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5 Vision-Saving Tips for National Save Your Vision Month

March is here. And you know what that means…

It’s National Save Your Vision Month!

In honor of this special month, which not only signals the start of spring but reminds us to protect our eyes, we’ve put together a list of 5 essential ways that you can ‘save your vision.’

It goes without saying that routine eye exams are a top priority when it comes to taking care of your eyes, so here are 5 additional things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You’re likely aware that a balanced diet consists of all different types of nutritious foods that contain the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and strong.

But did you know that certain foods actually promote eye health and can lower your risk of eye disease?

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, can protect your eye health and help save your vision from sight-threatening eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

If you don’t think your daily meals offer enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients, ask your doctor whether you should add a daily supplement to your diet.

2. Limit Screen Time

The digital world has created a new venue for working, communicating, socializing and entertainment. But it’s also brought about a new eye condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — also called digital eye strain (DES) — that’s a growing concern among eye care professionals.

Not only can too much screen time affect productivity in work and school, but it can also result in dry, red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and even have a negative effect on your mood and quality of sleep.

So this month, take it upon yourself to be more aware of how much time you spend in front of a digital screen, and try to set boundaries whenever possible for you and your children. You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

3. Use Protective Eyewear

Every day, thousands of people receive emergency care for an eye-related accident — many of them resulting in permanent damage and vision loss.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by wearing protective eyewear for all activities that pose an eye health risk — from sports and water gun fights to lightsaber tournaments and science experiments. And, of course, this also implies any type of home-improvement project that involves small particles like grass, saw dust or metal flying into your eye.

Protective eyewear can truly save your vision.

4. Wear Sunglasses All Year Round

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory to enhance your look. They shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can damage your vision and lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Now you have an even better excuse to go out and buy yourself the new pair of shades you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure they offer 100% UV protection.

Wear your new sunglasses all year round, even on cloudy and snowy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off the snow-covered ground, doubling your exposure.

5. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now’s the time! Smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, it increases your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, for the sake of your vision and overall health, take the first steps toward kicking your smoking habit.

In honor of National Save Your Vision Month, why not try some of these vision-saving habits that can help you keep your eyes and vision healthy for a lifetime. Your future self will thank you.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your eyes and vision? Contact Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville today to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and to offer you the best possible eye care.


Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario


Do children need to wear sunglasses?

Yes, sunglasses are essential for protecting your child’s eyes both now and in the future. A child’s eyes are still maturing and are therefore even more susceptible to UV damage than adults. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever they play outside by setting a good example and making sure to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outdoors.

What are sports goggles?

Sports goggles are a type of protective eyewear worn by many athletes. These goggles contain impact resistant, durable polycarbonate lenses, offering the ultimate eye protection during sports activities. If you or your child play sports, sports goggles are an essential accessory to your athletic gear.

COVID-19 Office Updates

The health and safety of patients and staff remains our top priority. As federal, province and local guidance permit, we remain open for routine eye exams to meet your eye health needs.
As we’ve been monitoring this rapidly changing nature of COVID-19, we want you to know that we are doing our best to navigate. We wanted to reach out with an update on how we are handling our business to best support the health and safety of both you and our team.
We’ve enhanced our protocols for our patients’ health and safety, which is our number #1 priority. Before arriving, please let us know if you are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus or if you have been in close contact with someone that has COVID-19. Symptoms can include coughing, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell.
Additionally, for the safety of everyone within the office, please come alone or limit the number of people that accompany you to one person, if possible. Also, please wear a cloth face covering or facemask as this is mandatory by our governing body for anyone above the age of 2 yrs. We’ll ask that you clean your hands with hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the office and try to maintain a 6 foot distance from other patients and customers.

Mask Policy
Please bring with you a cloth face covering or facemask as this is mandatory by our governing body for anyone 2 yrs of age and older.
Sanitary Protocols
Enhanced measures have been taken to thoroughly sanitize between patients with medical grade disinfectants. Patients must also sanitize your hands upon entering and exiting our clinic.
One Person Per Visit
Families with children are to enter with 1 child and 1 parent or guardian per visit only. We ask that any remaining members wait in their vehicles.


We look forward to serving you!

For any further questions kindly contact us at 905 845 5653 or send us an email to

We are open 7 days per week.

Dr. Shobitha Ratnakumar O.D. Shares A Story of a Child Patient

One of the best memories is seeing this one particular child.

For the first time, he struggled to see the letters on the chart and after correcting his vision, he was so happy to see the smallest lines of letter!

He went out next door to LensCrafters with his mother to get new glasses. He stopped by with his glasses to say thank you for the vision correction that made a big difference for him. He said he thought he could see everything but he never knew everything looked the way it did with his new glasses. Assisting patients by enhancing their vision is always rewarding and that is our goal.

When Should a Child Start Contact Lenses?

Parents often ask me, “When can my child consider wearing contact lenses?”

This is a very good question. In my experience, there is no magical age at which children can consider contacts. I do always engage parents in the discussion but I have found over the years that as long as the child is motivated and parents are on board, we can consider talking about contact lenses.

Common Eye Conditions in Children

Some eye conditions that a child can develop include are refractive error, strabismus, and amblyopia.

Refractive error can be categorized into three different categories far-sightedness nearsightedness and astigmatism.

Strabismus is also known as an eye turn.

And amblyopia is also known as a lazy eye.

In rare cases, we have also found some pathology in the eye such as congenital cataracts and congenital glaucoma.

Most optometrists recommend eye exams for infants six months and older.

At our clinic we also recommend a digital retinal image for all patients including children. Most children are actually intrigued by these images and this engages them throughout the examination.

In my experience these images have been very valuable in not only photographing abnormalities of the ocular structures but also to monitor their progression.

Remember it is very important to schedule a yearly eye exam for your children to determine stability of their ocular health.

Children’s Healthy Vision & Eye Exams

Your child should be getting an annual eye exam to ensure that their visual system is healthy.

A healthy visual system furthers your child’s success in the classroom as their eyes continue to grow each year.

We can help catch any eye complications earlier and possibly prevent ocular conditions in the future so don’t forget to schedule their eye exam today.

Signs Your Child’s Ready for Contact Lenses

When can a child consider wearing contact lenses?What are signs of a child who is ready to start contact lenses?For children, a fantastic option that has been shown that children as young as 8 years old can be successful in is contacts.In fact, children are just as easy to instruct on lens insertion and handling as adults!

Some signs that your child is ready to begin contact lens wear are if they keep their room tidy, perform chores as instructed, and are personally motivated to begin contact lens wear.

Are there benefits for children who wear contact lenses over eyeglasses or is it preference only?

Contact lenses are a great option for children who enjoy playing sports or whose glasses often, get dirty, fogged by masks, or easily damaged.

The benefits of contact lenses are excellent comfort and adaptation increased self-confidence in social settings and all-day optimal vision

Visual Development in Children

It’s understandable why a child entering school would want to have another eye exam but why should they get one every year?

Visual health and development is a major milestone in how your child will start to learn and solidify concepts that will help them explore new things in their future.

It is very important that a child entering school has a comprehensive eye examination with a licensed optometrist to examine the spectacle prescription.

That the child may have how the eyes work together as one unit the front and back health of the eye and what to expect in the future in regards to any potential changes in vision.

The critical period of visual development spans from new born to around six years of age however vision does not stop there.

The period after this is a continued period of growth where if there are any visual problems caught, they can be treated to ensure good visual prognosis.

Kids continue to grow throughout their years in school and so do their eyes.

Human eyes continue to grow in length up until the early 20s which makes it imperative to ensure that yearly eye examinations are conducted to ensure that your child’s eyesight is always taken care of.

With the changes in technology in today’s world to shifting workspace from outdoors to computer screens, annual examination has become imperative as in some cases we are now seeing larger jumps in prescriptions in a shorter period of time.

With regular visits, your optometrist can ensure that if there are any problems, they are caught early enough to be handled effectively and ensure great lasting vision for children throughout the years.

Emergency Eye Care and Eye Injuries

Emergency Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Emergency Eye Care in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

What are Eye Emergencies?

Eye trauma refers to an eye injury caused by a direct blow that causes damage to the eye, adjacent tissue, or surrounding bone structure. Eye traumas can occur in a number of ways, such as punches, a blow from a ball, or flying objects. The severity of eye trauma can range from minor to emergency. However, in all cases, one should seek medical attention and call Dr. Fallon Patel as soon as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Eye Trauma?

When the eye is forcefully impacted, blood collects underneath the affected area, potentially causing any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Troubled vision
  • Visible blood in the eye
  • Protruding eye
  • Reduced mobility in the injured eye

Other eye trauma symptoms include:

  • Cut in the eyelid
  • Unusual size or shape of the pupil
  • Something embedded in the eye or underneath the eyelid

If you’ve suffered an eye trauma, make sure to immediately seek medical attention. In the event of minor eye trauma, there are several things you can do to prevent more damage until examined by your eye doctor.

Home Care For Ocular Traumas

While you await medical attention, it’s important to prevent further damage and thus further harm.

  • Never touch, rub, or apply any pressure to the eye
  • Don’t attempt to remove a foreign substance from the eye
  • If the eye has been cut or an object is stuck in the eye, place something protective (such as a paper cup) on the surrounding bone of the eye
  • Do not apply ointments or medications to the eye – they can often exacerbate the condition
  • In the event of a black-eye, a cold compress may be applied to decrease swelling and promote healing
  • Never use dry cotton (cotton balls or swabs) or sharp objects (such as tweezers) near the eye area

Emergency Treatment For Eye Trauma

We can’t stress this enough – call Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates to have Dr. Fallon Patel examine your eye injury. When you call, make sure to tell us about the injury and please ask any questions you may have.

Our staff is trained to assess the patient’s condition in specific ways and offer specialized care that one wouldn’t receive in an ordinary urgent care facility. We can help with extracting foreign objects, prescribing medicine, bandaging the eye, and if necessary, refer you to another practitioner for surgery or other procedures.

Don’t delay calling – the earlier you seek treatment, the better your chances are for recovery and preserving your vision. Call us at Dr. Fallon Patel and Associates in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville for any eye emergency – we’re here to help.

What Does a Scratched Eye Feel Like?

Eye Care & Eye Exams in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

Eye Care & Eye Exams in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario

A scratch on the cornea (or corneal abrasion) is one of the most common eye injuries. It can happen without anyone noticing because it doesn’t take a major accident to scrape or scratch the cornea.

If you suspect your child may have scratched his or her eye, seek the help of an eye care professional near you immediately. A corneal abrasion can quickly get worse and lead to serious eye infections unless it receives professional treatment. An experienced and qualified optometrist such as Dr. Fallon Patel in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario can offer effective treatment.

Symptoms of a Scratched Eye

Is your child rubbing its eye and complaining that there’s something in it? Make sure he/she stops rubbing and washes out the eye with clean water. If the feeling prevails, there’s a good chance he or she may have scratched the eyeball.

Check for additional symptoms:

  • Tearing
  • High sensitivity to light
  • A red spot or red line in the white part of the eye
  • General redness of the eye
  • Blurry or decreased vision
  • Headaches
  • Sometimes even nausea

These are signs of a possible corneal abrasion, a scratch on the outer protective layer of the cornea (the round dome covering the front of the eyeball). This layer is called the corneal epithelium.

What Can Cause a Scratch on the Cornea?

This is the tricky part. Almost anything can scratch an eyeball, from a fingernail to a piece of paper, from a branch to sand or dust. In many cases, the child will not feel anything when it happens, but develop symptoms a few hours later.

When a child plays outside, it may fall and get some dirt on his face and a tiny sharp rock or wooden splinter into the eye. This is enough to scratch the sensitive cover on the eyeball.

A sudden blow of strong wind can carry sand and dust particles, which sometimes are sharp enough to cause a scratch on the cornea. Such dirt and sand particles may also hide in a pile of snow your child is using to build a snowman.

If your child is playing with others or with a pet, a fingernail can accidentally get into the eye, even for a brief moment without causing any pain.

How to Treat a Scratched Cornea

There is nothing you can do to treat a scratched eye by yourself. An eye care professional needs to diagnose the severity of the damage and prescribe treatment.

Make sure you or your child do

  • NOT rub the eye
  • NOT use eye drops to relieve redness
  • NOT patch or bandage the eye

To minimize discomfort and risk do

  • Rinse the eye with a sterile saline solution or multipurpose contact lens solution
  • Encourage the child to blink frequently to ensure sufficient moisture
  • Let the child wear sunglasses

What Will the Optometrist Do?

The eye doctor will examine the eye to determine the severity of the injury and assess treatment. Lubricating drops may be used to support the eye’s natural healing process. In many cases, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic drops as a preventive measure against infections.

A scratched cornea will heal within a few days. Typically, it takes less time to heal than a cut to the skin would. If you are not sure about whether your child has injured its cornea, consult Dr. Fallon Patel at Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, Ontario now.