.

Fact 8: The eye heals quickly

When the outer layer of cells on an eyeball are injured, cellular replacement takes place rapidly because the surface of an eyeball contains living cells. These living cells have the ability to reorganize and migrate to the place where the cells are lost.

For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca


Myopia (Nearsightedness)

What is myopia?

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a visual condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus.

Why does myopia occur?

When your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, light entering the eye is not focused properly on the retina – the sensory layer – inside the eye. Myopia may be hereditary or it may occur spontaneously.

How common is myopia?

Myopia is a very common visual condition that affects nearly thirty per cent of the Canadian population. It normally starts during childhood and continues to increase until the individual reaches the age of 20.

Will I have to wear glasses?

You may need glasses for distance only or full time as the prescription increases to enable you to see more clearly. If your condition warrants, your Doctor of Optometry will prescribe corrective lenses for you. You may only need them for certain activities, like watching television, going to a movie or driving a car.

Will glasses or contact lenses cure myopia?

Eyeglasses or contact lenses optically correct the problem by altering the way the image enters your eyes, but they do not cure myopia. At present there are no proven cures for nearsightedness. Surgical procedures such as LASIK, PRK or SBK, and/or lens implants may eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses.

How is myopia diagnosed?

People with myopia will often have trouble seeing the whiteboard, the movie screen, the television set or other distant objects. When your Doctor of Optometry gives you a comprehensive eye examination, he or she will include tests to determine if there is a prescription for myopia.

How will myopia affect my lifestyle?

If glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, it may take up to two weeks to adjust to seeing clearly with them. Some people with myopia may find that they are restricted from some occupations (for example, police officers or fire fighters), due to their inability to see properly if their glasses fall off. In these cases, laser surgery may be useful. Contact lenses are very helpful for correcting nearsightedness and are ideal for people with more active lifestyles


For more information please call us at 604.852.0164 or visit us online at www.highstreeteyecare.ca