HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR GLASSES

 

  • Always put your glasses on and take them off using two hands, instead of one. By doing that your frame’s sides will remain straight and in the correct alignment. Putting the glasses on and taking them off one-handed can cause the hinge damage, also may stretch the frame out making it too loose for your face.

 

  • Purchase a microfiber optical cleaning cloth and use it regularly. Remember to launder any cloth routinely. Treat your glasses gently during the cleaning. Sometimes it is easy to distort their shape, bend the frames or nose pads. If that happens, it’s better if you do not try to fix the problem yourself but pop into our shop instead where our knowledgeable staff will have tools and skills to mend your glasses promptly. Don’t wipe lenses with a tissue, paper napkin or paper towel. They may have a rough surface, hence may scratch the lenses.

 

  • Use cleaning spray or cleaning tissues.

 

  • Buy an eyeglass repair kit. Keep an eye on the screws that hold the frame together and, if you find one is loose, tighten it gently with a small screwdriver or bring them in to us and we will give them the once over.

 

  • Have your glasses adjusted when they feel uncomfortable or loos, or otherwise once or twice per year.

 

  • Remember to keep your glasses inside a case when you aren’t wearing them. Remember to use the case of the right size for your glasses. Do not put unprotected glasses inside your purse, bag or pocket, the likelihood you scratch the lenses is high.

 

  • Don’t put your glasses on the top of your head. This most likely will stretch or distort your glasses, and there is a greater chance of them falling off and getting damaged that way.

 

  • Don’t put your glasses lens down on a surface as this can result in scratched lenses. Do lay your glasses down with the lenses facing upwards.

 

  • Don’t leave your glasses in a hot car or other places where the glasses can be exposed to high temperatures, these can both case coating damage and distort frame’s shape.

 

  • Don’t sleep with your glasses on as this can bend, break or deform your frame.

DRIVEWEAR LENSES

Drivewear

 

Drivewear lenses are capable of sensing and reacting to varying light conditions both outdoors and behind the windscreen of a car. From bright sunlight with intense, blinding glare, to overcast inclement conditions, Drivewear lenses present the wearer with the optimal visual solution. These lenses provide glare protection through polarization, whilst simultaneously enhancing & protecting vision through photochromics, which respond to both visible and UV light. In this way, Drivewear combines the strengths of two of the most important technologies currently available in protective eyewear Polarized lenses are created by embedding and integrally bonding a thin piece of polarized film within the lens. This film is dyed with dichroic materials, such as iodine crystals and special organic molecules, and stretching the film aligns these dichroic materials in the same direction to form a ‘preferred plane’ to absorb light. When hit by bright, blinding glare, these aligned molecules absorb (block) light in that preferred plane, filtering away the glare to preserve the useful light signal.

 

The technology of Drivewear represents a significant breakthrough in the use of polarization. Typically, efficient polarization only occurs when there are large quantities of absorbers present - that is, when the lenses are very dark. Drivewear lenses utilise a high efficiency polarizer that provides excellent polarizing properties never before found in such a light coloured lens. This has been achieved by pushing polarized manufacturing technologies to new levels of performance and transmittance.

DRIVEWEAR

 OVERCAST / LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS

During overcast weather and on cloudy days, the only active element in the Drivewear lens is the high contrast green/yellow polarizedfilmlayer. This polarizer blocks blinding glare and helps to increase colour contrast, enhancing both object recognition and depth perception for the driver. Light absorption in this state is 68%.

 DAYLIGHT/ DRIVING CONDITIONS

In bright daylight the windshield blocks UV light preventing standard photochromic molecules from activating. However, the visible spectrum photochromic molecules are activated. The lens changes to copper/brown and light absorption increasesto78%,  blockingblindingglareand insuring visual comfort for the driver. As the UV rays are no longer blocked by thecar windshield, the layer of standard Transitionsphotochromic molecules become active. As all 3 technology layers of the lens are active, the colour changes to dark brown and light absorption increases further again to 88% while 100% UV rays are blocked.

BRIGHT LIGHT/ EXTERIOR CONDITIONS

As the UV rays are no longer blocked by the car windshield, the layer of standard Transitions photochromic molecules become active. As all 3 technology layers of the lens are active, the colour changes to dark brown and light absorption increases further again to 88% while 100% UV rays are blocked.

Hayfever

Hayfever is one of the most common allergic conditions and it is estimated that there are more than 10 million people with hayfever in England. Here are some simple tips to keep hayfever at bay this summer.

Francesca Marchetti from the College of Optometrists advises: “Hayfever can be a real bore during the summer months and cause considerable discomfort for your eyes. Hayfever sufferers endure symptoms including itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, runny or blocked nose and difficulty in breathing. Exposure to pollen may also set off an allergic reaction, leaving eyes swollen and weepy. If you suffer from hayfever your optometrist can advise on how to reduce your symptoms and make things a little more bearable during the summer. In the meantime these tips should help to alleviate your symptoms. ”

Avoid pollen as much as possible by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster.

If your wear contact lenses, ask your optometrist whether you should wear your contact lenses when you have hayfever, and make sure you have an up to date pair of spectacles to wear instead. The level of pollen is usually lower in the evenings so you may find the symptoms ease during that time of the day.

Wear sunglasses which may help to protect your eyes from dust and pollen.

Visit your pharmacist or optometrist to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate the itching and swelling. If you wear contact lenses remember to check if you can use the drops while your lenses are in.

MIGRAINES

People can get migraines or headaches for a variety of different reasons such as hormonal factors, stress, or a particular food or drink. However many people seem to forget that another key trigger can be their vision.

For example, some people who are more light-sensitive find that contrasting colours or repetitive patterns can trigger migraines – this could include black words on a white background, stripes on a shirt, the lines on an escalator or flickering lights. This is because these patterns can overexcite the visual part of the brain, overloading it and in some cases triggering migraine.

Professor Bruce Evans, Director of Research at the Institute of Optometry says:

 Vision-related migraines are most often suffered by children, teenagers and young adults, as the brain’s sensitivity can decrease with age. The good news is that if your migraines are triggered by visual factors then your optometrist may be able to help prevent some of the migraines. For example many optometry practices will have a piece of equipment called an ‘intuitive colorimeter’ which they can use to prescribe glasses with coloured lenses which patients can put on when they are exposed to visual triggers. Research using brain imaging (fMRI) indicates that the coloured filters quieten down the over-activity in the visual part of the brain.”

If you are worried about their headaches or migraines:

If you find that you experience headaches after looking at a computer, reading, or doing other close up work, your headache may be vision-related so seek advice from your optometrist

Children who come home from school complaining of headaches may be experiencing eye strain; seek advice from your optometrist if you notice this in your child

If you experience migraines try to keep a diary of when you’re getting them to help you identify triggers. If you notice that your migraines come on when you are exposed to fluorescent lights (for example in an office or supermarket), flickering lights or stripes, then they may be vision-related

For people who have problems working in offices or other environments that have fluorescent lighting; try to get more natural light as some people have found that this helps with their vision-related migraines

CHILDS EYESIGHT

We know it can be a really busy time getting children ready to go back to school, but it’s important that you remain vigilant and are aware of even small changes in your child’s eye health.

Children won’t necessarily say ‘I can’t see that’ or know what is normal when it comes to their vision. Optometrists can play a significant role in detecting and recognising conditions that may affect a child’s sight by ensuring children receive the appropriate vision tests early enough to make effective treatment, if needed, possible.

Many parents used to have sight tests at schools and there’s an expectation that it will be the same for their children. However, sight tests are very rarely carried out in schools today, and screening should not be confused with a full eye examination. Problems with vision can hinder a child’s development which is why we encourage parents to remain vigilant to any changes and to book an appointment with their optometrist if they notice anything that concerns them.

If you are worried your child might have a problem with their eyes then they are never too young to have them examined. It’s essential that any problems are picked up at an early stage when they are more likely to be treated effectively.

Examples of vision hindering a child’s development:

Being short-sighted might prevent the child from reading the whiteboard correctly

If a child is colour-defective, they won’t be able to see colours correctly which could mean they have trouble using colours, for example, in art lessons they may use the wrong colour for the sky or grass

Having a lazy eye (an eye with reduced vision) or being long-sighted can cause the child to have poor hand-eye coordination – this can be problematic in sports lessons

If a child has a lazy eye it can often affect the child’s 3D vision which can again affect hand-eye coordination

If a child is long-sighted, they might struggle with work at close range such as handwriting, reading and concentrating on small print and tasks requiring close focus – in some cases the child’s inability to read something has led to a misunderstanding of the child’s intelligence

GLASSES OR CONTACTS FOR CHILDREN?

A survey into optometrists’ prescribing habits for children and young people has found that a child’s maturity is more important than age in deciding whether they are suitable to be prescribed contact lenses.

A total of 748 practising optometrists participated in the research and more than half of the respondents said their criteria for fitting contact lenses had not changed over the last five years, however nearly half (45%) of optometrists said they would recommend contact lenses as a preferred form of sight correction by the time a child reaches 15.

Deciding whether contact lenses or glasses are the best option for a child can be difficult. As well as age, optometrists take into account the child’s interest and motivation to wear contact lenses, personal hygiene habits and ability to look after them. The most common reasons for parents requesting contact lenses for their children included glasses interfering with sports (46%) and daily activities (13%.)

College member and optometrist Francesca Marchetti says:

“There are pros and cons for contact lenses and glasses but it’s important that parents are aware of all the options available. For children who play a lot of sport or go to dance classes, parents often choose contact lenses above glasses for practical reasons. If a child feels self- conscious about wearing glasses then contact lenses can also be preferable.

Contact lenses have really advanced in the last five years and they are now far more comfortable and, importantly, breathable which is much better for the overall health of the eye.

However contact lenses are not for every child. Hygiene is a key factor in optometrists recommending contact lenses as they must be kept extremely clean to avoid infection. An optometrist would normally issue daily contact lenses for this reason but if a child isn’t ready to have contacts then glasses can be a better option.

Some children also prefer wearing glasses as they’re often seen as fashionable these days.

The most important thing is that it is the child’s choice and a three way conversation between the parent, optometrist and child should take place before a decision is made. Children develop at different ages and it must be taken on a case by case basis to ensure the right decision is reached for that child.”

 

 

 

DO'S AND DON'TS FOR CONTACT LENSES

Contact Lens Do's, Don'ts & what to do if a problem occurs.

BEFORE APPLICATION

Gently shake the blister pack before opening. Peel back the foil lid. Pour the lens into the palm of your hand or if necessary, gently slide the lens out of the container using your forefinger. Ensure that the lens is not inside out and that you have the appropriate lens for the eye. Inspect your lens prior to insertion, do not insert if damaged. When removing your lenses make sure that your hands are clean and completely dry. Blink fully several times, then while looking up, slide the lens down onto the white part of your eye. Remove the lens by gently pinching it between the thumb and forefinger. Do not pinch the eye tissue. If you find the lens is difficult to grasp due to its lubricity, dry your fingers once more and try again. Do not use rewetting drops in this instance.

 DO:

·      Follow your doctor's instructions and call the optical practice if you have any questions.

·      Call your eye care professional if you have any redness, pain, swelling or irritation.

·      Report for regularly scheduled follow-up care. Follow-up care is of utmost importance and it is the patient's responsibility to schedule and keep appointments.

·      Follow your wearing time schedule as prescribed by your doctor.

·      Always thoroughly wash, rinse and dry hands before handling lenses.

·      Add a rewetting drop before removing contact lenses.

·      Clean your lenses after wear and before storage to avoid buildup of tough protein deposits and oily films that are difficult to remove.

·      Be thorough, but careful while cleaning a lens, they can tear, chip or crack.

·      Keep soft lenses moist to prevent tearing.

·      Clean rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses in the palm of your hand instead of between your fingers. Clean from center to edge rather than in a circular motion.

·      Use fresh solution in the storage case each night. Be sure lenses are completely covered with solution when storing in the case.

·      Rinse the storage case wells out with warm tap water then with saline after each use and let air dry with the covers off.

·      Re-clean lenses that have dropped on the floor or on your clothes.

·      Always close drain when working near sink. A dark surface cloth or towel may be used to cover the drain.

·      Wear eye protection now that you wear contact lenses. Racket sports, hockey, etc. demand safety eyewear to avoid serious trauma to the eye.

·      Avoid contact with sprays and aerosols (hairsprays, deodorants, spray paint, oven cleaner, etc.)

·      Apply hairspray, deodorant or spray cologne before lens insertion or keep your eyes tightly closed until the spray has settled. A sprayed lens is very uncomfortable and hard to clean.

·      Avoid harmful vapors and fumes especially in work areas while wearing lenses. Wear safety glasses; work under a hood. Inform your employer that you wear contact lenses so that they can recommend safety eyewear if necessary.

·      Avoid dusty environments; wear eye protection.

·      Use caution when adjusting to temperature extremes such as oven, fireplace, freezer or subzero weather.

·      While inserting the lenses, some patients find it easier to hold back the eye lashes, not just the skin folds above and below the lashes.

·      Keep storage case and a small bottle of lubricant or saline with you at all times for emergency use.

·      Insert contact lenses before you apply all makeup, including lotions and foundations as well as eye cosmetics such as mascara and eye shadow.

·      Use oil-free and fragrance-free makeup.

·      Remove your contact lenses before you remove your eye makeup.

·      Remove all eye makeup daily with a hypoallergenic remover, preferably oil-free.

·      Inform your employer that you wear contact lenses, especially if your job involves unsing eye protection equipment

·      Check your eyes daily to ensure they look well, feel comfortable and your vision is clear.

  

DON'T:

·      DON'T wear the lenses if they have suddenly or consistently become uncomfortable.

·      DON'T wear your lens if you notice a chip or tear in the lens.

·      DON'T exceed your wearing schedule by over-wearing lenses during the adjustment period.

·      DON'T wear your lenses for the maximum of hours if they have not been worn for a few days.

·      DON'T handle your lenses roughly. Avoid contact with fingernails

·      DON'T insert your lenses over a sink with an open drain. A dropped lens looks just like a water bubble.

·      DON'T move around if a lens is dropped. Check your lashes, clothes, shoes and immediate area around you before moving. A wet lens can stick to almost anything. lf you step on it, you can smash or damage the lens.

·      DON'T pick up a dropped lens with your fingernail or push it along a rough surface to lift it. Dampen your finger so the lens can stick to it.

·      DON'T start using different brands of solution simultaneously. Introduce them one at a time so if there is a problem you can identify the cause.

·      DON'T touch the tip of solution bottles, it can contaminate a sterile bottle of solution. Same applies to lubricating (rewetting) drops.

·      DON'T try to wear a soft lens that was left out of solution and has become brittle or if it has taken a long time to locate a dropped lens. Put the lens in saline for at least two hours; then clean it well before wearing.

·      DON'T wet lenses by putting them in your mouth.

·      DON'T use tap water on soft lenses; use only saline or disinfecting solutions for rinsing.

·      DON'T overfill the storage case. An overfilled well can cause the lens to float up to the container edge and be chipped or cut when the lid is snapped or screwed on.

·      DON'T force apart a soft lens that folded over onto itself. Put the lens in the palm of your hand and soak it with saline or disinfecting solution until it works itself out with gentle massage.

·      DON'T rub the lenses with a towel, a tissue, or a shirt tail. The lens may be scratched.

·      DON'T swim or shower while wearing your lenses. Any water (i.e. rain or tears) may flush lenses out of your eyes.

·      DON'T wear your lenses if you have a cold or the flu.

·      DON'T leave your lenses in "hot sots", i.e.TV tops, glove compartments, window sills, hot sand, etc., they can warp or melt.

·      DON'T sleep in your lenses without your doctor's approval.

·      DON'T ride in open cars without eye protection. The lenses can blow off the eye.

·      DON'T handle lenses with greasy hands; i.e. deodorants or cold cream soaps can leave greasy residue on your hands.

·      DON'T wear makeup (or apply your lenses) if your eyes are swollen, red or infected.

·      DON'T share contact lenses. DON'T share makeup.

·      DON’T use lenses after the expiry date

·      DON'T apply mascara at the base of you lashes. Start from the midpoint and extend to the tips. DON'T wear false eyelashes.

·      DON'T remove waterproof mascara while lenses are on the eye; it is difficult to remove without cleaners that are abrasive to lens.

·      DON'T use eyelash thickeners or lengtheners, they contain fibers and additives that can contaminate lenses.

·      DON'T apply eyeliner above the lower lash line. You will block glands that produce the tear film making lens wear more comfortable.

POSSIBLE PROBLEMS 

It is possible that the problems might occur and may be first notice as one or more of the following signs :

·      Feeling of something in the eye

·      Uncomfortable lens

·      Eye redness

·      Sensitivity to light

·      Burning, stinging, itching or watering eyes

·      Reduced sharpness of vision

·      Rainbows or halos around lights

·      Discomfort/ pain

·      Severe or persistent dry eyes

 

These symptoms if ignored can lead to more serious complications!

 

WHAT TO DO IF PROBLEM OCCURS

·     
If any of the above signs or symptoms occur IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THE LENSE (ES)

·      Inspect your eye in a mirror looking for signs or irregularity

·      If the discomfort or problem stops, insert a fresh, new lens

·      If the above symptoms continue after insertion of a new lens (es) remove the lens (es) immediately and promptly contact your eye care professional. A serious condition such as infection, corneal ulcer or iritis may be present. These conditions could progress rapidly and may lead to permanent loss of vision. Less serious reactions such as abrasion, epithelial staining and bacterial conjunctivitis must be managed and treated early to avoid complications.

·      If the lens sticks (stops moving), apply several drops of a lubricant solution and wait until the lens begins to move freely on the eye. If this problem persists, consult your eye care professional.

·      Occasional dryness may be relieved by blinking fully several times or by the use of lubricating and rewetting drops. If dryness persists consult your eye care professional.

·      If the lens decenters on the eye, close the eye and gently massage the eyelid to return the lens into the central position. If this problem persists consult your eye care professional.

·      If he lens tears in your eye, it will feel uncomfortable. Do not panic, as it is impossible to lose a contact lens or a part of a contact lens behind the eye. Remove the pieces carefully by pinching them, as you would do for normal lens removal. If the lens pieces do not seem to remove easily, do not pinch the eye tissue. Rinse with saline. If this does not help, contact your eye care professional for assistance.

 

 

JIMMY CHOO EYEWEAR

JIMMY CHOO EYEWEAR

 

Founded in 1996, Jimmy Choo started out in a small boutique selling shoes in East London. Today, the brand can be seen on style icons from celebrities to royalty, musicians to head of state. 

Jimmy Choo eyewear shows sophisticated styles that blend harmoniously with utmost quality and versatility.

Jimmy Choo glasses range includes beautiful colour palettes and luxury décor, making them ideal for someone fashionable, and with an undeniable individual style.

The latest Jimmy Choo eyewear collection varies from classis to provocative looks. Frames designs are refined with shimmering and sophisticated details.

The 2015 Jimmy Choo opthalmic frames and sunglasses have already arrived to our Deptford based shop. Visit us today to try them on!

You will have a touch of glamour and elegance in your everyday life wearing Jimmy Choo eyewear. Don't wait any longer just come in to see it, judge it, try it and most likely buy it. 




GLAUCOMA

GLAUCOMA

April 14, 2015

GLAUCOMA

Overview 

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain, is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. This may be because the pressure is higher than normal, or because the nerve is more susceptible to damage from pressure. This many affect one or both of your eyes. 

Because you often cannot feel the pressure, and the damage happens slowly, you may not know you have glaucoma until a lot of damage has been done. That damage cannot be put right, so it is particularly important that you find out early. The best way to make sure of this is to have a regular eye examination with an optometrist. If there are any signs which could indicate glaucoma, the optometrist will refer the patient for further investigation at the hospital, where a diagnosis can be made and treatment given if necessary.

If you have glaucoma and don't treat it, your eyesight will gradually get worse, and you could eventually go blind. The good news is that treatment with eye drops may stop it getting worse.

Who gets Glaucoma? 

Anyone can develop glaucoma. The risk of developing glaucoma goes up if you are :

  • aged over 40 
  • very short- sighted 
  • of African or Caribbean origin
  • closely related to someone with glaucoma

Glaucoma is often hereditary, so close relatives of people with glaucoma have a greater risk and therefore need annual check-ups. The risk of glaucoma goes up as you get older and the NHS pays for check-ups for those over 40 years of age who are the parent, child or sibling of someone with glaucoma. 

How is glaucoma detected ?

Because the early stages of glaucoma do not cause symptoms, the best way to catch it early is to have regular eye examinations.

There are three main tests to see if you have glaucoma. At Sight Centre we perform all of them.

The first one is where the optometrist looks at the nerve at the back of your eye using a special torch called a opthalmoscope or a machine called a slit lamp. We may also take a photograph of the nerve. This can be useful for future visits, to help them see if things have changed. 

The second test is where the optometrist measures the pressure inside your eye. This may be done by gently blowing a puff of air at your eye, or by numbing your eye with drops and then gently pressing an instrument called a tonometer against it. The test does not hurt, although the puff of air may make you jump a bit.

The third test is where the optometrist tests how wide your visual field is - how far you can see around you when you are looking straight ahead. 

Sometimes you can have glaucoma even if you have low pressure, which is why you will usually have at least two of these three tests. If the results are not clear, you may be asked to do one or more of the tests again on a different day.

What will happen if I have glaucoma?

If the optometrist suspects that you may have glaucoma, he or she will refer you to an apthalmologist. If you do have glaucoma, you will be given eye drops to use every day. They will reduce the pressure and help control the build-up of fluid. They will not hurt.

Because you will not feel different in any way, you will not be able to tell that the treatment is working. This is why it is very important that you : 

  • go to your follow-up appointments; and
  • keep on using drops. If you find it hard to use eye drops, you can get a special bottles or holders to make it easier.

In small number of cases, an ophthalmologist may recommend that you have an operation to drain away the fluid.

There is no cure for glaucoma but it can be treated effectively, normally with eye drops. any existing eye damage will probably be permanent, but your sight could get much worse if you stop the treatment. It is very important that you use the eye drops every day, even if you cannot tell that they are helping.

Closed- angel glaucoma 

This is a type of glaucoma where the drainage channels of your eye are blocked or damaged in some way. Sometimes the increased pressure can come and go,and some people get short burst of pain or blurred vision. This can happen when your pupil gets bigger, so it may be at night or when you are in dark area ( like in the cinema). Other symptoms are an ache in the eye which comes and goes, red eye, or seeing haloes around lights. Or it can be a bit like looking through a haze or mist. 

People who are more likely to get closed-angle glaucoma are people over 40, women, people of Asian origin, people with family history of closed-angle glaucoma, and people who are very long-sighted. 

For more information visit:

www.nhs.uk

www.glaucoma-asspciation.com

www.lookafteryoureyes.org

 

CAZAL EYEWEAR

CAZAL EYEWEAR 

CAZAL EYEWEAR is a German brand, which provides men and women with distinctive, eye catching designer eyewear. Carl Zalloni (1937- 2012) launched Cazal in 1975 and the brand continues to be at forefront of optical fashion.  

Cazal remains one of the most iconic eyewear brands in the world and certainly one of the most revered. Vintage Cazals are arguably at the very core of the collectible eyewear market, with some original models frequently fetching four-figure sums.

Cazal created its distinctive sunglasses style in the 80’s and quickly became famous for its extravaganza. Over and over, these legendary sunglasses can be seen in movies, music videos and on some A-list celebrities, such as: Brad Pitt, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Spike Lee, Trey Songz, Jay-Z, Usher, Will Smith and Will i.am.

Cazal eyewear can be described as flashy yet elegant. The typical Cazal profile is given very special emphasis by the metal elements. An eye-catching logo on the temple breaks up the otherwise rather purist looks.

Visit our Deptford store to try the latest Cazal models.

WILLIAM MORRIS LONDON

 

March 23, 2015

 

WILLIAM MORRIS LONDON - BRAND OVERVIEW

Seventeen years ago, Robert William Morris established William Morris London to offer designer glasses to every audience. Today the company is a respected global optical brand and William Morris spectacles are sold all over the world. In fact the brad has grown so successfully that the current William Morris collections incorporateYoung Wills, William Morris London, William Morris Retro London, William Morris Black Label, William Morris Eternal, William Morris Classic and are available in over 40 countries.

William Morris frames are continually evolving providing every audience with superb original contemporary and more classic styles. The acetate and metal frames inspired by current trends are available in various shapes (wayfarer, aviator, rectangle, square and oval) and are beautifully interpreted for their customers. 

CONTACT LENSES

Why wear Contact Lenses (CLs) instead of Spectacles?

Contact Lenses offer different people different things. Some people wear CLs for cosmetic purposes, while others wear CLs as they give them the freedom to pursue sports like rugby and football or other outdoor activities. In some professions spectacles can be a hindrance and contact lenses can overcome this. In certain instances CLs can give better vision than specs.

Who is suitable for Contact Lenses?

As technology advances newer sophisticated materials are expanding the choice of lenses and the type of people who are suitable for contact lens wear. To find out if there is a type of contact lens suitable for you, please ask your optician.

What are contact lenses?

Contact lenses are small but powerful lenses that rest on the cornea of the eye and correct any refractive error the wearer my have. There are two main types of CLs:

  • Hard: Rigid Gas Permeable 
  • Soft: Hydrogels & Silicon Hydrogels   

What are Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses?

They are hard lenses partially made from silicon. Unlike old designs of hard lenses RGPs allow oxygen to travel through the lens allowing the eye to ‘breathe.’ Traditionally they have provided better vision, fewer complications and a longer lifetime when compared to soft lenses. 

However, they do not provide the initial comfort of a soft lens and wearing times have to be gradually increased until you are wearing them most of the time.

What are Soft Hydrogel Lenses?

These are lenses made from ‘HEMA’ or similar plastics which hold water within the lens substance. The amount of water can make up to 90% of the lens and this gives the lens its comfort when on the eye. Soft hydrogels can either be: 

  • daily disposable (after wearing the lens for a day it is thrown away). 
  • monthly disposable (after wearing the lens it is cleaned and stored in solution but after either two, three or four weeks the lens is again thrown away).

What are Silicone Hydrogel Lenses?

Hydrogels made with silicon allow greater transmission of oxygen through the lens. This means that the eye will look and feel fresher at the end of the day when compared to normal hydrogels and there are fewer complications with silicone hydrogels. If you have ever been told to stop wearing CLs due to complications caused by lack of oxygen, these lenses could give you another option.

 I have astigmatism? Can I still wear CLs?

Astigmatism is when the eye focuses light in two different planes, instead of focusing light to a sharp point. This often happens when the front of the eye, the cornea, is not spherical (like a football) but is shaped elliptically (like a rugby ball). Astigmatic blur will not be corrected by a simple spherical design of soft CL. It needs a more complicated toric CL that will correct both meridians of blur.

Spherical 

The rays of light in all meridians are focused at the same point.

Astigmatism

Rays of light 90 degrees to each other are focused at two different points. 

I need spectacles for reading. Can I still wear CLs?

People aged 40 and over start to lose the ability to focus at near, a term named presbyopia and when this happens they normally need bifocals, varifocals or separate reading specs. People often think they have to wear specs to correct this but both soft and hard lenses can correct for presbyopia. So if you are having problems reading, ask your optician about them. You don’t have to be a current wearer of contact lenses to try these.

Guidance on wearing Contact Lenses

Do:

  • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and then dry your hands of all water.
  • Trim your nails regularly
  • Keep your lens case clean and replace it regularly – a dirty case can harbour bacteria
  • Return for regular aftercares
  • Remember that we are only a phone call away if you have any questions about your contact lenses or eyes
  • Arrange replacement scheme so you always have enough lenses & if you wear hard lenses that you have insurance
  • Make sure you have an up to date pair of spectacles
  • Remember lenses can’t be lost behind the eye
  • Use the solutions and care regime that your practitioner advised and follow the guidelines laid out by the manufacturer.
  • Check with your practitioner before changing your solutions or care regime.
  • Remember contact lenses must be cleaned and disinfected between every use
  • Remember rubbing and rinsing your lenses helps remove bacteria and lens deposits
  • Keep an up to date prescription in your wallet
  • Wear your Lenses to every appointment (unless specified otherwise, and bring your spectacles and current contact lens case.

Do not:

  • Use eye drops or medications with contact lenses without speaking to your practitioner first
  • Wear your lenses if you feel unwell or rundown. You could spread a cold or other infection to your eye. If you have an eye infection, see your practitioner before you start wearing the lenses again.
  • Use the same case and solutions after having an eye infection
  • Wear contact lenses if you cannot dedicate the time or money to use them properly.
  • Over wear the lenses
  • Smoke and wear contact lenses

NEVER:

  • Sleep in Lenses unless approval has been given by your practitioner
  • Swim in lenses without goggles and if contaminated with pool/sea water do not continue to wear them.
  • Lick a lens or finger before putting a lens as your saliva can harbour bacteria
  • Use tap water or other unsterile substances with your contact lenses 
  • Use homemade saline
  • Wear lenses longer than the advised manufacturer’s wearing scheme.
  • Leave lenses out of solution
  • Use solutions/care products after their expiration date.

If you decide not to follow the above advice you are significantly increasing the risk of eye infections which can in certain circumstances lead to a severe drop in vision and you may have to cease contact lens wear permanently.

If in doubt take them out and seek the advice of your Contact lens practitioner.

I like the sound of CLs. What happens now?

Everyone who wants CLs needs to have a Fitting Assessment and this is charged as a separate fee for new CL wearers. This covers the professional time measuring the parameters of the eye and the time taken to teach insertion, removal and general handling of the lenses. If it is found that you are not suitable for CLs an Assessment Fee will still need to be paid.

Once you and the Optician are confident in your handling you will be given a trial pair of lenses to try for two weeks. You will then be asked to come back in wearing the lenses (ideally for about four hours) and to bring your spectacles to the appointment. The Optician will test the fit of the CLs and the vision with the lenses in. He will also check that the health of the eye is not affected by the lenses. The Optician may have to alter the prescription based on his finding and ask you to return after trying some different lenses. If everything is ok and both you and the Optician are happy with the CLs, depending on your type of wearing scheme, you can take your lenses and solutions home. We will then ask you to return for regular aftercares to make sure that no problems arise. These are normally every six months and will coincide with picking up your next six months supply.

SUBCONJUNCTIVAL HAEMORRHAGE (SCH)

Just like a bruise on the skin, a subconjunctival haemorrhage is caused when a tiny blood vessel bursts. 

They are often caused by coughing, straining or heavy lifting but sometimes they occur spontaneously. 

Normally, there is only a  small amount of blood that leaks, probably no more than a drop. However,  the blood is squeezed out between the conjunctiva and the sclera below, and as the conjunctiva is clear it looks a lot worse than it actually is. 

They generally self heal over a week or two without requiring any treatment. However, if your eye is uncomfortable then using comfort drops, such as Blink Intensive tears, and a cold compress may make the eye feel more comfortable. 

Recent research has shown a small increase in the risk of stroke in patients with SCH. If it is the first time you have had a SCH then it may be prudent to see your GP for routine blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

They often reoccur after a month or two where the blood vessel has been weakened but if they reoccur several times then it may be worth having a blood test to rule out any blood clotting disorders.

If the whole of the eye is red and there are no visible borders to the haemorrhage, even when you look to the right and left, then this should be assessed by a medical practitioner urgently.

BLEPHARITIS

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflamed eyelids.

You may notice tired, or gritty eyes, which may be uncomfortable in sunlight or a smoky atmosphere. They may be slightly red, and feel as though there is something in them.

What is the cause of blepharitis?

The eyelids have tiny glands in them, especially the lower lids. These glands make lipids that provide a protective oil coating over the tear film and helps stop the tears from breaking up.

As you get older, and particularly if you have dry skin, these glands can block. Without the substance that makes the tears spread, the tears break up, and dry patches develop. These patches make the eyes feel sore or gritty.

Aims of blepharitis treatment:

  • to unblock the glands in the eyelid, which may be infected and inflamed, like acne on the face or a tiny boil?
  • to replace tears if the eyes are dry. 
  • The treatment will your eyes more comfortable, but there is no magic cure and it may return once treatment is ceased. Even with treatment your eyes may remain a little sore, but no harm will come to them and there is nothing to worry about. It's not a serious condition, and there is rarely any damage to your eyes. 

1 Lid Cleaning

Soak some cotton wool in warm water. Rub the cotton wool over the closed eyelids for 2-3 minutes, and repeat. Then clean the edge of the lower eyelid with a cotton bud to remove scales and debris on the edge of the eyelid. Move the cotton bud along the eyelid, using a mirror, and pulling the lid away from the eyeball with the fingers of the other hand. Rub the edge of the lid gently. The warm bathing helps to soften up the scales first. It is preferable to boil the water first to sterilise it, and allow it to cool. 

OLE object

It may be two weeks for any improvement. Bathe 2-3 times a day, gradually reducing the frequency of bathing as the eyes become more comfortable (although bathing does not help everyone). It is safe to stop cleaning, but you may need to start again if the condition returns.

There is a number of dedicated lid hygiene wipes and cleaners such as “Supranettes”, “Lidcare” and “Ocusoft Lid Cleaning Foam.” These are embedded with special cleaning agents which specifically target the secretions produced by blepharitis.

Ask at the reception desk for details.

2 Lubricants

Lubricants can helpful to both assist the spread of your own tears and lubricate the eye, and replace tears if you have ‘dry eyes’. 

  • gels such as ‘Celluvisc’ or ‘Viscotears’ are usually helpful.
  • drops such as ‘Systane’ or 'Blink Intensive Eye Drops' may help.
  • Lipid replacement sprays, such as actimist, in some cases can help.

Warm Compresses

The lipids produced by the glands in the lids tend to be liquid at body temperature (36 degrees C). As the lids are exposed they tend to be a bit cooler and the lipids solidify. This leads to the lipids not spreading so well blocking the glands and allowing bacteria to inhabit the lash margins and glands. The bacteria can then release endotoxins into the the tears which can make the eyes feel uncomfortable, itchy and burning. Warm compresses will increase the temperature of the lipids to flow more like a liquid which will help unblock the glands. 

4 Antibiotic ointment/Antibiotic tablets

If the cleaning is not helpful, an antibiotic ointment may be required. Try it for 3 months (chloramphenicol  or fucithalmic). As the condition can return once treatments are stopped,  you may need a repeat prescription from your GP.

In severe blepharitis, antibiotic tablets may be an option, especially if associated with skin condition, such as acne rosacea, or very dry skin, or if the edge of your eyelid stays red with many scales. Antibiotic tablets are NOT suitable for everyone, particularly if you use several other tablets or have stomach problems. You will need to discuss this treatment with your GP first.

Oxytetracycline 250mg twice daily (or doxcycline 50mg once daily [or erythromycin]) is usually used for 3 months. The benefit lasts several months after this treatment, but you may need to use further lid hygiene to stop recurrence.

Other causes of sore eyes

Your eyes should be checked for other conditions such as glaucoma, by an optometrist; occasionally new spectacles may make the eyes more comfortable.

You may have dry eyes (or at least poorly spreading tears) and replacement tears may help, as described. You may have an allergy, particularly if the eyes are itchy: try Optichrom or another anti-allergy drop.

CATARACTS

Cataracts  

The eye works by focusing images onto a light sensitive layer called the retina. The majority of power comes from the cornea at the front of the eye and then the fine focusing from distance objects to near objects is controlled by the lens within the eye. 

When you are young the lens has a lot of focusing power but as we age the lens continues to grow, hardens and gets less flexible and this normally leads to the need for reading glasses to assist our focusing at near. This continues through out our life and means the older we get the denser the lens gets. This makes it harder for light to travel through and more light is scattered, degrading the final image which lands on the retina. This aging effect on the lens leads to nuclear sclerotic cataracts which basically means hardening of the lens.  

There are other types of cataracts and getting old is not necessarily a precursor to developing a cataract. Any abnormal growth of the fibres which make up the lens can lead to a cataract and some people are even born with them. 

The sort of problems that can occur are:

  • Problems with glare, i.e. bright sunlight or car headlights at night.
  • Blurred vision
  • Colours may be dull or washed out. 

Once a cataract develops it rarely causes any permanent damage and if it starts to cause you problems there is a straight forward operation to restore normal vision. The lens is made up of several layers and it is the denser inner layers that normally cause a problem. An incision is made into the cornea and a hole is cut in the capsule, the outer layer of the lens. The middle part of the lens is liquefied using high frequency ultrasound and sucked out using a vacuum. 

Then an artificial lens is inserted into the eye, which rests within the capsule and restores normal vision. Spectacles may still be required for clear distance and near vision. 

FLASHES AND FLOATERS

Flashes and Floaters

 

What are floaters?

Often, people who have healthy eyes see floaters. They appear as spots, lines or cobweb effects, usually when you look at a plain surface such as a white wall or a clear blue sky. They often appear when the clear jelly in the main part of your eye gets older.

What are flashes?

Sometimes the jelly in the main part of your eye shrinks a little and tugs on the retina (the light-sensitive layer) at the back of your eye. This can cause flashes of light at the edge of your vision. These differ from the disturbance of vision that can occur with migraine.

When should I be concerned?

If you suddenly notice a shower of new floaters, or floaters along with flashes or a dark shadow or “curtain” in your vision, then you should seek advice urgently. These symptoms can mean that the retina is tearing. Go to an Accident and Emergency Department if necessary.

What will happen if the retina tears?

The retina is at the back of your eye. It receives the images and sends them to the brain. This is one of the things that enable you to see. If the retina tears, it may come away from the back wall of the eye. This is called retinal detachment. It can result in partial or complete loss of vision.

How is retinal detachment treated?

A tear may be treated by using a laser. If treated quickly, you may have a better chance of full recovery. However, if your retina has become detached, you will need surgery. The operation may restore most of your vision but may come too late for a full recovery.

Look out for:

  • flashes or floaters getting worse
  • a black shadow in your vision
  • a sudden cloud of spots
  • a curtain or veil over your vision
  • any sudden loss of vision.

Go to an Accident and Emergency Department without delay if you notice any of these symptoms.

EXTERNAL HORDEOLUM (STYE) & INTERNAL HORDEOLUM

External Hordeolum (Stye) & Internal Hordeolum

External hordeolum (stye) – acute bacterial infection of the lash root (sebaceous gland)

Internal hordeolum – acute bacterial infection of Meibomian gland

The infection is usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria.

In both types you may get a tender lump in the eyelid, watery eyes and inflammation of the eye and lid.

An external hordeolum presents it self as a tender inflamed swelling of the lid margin, especially around the bottom of a lash and it may form a yellow head which points through the skin. You can sometimes get a few styes along the lash margin.

An Internal hordeolum is an infection of the meibomian gland which is a gland on the eyelid margin, within the tarsal plate. These tend to be more painful than a stye and again they can form a yellow head which may form at the top of the gland or through the conjunctiva next to the eyeball. A chalazion is similar to an internal hordeolum but is due to a blockage of the meibomian gland which then leads to a cyst formation, without the infectious component.

Predisposing Factors

If you get tired, inflamed eyes (sometimes with crusting of the lashes) then you may have something called chronic blepharitis. Treating this with lid hygiene and warm compresses can sometimes help stop hordeolums from reccuring.

Management

Most hordeolums last a couple of weeks and then resolve spontaneously. The cyst can discharge and if there is a lot associated with the hordeolum you may benefit from antibiotic drops or ointment to stop any secondary conjunctivitis but most resolve once this has happened.

With Styes, removal of the associated lash can help it resolve faster, whilst hot spoon bathing and/or warm compresses may relieve symptoms and help the glands to become unblocked.

As mentioned above, if there is any associated blepharitis this should be treated with lid hygiene, either using specially prepared treatments such as Lidcare or Supranette wipes or using a mixture of 5 parts boiled then cooled water (don't burn yourself) with 1 part "no more tears" baby shampoo using a cotton pad or bud to remove any crusting and to clean the lashes. Be careful not to poke yourself in the eye.

If the swelling does not resolve after a few weeks then it would need to be investigated further to see if treatments such as systemic antibiotics or surgical removal may be needed and to rule out any other causes.

 

AGE RELATED CHANGES

WEAR & TEAR (AGE RELATED CHANGES)

January 21, 2015

WEAR & TEAR (Age related changes

The Macula is the area of the retina responsible for your most detailed vision. It is very energy intensive and with age this can cause a build up of waste material. This normally presents itself as yellow deposits within the retina called “drusen”. Over many years these drusen can accumulate at the macula and cause a drop in your vision and this is termed Dry Age Related Macula Degeneration (Dry AMD). There is currently no treatment for this. The accumulation of waste materials is often accompanied by new vessels growing below the retina. These new vessels are the body’s way of helping the macula with its oxygen supply but unfortunately these vessels are fragile. This means that they can sometimes burst and spread in-between the retinal layers leading to distortion or a sudden vision loss which is termed Wet Age Related Macula Degeneration (Wet AMD). When this happens it needs to be assessed as soon as possible as it may benefit from treatment using a cold laser (photocoagulation) or special eye injections.

What causes AMD?

The exact causes of AMD are still unknown but the following may have an influence: 

  • family links (possibly genetic or lifestyle)
  • smoking & drinking. 
  • high blood pressure 
  • poor diet 
  • UV exposure

Regime for people at risk of AMD 

  • Alter diet to include more dark, green leafy vegetables, carrots and corn. 
  • Take over-the-counter slow release vitamin/mineral supplements with a meal.
  • Wear blue light protective lenses and a cap or hat when outdoors.
  • Consult GP for a comprehensive medical and treatment of any hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia or any other potentially compromising vascular disease.
  • Seek professional help to achieve smoking cessation.
  • Stop alcohol consumption.
  • Check your vision regularly for distortion or central vision loss

Nutrition and the eye: Age-related macular degeneration, Frank Eperjesi 2004 

Some nutritional supplements are available that are designed to combat AMD. It is important to note that these nutrients are not a cure for AMD, nor will they restore vision already lost from the disease. However, they may play a role in helping certain people at high risk from developing advanced AMD.  Ask your optician for more details.

The Amsler Grid

The grid on the front page is a quick and simple test, known as The Amsler Grid. It can help to determine whether you are experiencing the early symptoms of AMD, but remember it is not a substitute for an eye test. Please follow these simple instructions now:

  • Hold the grid around 12 inches (30cm) in front of your eyes.
  • If you wear reading glasses leave them on but do not wear varifocals or distance glasses.
  • Cover one eye with your hand and focus with your other eye on the centre dot.
  • Check that you can see all four corners of the grid.
  • If areas of the grid appear blurred, distorted, or in any way abnormal then you could be displaying the early signs of AMD. See your optician immediately.

DRY EYES

Dry Eyes

Do you have ‘dry eyes’?

If your eyes feel tired, sore or gritty, you may have ‘dry eyes’. ‘Dry eyes’ occur when there are not enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated. Normally eyes are covered with a thin invisible film of tears. Tears are the lubricating ‘oil’ of the eye surface. If there are not enough tears, or if the tears do not spread properly across the eyes, the eyes become dry and sore.

They may feel ‘scratchy’ or gritty’, as though there is something in them. They may also be a little itchy, and they may be red. Poorly spreading tears may also be caused by ‘blepharitis’ (inflammation of the eyelids): see our leaflet on Blepharitis.

Sometimes your eyes may ‘water’; there may be enough tears, but the tears do not spread properly. The poor spreading makes the eyes sore, and this makes them water.

Having a dry eye does not damage your eye (unless the eye is extremely dry: see overleaf). Your sight may be slightly blurred, but will not be permanently affected.

Where are tears made normally?

Tears are made in a gland near the eyeball, and spread over the front of the eyeball, into tear ducts, and then into the nose.

The main cause of dry eyes is the drying up of the lacrimal gland. Anyone can develop dry eye, but it is more common in women, diabetes, and the over-45s. Usually the gland still produces tears, but not quite enough. Once damaged, the gland does not generally recover, but tear production can vary.

The gland may also be damaged by the body’s immune system. The immune system is meant to fight infections (‘germs’), but sometimes it becomes over-active. Whilst the immune system may damage the lacrimal gland, it does not damage the eye itself (see‘Very dry eyes’).

What makes your dry eyes more Uncomfortable?

Your eyes may feel more sore in the wind, or any dry hot atmosphere. Contact lenses, or any thing that reduces blinking may make ‘dry eyes’ more uncomfortable, such as watching TV or a computer screen, or sewing.

There are fewer tears at night, so the eye may be sore and a little sticky in the morning. Disease of the eyelids stops the tears spreading properly, and makes the eyes sore. This is ‘blepharitis’: see the Blepharitis leaflet in this series. Some medicines reduce the amount of tears, such as tablets for depression and high blood pressure (eg water tablets).

Very dry eyes

This is a more serious condition, and a specialist should give you specific advice. The eye is prone to develop ulcers and infections. In addition to the treatment above (including frequent preservative-free drops and gel tears), the tear drainage ducts can be blocked with plugs (temporary) or cauterised to seal them (permanent). This saves the tears draining away, and makes the eyes a little more comfortable.  Very dry eyes, especially if the mouth is dry as well, may be part of ‘Sjogrens’ sydrome: a dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. Sjogrens patients may also have joint problems.

What is the treatment of dry eyes?

To make your eyes comfortable you need to replenish the natural tear film that protects the surface of your eyes. There is no magic ‘cure’. Four types of products are available, and all are harmless: they do not contain any drugs, merely ‘oiling’ the surface of the eye.

Try the different products out. Your doctor can prescribe the products, and they can also be bought at pharmacies without a prescription. Some examples are listed next:

1 Tear drop preparations—in bottles

These are simple salt solutions with added ingredients that help them spread across the eye. They make the eye more comfortable by lubricating the surface, but the effect does not last all that long. 

There are many types: different drops may suit different eyes, 

so try different types. They are not very effective over night, and the eyes may be uncomfortable when you wake up. They also contain preservatives: this is only a problem if you have very dry eyes when the drops would need to be used quite frequently, and the dose of preservatives increases. Examples include ‘Liquifilm’, ‘Tears naturale’ and ‘Hypromellose’.

2 Eye gel preparations

These are relatively new products, and are the most useful. They last longer than drops, do not cause as much misty vision as ointments, and can be used at bedtime as they last partly through the night. There are two types: ‘Gel tears’ and ‘Viscotears’.

3 Eye ointments

These products are much thicker and greasier than eye drops. They stay in the eye much longer; try using them last thing at night. During the day they may cause misty vision. An example is ‘Simple’ eye ointment.

4 Tear drop preparations—without preservatives

These are particularly useful for people with very dry eyes. Because they have no preservative they can be used more often, upto every halfhour, without damaging your eyes. One example is ‘Minims’ tears: the ampoules (mini-bottles) contain about 14 drops, and may last a day with practice. They are moderately expensive. We recommend Blink Intensive Eye Drops.

5 Eye drops which act like a gel

SYSTANE® Lubricant Eye Drops contain a unique gelling and lubricating polymer system formulated to adjust to each patient's individual
tear film pH. This ensures optimum properties for each user and provides enhanced relief on a patient-to-patient basis. 

It is like eyedrops but once on the eye SYSTANE® behaves more like a gel mimicking the tear film more closely.

Summary of dry eye treatment

slightly dry eyes: drops in bottles or gels

moderately dry:gels (gel tears or viscotears)

severely dry: gels, ointments, occlude tear ducts (minor surgery), ‘Minims’ artificial tears