Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, many of us have modified our work environments and moved our office into our home spaces. This can potentially pose mental and physical challenges as our time of isolation, distancing and quarantine continues.
For those who were once in collaborative offices, the isolation of working from home can be difficult to adjust to. We all have unique situations that come with different challenges to navigate. If working from home is new to you, you may be struggling with how to define work and home-life boundaries, or perhaps the overall stress with the COVID-19 global event is weighing on you.
These are all understandable responses to an unprecedented time. FYidoctors wants to provide you with five tips that could be helpful as you manage the uncertainties that come with working from home.
5 Tips for Working From Home:
If your home allows for it, create an entirely different space for work versus personal time. This is important because it allows you to set boundaries between home-life and business. A different space will help you concentrate and will also cue your mind and body to relax in personal spaces when the workday is done.
A work set-up might simply be comprised of a desk in a quiet area away from distractions. Try to make it as comfortable as possible—use a chair that will support your back and a desk that is appropriately level with your line of sight.
Consider developing a work routine. Think back to when you did go into the office. You likely had a routine you followed every morning. Maybe you visited your favourite coffee shop or went to the gym, then got dressed in your work attire. Create new routines at home. Make yourself a drip coffee, try home fitness sessions before the work day, and you can even put on your work clothes if you think it would help you get in the right frame of mind!
Everyone’s situation is different—set up a routine that works for you. If children or other family members need your attention, try setting boundaries with your family to increase your productivity in both work and personal life. This could mean taking turns doing chores, allocating silent times throughout the day or coordinating family-wide breaks.
Now more than ever, you may be tempted to stay glued to your screens all day. Virtual connectivity is how we stay close to the people in our lives, for work and leisure. At home, you have fewer opportunities to interact outside screen time than working in an office, where you likely had regular face to face meetings with your colleagues.
Prolonged periods of computer work increase your exposure to blue light, a naturally occurring wavelength of light that is generally known to produce wakefulness. If exposed for longer periods however, blue light can be disruptive and potentially cause eye strain. FYidoctors recommends taking regular breaks from your screens throughout the day to give your eyes much needed rest. Consider turning off interior lighting, to reduce the amount of bright light on your eyes. For more tips on reducing eye strain visit our computer eye strain prevention blog.
While on your break consider using the time to meditate and take care of your mental health. Apps like Calm or Insight Timer can help you relieve anxiety and provide tools to cope with periods of stress. You could also go for a walk, read a book, organize your home space, or phone friends who may also be socially distanced.
Working remotely is isolating. You may be accustomed to bouncing ideas off colleagues or collaborating on projects with you team. With an abundance of technology around us, these interactions can still occur virtually. Tools like Facetime, Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow for group video chats. There are also video chat options through social applications like Facebook messenger and WhatsApp.
It is very important to continue to reach out to others. This is a stressful and isolating time for many people but hearing familiar voices and keeping up a routine of connecting will be beneficial for your mental health in the long run. To limit screen time, you can always opt for a phone call instead of video chat.
Sitting in one spot for 8 hours a day isn’t doing you any favours— in any workspace! While taking a break from your screens, why not take five minutes to stretch? Common problem areas are the neck and back for individuals who are at work in front of the computer all day. Relieve potential pain by engaging in stretches or yoga poses that target specific areas of discomfort. Invest in a foam roller to ease out the particularly tight muscles.
Tools like Class Pass offer online workouts you can do from home. Many gyms and trainers are also providing IGTV workouts you can participate in remotely.
When the workday is done, enjoy your personal time. It may be difficult to detach from work if you have a stressful job. Taking a moment to spend quality time with family members or participating in a hobby that is pleasurable to you will allow you to recharge and give renewed focus to your next workday.
Working from home can be an adjustment for many who don’t have experience with it. Living socially distanced from others is unusual and difficult but it’s the new normal we all must adapt to. While there are unique challenges for everyone, we hope these tips will be useful as you create your workspace within your home.
For more information on how you can be mindful of your vision and overall wellness, read about The Link Between Eye Health and Overall Wellness.
You can also discover more helpful resources on our health and wellness blog page.
Paul Frank frames are influenced by mid-century modern design, music and pop culture. By incorporating bright colours, the company has attracted an almost cult-like following for Paul Frank’s take on everyday objects.
*Price based on 1.5 index single vision lens. Available at select clinics only. Some restrictions apply. Valid until December 31, 2020. Doctors of Optometry.
COVID-19 has caused an increased and warranted concern regarding hand-hygiene, and how that may affect the use of contact lenses. You may be wondering, is it still safe to use contacts given the COVID-19 circumstances?
FYidoctors wants to assure you that if you continue to use proper hygiene procedures, contact lenses remain safe to use. These procedures include properly washing your hands before and after touching both your contacts and your eyes and disinfecting your contact lenses regularly with every use.
Much of the concern surrounds the fact that contact lens wearers are more prone to touching their face. This can also be true for those who use spectacles especially reading glasses, which can be set down and picked up multiple times during a day. Proper hand washing, surface cleansing, and washing your glasses are important precautions to minimize any risk of contamination.
FYidoctors has compiled a how-to list of the proper procedures to follow when putting on your eye wear. Please note that these procedures should always be adhered to—whether COVID-19 is present in our environments or not.
How to Safely Use Contact Lens and Eyewear
1. Always wash your hands before touching your contact lenses.
We can’t stress enough the importance of hand washing. Wash your hands before you put in your contacts and before you remove them. The Government of Canada has stated proper hand washing means 20 seconds carefully with water and soap, including the back of your hands, palms, between your fingers and under fingernails. Dry your hands with unused towels to avoid the introduction of bacteria before you touch your eyes. Turn off the tap using paper towel. Wash your hands frequently, throughout the day.
2. Dispose of your Dailies or disinfect your Weeklies and Monthlies contacts.
If you use daily disposable contacts, throw them away after one use. If you reuse your contact lenses, follow the manufacturer instructions on how to regularly disinfect them.
3. If you are sick, discontinue contact use.
Consistent with the guidance given under normal circumstance, don’t use your contacts if you have cold or flu-like symptoms. Touching your eyes and contacts will only aggravate this area, and potentially spread infection, such as conjunctivitis, to your eyes.
4. Don’t forget to wash your eye glasses too.
If you become sick and discontinue contact use, or if you wear glasses as your form of correction, proper precautions must be followed to clean spectacles. Viruses like COVID-19 can exist on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Often we are removing our glasses throughout the day (more so for those with reading glasses), so it is essential that they are disinfected regularly. The safest way to clean and sanitize spectacles is with warm (not hot) water and dish soap. Avoid harsh cleaners that contain ammonia and isopropyl alcohol, which could potentially destroy the coating on your glasses.
Both The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Ocular Research & Education and Alcon, a contacts lens manufacturer, have released evidence-based statements on the subject of COVID-19 and contacts. They reiterate contacts are safe to use, however, only when the proper hygiene precautions are followed, such as properly washing your hands before and after touching contacts and disinfecting your contact lenses.
While it is an understandably stressful time, we want to assure you that regular contact use is safe with proper hygiene and precautions. These procedures should be followed regardless of COVID-19. Safe hygiene is necessary to protect yourself from viruses.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to an FYidoctors clinic near you to learn more about contact lens safety or if you have any questions or concerns.
FYidoctors is committed to providing you with insight on the latest eye care information and resources as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
For more information on FYidoctors’ response, visit our COVID-19 information page.
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education: COVID-19 and contact lens wear: what do eye care practitioners and patients need to know?
The Government of Canada: Reduce the Spread of COVID-19
Many of us are isolated at home, which has caused some challenges and opportunities when it comes to cooking. You may be learning new recipes and techniques or getting creative with limited ingredients.
After day 10 of being at home, you may be asking yourself—what should I eat next? There are engaging ways to learn how to cook, even from home. If you are struggling—or interested in learning something new—you can always try online resources like Instructables or Tasty.
Having a balanced diet is important in maintaining overall health and improving eyesight. FYidoctors has compiled a list of five freezable eye-healthy meals, for you and your family to make at home.
1. Nutrient Rich Minestrone Soup
This comforting soup is packed with flavour and nutrients. The tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, while carrots include beta-carotene—a substance that itself converts into vitamin A which helps protect the surface of your eyes by strengthening barriers to bacteria and viruses. Kidney beans are a source of Zinc, which helps your body absorb vitamin A. All this is excellent for your vision, and it’s a one pot recipe that can be easily frozen to enjoy at a later time.
· 1 tbsp olive oil
· 2 carrots, diced
· 3 celery stalks, diced
· ½ a yellow onion, diced
· 2 ½ cups of diced tomatoes
· 3 cups of chicken broth
· 2 cups of kidney beans
· ½ cup elbow pasta
· 1 tsp dried oregano
· Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, brown the onion, carrots and celery. Add the kidney beans then add the diced tomatoes. Pour the chicken broth in and let everything come to a simmer. Add the elbow pasta and cook until noodles are al dente. Add oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Lentil and Black Bean Burgers
Beans are powerful when it comes to eye health! Lentils and black beans are rich in Zinc, a mineral that helps produce Vitamin A in your body. Try this vegetarian take on a hamburger for a healthy alternative to a fun classic.
· 14 oz can of red lentils
· 14 oz can of black beans
· ½ cup bread crumbs
· 1 tbsp olive oil
· 1 large egg
· ½ diced white onion
· ¼ cup minced parsley
· 1 sliced tomato
· 4 slices of American cheese
· 4 hamburger buns
Wash lentils and black beans in cold water, then dry on a pan with a paper towel. In a large bowl crush the dried lentils and black beans. Combine with breadcrumbs, egg, onion and parsley until the mixture is sticky and moldable. Form the mixture into 4 hamburger patties and set on a plate. Put the plate into the fridge for 20 minutes until the shape is firm and holds together. Heat a pan with olive oil. Fry each patty on both sides until browned. Assemble your burgers in their buns with cheese and tomato (and whatever fixing you enjoy)!
3. Savoury Tuna and Pea Casserole
This healthy entrée is comforting and easy to freeze for later. Tuna is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which can help adults prevent age-related macular degeneration. Peas are also excellent for vision because they contain the carotenoid pigment lutein, which can reduce the risk of cataracts.
· 4 (4 oz) cans of tuna, drained
· 1 cup of frozen peas
· 4 cloves of garlic, minced
· 2 tsp chili flakes
· 400g of macaroni pasta of choice
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
· ½ cup breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the dried macaroni, let cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Once noodles are cooked combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread evenly in a 12in x 12in pan and sprinkle breadcrumbs on the surface. Bake in a 350°F for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
4. Healthy Green Pepper Breakfast Burrito
This is a simple dish that goes a long way! The green peppers are excellent for your vision because they contain both Vitamin A and lutein. Black beans are also a terrific source of zinc.
· ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese
· 4 large whole grain tortillas
· ¼ of a red onion thinly sliced
· ½ cup rinsed and dried black beans
· ½ cup chopped green pepper
Lay all the tortillas out on a clean surface. Portion all the remaining ingredients between the four tortillas in an even line horizontally across each. Wrap the burrito by folding in the sides, then folding up the bottom end over
the filling. Roll the cylinder up tightly. Package the burritos with aluminum foil to either freeze for later or to heat up in your oven!
5. Fresh Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Treat yourself to an eye-healthy smoothie for breakfast. The bananas are a rich source of Vitamin A, while the coconut milk will charge you with a mighty dose of antioxidants.
· 2 frozen bananas
· 1 tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
· 1 tsp cocoa powder
· 1/2 tsp cinnamon
· 1 tbsp hemp hearts (optional)
· 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
· 1/2 cup water (or until you've reached desired thickness)
· Optional: Add a dash of pure peppermint extract to make it a mint chocolate smoothie
Add all ingredients to a blender. Start by pulsing on low and slowly increase the speed. If the mixture is too thick, add water to loosen. You can also freeze this mixture in an airtight container as a healthy substitute to ice cream!
Freezable meals are convenient, especially if you have to a make a large volume and may not have the chance to visit a grocery store regularly. When you freeze your meals, remember to use freezable containers or bags to keep your food tasting fresh. You can double any of these recipes to scale how much you want to make and save for later.
FYidoctors hopes these recipes will spark your imagination in the kitchen while you’re at home and potentially struggling for new ideas to cook for your family.
Feel free to get creative! These recipes are guidelines and we encourage you to swap out ingredients for what you have on hand. For even more eye-healthy recipes check out our recipes page on our blog.
Welcome to the world of Sacori. A specially crafted line of frames launched in collaboration with Arlene Dickinson a two-time best-selling author, influential entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Arlene worked closely with the FYidoctors design team to develop a core line of frames exclusive to FYidoctors | Visique. Sacori eyewear is made for people who want their frames to match their spirit and know that style and substance does not have to mean expensive.
Sacori frames are meticulously crafted and offer the very best in materials and design. When paired together with our high-quality Canadian made lenses, Sacori is simply the new standard of premium eyewear.
At participating FYidoctors, when you refer a new patient to your clinic, we'll give you a $25 coupon to put towards your next purchase of eyewear. Plus, each new patient that you send to your clinic ALSO benefits!
They will receive a $25 coupon when they book a full eye exam, to put towards their first purchase of eyewear and continue benefiting when they refer new patients. It's a great way to get new eyewear and help your friends and family with all of their vision care needs.
*Refer It Forward Program is not applicable to our Ontario locations and can vary in Quebec. See in-store for details.
Stop by any participating FYidoctors location to learn more about our Refer It Forward program or to book a complete eye exam.
FYidoctors - Grande Prairie is open for eye-related emergencies. We know this is a stressful time and we remain intent on serving our patients the best we can. We are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for that reason, we are currently focusing our services on urgent patient care only.
Please call us if you require an emergency appointment.
Grande Prairie FYidoctors are optometrists who work hard for you. We love to solve problems for our patients, always taking that extra time to answer questions about eye care. Offering same day appointments for glasses repairs or contact renewals, we also pride ourselves on our eyewear. Visit us for speciality contact lens fittings and custom-made Tom Davies. Our eye clinic supports various local charities around Grande Prairie, including the Festival of Trees and the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Dr Rahul Sharma has been practicing as a fully qualified optometrist since 2009. In that time, he has worked in hospitals, private practice, large chains and has also owned and operated his own clinics. Dr Sharma’s focus has always been to help people — which is why he became an optometrist. He has treated patients all over the world, from the United Kingdom where he grew up, to West Africa with charity work, to Canada where he chose to settle down. Outside of work, Dr Sharma enjoys the great outdoors and exploring Canada’s scenic beauty.
Dr. Christina Bayer grew up in Ontario where she graduated as a Canada scholar and received the Governor-General’s award for academic excellence. She was inspired to study optometry when students from the University came into her classroom to talk about disease prevention & detection through routine eye care. She went on to study Science at the University of Waterloo and was accepted into the School of Optometry in 1994. Dr. Bayer graduated in 1998, after interning in a multi-disciplinary practice in Philadelphia where she gained experience in managing various ocular pathologies and surgical pre & post-operative care.
She moved to Grande Prairie in 1998 and has served the community’s optometric needs ever since. She enjoys all aspects of eye care and has a special interest in educational eye exams and vision therapy. She and her husband Morley have done missionary eye care in Romania & Costa Rica and look forward to doing more in the future. Christina has been an active member in the community and committed member of her church where she teaches Sunday School and co-leads a life group. Together with her husband, she is thoroughly enjoying raising their 3 children.
Dr. Bayer, a native Albertan, graduated from the University of Waterloo with honours, obtaining his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1994. He started practicing in the Edmonton area for three years, then moved to Calgary to start his own practice at Signal Hill Centre.
In 2001, he moved to Grande Prairie to join Northern Vision Centre. Dr. Bayer has enjoyed his time in the Peace Region, serving both Grande Prairie and the various FYidoctors clinics in the region, and is proud to be one of the founders of FYidoctors. Morley has done missionary eye care in Brazil, Costa Rica and Romania over the years. Dr. Bayer enjoys his time outside of the clinic with his wife Christina and three children, serving at his church, as well as coaching his son’s hockey & soccer in the Grande Prairie leagues.
Dr. Jeremy Begalke was born in Camrose, Alberta, but moved to Grande Prairie in time for Grade 2, so he considers himself a true local. He attended undergraduate studies at G.P.R.C., where he received Valedictorian honours for the highest academic record over all programs.
Jeremy graduated from optometry school at the University of Waterloo in 2001. During his schooling, he developed a passion for helping with eyecare in Third World countries. Within a few months of graduation, he participated in his first Third World eye clinic in northern Mexico. Since then he has helped out in Cambodia, Burma, and Zanzibar.
Jeremy met his wife, Esther, in Vancouver in 2004, and they were married in November 2005 on Vancouver Island. They have made their home in Grande Prairie since 2005 and are active in the community with various community groups and their church. They have two young children, who are "the brightest joys" in their lives.
Esther joined the eyecare team that Jeremy led for the Zanzibar project and also looks forward to future involvement together with her husband.
At the local FYidoctors office, Jeremy has a special interest in screening children for potential eye issues at ages as young as newborn. He also has a special interest in the treating eye injuries and diseases for any age.
Originally from Saskatoon, Dr Len Brezac attended the College of Pharmacy and received a degree in biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan. He graduated from the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry in 1991. Dr Brezac joined NVC/ FYI Doctors GP in 2002.
Len spent 4 years in Ontario establishing a private practice and working as a Clinical Supervisor at the Centre for Contact Lens Research at the School of Optometry in Waterloo. Returning to British Columbia in 1998, he associated with Pacific Eye Doctors in Delta before becoming the Clinical Director of TLC Laser Eye Center, Vancouver. He has been co-managing refractive surgery patients since 1994.
Len has been involved in FDA studies of Orthokeratology (over night corneal reshaping contacts). With his extensive clinical experience, Dr Brezac’s primary role as Lead OD of FYidoctors Grande Prairie is to ensure that patients receive the best and safest form of vision correction to ensure optimal visual outcome.
His secondary mandate is focusing on patient care by ensuring that the clinic is the leader in advancing technologies. “I’m proud that we are a part FYI. It allows us to stay current with new technology used to detect eye disease for the benefit of our patients.”
Len is a former council member of the British Columbia Association of Optometrists and Alberta Association of Optometrists.
Len and his wife Robbin have 2 children that are very active. You can often find Len coaching at the hockey rink or on the Wolves soccer pitch. Len has developed a special interest in children’s vision and is quickly able to make children comfortable in their eye exam experience. Len welcomes all new and past patients to the office.
Dr. Jodi Goff was born and raised in the Peace Region and has called Grande Prairie home since 1995. She graduated from the Composite High School in 2001 following which she completed the pre-requisite Optometry courses at the Grande Prairie Regional College and the University of Alberta. Dr. Goff graduated with a Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Waterloo in 2008. Her clinical externship was completed at Omni Eye Services in Atlanta, GA which specializes in diagnosis, treatment and surgery for ocular diseases. During this time, she developed proficiency in the early detection of many ocular health conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Dr. Goff joined FYidoctors Grande Prairie immediately following her graduation in 2008. She enjoys all facets of her work and is passionate about providing exceptional eye care to her patients of all ages. Dr. Goff is a member in good standing with the Alberta Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
When she is not working, Jodi enjoys traveling and many outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking, cross country skiing and running. She is also proud to be an active member of the After Five Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.
Dr. Joel Heath was born in Calgary, Alberta and lived in the Lethbridge area until he enrolled at the University of Alberta. He attended the University of Waterloo where he completed his Doctor of Optometry degree. After working in Lethbridge and Leduc, Joel and his family happily settled into the community of Grande Prairie. Joel enjoys spending his free time volunteering in town, skiing and playing volleyball and basketball with his family.
Originally from Drayton Valley, Dr. Keith Jefferies has spent time pretty much everywhere else. He lived in Peru for two years performing full-time volunteer service work before attending BYU-Hawaii. There he obtained his biology degree with a minor in biochemistry. He then went on to earn his Doctor of Optometry from the University of Waterloo in 2009.
Dr. Jefferies has a special interest in solving contact lens problems that often require the use of customized contact lenses and he loves working with people to alleviate dry eye. He is the optometrist currently charged with the customer care service at the clinic. Feel free to reach out to him with any feedback you’ve had during your experience with us. He is proud to call Grande Prairie home and enjoys playing the piano and making homemade pasta.
Dr Michael Litchfield is originally from Edmonton. Shortly after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Alberta, Michael set out to attend optometry school at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, where he completed his Doctorate of Optometry in 2012. Already fluent in French, his education also allows him to give eye exams in Spanish.
After finishing school, Dr Litchfield married his wife Erin and moved to northern Alberta. He worked at FYidoctors Peace River for 5 years before moving to Grande Prairie in 2017.
Michael enjoys the performing arts. He plays the piano and has sang with a variety of choirs as well as performed in several community theatrical productions, and where he hopes to continue here in Grande Prairie.