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FAQS

Following is a list of questions we frequently receive from our patients. Please look through this list to see if your question has been answered. 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY EYES EXAMINED?

If detected early many eye diseases can be cured or treated, to prevent or slow down the rate of vision loss. The most important preventive step is to receive a routine examination by a qualified eye care professional.

The Doctors of Optometry Canada recommend that healthy people should have routine eye exams according to the following schedule:

  • Infants should have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age;
  • Children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of two and five, and then yearly once they enter school;
  • Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should have an eye exam every two years; and seniors should have an eye exam annually.

If you have any symptoms of visual problems, wear contact lenses, have a family history of eye diseases or have a medical condition such as diabetes you may require more frequent examinations. If you have any doubt how often you (or your children or parents) should have your eyes examined, ask your eye care professional for guidance.

DOES OHIP COVER ROUTINE EYE EXAMINATIONS?

Effective November 1, 2004 the Ontario Ministry of Health changed the coverage for eye care services in Ontario. Currently, OHIP provides coverage for: Currently, OHIP will provide coverage for the following groups:

  • Children aged 0 to 19 years one full routine eye examination annually.
  • Adults aged 20 to 64 years one full routine eye examination annually ONLY for people with certain medical conditions.
  • Seniors aged 65 and above one full routine eye examination annually.

Ask our staff if you are wondering if your examination is covered by OHIP.

DOES OHIP COVER ALL OTHER TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS?

Most but not all medical services are covered under OHIP. Many advances have been made in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases that allows your doctor to preserve and restore vision.  Although these tests are beneficial to patients they are deemed by OHIP not to be medically necessary. Therefore, they are not covered under OHIP.

In order to maintain the highest possible standard of care, it is our office policy to offer services we believe are in the best interests of our patients and charge for uninsured services in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Association of Optometry. Many of these uninsured tests/exams will be reimbursed by private insurance. You can also claim any expenses on your income tax as a health expense.

We accept payment for any uninsured option with cash, cheque, debit, Mastercard and Visa.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR CATARACT SURGERY AT ST JOSEPH'S?

In order to best prepare for your cataract surgery at  St. Joseph's Health Centre, please download the Cataract Surgery Guide here.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER CATARACT SURGERY?

You will be at the St Joseph’s hospital for approximately 5-6 hours from the time of your scheduled arrival. After 15-30 minutes in the recovery area you can leave with the assistance of a friend or family member. Dr Brazel will check your eye several hours after your surgery. You will be given an appointment for follow up at the office 1 week after surgery.

Most patients experience some eye irritation or discomfort for the first one to two days following surgery. Regular or extra-strength Tylenol or Advil may be taken. You may notice the vision is slightly blurry when you wake up on the day after surgery. This will clear in 1-2 days.

Call the doctor immediately if you have: a sudden loss of vision, the eye becomes red and painful or there is a lot of discharge from your eye. You should go to our emergency department if it is outside of regular business hours. If you have any other questions call our office.

HOW DO I PUT IN EYE DROPS?
  1. Wash your hands. Tilt your head back and look at the ceiling.
  2. Using your index finger, gently pull down your lower eyelid to form a pocket.
  3. Gently squeeze 1 drop into the pocket. Do not let the bottle tip touch your eye or any other surface. Apply pressure with your index    finger to the inner corner of your eye for a few seconds after you have used the eye drops. If the drop misses your eye, repeat the steps. Wash off and pat dry any excess drops from your face.
  4. If you are using more than one type of drop at a time, wait at least five minutes between different drops into the same eye.

If you are still having problems getting the drops into your eye, ask a family member to observe your technique or ask your pharmacist, doctor’s technician or your doctor for help.

HOW DO I WEAR AND CARE FOR MY SOFT CONTACT LENSES?

Abbreviated Instructions for Handling Contact Lenses

Insert

  1. Wash hands
  2. Inspect lens for any damage
  3. Insert lens

Remove

  1. Wash hands
  2. Remove lens
  3. Clean lens
  4. Rinse with solution
  5. Store and disinfect lens

Detailed Instructions for Handling Contact Lenses

Always wash hands before handling the contact lenses. Do not use soaps with oils or fragrances.

Inserting your contact lenses:

  1. Hold the upper eyelashes and eyelid up below your eyebrow with your left (or non dominant hand) forefinger, and at the same time, pull your lower eyelid down using your right middle finger (or dominant hand). Then, while looking up, place the lens onto the white area of your eye and move the lens onto the center of your eye with the lower lid edge. Remove your finger and release your lower lid first, then release your upper lid. Repeat the above steps with your other eye.
  2. If your vision is blurred after inserting your contact lens, the lens may be off-center and you may return it to the correct central position via closing your eye and gently massaging your eyelid. If this problem persists, remove the lens and consult your eye practitioner.
  3. When wearing your contact lenses, we suggest that you always carry your lens container filled with fresh contact lens solution with you, in case you have to remove your contact lenses during the day.

Removing your contact lenses:

  1. Wash your hands and dry them well before removing your contact lenses.
  2. Blink fully several times, then while your face is fixed straight ahead, look upward as much as possible. Pull your lower eyelid down gently with your right middle finger (or dominant hand) then touch the lens and slide it down to the white area of your eye with the tip of the same hand’s forefinger. While still looking up, gently pinch the lens between your thumb and forefinger and peel it off your eye.
  3. If difficulties with removal arise, insert a few eye drops in your eye and wait a few minutes before trying again. Then blink a few times and when you feel the lens is moving freely on the eye, follow the above steps to remove the lens. If you fail to remove the lens easily, contact your eye-practitioner for further instructions.

For maintaining eye health and continued contact lens comfort, please clean and store the contact lenses as described each time you remove your contact lenses.

Cleaning your lenses:

  1. Remove the RIGHT lens & place it in your palm, then apply several drops of multi-purpose solution to soak the lens.
  2. Gently rub the lens with your finger in a back and forth motion on both sides of the lens for 10 to 15 seconds.

Rinsing Your Contact Lens:

Rinse the lens thoroughly with more drops of multipurpose solution. Rinse the contact lens container with multi-purpose solution before storing the lenses.

Storing & Disinfecting Your Contact Lens:

Put the clean RIGHT contact lens in the RIGHT compartment of the contact lens container and fill the compartment with fresh solution & close it tightly with the RIGHT lid. Repeat the above steps with your left contact lens.

  • NEVER use your saliva, saline solution or trap water to disinfect your soft contact lenses.
  • NEVER use the solution you previously stored your lenses in again. Always replace the solution after each use.
  • Replace your contact lens container frequently (recommended every 3 months).

Instructions for  handling your contact lenses:

  • Do not let contact lenses become dry
  • Do not soak contact lenses in tap or distilled water
  • Remember to clean and disinfect your lenses if they are stored more than 48 hours
  • Please keep your glasses prescription up-to-date in case you are unable to wear your lenses
  • Adhering to the lens care system recommended is important. The risk of complications increases when you do not adhere to the lens care system prescribed for you.
  • pply eye makeup after inserting your lenses. Remove makeup after removing your lenses.
  • Cream lotions, hair spray, hair dryers, or deodorants will damage your contact lenses and may cause problems for your eyes.
  • Avoid wearing your contact lenses in the presence of environmental fumes (chemicals, paint thinners, household cleaning substances, etc) and excessive smoke, dust or vapors.
  • Avoid wearing your contact lenses in severe windy conditions, in intense heat or any other abnormal atmospheric conditions.

If you experience any of the following:

  • Red eyes while wearing your contact lenses
  • Any discomfort wearing contact lenses
  • Any sort of stinging or burning sensation
  • Itching and irritation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Poor or blurred vision
  • Rainbows or halos surrounding objects
  • Sensitivity to light (unusual for you)
  • Unusual eye secretions

Remove your contact lenses immediately. If symptoms subside, then inspect the contact lenses carefully, rinse and disinfect them thoroughly and reinsert.  If the lenses are removed and the symptom does not subside or reappears upon reinsertion, remove contact lenses and contact eye practitioner immediately.

HOW DO I WEAR AND CARE FOR MY RIGID GAS PERMEABLE CONTACT LENSES?

Contact lens wear can greatly improve the quality of vision but successful wear is dependent on several factors. The health of the eye needs to be good, the lens should be comfortable and fit well, and the regimen of lens care should be strictly followed.

Rigid lenses require a period of adaptation while the eye and the lens develop the final fitting relationship. Rigid lenses should be worn for 3-4 hours on the first day and increasing the wearing time by 1 - 2 hours per day as tolerated. The maximum wearing time will vary from person to person.

Solutions recommended: Boston Advance (cleaner and a conditioning solution separately) or Boston Simplus (cleaning, disinfecting and conditioning solution in one); Boston ONE STEP Liquid enzymatic Cleaner and Boston rewetting drops may also be recommended by your eyecare provider

Before You Handle Your Contact Lenses

Always wash your hands thoroughly with a mild soap, rinse and dry your hand with a lint free towel. Avoid soaps with creams, lotions and oily components.

Inserting the Contact Lenses

Get into the habit of always working with the same lens first to avoid mix-ups (most commonly right eye).

  • Remove the right lens from the storage case and rinse it with conditioning solution.
  • Place the lens on the tip of your index finger and examine it for any debris, nicks or cracks.
  • With the middle finger of the same hand, hold down the lower lid close to the lashes.
  • Use your other hand to hold your upper lashes and lid to prevent the lid from blinking.
  • Focus on a point straight ahead and place the lens on the centre of the eye.
  • Slowly release your eyelids and blink. Do not rub the eye.
  • Check your vision to verify proper position of the lens.
  • Repeat with the left eye.

If the vision is blurry, the lens may have shifted onto the white part of the eye. To centre the lens, close your eyes and gently massage lens into place. Another alternative is to gently push the off- centre lens onto the correct position while the eye is open using finger pressure on the upper or lower lid next to the edge of the lens. If lens is uncomfortable, remove and rinse the lens, inspect it for debris or damage and reinsert. Do not insert a damaged lens.

Removing the Contact Lenses

Before removing, have a lens storage case, solution and a clean towel available.

Always remove the same lens first. If near sink, close sink drain (with a paper towel if not possible otherwise)

  • Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Seat yourself at a table covered with a clean towel and lean over until you are looking down at the surface
  • Open eyes as wide as you can and place your index finger on the outside corner of your eyelids. Look straight ahead and pull the skin of the lid out and up (do not allow lids to cover edge of lens). Blink firmly and the lens will pop onto the towel or you may catch it in the palm of your hand. Repeat with the other eye.
  • Alternative method: Place one index finger on the centre of the upper lid edge and the other index finger on the center of the lower lid edge. Gently pull the lid edges inward and then together. The lens should be wedged out of the eye when the lid edges slide under it. If lens gets de-centred, centre the lens first, then attempt removal again.

Cleaning

All rigid lenses need to be taken out for routine cleaning in order to remove protein and other debris that accumulates during normal lens use.

  • Before cleaning, always wash your hands with soap free of deodorants or lotions, rinse and dry hands.
  • Rinse the lens with saline to remove large particles.
  • Apply a drop of cleaner to each side of the lens.
  • Rub the lens gently for 20 seconds using the thumb and forefinger.
  • The lens may also be placed in the palm of the hand and each side rubbed with a finger.
  • Rinse again with saline to remove the detergent.
  • Place the lens then in its case.

Lenses should be cleaned whenever removed for more than a few hours.

As lens cases are a large source of infection, it is also important to routinely clean the cases and replace at least every 3 months.

  • Rinse the case daily with hot water and let air dry
  • Wash with a mild detergent and hot water or boil, and let air dry weekly.

Disinfection

The most serious risk of contact lens wear is infection caused by contaminated lenses. To avoid this lenses must be disinfected on a regular basis.

  • After the daily cleaning, the lens is rinsed with the solution and stored in clean fresh solution until the next usage.
  • RGP lenses must not dry out, as this damages the surface and leads to decreased comfort and vision.
  • If a lens will not be worn for some time, the solution in the case should be changed weekly. When lenses are reinserted in the eye it is necessary to first wet them with a fresh drop of soaking solution.

Due to risk of infection, never use homemade saline, tap or distilled water. Also never use saliva to moisten lenses and never place a lens in the mouth.

Rewetting drops are similar to artificial tears. They can supply additional moisture to the eye when the eye feels dry or the lenses stick. They are designed to be placed in the eye while the lens is in place. In most cases they can be used on as often as needed.

Long Term Care

RGP lenses may last for several years if cared for properly.

  • In addition to the above steps, lenses should be returned for professional cleaning and polishing every 6 -12 months.
  • Routine eye exams should be performed at least annually.
  • RGP lenses will alter the contour of the eye mildly and over time can change the prescription or lens fit. If a previously well fitting lens becomes uncomfortable or the vision becomes blurry, contact your eye care professional as soon as possible

Do's & Don'ts

  • Do wash your hands before handling lenses or instilling drops
  • Do clean and disinfect your lenses whenever they are removed
  • Do clean your case routinely
  • Do apply makeup after inserting the lenses
  • Do have eye exams at least yearly or as directed while lens use continues
  • Do use only commercially prepared solutions intended for use with contacts
  • Do remove the lens if the eye becomes red or irritated or the vision blurry and if the condition persists seek attention from your eyecare professional immediately
  • Don't use homemade saline, tap water, distilled water or saliva on lenses
  • Don't sleep in RGP lenses
  • Don't substitute one disinfection solution for another without seeking advice from your eyecare professional
  • Don't get cosmetic products such as make-up, creams, or sprays on the lenses
  • Don't leave lenses exposed to high temperatures as this can cause warpage