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How honey can help your dry eye

Posted in 'General' on July 16, 2015 by Stuart Macfarlane

Manuka honey (Optimel drops) has long been known and used for its medicinal properties and in ancient Egyptian times was incorporated in most medicines. The last 100 years it has been well accepted as a treatment alternative in the management of chronic ulcers and burns. Honey from the Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum species (Manuka, tea tree or jelly bush) is the most widely used honey in clinical studies as it has consistently been found to have the greatest level of antibacterial activity. 

More lately there have been several articles published about the application of Manuka honey for ocular conditions such as dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.  Featuring a low pH and high sugar content, Manuka honey is both antibacterial and hyperosmotic. It reduces bacterial flora and also reduces fluid that has accumulated in corneas suffering from corneal oedema due to conditions such as Fuchs' corneal dystrophy. The reduction in bacterial flora helps treat eyelid conditions such as dry eye secondary to blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.

The downside is that Manuka honey stings upon insertion - a lot. This lasts 30-60 seconds.  Some people find that the stinging lessens with use however others find that the stinging becomes intolerable. We tend to first place a trial drop of Manuka honey in patients eyes to see if they can tolerate the temporary irritation. 

Manuka honey is marketed as Optimel drops and is available in two strengths. The original Optimel drops are 980mg/g and very viscous - more like a gel. It tends to sting more on insertion and should only be used after consultation with us. Most patients use it 1-2 times daily. The more recently released Optimel drops are 160mg/g and less viscous. They tend to not sting as much and are generally used 3 times daily. 

Optimel is yet another tool to aid blepharitis and dry eye sufferers. 

Do not use Optimel Manuka if you are allergic to honey. 

We carry Optimel at the practice so make an appointment to see us to determine if you are a candidate. 

Infant Vision Development (Birth to 2 months)

Posted in 'General' on July 16, 2015 by Stuart Macfarlane
Infant Vision Development (Birth to 2 months)

Have you ever wondered what your baby sees in his or her first few blinks on this earth? Though infant vision development happens overtime in stages after birth, your baby certainly sees you, just maybe not as you'd imagine. 

BabyIn their first week of life, babies don't see in much detail, more so in fuzzy shades of gray. Nerve cells in the eye aren't fully developed yet, so babies also aren't able to focus in on objects. So don't worry if it doesn't seem as if your baby is zoning in on you. But all of this doesn't mean they aren't able to recognise their mother or father in their first few days of life! In fact, studies show that after the first few days, infants begin to show signs of positive recognition to their mother and father's face (with the help of the sense of smell, to be sure). Scientists say the mother's face in relation to her hair is an important factor in recognition, so it helps to keep your hairstyle consistent to aid your baby in recognising you. 

At about 2 months, infants become much better at focusing on objects, and begin to start reaching out to touch objects around them. Babies also begin to learn to move their eyes as they look at new objects, moving their head less and less as they focus in on the things around them. 

Helpful Tips

Infant eyes also aren't sensitive to light, so there's no need to have them sleep in complete darkness! Leaving on a light in the nursery won't bother your child, and may keep you from stubbing your toes when you go to check on them. Sensitivity to light begins to increase at about 2 months though, so dimming the lights after this time may your baby associate dim lighting or darkness with nap time. 

It's also important to stimulate your child's vision by exposing them to bright, cheerful colours. Decorating their nursery with bright colors like orange, green, red, and blue in a variety of different shapes helps introduce new sights into their world. Placing a colorful mobile above or near their bed is also a great way to do this. 

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that you frequently change the bedding in your infants crib with different colorful patterned fabrics and add or remove different objects from their room so that your baby doesn't become accustomed to the same environment around them. The AOA also recommends that after about 2 months, you begin to walk around the room while talking to your baby. This helps your baby pair both sound and sight senses as they follow you and your voice around the room. 

For more information on infant vision development, check out this awesome resource written by Dr. Gary Heiting, or read more from the AOA about vision development from birth to 24 months.