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To the families, patients, and friends of A-Ha Vision,
Recently the provincial government lifted many of the mask mandates. Until further notice, we are continuing to require everyone entering our clinic to wear a mask at this time.
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The Importance of Contrast Sensitivity In Baseball

Playing Baseball with Contrast SensitivityBaseball players train hard to develop muscular strength and endurance, but did you know that sharp vision and strong visual skills can be just as crucial to your game?

Winning at baseball requires split-second calculations. When a ball spins toward you at lightning speed, figuring out what kind of pitch is approaching can be the difference between a strike and a home run.

The longer it takes you to identify the pitch, the harder it is to hit it, no matter how well-developed your swinging technique is.

To identify the pitch, baseball players need excellent contrast sensitivity. This is the visual skill that enables you to quickly see the ball’s red seams as the white ball approaches — and decide if it’s a knuckleball, fastball or slider.

What Is Contrast Sensitivity and How Can It Make You a Winner?

Contrast sensitivity is the ability to distinguish between an object and its background. It’s a crucial visual skill, because no matter how strong you swing, or how fast you run, your ability to hit that home run is impacted if you can’t distinguish the ball from a cloudy sky, or the red seams from the white part of a moving baseball.

How Baseball Vision Training Can Be a Game Changer

One way you can go from being a good ball player to an outstanding one is to improve your contrast sensitivity. This means adding sports vision training to your regimen.

At A-Ha Vision in Oakville we’ll custom-design a program to develop your contrast sensitivity. We’ll begin with a functional eye exam to assess your contrast sensitivity and the other visual skills needed to successfully play baseball.

Sports vision training involves eye exercises that teach the eyes and brain to work together more quickly and efficiently. You’ll meet with us for in-clinic sessions and continue training exercises at home.

See the ball more accurately and be ready to hit it out of the park! Talk to us at A-Ha Vision and find out how sports vision training can make all the difference in your game.

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: How is contrast sensitivity measured?

A: One way to determine contrast sensitivity is through a Pelli-Robson test, which is like a regular eye chart but one that features rows of dark letters that gradually get lighter. Wave grating is another type of contrast sensitivity test and requires you to identify shapes at different spatial frequencies and levels of contrast.

Q: What other visual skills are important for baseball?

A: In addition to contrast sensitivity, the following visual skills can improve your baseball game:

  • Focusing – keeping your eye on the ball
  • Eye teaming – the eyes’ ability to work together to keep track of movements on the field
  • Peripheral vision –detecting activity, such as a player stealing a base, on the edges of your visual field
  • Visual processing – detecting and interpreting visual information so you can hit or catch the ball

 

Are Children with IEPs More Likely to Have Vision Problems?

Children with IEPs 640×350Children with IEPs — school-based Individualized Educational Programs — are more likely to experience problems with their eyes, especially their visual skills. Visual skills include the eye’s ability to focus and track and work as a team, but these and many other visual difficulties aren’t detected in traditional vision screenings.

Children with IEPs may pass the standard 20/20 sight test administered in schools. However, the results of these basic screenings aren’t a reliable indication of a child’s ability to perform activities involving close vision, such as reading, writing or solving puzzles.

Even a child with 20/20 vision may have visual deficits that need to be treated, such as lazy eyes or difficulties with visual processing.

While basic school vision screenings assess eyesight, only a comprehensive developmental eye exam can assess visual system deficits or dysfunction that can impede performance in school and while playing sports.

Why is a Comprehensive Eye Exam Crucial for Children with IEPs?

Many children diagnosed with a learning disability may actually have an undiagnosed visual deficit that is causing their reading and learning difficulties—or at least contributing to them.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 80% of children with reading difficulties had vision problems, compared to children who read at grade level.

In a 2012 Ohio State study, 69% of children with IEPs passed traditional eyesight tests. The reason: basic eyesight tests evaluate a child’s ability to see distant letters and objects, but don’t assess how well they see near objects or letters at reading distance, such as in a workbook.

The researchers recommended that children with IEPs undergo a comprehensive eye exam, which includes an assessment of their visual skills.

What Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Assess?

A comprehensive eye exam evaluates three main types of visual skills:

  • Binocular vision – the eyes’ ability to work together as a team
  • Oculomotor – the eyes’ ability to track objects and move effectively
  • Accommodation – the eyes’ ability to change focus from near to far

A comprehensive eye exam can detect the following conditions and more:

  • Convergence insufficiency – the eyes’ inability to work together to focus on nearby objects
  • Strabismus/eye turn – each eye points in a different direction due to eye misalignment
  • Amblyopia/lazy eye – one eye is considerably weaker than the other
  • Accommodative dysfunction – an eye-focusing problem

What Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Involve?

A comprehensive eye exam is designed to measure more than visual acuity and can evaluate overall eye health, diagnose eye conditions and test how your eyes work together. It may include the following:

  • Visual acuity – tests the clarity of sight
  • Cover test – evaluates individual eye functioning
  • Slit lamp – examines the front of the eye
  • Pupil dilation – looks at eye health
  • Retinoscopy – measures refractive errors
  • Refraction – assesses for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism
  • Visual skills – tests how well the eyes function together

How Vision Therapy Can Help IEP Children with Vision Problems

Vision therapy is a customized program of eye exercises that improves visual skills, strengthens eye muscles as well as the way the eyes and brain communicate and work together. The activities can be integrated into an IEP program to suit a child’s individualized learning program and visual needs.

Vision therapy helps kids improve their vision because it trains their eyes to:

  • Track – fixate on objects visually
  • Team – ensuring the eyes work together
  • Focus – see objects comfortably and clearly all the time

If your child has an IEP, schedule a comprehensive vision exam by contacting A-Ha Vision in Oakville today.

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: How can vision problems affect a student’s educational performance?

A: If your child struggles to read or keep up with their classmates, they may have an undetected visual problem. Reading fluency and comprehension are dependent on the strength of visual skills— especially focusing, binocular vision, convergence, saccades, and visual fixation. A customized program of vision therapy can help strengthen these lagging skills and improve their academic performance.

Q: How do vision problems affect behavior?

A: Behavioral problems that can arise due to vision problems include hyperactivity, inattentiveness, lack of motivation, refusal or hesitation to do homework, poor reading comprehension, skips lines or words when reading, and frequent eye rubbing and head tilting.

If a child displays any of the above symptoms, call ​​A-Ha Vision in Oakville to schedule a functional visual evaluation.

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-582-4800

Can a Brain Injury Affect Vision?

Woman with Brain Injury on the CouchIf you’ve been experiencing blurry vision, double vision or other visual symptoms following a car accident, serious fall or blow to the head, it’s almost certainly a result of your traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, up to 90% of people with TBIs have disrupted vision that can last days, weeks, months and even years after their accident.

Schedule an appointment with a neuro-optometrist in in Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities. to diagnose and treat the symptoms of post traumatic vision syndrome.

Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Vision Problems?

Concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries affect 10 million people worldwide every year, with falls, car accidents and sports injuries as its leading causes.

Visual problems caused by traumatic brain injury often go undiagnosed in the rush to treat more urgent injuries, such as a brain bleed or facial lacerations. And in some cases, visual problems may even begin later.

Here’s what we mean by vision problems:

Vision isn’t just about eyesight. For the visual system to work properly, there must be accurate communication between the eyes and the brain. A TBI can damage the neural connections between the eyes and the brain, causing significant visual deficits.

When a fall or other blow to the head causes the soft brain to suddenly impact the hard skull cavity, this violent movement can damage fragile cranial nerves and brain cells, resulting in severe damage. This damage makes it more difficult for neural pathways to transmit clear and accurate messages to the brain and results in a range of debilitating symptoms.

Visual Problems After a Brain Injury

A TBI can cause the following visual symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye strain

A TBI can also cause problems with visual skills, including:

  • Eye teaming – eyes not working together efficiently
  • Visual acuity – difficulty seeing near or far away objects
  • Focusing – trouble maintaining clear vision or transitioning focus from one object to another
  • Disrupted eye movements – having a hard time tracking something with your eyes
  • Motion sensitivity – diminished ability to see things clearly when you’re moving. You may experience dizziness and motion sickness
  • Limited visual field – peripheral vision loss

Can I Improve My Vision After a TBI?

If you have post-traumatic vision symptoms, make sure you schedule an appointment with a neuro-optometrist, who will give you an assessment to identify problems and prescribe a neuro-optometric treatment program to improve your vision.

A neuro-optometric treatment program may include:

  • Prism lenses
  • Prescription lenses
  • Neuro-optometric therapy – eye exercises to retrain your eyes, nervous system and brain to communicate effectively
  • Syntonic phototherapy – balances the autonomic nervous system using light therapy.

Are you experiencing visual problems since your accident? If you want to feel and see better, schedule a functional eye exam at today!

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: Can whiplash after a car accident cause vision problems?

  • A: Whiplash occurs when a collision quickly thrusts your neck forward and back. But whiplash doesn’t just affect the neck. It can also impact your brain and cranial nerves. If you have whiplash and are experiencing blurred vision, dizziness or other vision disruptions, schedule an appointment at to see if you can benefit from neuro-optometric therapy.

Q: Can a neuro-optometrist treat vision problems related to vestibular dysfunction?

  • A: Dizziness and motion sickness after head trauma can be the result of vestibular dysfunction, damage to the inner ear and sections of the brain stem. You may experience blurry vision, dizziness, vertigo and lack of coordination. If you have any of these symptoms, contact us at to schedule a neuro-optometric eye exam.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-582-4800

Could Working From Home Be Hurting Your Vision?

Working at home is a great way to ditch your commute and enjoy more flexible hours, but there can be an unexpected consequence—digital eye strain. If you’re like many workers, you probably spend most of your day on a computer or other digital device, and likely experience the headache, blurred vision, sore eyes or achy back so common with digital (computer) eye strain.

In contrast to being in the office, where workers take coffee breaks and socialize, working solo at home often translates into spending more time on the computer without breaks, and often beyond the typical 9 to 5 schedule. This can increase the likelihood of developing digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), affects an estimated 70% of adults, especially those between the ages of 18 and 34.The eye strain results from extended hours focusing on a computer screen, and may be worsened by hours of exposure to blue light, high-energy visible light emitted by digital screens.

Blue light can cause short-term eye strain and discomfort, and scientists are researching whether it could also be linked to serious eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Moreover, staring at a screen, or even a printed book, causes people to blink up to 66% less often. Blinking is essential as it hydrates your eyes and stimulates the release of oil from the tiny glands in your eyelids. This oil also prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, thus drying out the eyes. Dry eyes can cause blurry vision, which further exacerbates eye strain.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

The following are common symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye soreness
  • Headaches Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Neck, back and shoulder pain

How Can I Prevent Digital Eye Strain?

No need to ditch your job in order to avoid eye strain. There are other, more practical, ways to lessen the negative impact of screen time on our eyes. Below are some helpful tips.

Take Breaks

Even if you aren’t at the office and may not have co-workers to hang out with at the coffee machine or water cooler, make sure to take frequent breaks that don’t require screen time. Perhaps take a walk or reward yourself with a short nap. These breaks not only give your eyes a rest, but can rest your mind for a few minutes so you can work more efficiently.

Consider adopting the 20/20/20 habit. For every 20 minutes you spend in front of a screen, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This will prevent you from overstraining your eyes and will encourage you to blink more, providing your eyes with much-needed hydration.

Adjust Screen Brightness

Bright screens can place a significant burden on your eyes. Simply adjusting your screen’s brightness can help rest your eyes.

See Your Eye Doctor

If you spend prolonged periods in front of the screen, it’s important to schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor to discuss whether you would benefit from lubricating eye drops or a pair of computer glasses. These computer glasses (or blue light glasses) allow your eyes to relax and make you feel as if you’re focusing on faraway objects. They also reduce glare and filter out blue light.

Whether you’re suffering from any of the symptoms related to digital eye strain or simply want to prevent it, we invite you to book an appointment with A-Ha Vision in Oakville. With the right eye care and work habits, you should be able to successfully and quickly reduce and prevent eye strain.

Q&A With Our Optometrist

How long does it take to recover from computer eye strain?

If you don’t have an underlying eye condition, symptoms of digital eye strain can sometimes disappear within a few hours or days. But if you have recurrent eye strain, speak with your eye doctor, as the right eye drops or computer glasses could improve your visual comfort and quality of life.

Can digital eye strain affect my work productivity?

You may think spending hours in front of a computer screen will improve your productivity, when in reality, it may have the opposite effect. According to a study at the University of Alabama/Birmingham School of Optometry, even minor vision problems, such as eye strain, disrupt worker productivity by at least 20%.

So make sure to take steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen and establish proper working distances and posture for screen viewing. To learn more and to alleviate or prevent eye strain, contact A-Ha Vision today.

Can Hitting Your Head Cause Blurred Vision?

Have You Experienced Blurry Vision After Hitting Your Head 640×350People often experience blurry vision after brain trauma, especially from a concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, about 90% of patients with a traumatic brain injury will experience some visual symptoms that can negatively affect their quality of life.

Fortunately, neuro-optometric therapy can offer relief to many patients with head injuries. Contact A-Ha Vision in Oakville to find out how we can help restore your vision and quality of life.

How Can Hitting Your Head Affect Your Vision?

While some minor head injuries result in nothing more than a bump or bruise, in more serious head injuries, known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the brain impacts against the hard skull, often with powerful force. This impact can damage fragile nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Since 70% of our brain is responsible for visual processing, it’s no surprise that a TBI can cause blurred vision and other uncomfortable post-injury visual symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Double vision
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems

Why You Should Schedule an Appointment with a Neuro-Optometrist

When a head injury occurs, vision problems often take a backseat to more urgent concerns, such as relieving pressure on the brain or treating lacerations to the head or face. But that doesn’t mean vision problems can or should be ignored. Any vision problems related to a head injury can severely affect a person’s ability to work, study, drive and carry out day-to-day tasks.

A neuro-optometrist diagnoses and treats a whole range of communication problems between the visual system and the brain caused by traumatic brain injuries (TBI), physical disabilities or other neurological conditions, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

Can Vision Be Restored After a Head Injury?

Yes, especially with the help of neuro-optometric rehabilitation. The first step is scheduling a functional eye exam with your neuro-optometrist. During the exam your eye doctor will test the following visual skills:

  • Eye teaming
  • Eye tracking
  • Eye focusing
  • Visual processing
  • Peripheral vision
  • Spatial awareness
  • Lazy eye and eye turns

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

Once your neuro-optometrist has diagnosed your condition, they will prescribe a customized program to relieve your symptoms. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a scientifically proven treatment plan that helps strengthen the functioning of the neurologically damaged visual system. The program relies on the brain’s neuroplasticity to improve the communication between the brain and the eyes.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy involves in-session training and at-home exercises that will help restore normal vision. These may include:

  • Customized program of eye exercises
  • Prism glasses that help the brain and eyes to work together
  • Computer-assisted eye exercises
  • Corrective eye patches

Want to see clearly again after a head injury? Schedule an appointment by contacting A-Ha Vision in Oakville today!

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: How Long Does Blurred Vision Last After a Head Injury?

  • A: Although blurry vision sometimes goes away a couple of weeks after a head injury, it’s best not to leave it to chance, hoping visual problems will correct on their own. If you experience any vision problems after a head injury, it’s recommended to schedule an appointment with a neuro-optometrist. Neuro-optometric therapy can often correct blurry vision long-term by dealing with the root cause of your vision problems following a TBI.

Q: Is a Traumatic Brain Injury the Same as a Concussion?

  • A: A TBI is a damage to the brain caused by impact. A concussion is considered a milder type of TBI. However, even a mild concussion can cause significant vision problems.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-582-4800

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

teacher helping a child with Undetected Vision ProblemsAlmost every classroom has children who struggle more than their peers, whether academically, socially or [behaviorally].

What many parents and teachers don’t realize is that these kids may have a visual skill deficit that’s triggering their struggles.

Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children will go through early childhood with an undiagnosed visual problem that can lead to learning and behavioral problems.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a struggling child evaluated by a developmental optometrist to rule out, identify and treat any visual dysfunction with vision therapy.

At A-Ha Vision, we believe that educating parents and teachers about the warning signs of visual dysfunction is the first step toward ensuring that every child with a visual deficit is given the treatment they need to thrive.

Why Are Vision Problems So Commonly Overlooked?

Children, especially toddlers and preschoolers, often lack the verbal skills necessary to communicate a visual problem.

And even if they’re able to communicate, most kids may simply assume that their vision is fine, and that they see the world the way everybody else does.

School vision screenings also play a role here.

These basic screenings really only test a child’s eyesight, or visual acuity — how clearly they see distant objects. What the screenings fail to test are the rest of the 16 visual skills necessary for healthy development and learning. Some examples are eye tracking, focusing, convergence and eye teaming.

In other words, a child can pass the school’s vision screening with flying colors and still have a visual skills deficit that can negatively affect learning and behavior.

Telltale Signs of Visual Dysfunction In Children

So, how do you know if your child or student has a visual problem?

While the only way to know for sure is through a functional visual evaluation, there are some signs and symptoms to watch for that may warrant a call to A-Ha Vision.

A child with visual skills deficits may experience any of the following medical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Poor hand-eye coordination or clumsiness
Behavioral/academic problems that can arise due to vision problems include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Refusal or hesitation to do homework
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Skips lines or words when reading
  • Frequent eye rubbing and head tilting

If a child displays any of the above symptoms, call ​​A-Ha Vision in Oakville to schedule a functional visual evaluation.

How Does Vision Therapy Work

If a visual deficit is detected, we may recommend vision therapy as the best treatment option.

Vision therapy is a customized treatment program that trains the eyes and brain to communicate seamlessly. When the eyes don’t send a unified message to the brain, or the brain has difficulty processing incoming visual information, vision therapy works by correcting those pathways at the source.

During a vision therapy session, your child will be shown and instructed to do several eye exercises to strengthen the visual system. Vision therapy sessions are done in-office, but certain eye exercises should be [practiced] at home, in-between visits.

Vision therapy has been clinically shown to effectively treat eye misalignment disorders, lazy eye (amblyopia), focusing problems, convergence insufficiencies and ocular motor dysfunctions.

Our skilled and friendly optometric team has lots of experience working with children of all ages and helping them feel safe and comfortable during the entire process.

Make sure that your child isn’t part of the 10% of kids with undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, visual skills deficits. To schedule your child’s functional visual evaluation, contact A-Ha Vision in Oakville today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: How can visual dysfunction affect learning and development?

  • A: An estimated 80% of classroom learning is dependent on vision. Subpar visual skills can impede learning by making it unnecessarily difficult for a child to see the board from their seat, read, write, play sports and interact confidently with their peers. Ultimately, this can lead to reduced self-esteem. Making sure your child’s vision is healthy will set them up for academic, social and overall success.

Q: How long does vision therapy take?

  • A: The length depends on each patient’s individual condition and needs. A vision therapy program can last anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Speak with your eye doctor about how long your vision therapy program is expected to take.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-582-4800

Play Soccer? Why You Should Improve Visual Processing Speed and Eye-Body Coordination

Men Playing SoccerSoccer is a fast-moving sport that requires finely-tuned visual skills and quick reaction time. So when you follow a training regimen, don’t forget to get your vision in shape, too.

Sports vision training helps athletes of every age and ability hone the visual skills they need to succeed in their favorite sports.

How to Improve Visual Skills for Soccer

Soccer success requires not only muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance but sharp visual skills that include:

  • Visual processing speed
  • Eye-body coordination
  • Peripheral vision
  • Depth perception
  • Focus

Why Is Visual Processing Speed Important for Soccer?

One reason soccer is such a popular sport worldwide is that it’s exciting and action-packed. Everything in a soccer game happens so fast, that a spectator could literally blink and miss a goal.

Soccer players need to be constantly aware of what’s happening on the field. The faster your brain can process the information your eyes are sending, the more time you have to react. The difference may be a fraction of a second, but in soccer—every second counts.

The Role of Eye-Body Coordination in Soccer

Your body can be in top-notch condition, but without a high level of eye-body coordination that enables your eyes, brain and limbs to communicate at split-second speeds, you won’t be able to block the ball or score a goal. A training regimen that includes building eye-body coordination skills is certain to improve your soccer game.

What Is Sports Vision Training?

Sports Vision Training is a customized program that enables athletes of all levels to improve their visual skills through in-office and at-home eye exercises. The beauty of this training program is that it can fit right into your workout and game schedule. The program is designed just for you, so you can focus on the skills you need to develop to become a better soccer player.

Schedule an appointment at A-Ha Vision in Oakville to get a full visual evaluation. We’ll test your current visual skills, identify any deficits and design a sports vision therapy program tailored to your specific needs and abilities. you with a customized program to improve any lagging visual skills.

Want to learn more? Contact A-Ha Vision today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shirley Ha

Q: Can sports vision training really improve my soccer performance?

  • A: About 80% of sports performance depends on visual processing and reacting to visual stimuli. After just weeks of sports vision training, many athletes report a marked improvement in their performance. Building visual skills, just like developing muscular strength, plays a crucial role in athletic training.

Q: Which at-home vision training exercises can improve my soccer game?

  • A: As part of a sports vision training program, our experts will prescribe a program of exercises that you can do at the clinic and at home. Some exercises you can do at home include:- For focus flexibility, focus on a close-up object and then focus on another object directly behind it and farther away.
    – For peripheral vision, stand at an intersection, look straight ahead, and check whether you can see cars using only your side vision.
    – For depth perception, hold a straw with one hand extended at arm’s length and drop a small pebble through it with your other hand. While these exercises will give you a general idea of the visual skills you use every day, nothing can replace a comprehensive exam that assesses your visual skill and sports vision training. Speak to us at A-Ha Vision for your custom-designed sports vision training program.

What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

What is an Eye Chart?

An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

Are All Eye Charts The Same?

There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

History of the Snellen Eye Chart

The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to standardize the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

Your Oakville eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local Oakville eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

For more information, give us a call at 905-582-4800 or visit us in person at A-Ha Vision, today!

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

How do you keep your eyes healthy?

You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
  • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
  • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending too much time in front of the computer

Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

Conjunctivitis

You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
  • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

Uveitis

In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancer (in rare cases)

Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

Eye Injury

It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

Glaucoma

In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Aged 60+
  • African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Dr. Shirley Ha at A-Ha Vision in Oakville today.

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
  • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
  • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
  • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

Martial Arts: Improve Your Reflexes With Sports Vision Training

Martial Arts Improve Your Reflexes With Sports Vision Training 640×350As a martial artist, you want to show your hard-earned skills at every match. While martial artists know the importance of being physically fit, many don’t realize that their visual skills also play a central role in their performance.

Your eyes’ ability to focus, react instantaneously to another’s moves, and see movement from the edge of your visual field are all critical skills to succeed in martial arts. That’s where sports vision training comes in. Regardless of your age or level of ability, sports vision training can boost your visual skills to help you up your game.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training is a customized program designed to enhance the communication between your eyes, brain, and body. Athletes who receive sports vision training are able to process visual information faster and react more precisely to what they see on the mat, field or track.

Sports vision training employs a unique set of strategies and exercises that enhances eye-brain communication so the body can respond more quickly, effectively and accurately. Visual skills such as depth perception, hand-eye coordination, dynamic visual acuity and peripheral awareness are all [emphasized] during sports vision training.

Visual Skills for Martial Arts

Visual skills allow the brain to quickly process the images received by the eyes and then relay this information to the body. People who do judo, karate, kung fu, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido among other forms of martial arts rely heavily on these and other visual skills to succeed:

Dynamic Visual Acuity

This is at times referred to as “vision in motion,” or the capacity to see, understand and respond quickly to moving objects. In martial arts, fighters need dynamic visual acuity to accurately follow their opponents’ sudden kicks, throws or punches.

Eye-Hand Coordination

There is a three-way information pathway between our limbs, eye and brain. Any miscommunication between these three can impact eye-hand coordination. If the information is not conveyed quickly and accurately enough, the body may not be able to react in time to fend off an opponent.

From parrying a punch in boxing to grappling in Jiu-Jitsu, hand-eye coordination is required for a wide range of maneuvers and situations. It’s also important for enhancing your general timing in offensive and defensive reactions.

Peripheral Awareness

Your ability to recognize what’s going on at the edge of your vision is known as peripheral awareness. A fighter with a well-developed peripheral field will be able to see everything at once and perceive the battle’s flow.

Combatants of all levels, amateur and professional, can benefit from improving their visual abilities. Giving martial artists the ability to develop their sports vision skills has been shown to help them perform at a higher level.

Contact us at A-Ha Vision to schedule your appointment with one of our sports vision experts and discover how sports vision training can help you excel in martial arts.

Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.