Optical Articles

October 29, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Dry Eyes

Dry Eyes Cure The Spectacle Shoppe

Having dry eyes is uncomfortable. Your eyes might feel irritated and scratchy or you could even experience blurred vision. Sometimes, people just live with the symptoms thinking they’ll go away on their own or that it’s not that big of a deal. However, if you’re suffering from dry eye syndrome, it is a chronic condition that can be progressive, depending on the cause and how severe it is. Thankfully, there are treatments and home remedies for dry eyes that can help. The team here at the Spectacle Shoppe is sharing how to get relief in our guide to dry eyes.


What is Dry Eye?

Tears are needed to moisturize and nourish the front surface of the eyeballs in order to help you see clearly. When you blink, tears are distributed across the cornea, or surface of the eye. When this happens, debris is washed away, you get the necessary moisture, your risk of eye infection is reduced, and your eyes remain clear. Any extra tears leave the eye from the drainage ducts in the inner corners of your eye. Dry eye is a condition where you either don’t make enough tears or the quality of your tears isn’t adequate to keep your eyes lubricated and healthy.


Tears have an oil, water and mucus layer. The oil layer, or lipid component, enhances lubrication and stops the tears from evaporating too quickly. The water layer, or aqueous component, provides the actual moisture. The mucous layer, or mucin component, spreads the tears evenly across the cornea. If one of the layers is deficient, tears might not spread correctly or may evaporate too soon.. The most common type of dry eye is the result of a deficient water layer. It’s called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye syndrome.


What are the Dry Eye Symptoms?

Dry eye symptoms can include:

  •     A sensation of dryness
  •     Burning
  •     Feeling like something is in your eyes
  •     Itchy eyes
  •     An aching sensation
  •     Fatigued eyes
  •     Heavy eyes
  •     Sore eyes
  •     Red eyes
  •     A scratchy or gritty feeling
  •     Watery eyes
  •     Blurred vision
  •     Light sensitivity


Beyond these dry eye symptoms, in severe cases, the condition can result in damage and inflammation of the eye’s surface, which could be permanent.


What Causes Dry Eyes?

Some of the dry eye causes and risk factors, include:


  • Gland Dysfunction – There are a number of glands in and around the eye that produce the components of tears. Meibomian gland dysfunction is when the meibomian glands don’t produce enough oil and tears evaporate too quickly, leading to evaporative dry eye. Another cause of dry eye is the lacrimal gland not producing enough of the watery fluid to keep the eye moist.


  • Medications – Some medications, including those used to treat allergies, colds, depression and high blood pressure can result in dry eye because they hamper tear production.

  • Age – The eyes get dry as part of the aging process. You’re more likely to get dry eye if you’re over the age of 50.

  • Hormonal Changes – Women are more likely to develop dry eye because of fluctuations in hormones, which is why it often strikes during pregnancy and menopause or while taking oral contraceptives. 

  • Medical Conditions – People with thyroid issues, diabetes and autoimmune disorders like Sjögren syndrome, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis often experience dry eyes. Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids, inflammation of the cornea, and eyelid problems, such as incomplete closing of the eyelid when blinking and sleeping, known as lagophthalmos, also contribute to dry eye.

  • Environment – Spending a lot of time indoors exposed to air conditioning and forced air heating or being in windy, smoky or dry climates can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

  • Computer Use – If you spend long hours staring at a screen, you’re less likely to blink, or at least blink fully, which leads to dry eyes because the tears evaporate.

  •  Contact Lenses – Long-term use of contact lenses can cause dry eye symptoms or make existing dry eye worse. This is particularly true for people who tend to wear their contact lenses for longer than recommended. 

  • Additional Factors – Laser surgery, like LASIK, can lessen tear production and cause dry eye. Smoking is also tied to dry eyes.


How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?

The only way to diagnose dry eye is to visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. They’ll ask you about your symptoms and your medical history. They’ll also perform dry eye tests, which may include assessing the structure of your eyelids and determining the amount of tears you’re producing, as well as seeing how long it takes for your tears to evaporate. If they diagnose you with chronic dry eye, they can then determine its underlying cause and work with you to find the right dry eye treatment.


How is Dry Eye Treated?

Dry eye treatment will depend on the cause and type of dry eye, as well as the severity. Some common dry eye treatments, include:


  • Artificial Tears – For mild cases that are caused by things like computer use.  your doctor may recommend over-the-counter eye drops for dry eyes. Using artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, throughout the day can be a great dry eye remedy. The issue is, there are a dizzying array of eye drops for dry eyes and the viscosity and ingredients you need will vary by situation. That’s why it is best to use the ones recommended by your eye doctor. Thin eye drops are good for using while at school or at work because you’ll get immediate relief and they won’t blur your vision. However, you’ll need to use them frequently. Higher viscosity artificial tears will give you longer-lasting benefits but they can blur your vision for a few minutes and might not be ideal for all situations. They’re usually better for when you’re at home. Some of the gel-like ones are indicated only for bedtime use.


  • Prescription Dry Eye Drops – Prescription eye drops for dry eyes, such as Restasis and Xiidra, lubricate the eyes and also reduce the inflammation that’s associated with dry eye syndrome. Unlike artificial tears, these dry eye drops encourage your body to make its own natural tears as well. It’s important to note that many prescription varieties don’t offer immediate relief and can take a few months to work. This is why these types of prescription dry eye drops are usually recommended in combination with both artificial tears and prescription steroid eye drops. The steroid eye drops reduce inflammation and are typically prescribed for short-term use to quickly get symptoms under control. Your eye doctor will go over the possible side effects and weigh the risks versus the benefits with you for prescription options.


  •  Ophthalmic Inserts – Another dry eye remedy that’s been gaining in popularity are inserts, such as the brand name Lacrisert. It’s a small, solid lubricant that’s placed under the eyelid that slowly turns to liquid and keeps the eye moisturized all day long. Usually one insert per day does the trick and patients have less redness, irritation, burning and dryness. Most practitioners reserve inserts for patients with moderate to severe dry eye who haven’t gotten relief with artificial tears.


  • Punctal Plugs – Another dry eye treatment for moderate to severe cases is a punctal plug. The plugs are tiny, sterile devices that your doctor inserts into the openings of your tear ducts (puncta) in the inner corners of your eyes. The tears stop draining through the ducts and stay on your eye longer, which helps alleviate dry eye symptoms. Don’t worry; the tears don’t stay forever. They will evaporate eventually. If your eyes get too watery, the doctor can take out a plug or two. The tear ducts can also be surgically closed but the procedure is permanent so it’s best to try less invasive options first.


  • Unclogging the Meibomian Glands – As we mentioned before, dry eye can be due to meibomian gland dysfunction. If your meibomian glands are clogged and you’re not secreting enough of the tear’s oil layer, your tears will evaporate too quickly. Your doctor may recommend using warm compresses to help unclog the glands or they can perform an in-office procedure to express the glands.


  • Other Treatments – There are other dry eye treatments that your doctor may recommend, including laser treatment with intense pulsed light (IPL), eyelid cleaners, lid massage and more. Every patient is unique and sometimes a combination of treatments is necessary to get dry eye relief.


What are Some Home Remedies for Dry Eyes?

In addition to treatments prescribed by your eye doctor, there are home remedies for dry eyes that can help alleviate your discomfort. Try these self-care tips to reduce your symptoms:


  • Wear your contact lenses less frequently and when possible, sport your eyeglasses instead. When you do wear contact lenses, go for ones with a shorter wear schedule. A lot of our Vancouver contact lenses customers have found switching to dailies helped. 


  •  Invest in a humidifier to amp up the humidity in your home and office. Heating and cooling can make for a dry environment, which worsens dry eyes.


  • Stay hydrated by drinking about eight glasses of water per day and eating food with a high water content like fruits and vegetables.


  • Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside and while driving. Wraparound frames are especially good for blocking out the wind, sun and debris.


  • When working at a computer, take frequent breaks and be sure to blink fully and often. Try using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.


  • Consider nutritional supplements that contain essential fatty acids. Some research suggests omega-3 fatty acids can reduce dry eye symptoms. While more studies need to be done, it can’t hurt to ask your eye doctor about adding a supplement to your routine.


If you’re experiencing dry eyes, make an appointment with your eye care professional so they can help you decide on the best treatment for your needs. If you need a pair of glasses or sunglasses to help you find relief, stop by the Spectacle Shoppe and browse our selection of the best Vancouver eyewear.   

September 27, 2019

Our Favorite Fall 2019 Eyewear Trends

Our Favorite Fall 2019 Eyewear Trends

At Spectacle Shoppe, we love summer as much as our Vancouver eyewear customers. But as soon as September hits, we can’t help but get excited about the fall season. That’s because autumn brings a fresh opportunity to change up your glasses and try something new. Think beautiful shades of orange and red to match the falling leaves. Or oversized frames inspired by the upcoming ski season. Whatever your style, this fall is sure to have fun and fashionable frames for everyone. To help you get the most of your autumn look, here’s the ultimate guide to the best Vancouver eyewear trends this year.

  1. Go Bold with Bright Yellow Lenses (or Frames)

After a long, hot summer, September is all about getting back to routine. The new season is also a chance to get a fresh start. Whether you’re heading back to school or back to work, this is the perfect time to give your style an upgrade. Instead of defaulting to your go-to look, go bold this year with yellow lenses. Not only are they one of the hottest sunglass trends for 2019, they’re super practical, too: yellow lenses can improve your depth perception which is perfect for foggy days, and they also help to filter blue light from computer screens. Sunglasses with yellow lenses are available in all shapes and sizes, so try on a few to find a shape that’s right for you.

  1. Be Cool with Snow White Frames

While we won’t be seeing any snow for a few more months (in Vancouver, at least!), eyewear trends for fall and winter 2019 are inspired by a winter white-out. Pale frames — from stark white to steely gray — are all the rage on runways this season. Ideal for both men and women who want to make a subtle statement, cool-coloured frames will give your fall style the edge you’re looking for.

  1. Get Cozy with Fall-Inspired Oranges and Reds

One of our favourite things about fall is the ever-changing colours. As the leaves turn from orange to red, the whole city begins to look like it’s glowing. Naturally, the fall foliage is the perfect inspiration for one of the best 2019 eyewear trends: autumnal frames and lenses is warm, burnt tones. Channel the beauty of the season by pairing neutral tones, like beiges and browns, with a warm pop of fall-coloured glasses. The best part is that these colours work well with all skin tones.

  1. Let Your Wild Side Out with Leopard Print Frames

Tortoiseshell, move over. This fall 2019 eyewear trend is here to stay. And it isn’t just limited to glasses — leopard print (and animal prints of all kinds) have been trending across the entire fashion world this year. This season, bring out your wild side with chunky animal-patterned frames. Not into leopard? No problem! Go for zebra or cow print for a more minimalist look.

  1. Go Winter Chic with Giant Shield Glasses

We mentioned this eyewear trend in our last blog post on summer sunglass styles, but it’s just as popular now as it was earlier this year. Shield frames look like they were taken straight off the ski hill, with oversized, goggle-style frames that offer big protection. They’re a sporty, trendy and ultra-fashionable look for anyone looking to stand out. We’re not sure how long this trend will last so get your hands on a pair now to stay on the cutting edge.

  1. Keep it Simple with Nude Frames

Looking for a more understated look this fall? Vintage-inspired nude and clear frames are the best Vancouver eyewear trend for you. These super-versatile shades are unisex and can be dressed up or down, making them the perfect accessory for everything from days at the office to pumpkin spiced coffee dates to a night on the town. Keep your clear frames simple with matching clear lenses, or combine two of the hottest fall eyewear trends by choosing red lenses. Since clear and nude frames also go with anything, we’re willing to bet you won’t want to go anywhere without them.

Still not sure which fall glasses trend is right for you? Come visit the eyewear experts at Spectacle Shoppe and try on some of this season’s best styles. We have the best selection of eyewear in Vancouver and we’re here to help you discover your next favourite pair.

July 15, 2019

Our Favorite Summer 2019 Sunglasses Trends

summer-sunglassesAs the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, it’s a sure sign that summer is officially here. For the eyewear experts at Spectacle Shoppe, that means it’s sunglass season! Summer is the perfect opportunity to update your sunglasses and buy that trendy pair you’ve been eyeing all year. Are you ready to rock ‘90s-style rectangular frames or maybe you prefer a ‘70s flair? 

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June 24, 2019

What Are Computer Progressive Lenses?

foods-for-eye-healthIn today’s digital world, we’re all constantly bombarded with screens, whether we like it or not. Between work and home, many of us spend the majority of our days staring at devices without even realizing it. From computers and smartphones to tablets and TVs, our eyes can hardly catch a break. The result? Tired, strained eyes, neck and shoulder tension, and persistent headaches.

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April 22, 2019

The Best Foods for Eye Health (With Recipes!)

foods-for-eye-healthWe’re all about helping our customers improve their vision, whether through our Vancouver contact lenses and glasses or by sharing helpful tips for keeping your eyes healthy. One important way you can bolster your vision is through proper nutrition. Of course, there’s no magic nutrient that will have you tossing your glasses and basking in sudden 20/20 vision. However, there are a host of foods that contain...

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March 25, 2019

Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

woman-glasses-makeupThese days, eyeglass frames are so stylish they’ve become a fashion accessory (just check out our newest Vancouver eyewear). That also means less people are automatically turning to contact lenses. Wear your glasses day and night to show off your personality. With a little know-how, you can ensure your makeup looks just as flawless as your frames, allowing you to still highlight your eyes behind your specs and pull your whole look together.

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January 18, 2019

A Parent’s Guide to Kids and Digital Eye Strain

holiday-ideas-glassesKids today grow up around technology and since it’s a big part of adults’ lives, it, in turn, becomes a big part of theirs. A study found that in Canada, children between the ages of three and five spend an average of two hours per day in front of a screen (a television, tablet, cell phone, e-reader, laptop or computer). With the increase in device usage among children comes an increase in the frequency of digital eye strain, sometimes also called computer vision syndrome.

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