Inside eye-bar: Spring is in the Air!

Inside eye-bar - spring is in the air.jpg

The air is fresh, the roads are dirty and the sun is out! Yay spring is in the air! Spring often brings about change and at eye-bar we have some great changes to share. We are welcoming Christianne Paquet and Megan Bartkus to our team of licensed opticians. These ladies live and breathe service and have a passion for eyewear fashion which they would love to share with you next time you are in.

Licensed Optician - Megan Bartkus

Licensed Optician - Megan Bartkus

You may have noticed the sun beaming in your eyes again as you commute, which is great because it's no longer dark as you drive to and from work! But, you may want to make sure your eyes and the skin around your eyes are well protected from harmful UV rays. Statistics show that polarized sun lenses decrease motor vehicle collision rates. And, it's a good reminder that UV block for your prescription sunglasses decreases your chances for macular degeneration, cataracts and wrinkles of the tender skin around your eyes. Summer priced already, get your prescription sunglasses soon and get a jump on your summer sun protection.

Another great bit of news we wanted to pass on to you in case you haven't tuned into our facebook or twitter pages yet, Oakley sun lenses are available in a much broader range of prescriptions than they used to be. If you previously were unable to buy prescription Oakley sunglasses because your prescription is strong or unusual, when next you are in our neighborhood, come in to eye-bar and ask about the Oakley OTD Edge digital lenses, available in both single vision and progressive lens options. We may be able to accommodate your prescription now due to the expanded parameters Oakley is newly offering. 

Thank you for being our friends and supporting independent local business in Sherwood Park by being customers and patients of eye-bar.  We hope spring brings you fresh new perspective.

Keeping you in our minds' eye, the team at eye-bar. 

Inside the Industry: Life & Vision After 40!

I have been contemplating my options in the last few months about what to do with my eyewear. Working in the industry, I am aware of all of the options for people who are 40+ in age and need a reading correction because their eyes are getting less flexible from distance to near vision.  So you may have always worn glasses, or you may never have worn them, but if you are starting to have trouble seeing small print, you may be interested to know all of your options. So let's explore the possibilities together!

When we find small print needs to be held further away in order to focus, but then is too small to see it, one great option is anti-fatigue lenses. These types of eyeglasses give a similar experience to single vision glasses, however at the bottom of the lens you can see small print better as it has a slight magnification. I have tried these and love them. They give up to +0.88 Add (ie: reading) power, but I never notice using it. It's like I just have my eyes from five years ago when wearing my glasses!  

Another go-to solution is a digital progressive lens. This you may need if your Add power in your prescription is nearing +1.25 or more. A digital progressive lens allows you to put your glasses on in the morning and be able to see both far and near regardless of your optical prescription. The technology in these lenses is amazing compared to their predecessors, and with any prescription the viewing fields can be maximized according to your most important usage for your glasses. For instance if you are a long distance driver, the progressive can be personalized to give you maximum distance width with driving comfort for hours at a time. If you are an office worker, you can maximize your near vision fields. The progressive is the best solution available for those who need a prescription for reading, intermediate and distance vision in one pair of glasses.

For those who have never worn glasses, a good option can be a pair of prescription readers.  You only need them for the tiny print, so keep them handy and you are set!

For those who have always worn glasses for distance, and for whom progressives are not an option, multiple pairs are your best bet, and what a problem to have!  With so many gorgeous frames to choose from, you can enjoy switching back and forth to have the best vision for the task-at-hand. Some people enjoy having a full set of glasses for reading and another set for their distance wear. Other folks who need help with their intermediate vision at the computer will choose a computer lens which takes care of reading and computer vision needs and sometimes can have a small portion of distance at the top of the lens. Then, a pure distance set of glasses can be chosen for outdoors - either with clear lenses, transition lenses (with or without a clip-on for full sun protection when behind a windshield) or polarized sun lenses. Then you have all your vision needs met with two pairs of glasses, or more depending on your needs.

And one more option that's still available today is a lined bifocal or even a lined trifocal.  A lined bifocal gives a reading correction at the very bottom of your distance lenses.  A lined trifocal has this reading correction with an additional skinny portion above it for intermediate vision tasks.  For some, this is the best option if they cannot wear a progressive and it is necessary to see multiple distances throughout the day.

If you wear contact lenses, you have a few more options.  Ask an optometrist at eye-bar to give you a solution which is best for your prescription and your vision needs at your next eye exam, or book a contact lens fitting.


Greetings of the Season from the Gang at eye-bar!


Baton down the hatches and let the snow fly! It's a Celebration of Light whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule or New Years... We are multidimensional and hearty as Canadians and as our hearts swell with pride at our fortitude, we can consider the blessings of the Season and how fortunate we are in Canada, cold as it may be. This time of the year can be busy, but it is often the time when we reflect upon those less fortunate than us and look for ways to ease their suffering. Our own Dr. Amy Bakelaar recently extended her charitable hand on an optical mission in Ecuador. Just click here to follow the blog post of the mission to find out how your used prescription eyewear benefits less fortunate people around the globe. In recent years our Dr. Bakelaar has been on missions to Belize, Peru, Guatemala, and India. At eye-bar we accept donations of your old prescription eyewear and save it to be used on these optical missions. People who have never had the gift of clear vision benefit from an eye exam and a pair of prescription glasses because of your generosity.  Pop by and deliver your old eyewear today and share in the warm feelings it brings.


This time of year also gives you one last chance to use up your 2013 Health Spending Allowance through your employer's group benefit insurance.  Many of you may also have renewed coverage available in January 2014.  If you have such an insurance benefit, we have several options for you to consider.  You can use the benefit for an eye exam to update your prescription.  Book online for your convenience.  Then, once your prescription is current, please consider updating your eyewear at eye-bar.  We have so many exciting looks this season and we have recently added at least 30 new pieces to our Tom Davies fully customizable frame collection.  Treat yourself or a family member to the luxury of a hand-made, bespoke frame and prescription lenses.  If your prescription is light, and does not require all-the-time clear glasses, consider a set of custom Oakley prescription sunglasses - it still qualifies for your Health Spending Allowance, and it will crisp things up for your winter driving and reduce the blinding reflections from snow glare.  And lastly, if you have not tried prescription contact lenses and are interested in having a new look for holiday photos and events, ask about a contact lens fit and training during your eye exam.  You can even consider colored contacts for festive parties!  

To be prepared for winter conditions whether it be driving in blizzard conditions, skiing cross country, downhill, hiking in the mountains, or just shopping Whyte Avenue on a sunny day, we have polarized sunwear to suit your needs.  A polarized lens will keep the squint factor down as well as provide full protection for your eyes and the skin around your eyes from harmful U.V. rays.  And prescription sunglasses or non-prescription sunglasses make excellent and fashionable gifts for family and friends.

Thank you for being our friends and supporting independent local business in Sherwood Park by being customers and patients of eye-bar.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and create lasting memories.

Keeping you in our minds' eye,

Every year, your child needs an eye exam

Many kids don’t complain about vision problems because they think everyone sees like them. Teachers who work with young children often detect their students’ vision problems before their own parents. At home, parents see the progression of these problems at a gradual rate, and they often don’t have a room full of kids to compare their child to. 

Here are some common symptoms of eye problems in school. Teachers should notice this in the classroom, and parents can watch for some of these at home, too.

  • Squinting
  • Inching desk forward
  • Constantly walking up to the board to read
  • Moving around furniture in the room to get a better view
  • Saying out loud that they can’t see, or asking what something very obvious is 

We want youngsters to see friends down the hall, recognize a familiar pet greeting them, and play safe in sports and on the playground. We want them to have every opportunity to learn about the world around them. Every child should have an eye exam before the age of 3. They should see an optometrist once per year (psst! Alberta Health Care covers that!).

Flexible and Functional Eyeglasses for Kids

eye-bar just brought in a really unique line of kid’s glasses! Miraflex makes high-quality, flexible frames designed to meet the needs of both eye-bar optometrists and the youngsters who get to wear them. They have no metal components or hinges making them perfect for young children and babies.

eye-bar doctors are able to detect vision problems and health issues very early on in a child’s life. Many of these issues can be corrected with proper eyewear, so this option for youngsters is perfectly functional (and stylish!).

When you come in to pick out your child’s new eyeglasses, you choose the frame shape and size, then choose from 30 fun colours to personalize them. We’ll make them for you using a hardy polycarbonate lens that is highly impact resistant.

They are lightweight and very comfortable so kids won’t be tempted to pull them off. Bring in your kids to choose their colour and get them excited to wear their new glasses!

What exactly is pink eye?

To start, there are a few different types of pink eye:

Pink eye related to bacterial eye infections can cause a lot of swelling and produce sticky green discharge, resulting in eyes that are often ‘glued’ shut in the morning. Bacterial eye infections are more commonly seen in contact lens wearers and can result from our skins own bacteria.

Pink eye related to viral infections is by far the most common cause, and is caused by the same virus that results in the common cold. Viral pink eye will usually result in a watery eye with little to no discharge, but may still be crusted shut in the morning. Viral pink eye is the most contagious of all pink eyes, which is why it hangs out in preschools, daycares and work environments.

Pink eye related to allergies is more common after coming in contact with allergens and is often associated with other physical symptoms like stuffy nose, itchy skin or swollen eyes. People often complain of itching and may want to rub their eyes.

Pink eye can also be related to some more serious eye conditions like scleritis, uveitis, or iritis. These conditions require more urgent care, and will generally not resolve on their own if left untreated.

Regardless of the cause of your pink eye, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis by your optometrist to ensure that the treatment matches the condition. Please don’t touch anyone until you see us, and we’ll let you know if you are contagious.

Please Note: Alberta Health Care now covers the cost of emergency eye care visits to your optometrists office – there is no charge to you as a patient. 

Back to School: The Preschool Eye Exam

When adults think of eye exams, we often think of reading the letters off an eye chart. How is possible to conduct a comprehensive eye test on a little one who doesn’t read? Quite easily!

Young children don’t have to know the alphabet or even speak to have their vision tested by an optometrist.  Many vision tests use pictures or symbols familiar to preschoolers, and children can respond by naming, matching or pointing.  Other tests are done objectively, so young children don’t have to be able to communicate well to be evaluated. 

Optometrists will test for visual acuity, the measure of the sharpness of vision; it describes the size of detail that a child can see and use in daily activities. On preschoolers, optometrists will use a retinoscope to objectively determine refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism). In this procedure, light is shone into the eye and a series of lenses are used to focus the reflection from the retina.  Eye drops to dilate the pupil and relax the eye’s focusing system may be used, to give greater accuracy to this procedure. Using this method, optometrists can refract babies and toddlers.

Eye health testing for preschoolers will also assess pupil reflexes, peripheral vision and colour vision.

Back to School: When was the last time your child had an eye exam?

At eye-bar, back-to-school means time for an eye exam! Vision is incredibly important to learning. Frequently, children with undetected vision problem can be labeled as having behavioral or learning disabilities simply because they are unable to see or focus on their work. The fix? A pair of eyeglasses.

And, yet many times children do not receive an annual eye exam. Consider these statistics from the Ontario Association of Optometrists:

Annual statistics have shown that 75 per cent of children between the ages of five and nine have not had their eyes examined by a Doctor of Optometry and a staggering 93 per cent of all children under the age of five have never had their eyes tested; despite the fact that annual eye examinations are covered by Alberta Healthcare for children 18 years of age and under. It is estimated that nearly half of all high school students will also leave high school without ever having had an eye exam.

Many parents are shocked to discover their child has a vision problem. Unfortunately, problems are not always obvious to a parent or child. Children have no form of comparison and assume others see the world as they do.

An annual eye exam provides a tremendous amount of ‘peace of mind’ to parents and ensures the child has the vision to succeed at school.

Book your child’s eye exam.

Back to School Eye Test

There’s more to school than book bags and lunch boxes. It’s also the perfect time for your child’s eyes to be checked by an optometrist.  Just when you think your child is seeing well, there could very well be a problem. And vision problems are responsible for a staggering number of learning challenges due to the fact that 80% of classroom learning is done through the eyes.

Do you know how well your child can see? It isn’t always obvious to a child or a parent. Children assume everyone sees the world exactly as they do and rarely complain. As parents, the signs of vision problems are not easily detectable.

Here’s a big statistic:  1 in 6 children have some form of vision problems.

Good vision is vital to developing skills such as reading, copying and hand eye coordination. So before your children hits the books again this fall book them in for an eye exam with an eye-bar optometrist.

Eye exams are covered under provincial health insurance when you show your child’s health card. This means that there is no out-of-pocket cost for the eye exam.

Book your child’s eye exam.