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Blinking is an involuntary reflex which does not require much thought throughout our day. Even though blinking seems simple, it is very important. And believe it or not, there is a correct way to blink.

Why is blinking so important?

  • Protects our eyes from debris and foreign objects
  • Creates a smooth surface for light to enter our eye and land on our retina for clear vision
  • Keeps our eyes moist and spreads tear film evenly

The 20/20/20 Rule

Our blinking pattern can be disrupted throughout the day when we are staring at a screen for too long and doing continuous near work. Optometrists recommend the 20/20/20 rule for everyone, especially those with too much screen time. The 20/20/20 rule means taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

There is a right way to blink

We want to ensure that when we blink, it is a complete blink. This means that our top eyelid should touch our bottom eyelid. It is very common for people to blink only halfway or not close their eyes completely while asleep. This can be a problem since it exposes the bottom half of our eye and does not allow our tears to be expressed as efficiently. As you may guess, this leads to dry eye symptoms.

Incorporating the 20/20/20 rule and being more conscious about the way we blink can go a long way in helping our eyes feel less dry throughout the day.

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Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the “Silent Thief of Vision”, and if left untreated, is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Glaucoma is associated with elevated intraocular pressure, which consequently puts strain and pressure on the optic nerve. This excessive pressure will lead to optic nerve tissue damage, which could cause gradual vision loss. The peripheral vision is typically affected first, however could eventually lead to central vision loss if no treatment is initiated.

The increase in intraocular pressure could be the result of two main problems:

  1. There is too much intraocular fluid being produced within the eye, called the aqueous humor
  2. The fluid being produced is not being effectively drained from the eye through the trabecular meshwork

Therefore, initial treatment of glaucoma involves topical medications which work on these two anatomical structures. Surgical intervention could also be warranted to control high pressure within the eye.

The best way to detect and diagnose glaucoma is through annual eye exams with your optometrist. This will allow them to monitor optic nerve health, as well as measure intraocular pressure to ensure stability. It is especially important to be screened for glaucoma if there is a family history of the disease.

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Many patients are concerned about a constant “black dot” floating in their line of sight. Most tend to notice that it worsens when looking at a blank wall, bright lights, or the sky. Although quite bothersome, it is a very common complaint.

The eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous, which allows the eye to keep its shape. Over time, the proteins within this gel begin to clump up and solidify, leading to formation of “floaters”.

Floaters can occur in one eye or both eyes. Typically, floaters are a benign finding. However, it becomes worrisome when the vitreous is strongly adhered to and pulls on the retinal layers. It could potentially lead to retinal holes, tears, or potentially a retinal detachment. These occurrences could be detrimental to vision, so it is important to see your optometrist immediately if these symptoms arise.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • Curtain over vision

How are floaters treated?

Unfortunately, there is no way to remove floaters unless you surgically remove the entire vitreous. This procedure has more risks than benefits and it typically not done to treat this condition. The good news is that, with time, the brain gets accustomed to the floaters and is able to ignore them, allowing them to become less bothersome and noticeable.

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Did you know that diabetes is one of the most common causes of blindness?

You may be surprised to learn that optometrists can detect diabetes before primary care doctors and before the patient even knows they have it. This is because the eye is the only organ in our body where we can directly see blood vessels without invasive techniques. Since many systemic diseases affect our arteries and veins, the eye is a great way to look into what is happening inside our body.

Photo source: Cleveland Clinic

Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in North America, and it is important to be aware of its effect on ocular health. Once diagnosed with diabetes, it becomes much more important to receive yearly eye exams, to monitor for diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition in which buildup of sugar in the blood causes blockages or damage to blood vessels, resulting in decreased oxygen supply to the eye. To compensate, new blood vessels develop. However, instead of helping, these new blood vessels are weak and leaky, leading to retinal bleeding. Although a diabetic eye exam is very similar to a regular comprehensive exam, there is more emphasis on inspecting the health of the retina and blood vessels.

How will I know if I have diabetic retinopathy?

Symptoms like floaters, blurred or fluctuating vision, dark spots in your vision, and vision loss could be signs of diabetic retinopathy.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Some of these preventions include:

  • Yearly eye exams with your optometrist (even if you think your vision is fine!)
  • Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
  • Proper dosage and compliance of medication provided by your Family Physician
  • Engaging in regular daily activity and exercise
  • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain healthy body weight

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Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited eye disorder that affects the retina – the back of our eyes responsible for capturing light and sending visual signals to the brain. The condition, which is inherited through genetic mutations, can lead to gradual loss of vision as the photoreceptor cells within the retina deteriorate over time. While some individuals may experience slow vision loss over decades, others might face more rapid deterioration.  


One of the most distinctive symptoms of RP is night blindness, where individuals struggle to see in low-light conditions or darkness. As RP progresses, it often causes tunnel vision, a narrowing of the visual field, and can even impact color perception.  


No cure currently exists for RP, but researchers are actively exploring possibilities. Gene therapy aims to introduce normal genes into the retina to replace the mutated ones. Another avenue of research is retinal implants, which seeks to restore vision by using electronic devices to stimulate the remaining normal cells.  

Individuals with RP should work closely with eye care professionals to manage their condition. Regular eye exams help track disease progression and determine the best strategies for preserving vision. Additionally, patients can explore low-vision aids and technologies that improve daily life.

Dry eye is a disease pertaining to the ocular surface and instability of the tear film, potentially resulting in inflammation, dryness, or damage. Symptoms of this include burning, itching, dryness, photophobia, tiredness, and blurry vision.

Diagram of Conjunctiva, Lacrimal Gland, and mucus, water and oil layers of Tear Film in the eye
Source: American Academy of Optometry

Dry eye disease (DED) include two distinct types: aqueous deficient dry eye (ADDE) and evaporative dry eye (EDE). In ADDE, high levels of tear evaporation results when lacrimal secretion is reduced although there is normal evaporative conditions from the eye. Comparatively, in EDE, the lacrimal glands function normally, and the increased evaporation of tears is caused by the exposed tear film. Some patients might even have a mixed form of DED as well.

Risk factors for DED include connective tissue disease, Sjögren syndrome, androgen deficiency, Lasik eye surgery, certain environmental conditions (ie. pollution and low humidity), medication use (ie. antihistamines and antidepressants), computer use, and contact lens wear (which has an affect on tear film hemostasis and reduces its thickness). Research has shown that the outbreak of Covid-19 has also contributed to an increase in the likelihood of DED. Covid-19 has resulted in prolonged electronic usage and less outdoor activities, with a reported 44% increase in smartphone usage. Excessive focus on a screen decreases blink rate, decreasing the moisture production in the eye. This causes strain on the ocular surface, and this stress is greater in contact lens users.

Some recommendations for management and treatment of dry eye disease include ocular lubricants (eye drops of various types), warm compresses, expression of the meibomian glands (a process which we offer at Eyelab), lid hygiene, and prescribed drugs.

Source: Towfiqu Barbhuiy on Unsplash

At Eyelab, we have the skill and the technology to accurately provide you a solution corresponding to your unique situation. Book an appointment today to learn more about how we can help!

What is Myokymia?

Have you ever been going about your daily life when your eyes decide to give you a bad day? Have you ever experienced that annoying twitch in your eye that just won’t go away?

Eye twitching, or myokymia, is a relatively common condition. They are involuntary twitches and spasms in either your upper or lower lid, usually affecting only one at a time. Sometimes, they might not even be noticeable! Myokymia will usually go away on their own in a short amount of time.

right human eye
Source: Liam Welch via Unsplash

What would usually cause myokymia? Like you may expect, many lifestyle choices impact your risk. Eyelid twitching can be caused by:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation of the eye
  • Allergies
  • Alcohol
  • Bright lights
  • Excess caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Change of diet
  • New medication

To lessen your chances of having this annoyance in your life, be sure to take care of yourself and rest your eyes regularly. If you are going to be looking at a bright screen for an extended period, make sure to look away every once in a while. You can also apply hydration eyedrops before doing so.

What can I do to relieve my symptoms?

If you are experiencing myokymia already, you can ease the discomfort by gently massaging the area. Cold compresses with a towel would also help relieve the symptoms, and we would also advise the following:

  • Tonic water with quinine (a muscle relaxant)
  • Magnesium-rich foods such as avocados, nuts & seeds, and various whole grain foods

If your myokymia becomes more serious, you can also Botox treatment. If the condition doesn’t go away within a few days and occurs more frequently, it would be best to seek advice from your medical doctor or optometrist. It’s never a bad idea to double-check and make sure it isn’t part of anything serious!

Should you have any concerns regarding your eye health, you can book an appointment with Eyelab. You can also get in touch by calling us at +1 (604) 260-1166 or via email at

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The cornea plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina. In individuals with keratoconus, the cornea progressively thins and bulges, taking on a cone-like shape. As a result, vision becomes distorted and blurry, often accompanied by nearsightedness and astigmatism.  


Keratoconus doesn’t appear overnight; rather, it develops gradually, usually during adolescence or early adulthood. As the condition progresses, several symptoms become noticeable:

  1. Blurry and Distorted Vision
  2. Light Sensitivity
  3. Prescription Changes
  4. Halos and Glare
  5. Eye Strain and Headaches


Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition, but may include

  • Eye glasses
  • Soft contact lenses
  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses
  • Surgical interventions like collagen cross-linking or corneal transplant

If you suspect you have keratoconus or experience any unusual changes in your vision, it’s crucial to consult an eye doctor. Early diagnosis and appropriate management can make a significant difference in preserving your vision and overall well-being.

Photo by New Africa/ Shutterstock

Migraines are often associated with pounding headaches, but they can also affect your vision. Ocular migraines, also known as retinal migraines or visual migraines, are a unique type of migraine that primarily manifests as visual disturbances. This means that the symptoms revolve around your eyes and the way you perceive the world around you. The visual disturbances associated with ocular migraines are short-lived, lasting less than an hour.  

Visual disturbances can include:

  • Flickering lights
  • Shimmering or zigzag lines
  • Temporary blind spots
  • Momentary loss of vision in one eye

Triggers can include:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Specific foods
  • Exposure to bright lights, or even distinct patterns

Although ocular migraines are relatively benign, it’s essential to distinguish them from more serious conditions that can cause similar visual disruptions, such as retinal detachment.

Always seek prompt medical attention if you experience sudden visual changes.

Photo credit: Luis Galves @louiscesar

Allergic conjunctivitis, or eye allergies, happen when the eyes react to something that irritates them. When the eyes try to defend your body from an allergen it triggers the release of histamine from mast cells. As a result, your eyes (usually the eyelids and conjunctiva) become red, swollen, watery, and itchy. You may also wake up in the morning with puffy eyes. People who have eye allergies commonly have nasal allergies as well which causes stuffy nose and sneezing. Both conditions are closely related to seasonal allergies.

What are symptoms of eye allergies?

The most common eye allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching and watery discharge (teary eyes)
  • Redness and puffy eyelids
  • Sensitivity to light

If it’s related to seasonal allergies then both eyes are usually involved. Unlike pink eyes, eye allergies do not spread from person to person.

What causes eye allergies?

Some of the common allergens include:

  • Household dust
  • pollen from trees and grass
  • pet dander
  • mold
  • Smoke
  • Chemical scents such as detergents or perfume

Allergic reactions to perfume, cosmetics or drugs can also cause the eyes to have an allergic response. Some people may have an acute allergic reaction to a new facial product or an eye drop.

Sometimes, the eyes can react to other allergens that don’t necessarily come in direct contact with the eye. These can include specific foods or insect bites or stings.

Most allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with oral or over the counter antihistamine medication, anti-allergy eye drops, or steroid eye drops.

However, not all red and itchy eyes are caused by allergic conjunctivitis. Some people may think they have an eye allergy but in fact they have dry eyes or other types of inflammations. It is important for you to visit your eye care provider to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for your problem.