Proactive Eye Health and COVID-19

Questions answered by Dr. Carolyn MacNeil and Dr. Tiffany Sieunarine

Although we are unable to open our doors to routine care, our team at Insight Eye Care is still available to answer your questions and provide resources regarding your ocular health.

Top Questions:

Is it safe to wear contact lenses?

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Yes, it is safe to wear your contact lenses as long as you practice proper hand hygiene and disinfection of your lenses. The Center for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) has released the following recommendations:
  • Thorough hand washing and drying, proper contact lens case hygiene
  • Keep unwashed hands away from your face
  • Stop wearing your contact lenses temporarily if you are sick
  • Regularly clean spectacles with soap and water
To read more about these recommendations, please visit the CORE website To purchase your next supply of contacts, please call our office or visit shopinsight.ca

I’m spending more time on digital devices. What tips can you give to help reduce eye strain and fatigue while I am self-isolating at home?

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  • 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from your screen and look at something 20 feet away
  • Blinking: without adequate blinking, dry eye symptoms can develop. Consider setting an alarm on your device to remind yourself to blink. Artificial tears can also be inserted in the eyes throughout the day to replenish the tears. To purchase artificial tears, please call our office or visit shopinsight.ca
  • Reduce glare: be aware of surrounding outdoor and indoor light that can reflect off of your screen. Adjust the light setting or your screen position to improve comfortable viewing
  • Clean screen: to maximize clarity, wipe your screen often to remove dust and fingerprints
  • Screen distance: keep your computer screen at arm’s length away and slightly below eye level for optimal viewing

To read more on this topic, visit the Canadian Association of Optometrists website

My kids are also using their digital devices more now than before. Is there a recommendation for the amount of time they should be on them?

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The Canadian Pediatric Society and Public Health of Ontario recommend:

  • under 2 years of age: screen time should be avoided
  • 2-4 years of age: under 1 hour of screen time per day
  • 5-17 years of age: 2 hours of screen time per day

It may be difficult to stick within these parameters during self-isolation and especially now, since classrooms have gone virtual. Consider these additional tips to set an example for your kids:

  • Take a break from your screen and consider an activity to get moving
  • Be intentional about not using devices during specific times of the day (ie. at meal-times)
  • Avoid screen time at least 1 hour before bed to minimize sleep related problems

Sources:
Public Health of Ontario: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/parental-support-screen-time.pdf?la=en
Canadian Pediatric Society: https://www.cps.ca/documents/position/screen-time-and-young-children

What type of warm compress would you recommend to help manage my dry eyes?

We typically recommend the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress. Its non-allergenic and anti-bacterial properties make it a safe option that efficiently holds the heat. It can be placed in a microwave for approximately 20 seconds (individual settings may vary), and then placed on the eyes for 10 minutes. The compress can also be hand washed and reused as needed.

To purchase the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress, please call our office or visit shopinsight.ca

An alternate option if you don’t have a microwave at home is the EyeGiene. It is a self-heating option through Warming Wafers that are placed in an accompanying mask and applied to the eyes for 10 minutes.  

For more details visit the Eyegiene website.

Allergy season is approaching - do you have any tips to avoid itchy eyes?

Anyone with seasonal allergies can attest to the difficulty in avoiding rubbing those itchy, watery eyes during the spring months. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become critical to avoid touching your face and rubbing your eyes. Here are some different options for managing allergy symptoms during the spring:

  • Artificial tear eye drops: Artificial tears can be used throughout the day (especially after being outdoors) to help flush allergens out of your tear film. You can store them in your refrigerator and then enjoy the cool sensation when they are instilled. Systane Ultra or Hylo Dual are great options that can be used both for dry eye symptoms and during allergy season.
  • Cool compresses: Use a clean face cloth that has been soaked in cold water and hold over your closed eyes for five to ten minutes.
  • Prescription Allergy Drops: There are prescription allergy eye drops that your optometrist may have prescribed in the past. Phone or email our office to inquire about prescription refills during this time. We are happy to fax them directly to your pharmacy.
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat while outdoors to protect the eyes from allergens.
  • Keep windows closed during high pollen periods. Alternatively, you can put a flat sheet over your bed to avoid pollen settling on your linen during the day. Remove the sheet at night before getting into bed!

Sources:
Canadian Association of Optometrists: https://opto.ca/health-library/allergies-eye
Eye Allergy Treatment and Management: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/eye-allergy

Do you have more questions?

Let us know! We we love to help.

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