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Pierce Family Vision is open for routine examinations, frame selections and adjustments by appointment only. We have taken great care to keep our patients and staff safe in these extraordinary times. Please give us a call at 519-886-4170 for more information. For those wanting advice but not ready to visit the office yet, we are offering online tele-optometry consultations. Stay safe and we hope to see you soon! Please click here to read our new protocols.

All About Vision

Are Contact Lenses A Good Choice For Kids?

Many children who wear glasses want to switch to contact lenses, especially older children who are concerned with their appearance. So, how do you know if and when contact lenses might be an option for your child? Contact lenses may not only improve a child’s confidence in their appearance but they can also be very convenient for active children who play sports or those who tend to lose or break their glasses.

Yet before you jump to schedule an appointment with the optometrist, it’s important to know that while contact lenses are a great solution for many, they are still medical devices that require care and responsibility. Carelessness with contact lenses can lead to infections, irritation, scratched corneas, pain, and sometimes even vision loss. So if you want to know if contact lenses are a good choice for your child, read below and think about whether your child is mature and responsible enough to take proper care of his or her eyes.

At What Age Can A Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses?

The recommended age for kids to start considering contact lenses varies however it is generally accepted that sometime between 11 and 14 is ideal. Some doctors will recommend them even for children as young as 8 years old who have shown that they are responsible enough to use them. Contact lens use requires good hygiene and cleanliness so if your child shows those traits, she may be ready. Additionally, if he is highly motivated to wear contacts and if he has the support of his parents, this will help in ensuring that the daily regimen is a success.

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At What Age Can A Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses?

The recommended age for kids to start considering contact lenses varies however it is generally accepted that sometime between 11 and 14 is ideal. Some doctors will recommend them even for children as young as 8 years old who have shown that they are responsible enough to use them.

Contact lens use requires good hygiene and cleanliness so if your child shows those traits, she may be ready. Additionally, if he is highly motivated to wear contacts and if he has the support of his parents, this will help in ensuring that the daily regimen is a success.

eye doctor, little boy in contact lens eye exam in Waterloo, ON

What Is The Process Of
Getting Fitted For Contacts?

The First Step

The first step is to schedule an appointment for a contact lens exam with your optometrist.  The eye doctor will perform a vision exam and go over the different options for contact lenses, depending on the prescription, the health of the eye and lifestyle and personal preferences. 

Choosing The Rigth Contacts For You

Contact lenses are designed with a number of options including the lens materials used (soft or rigid gas permeable), the replacement schedule (if disposable, how often you replace the pair - daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly) and the wear schedule (daily or extended overnight wear). Often doctors will recommend daily lenses for children because they are thrown away after each use so there is less care involved, less buildup and less risk for infection.

Training For Using Contacts

Then the doctor will give a training on inserting and removing the lenses as well as instructions for proper care.  Your child will probably be given a schedule for wearing the lenses for the first week or so in order to allow their eyes to adapt.  During this time you may have to be in touch with your eye doctor to assess the comfort and fit of the lenses and you may have to try out a couple of options in order to find the best fit.

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Purchasing Contact Lenses

As a medical device, contact lenses require a prescription and should only be purchased from a licensed distributor such as an eye doctor. Unauthorized or unmonitored contact lenses can cause severe damage to your eyes that could result in blindness. This is true also for cosmetic lenses such as colored lenses or costume lenses. Any time you are putting a lens in your eye, you must have a proper prescription.

Following are some basic contact lens safety tips. If your child is responsible enough to follow these guidelines, he or she may be ready for contact lens use:

  1. Always follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your doctor.
  2. Always wash your hands with soap before applying or removing contact lenses.
  3. Never use any substance other than contact lens rinse or solution to clean contacts (even tap water is a no-no).
  4. Never reuse contact lens solution
  5. Follow the eye doctor’s advice about Don’t swimming or showering in your lenses
  6. Always remove your lenses if they are bothering you or causing irritation.
  7. Never sleep in your lenses unless they are extended wear.
  8. Never use any contact lenses that were not acquired with a prescription at an authorized source. Never purchase cosmetic lenses without a prescription!

Contact lens use is also an ongoing process. As a child grows, the lens fit may change as well, so it is important to have annual contact lens assessments. Plus, new technology is always being developed to improve comfort and quality of contact lenses.

Contact lenses are a wonderful invention but they must be used with proper care. Before you let your child take the plunge into contact lens use, make sure you review the dangers and safety guidelines.

Low Vision


Low vision refers to significant vision impairment that usually results from serious eye disease or an injury. However, it isn't blindness as limited sight remains. The vision loss can't be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.

Low vision can affect both children and older individuals but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of sight-robbing eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.

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Low vision causes

Leading causes of low vision include genetics, eye injury, brain injury, or eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or retinitis pigmentosa. Depending on the severity and type of vision impairment, the patient may have some remaining vision.

Low vision tends to be common in adults over age 75.

Below are the most common types of low vision:

  • Central vision loss: a blind spot in the center of vision.
  • Peripheral (side) vision loss: inability to see to the side, above below eye level, but perfect ability to see straight ahead.
  • Night blindness: struggling to see in poorly lit or dim environments such as evening or nighttime.
  • Blurry vision: when objects appear out of focus.
  • Hazy vision: feeling like you're looking at everything through a fog or a haze

How does low vision affect daily life?

For people with significant vision loss, completing daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking, and housework, watching television, driving, or even recognizing people can become a struggle.

Once one is diagnosed with low vision, it can come as a shock. Because low vision often results in one’s inability to work, function independently, drive and resume normal life, many patients feel isolated and depressed. Fortunately, there are numerous resources, aids and devices available to help maximize any remaining vision.

If you or someone you know is struggling with low vision, contact Pierce Family Vision in Waterloo today. We can help.

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Visual rehabilitation and visual aids

Vision loss ranges from mild visual impairment to legal blindness. Certain optometrists can evaluate your condition and offer an individualized rehabilitation plan to help you maximize remaining functional vision and increase independence in daily living.

What are visual aids?

Low-vision aids are designed to improve visual performance in those with low vision thus enriching daily experiences. Low vision aids are typically characterized into three main categories: non-optical, optical, and electronic.

Non-optical aids: are external adaptations that render daily tasks easier to undertake. These include large-print books, glare-proof sunglasses, and tactile dots.

Optical aids: Specialized lenses, such as telescopes and stand magnifiers, can enhance vision.

Electronic aids: this includes a range of technologies, such as closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs), screen readers, and head mounted eyewear displays, and more.

How to make life with low vision easier

  1. Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your home. This may require some trial and error with different lights to determine what works best for you.
  2. Use a magnifier. There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle-mounted magnifiers are also an option.
  3. Your optometrist or low vision specialist can recommend specialized lens tints for certain conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or cataracts, which enhance vision or reduce light sensitivity.
  4. Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings or mp3's.
  5. Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
  6. Adding a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can help prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable them to remain independent in their home.
  7. Discover new and innovative technologies that can help you see better.

If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. Consult with our eye doctor in Waterloo regarding the best course of action to take to simplify your life.

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Eyeglass Frame Materials


Eyeglass frames are made from a vast array of different materials, colors, and ranging in prices and specialty features. We know this can be a bit overwhelming so below you will find a basic guide explaining the most common types of frames and their benefits.

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Which Type of Frames Should I Choose?

It’s time to choose a new pair of eyeglasses, and the current selection of frames is overwhelming. Armed with only your vision prescription, you now need to navigate between different materials, colors, prices and unique features of all the eyeglass frames.

Your lifestyle plays a big role when considering the best material for your eyeglass frames. Children, teenagers, and anyone with an active lifestyle require durable and flexible frames that are able to withstand hits and falls.

As well, anyone with skin allergies must make sure their frame materials are hypoallergenic, such as titanium, acetate, or stainless steel.

Other specialty materials designers are using are wood, precious gems, bone and even leaves. Here is a basic guide that explains about the most common types of frames and what they have to offer.

Metal Frames

The most popular material for eyeglass frames, there is a whole array of metals to consider. Each metal comes with a distinctive set of properties and characteristics.

Titanium

Extremely resilient and corrosion-resistant, titanium is also hypoallergenic and weighs in at 40% lighter than other metals. Available in a variety of color tones, titanium is an ideal material for eyeglasses.

Beta titanium

Titanium mixed with small quantities of aluminum and vanadium, this alloy is more flexible than pure titanium. Adjustments to your eyeglass fit are therefore done easily.

Memory metal

Frames made of memory metal are composed of a titanium alloy that has approximately 50% nickel and 50% titanium. These eyeglasses are very bendable and will return to their original shape even after they are twisted and turned. Memory metal frames are superb for kids or anyone who is rough on their eyeglasses.

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Metal Frames Continued...

Beryllium

The primary advantage of beryllium is its corrosion-resistance. A less costly metal than titanium, beryllium doesn’t tarnish. It is an ideal option for anyone who spends a lot of time around salt water, or who possesses high skin acidity. Flexible, durable and lightweight, beryllium comes in a range of colors.

Stainless steel

Manufactured in both matte and polished, glossy finishes, stainless steel is strong, flexible, corrosion-resistant and lightweight. An iron-carbon alloy, it also contains chromium.

Monel

This popular alloy of copper and nickel is less expensive than other metals, yet depending upon the quality of plating used – it sometimes discolors or causes skin reactions after long use.

Aluminum

Lightweight and very resistant to corrosion, aluminum boasts a unique look and is frequently used in high-end, exclusive eyewear.

Plastic Frames

Zyl

Abbreviated from “zylonate” (cellulose acetate), zyl is relatively inexpensive and very popular in plastic eyeglass frames. Lightweight, it is available in a rainbow of colors, including multi-colored versions and layers of different colors within one frame.

Propionate

Often used in sports frames, propionate is extremely durable and flexible. This nylon-based plastic is also lightweight and hypoallergenic.

Nylon

Over recent years, nylon has been replaced largely by more resilient nylon blends, such as polyamides, gliamides and copolyamides. While 100% nylon is lightweight and strong, it tends to weaken with age and become brittle.

Cellulose acetate

A plant-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. This material was first used for eyewear in the late 1940’s because of brittleness and other problems with previously used plastics. Today’s acetates are known for being strong, lightweight, and flexible. Cellulose acetate also has the widest range for transparency, rich colors, and finishes. More complex colorations are able to be produced by layering several colors or transparencies in layers and sandwiching them together.

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Combination Frames

The best of both worlds, combination frames offer metal and plastic components in one frame. These styles were trendy in the 1950s and 1960s and have recently been revitalized for a fun comeback in many more colors and tones than the classic versions.

Mix It Up!

Each respective frame material brings unique features and advantages to your eyeglasses. One pair of glasses may not fit every part of your daily routine, in addition to social outings and special occasions.

Perhaps a pair of titanium frames is best for your sophisticated, conservative work environment, but on the weekends you’d prefer to show off style with a retro zyl frame in laminated colors?

Consider purchasing more than one pair of eyeglasses, and match your frames to your personality and lifestyle.