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Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Onions are one of the most common staple foods around the globe. Ironically, for a vegetable so delicious, they can often be tear-jerkers.

Read on to learn why onions cause your eyes to tear and sting, and what you can do to minimize discomfort.

Why Does Cutting Onions Cause Tearing?

Onions produce a sulfur compound called propyl sulfoxide that is stored in the cells of the onion bulb (the part of the onion we eat). Onions grow underground, where they can be eaten by all types of creatures. This odorous sulfuric compound acts as a deterrent to small animals with big appetites.

When one slices into an onion and breaks open its cells, the sulfur compound is released and mixes with the moisture in the air — turning it into smelly and irritating sulfuric acid. When this chemical rises up and comes in contact with your eyes, it stings!

To keep your eyes from potentially being damaged from this chemical exposure, your brain triggers your eyes to tear and flush out the irritating gas particles. Once enough tears have flushed out the sulfuric acids particles from the eye, clear vision and comfort is usually restored. Although your eyes may sting and feel unpleasant, symptoms are temporary and the sulfuric acid won’t damage your eyes.

How Can I Reduce Eye Discomfort When Chopping Onions?

Most experienced chefs will tell you that chilling your onions in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing them will reduce the amount of tearing they cause. Propyl sulfoxide escapes slower in cooler temperatures, reducing the amount of sulfuric acid in the air.

You can also try cutting the onions at arm’s length, or direct the odorous air away with a small fan. Some say that chopping onions immersed in water also helps. Another option is to wear kitchen goggles to protect your eyes.

Furthermore, try to use fresh onions whenever possible. The longer an onion has been stored, the more likely it will induce tearing and discomfort. Try to avoid slicing near the root end of the bulb, as that area has the highest concentration of sulfuric compounds.

Still Having Eye Problems Out of the Kitchen?

If you frequently suffer from eye irritation — and not just while cutting onions — we can help. At Corktown Eyecare, we treat a wide range of eye conditions and can provide you with the treatment and relief you seek.

For further questions or to schedule an eye exam, call us today.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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REFERENCES

https://www.britannica.com/story/why-do-onions-make-you-cry

https://theconversation.com/why-do-onions-make-you-cry-129519

Pink Eye? It Could Be Coronavirus

How to prevent conjunctivitis and protect your eyes

When you have a virus, especially one that causes a hacking cough, runny nose, and other symptoms of a common cold or flu, it’s typical for your eyes to also get puffy and red. You may be suffering from viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

How do viruses get into your eyes?

It’s rather simple. When you’re sick, you can easily transfer viruses to your eyes by sneezing, coughing into your hands, or blowing your nose – and then touching the area around your eye.

The coronavirus – pink eye connection

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), doctors have discovered that COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis. If you’re standing within six feet of an infected person, and they cough or sneeze, the virus can enter your eye. Alternatively, if someone sneezes and virus particles land on the shopping cart that you take and push around a store, and then you touch your eyes without washing your hands first – you’re giving the virus direct access.

However, despite the apparent ease with which coronavirus can infect eyes, the AAO reports that only about 1 – 3% of all patients with the virus contract pink eye.

Preventing pink eye

Like always, prevention is the most effective medicine! Eye care professionals recommend following these tips to help prevent getting viral conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands correctly

The CDC instructs people to wash their hands in accordance with these steps: wet your hands, turn off the tap, apply soap, lather and scrub for 20 seconds, turn on tap and rinse. Air dry your hands, use a disposable paper towel and discard it immediately, or use a clean (not shared) towel.

  • Keep your fingers away from your face

No rubbing or wiping your eyes! Even if you don’t feel any symptoms of coronavirus, it’s essential not to touch any part of your face. To wipe away tears or remove makeup, use a clean tissue.

  • Don’t share your personal things

As generous as you may feel about letting others use your personal items, now’s the time to keep things to yourself. For example, the CDC recommends not sharing eye drops, makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses cases, pillowcases, or towels. Pink eye is highly contagious.

  • Consider wearing glasses instead of contacts

While there’s currently no evidence to prove that wearing contacts raises your risks of contracting the novel coronavirus, there’s some evidence that shows you can get Covid-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes. In general, contact lenses wearers touch their eyes more often than people who wear eyeglasses, so it may be smart to make a temporary switch from contact lenses to glasses. However, this is only a friendly recommendation and not a hard-and-fast rule. If you prefer to stick with wearing contacts, washing your hands thoroughly can help keep you and your eyes safe.

Treatment for conjunctivitis

Regardless of whether your pink eye is caused by coronavirus or a different virus, there is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Usually, it goes away on its own within one to two weeks.

To alleviate your painful symptoms, eye doctors recommend:

  • Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatory drug
  • Applying a warm compress on your eye for a few minutes; take care to use a clean wash cloth each time and for each eye
  • Use artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) to soothe your eye irritation; don’t touch the bottle tip to your eye

Are you sick and have pink eye symptoms?

Now is not the time to make a DIY diagnosis. Eye redness, even if you have a virus, doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have conjunctivitis. A wide range of other conditions can lead to the same symptoms. Contact an eye doctor near you for help to figure out what’s causing your eye pain. Don’t visit your eye care practice without calling for guidance first, because extra precautions must be taken with patients who may have COVID-19.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed?

Evidence shows you can reverse diabetic complications with strict diabetes control and a healthy lifestyle

It’s long been known that diabetic complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, can be slowed by taking severe control of blood sugar levels and making healthy lifestyle changes. However, there’s also evidence to suggest that complications can actually be reversed. It appears that as long as the right conditions are met, the body can heal some of the damage.

If you have diabetes, we recommend regular visits to our eye care practice in Toronto, Ontario , for an eye exam to inspect for diabetic retinopathy and other types of diabetic eye disease. Remember, when caught early, diabetic eye disease is treatable!

Eye exams and diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a typical complication of diabetes, in which abnormally high blood sugar levels lead to retinal damage, vision loss or blindness.

If we detect the early signs of diabetic retinopathy during your comprehensive eye exam at Corktown Eyecare, you can start making lifestyle changes immediately, such as tighter blood glucose management, exercise and a healthy diet, to prevent the disease from progressing. By visiting for regular dilated eye exams, our eye doctor can monitor your symptoms and work with you to design a modern treatment plan to slow or reverse vision loss.

The effects of diet on diabetic retinopathy

The most famous diet-based therapy for reversing serious chronic disease is credited to Dr. Walter Kempner, physician of the ophthalmology department at Duke University, who pioneered the approach with his recommendations for eating mostly rice and fruit. Kempner’s diet was plant-based and ultra-low in sodium, fat, cholesterol and protein.

Kempner conducted a patient study in which he took “eyegrounds photographs”, which captured a view of the back of the eye. By tracking changes in these images, he demonstrated that diet could actually reverse damage. In fact, he found some patients who had suffered extreme vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy were later able to read fine print again. Of the 44 patients in his study who had diabetic retinopathy, 30% of them saw improvement in their vision.

Nowadays, we have many advanced laser therapies and injections to treat diabetic retinopathy. While Kempner’s food plan is not recommended as a stand-alone approach, it does show that what you eat can be very powerful for preserving your eye health!

What you can do to slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy

According to the American Optometric Association, there are several ways you can slow or possibly reverse the progression of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Manage blood sugar levels as tightly as possible
  • Take any prescription medications according to your doctor’s recommendations
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Control hypertension
  • Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol
  • Don’t miss routine eye exams that enable your eye doctor to monitor your condition and change treatment, as necessary.

To schedule a diabetes eye exam with a qualified, experienced eye doctor, contact our Toronto, Ontario , eye care practice.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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Tips on How to Take Care of Your Eyes

Guidelines from your eye care specialist in Toronto, Ontario

There are many routine daily actions you can take to preserve your eye health and keep your vision crisp and clear. By following a few simple practices outlined below, you can reduce your risk of developing many common ocular diseases and vision problems.

Book regular eye exams

First and foremost, visit your local eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam near you. This is the most significant way to take care of your eyes. It is typical to have a problem and not know about it, because many eye diseases don’t present with symptoms during the early stages. Once your eye care provider detects the signs of an ocular condition, you can receive treatment – and early treatment goes far towards preventing vision loss.

Be aware of your risk factors for eye diseases

Normal aging raises your risk of certain eye diseases. Additionally, your risk is higher if you:

  • Are obese or overweight
  • Have a family history of ocular disease
  • Are African American, Native American, or Hispanic
  • Have diabetes or high blood pressure

Some ocular conditions run in families, so it’s important to speak with other family members to find out about any eye problems. Then, visit a center for eye care near you to discuss your personal risk factors. The optometry team can inform you about various ways to decrease your chances of developing specific eye diseases.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Eyes are a part of your whole body, and protecting your overall well-being can help safeguard your vision too. Healthy habits are essential, such as eating nutritiously and being physically active. These behaviors can reduce your risk for diseases that can lead to vision problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Our eye doctor in , Ontario , shares the following guidelines for taking care of your whole body:

  • Be active: regular exercise and cardiovascular physical activity are effective ways to keep yourself healthy
  • Eat well: include plenty of dark, leafy greens in your daily diet, such as spinach, arugula, collard greens, and kale. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, halibut, and tuna are also recommended for healthy eyes.
  • No smoking: smoking increases your chances of developing eye disease, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, and it can also damage the optic nerve.

Use eye protection

Everyone knows about the need to slather on sunscreen before spending time outdoors, but many people neglect to give their eyes the same attention.

  • Wear sunglasses and sunwear: choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB radiation, and wear whenever you’re outdoors, even on cloudy days. Hats with a visor are also helpful at blocking the sun’s rays from reaching your eyes.
  • Let your eyes rest: gazing at a computer screen for hours on end can lead to eye fatigue. Give your eyes a break by looking at something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
  • Put on safety glasses: certain activities, such as playing sports, doing home repairs, and working in construction all expose your eyes to potential hazards. Protect your eyes from injury by wearing safety glasses and goggles.
  • Practice eye hygiene: always wash your hands before you insert or remove your contact lenses, and follow proper cleaning and storage guidelines for your contacts, as recommended by your eye doctor. Even if you don’t wear contacts, avoid rubbing your eyes – because fingers are exposed to a lot of dirt and bacteria, which can be transferred easily to your eyes. Also, don’t forget to remove eye makeup nightly to avoid a build-up of bacteria in your ocular area.
  • Don’t dry out your eyes: make sure to stay adequately hydrated by drinking enough water, and direct air vents in your car and home towards your torso, instead of blowing directly at your eyes.

When in doubt – book an eye exam near you

If you notice any new symptoms and don’t know what they are, such as the sudden appearance of many floaters and/or light flashes in your peripheral vision, call your eye doctor immediately. These could be signs of a retinal tear or detachment, which requires urgent eye care to prevent lasting vision damage. Or if you experience blurry vision, pain, or any oozing discharge, you may have an eye infection that needs medical treatment. Any time you aren’t sure about a symptom, it’s best to practice caution and contact a center for eye care near you.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Toronto eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Corktown Eyecare wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Toronto optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Toronto eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Toronto eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Toronto optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Corktown Eyecare

When you and your child meet with our Toronto eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.