So it is finally happening!
The redevelopment of the Laindon Shopping Centre is entering a new chapter.
As well as our practice, the two pharmacies have moved into the temporary units located in the main Laindon Centre car park. Swan have been supportive, and have provided us with much nicer environment to work from.
Our building, although temporary, is far from the stereotypical image of a rickety old corrugated iron structure that shakes with each footstep. These new buildings are good enough to be permanent structures, well insulated, strong, well lit and spacious. It is certainly an improvement. We have installed new units and furniture to create an open, airy feel. We still stock a very large selection of frames to suit all budgets and styles.
Come along and have a look!
As well as being windows onto the soul, our eyes provide a reflection of our lifestyles. Being healthy and making the right choices can have a significant impact on our vision, and these top tips will help to ensure everyone enjoys the best possible eye health:
Have regular eye tests
Our specialist equipment provides a detailed eye health check, allowing us to start treating problems at the first possible opportunity. Regular eye tests are particularly vital for monitoring sight levels and eye health in children, and we stock specialist spectacle lenses designed for office work.
We are proud to be an independent local optician, and according to the experts at consumer body Which?, our pride is well-founded. In a comprehensive survey of UK opticians, independents topped the table with an average customer score of 87 per cent – significantly outperforming every national chain of opticians.
Which? surveyed over 4,000 practices and independent opticians achieved the maximum 5-star rating in five of the seven chosen categories.
Customer service: The Which? survey investigated seven key categories, including store environments and the thoroughness of eye tests. Local independents were the only opticians to achieve five stars in customer service, product quality and aftersales. While independent opticians received a five-star rating for their store environment and customer service, some of the national chains were awarded just two stars.
Overall ratings: There was little distinction between high-street chain opticians and retailer spin-off brands, whereas independent opticians achieved top ratings in five of the seven categories Which? assessed. The independents’ industry-leading 87 per cent customer score was calculated according to satisfaction levels during each respondent’s most recent visit.
The bigger picture: This survey of almost 8,500 Which? members bears a striking resemblance to a similar report in 2014. The previous survey also concluded that local independent practices led the way for quality and service, recording similarly large rating gaps between independents and high street chains. It seems the benefits of using independent opticians remain as compelling as ever...
So this is a question I am asked many times over when I am in clinic and the answer (as always) is a bit more complex.
There are a few types of vision deficiency:
Long - sightedness (Hyperopia)
Short - sightedness (Myopia)
A few of these can combine to produce a complex prescription.
I will break them down simply:
Carrots may be the food best known for helping your eyes. But other foods and their nutrients may be more important for keeping your eyesight keen as you age.
Vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids all play a role in eye health. They can help prevent cataracts. They may also fight the most-likely cause of vision loss when you're older: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Here are some powerhouse foods for healthy eyes to try.
....now available at Templeman Opticians Laindon.
Most coatings help to reduce irritating reflections and increase the durability of the plastic lens.
The Nikon SeeCoat Blue UV from Templeman Opticians Laindon improves contrast and reduces eye strain when using digital screens, whilst blocking UV.
We spend more time using a wide variety of digital devices to work, learn and be entertained. Recent digital screens are often equipped with powerful light source such as LED. These digital screens emit intense blue light and can cause eye strain after long exposure. SeeCoat Blue UV provides a solution to such stressful conditions, whilst protecting your eyes from UV.
We are exposed to UV light almost everywhere and every year. It doesn’t have to be sunny for UV damage to occur. Up to 40% of UV exposure occurs when we are not in full sunlight. Moreover, it has been estimated that half of UV radiations reaching us come from reflections (sky, ground, water, windows…) and not directly from the sun.
Watch the video for more information....
......well they are for the kids. With 6 weeks off and lots of time to keep them occupied why not book an eye examination to fill a little bit of time and provide an essential health check?
Most children have excellent sight and do not need to wear glasses. However, the earlier any problems are picked up, the better the outcome. If there are problems and they are not picked up at an early age, the child may have permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes. If you have any concerns about your child’s eyes, or if there is a history of squint or lazy eye in the family, simply call us on 01268 544646 to book a sight test. This is free under the NHS for children under 16.
Many parent believe an eye examination is not possible until the child can speak and read. This is not true. Your child does not have to be able to read or talk to have a sight test as most tests can be carried out without any input at all.
About 2% to 3% of all children have a lazy eye, clinically known as ‘amblyopia’. This may because they have one eye that is much more short- or long-sighted than the other, or they may have a squint (where the eyes are not looking in the same direction).
The sooner the child is treated, the more likely they are to have good vision. It is more difficult to treat lazy eye if the eyesight has finished developing (usually around eight years of age), although it may still be possible to significantly improve the vision.
Don’t expect your child to tell you if there is a problem. Children assume that the way they see is normal – they will not have known anything different.
Be aware that children with learning difficulties are ten times more likely to have problems with their vision, and carers and parents may find it harder to spot difficulties.
The treatment will depend on what is causing the lazy eye:
Whether a child needs glasses or not is because of the shape and size of their eyes. Wearing glasses will not change their eye shape, and will not make your child’s eyes worse. If your child has a lazy eye, wearing glasses may make their sight permanently improve. Your optometrist will tell you how often and when your child should wear their glasses.
So book your children an eye examination today on 01268 544646 and make it a Summertime Activity!!
Whilst a lot has been said about the poor state of the Laindon Shopping Centre (and the recent news has not helped!) I feel it is very important to highlight the great services which are still provided in the centre. Granted the number of shops has declined but those that have remained have continued to stay because of the service they provide to the Laindon community and the surrounding areas. The Laindon Centre has much to offer, where else do you find free car parking with the shops so close by? If you can look beyond the appearance of the centre then you may be surprised what Laindon Shopping Centre has to offer:
The Laindon Health Centre is also very close by
The Co-op Supermarket
Martins The Newsagents
Heley Bargins Store
Greggs The Bakers
Fish n Chick’n
Akash Indian Restaurant
Headquarters Hair Dressers
Banking And Post:
There are also a couple of charity shops which sell furniture and clothing.
Wow, as I was writing the list I could not believe the variety of services on offer in such a small area!
From a personal perspective I know my team at Templeman Opticians really do try their best in providing a great service. Only last night did I drive down to the practice to deliver a pair of spectacles from our sister practice in Hertfordshire to a patient at 6.30pm as he was going on holiday early the next day, the day before we helped a patient sort out a mistake he made on his DVLA form which resulted in his license being revoked, simply by ticking the wrong box on the vision section of the application. We called the DVLA on behalf of the patient and sorted the mistake out for him. We take time in examining our patients, and with our two optometrists Reshma Patel and Julia Hunter you are in safe hands. Reshma has been in the local newspaper as well!, and has been shortlisted twice for Optometrist of the Year at the prestigious Optician Awards.
So, forget the appearance of the Laindon Shopping Centre (not easy I know!) and support the shops that are there now, enjoy the convenience that the Laindon Centre provides and take advantage of the service the people who work in the shopping centre provide!
We look forward to seeing you!
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in those aged over 50. It causes a gradual loss of central (but not peripheral) vision. Central vision is required for detailed work and for tasks like reading and driving. The disease does not lead to complete blindness. Visual loss can occur within months, or over many years, depending on the type and severity of AMD. There are two main types of AMD - 'wet' and 'dry'. 'Wet' AMD is most severe but more treatable. Visual loss caused by AMD cannot normally be reversed. New medicines are an exciting development for wet AMD as they may halt or delay the progression of visual loss.
Understanding the back of the eye
· The retina is made up of two main layers. There is a layer of 'seeing cells' called rods and cones. These cells react to light and send electrical signals down tiny nerve fibres (which collect into the optic nerve) to the brain. The outer layer - the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) - is a layer of cells behind the rods and cones. The RPE is an insulating layer between the retina and the choroid. These cells help to nourish and support the rods and cones. They pass nutrients from the blood vessels in the choroid to the rods and cones. They also take waste materials from the rods and cones to the blood vessels in the choroid. The RPE can be thought of as a filter, determining what substances reach the retina. Many components of blood are harmful to the retina and are kept away from it by a normally functioning RPE. The rods and cones are responsible for vision in different conditions. There are many more rods than cones, and rods are smaller cells than cones:
· The cone cells ('cones') help us to see in the daylight, providing the basis for colour vision.
· The rod cells ('rods') help us to see in the dark - 'night vision'.
· The macula is a small but vital area of the retina at the back of your eye. It is about 5 mm in diameter. The macula is the part of the retina that is the most densely packed with rods and cones. The macula is essential for central vision. In the middle of the macula is an area called the fovea, which only contains cones.
· The choroid is a layer of tissue behind the retina which contains many tiny blood vessels. These help to take oxygen and nutrients to the retina.
· Bruch's membrane is a thin membrane which helps to form a barrier between the choroid and the delicate retina.
· The sclera is the outer thick white layer of the eye.
When you look at an object, light from the object passes through the cornea, then the lens, and then hits the retina at the back of the eye. The light from the object focuses on the macula. You need a healthy macula for detailed central vision.
What is age-related macular degeneration? AMD is a condition that occurs when cells in the macula degenerate. This occurs with partial breakdown of the RPE and the cells become damaged and die. Damage to the macula affects your central vision which is needed for reading, writing, driving, recognising people's faces and doing other fine tasks. The rest of the retina is used for peripheral vision - the 'side' vision which is not focused. Therefore, without a macula you can still see enough to get about, be aware of objects and people, and be independent. However, the loss of central vision will severely affect normal sight. There are two types - 'dry' and 'wet' AMD - described below.
Who gets age-related macular degeneration? AMD is the most common form of macular degeneration and develops in older people. There are other rare types of macular degeneration which occur in younger people. AMD can affect anyone. It is the most common cause of severe sight problems (visual impairment) in the UK, and indeed in the developed world. It becomes more common with increasing age, as the name suggests. It is rare under the age of 60. If you develop wet AMD (see below) in one eye the risk of developing wet AMD in the second eye is about 1 in 4.
About 5 in 100 people aged over 65 and about 1 in 8 people aged over 80 have AMD severe enough to cause serious visual loss. About twice as many women over the age of 75 have AMD compared with men of the same age.
The two types of age-related macular degeneration Dry AMD This is the most common form and occurs in 9 in 10 cases. In this type the cells in the RPE of the macula gradually become thin (they 'atrophy') and degenerate. This layer of cells is crucial for the function of the rods and cones which then also degenerate and die. Typically, dry AMD is a very gradual process as the number of cells affected increases. It usually takes several years for vision to become seriously affected. Many people with dry AMD do not totally lose their reading vision.
Wet AMD Wet AMD may also be called neovascular or exudative AMD. It occurs in about 1 in 10 cases. However, it is likely to cause severe visual loss over quite a short time - sometimes just months. Very occasionally, if there is a bleed (haemorrhage) from a new blood vessel, this visual loss can occur suddenly, within hours or days. In wet AMD, in addition to the retinal pigment cells degenerating, new tiny blood vessels grow from the tiny blood vessels in the choroid. This is called choroidal neovascularisation. The new vessels break through Bruch's membrane and into the macular part of the retina. These vessels are not normal. They are fragile and tend to leak blood and fluid. This can damage the rods and cones, and cause scarring in the macula, causing further vision loss.
Both wet and dry AMD are further classified according to severity. Early, intermediate or advanced types refer to the degree of damage to the macula. 6 in 10 cases of intermediate/advanced AMD are due to wet AMD.
What causes age-related macular degeneration? In people with AMD the cells of the RPE do not work so well with advancing age. They gradually fail to take enough nutrients to the rods and cones, and do not clear waste materials and byproducts made by the rods and cones either. As a result, tiny abnormal deposits called drusen develop under the retina. In time, the retinal pigment cells and their nearby rods and cones degenerate, stop working and die. This is the dry type of AMD.
In other cases, something also triggers new blood vessels to develop from the choroid to cause the wet form of AMD. The trigger is not known. It may be that some waste products which are not cleared from the RPE may stimulate new blood vessels to grow in an attempt to clear the waste.
The exact reason why cells of the RPE stop working properly in people with AMD is not known. Certain risk factors increase the risk of developing AMD. These include:
· Smoking tobacco.
· Possibly, high blood pressure (inconclusive evidence).
· A family history of AMD. (AMD is not a straightforward hereditary condition. However, your risk of developing AMD is increased if it occurs in other family members.)
· Sunlight. This has yet to be proven, but laboratory studies suggest that the retina is damaged by sunlight rays (UVA and UVB rays).
AMD seems to be more common in people from white (Caucasian) racial backgrounds than from other racial groups.
What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration? · The main early symptom is blurring of central vision despite using your usual glasses. In the early stages of the condition you may notice that:
· You need brighter light to read by.
· Words in a book or newspaper may become blurred.
· Colours appear less bright.
· You have difficulty recognising faces.
· One specific early symptom to be aware of is visual distortion. Typically, straight lines appear wavy or crooked. For example, the lines on a piece of graph paper, or the lines between tiles in a bathroom, or the border of any other straight object, etc.
· A 'blind spot' then develops in the middle of your visual field. This tends to become larger over time as more and more rods and cones degenerate in the macula.
· Visual hallucinations are common in people with severe visual loss of any cause. Visual hallucinations (also called Charles Bonnet syndrome) can occur if you have severe AMD. People see different images, from simple patterns to more detailed pictures. The experience can be upsetting but is less frightening if you are aware that it can happen in AMD. Importantly, it does not mean you are developing a serious mental illness. If you do develop visual hallucinations they typically improve by 18 months but in some people they last for years.
AMD is painless. Symptoms of dry AMD tend to take 5-10 years to become severe. However, severe visual loss due to wet AMD can develop more quickly.
Always see a doctor or optometrist promptly if you develop visual loss or visual distortion. This is not only the case if you are worried about AMD. Other sight-threatening conditions can occur suddenly with visual loss, such as a detached retina. Peripheral vision is not affected with AMD and so it does not cause total blindness.
Note: if the vision of one eye only is affected, you may not notice any symptoms, as the other good eye often compensates. When both eyes are affected you are more likely to notice symptoms. Older people should have regular eye checks to check each eye separately for early AMD (and to check for other eye conditions such as glaucoma).
How is age-related macular degeneration diagnosed? If you develop symptoms suggestive of AMD, we will examine the back of your eye with a slit lamp microscope. This is a magnifying piece of equipment which the optometrist uses to examine your retinae through what look like binoculars. Another test called ocular coherence tomography is also very useful. This is a non-invasive test that uses special light rays to scan the retina. It can give very detailed '3D' information about the macula, and can show if the macula is thickened or abnormal. This test is useful when there is doubt about whether AMD is the wet or dry form. It is also a useful test to assess and monitor the results of any treatment.
Practical help When your vision becomes poor, it is common to be referred (by your optometrist) to a low vision clinic. Staff at the clinic provide practical help and advice on how to cope with poor and/or deteriorating vision.
Help may include:
· Magnifying lenses, large print books, and bright lamps which may assist reading.
· Gadgets such as talking watches and kitchen aids which can help when vision is limited.
· Being registered as partially sighted or blind. Your consultant ophthalmologist can complete a 'Certificate of Visual Impairment'. You may then be entitled to certain benefits.
What else can I do? · If you smoke, try to stop. If you are smoker, there are numerous health benefits to quitting. Smoking is a risk factor for many illnesses, including AMD. The NHS can provide help, support and medicines to assist stopping smoking.
· Eat a healthy balanced diet to try to make sure you get plenty of the types of vitamins that may help in AMD.
· Stay safe with regards to driving. If you are registered with sight impairment you should not drive and should notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The DVLA provides detailed guidance on fitness to drive and minimum standards with regard to sight. This includes being able to read, wearing your normal glasses, a vehicle number plate at a distance of 20 metres.
· Consider regular sight tests as you get older. You should visit an optometrist every two years, even if there is no change in your vision. An eye test can often pick up the first signs of an eye condition before you notice any change in your vision. Your optometrist can advise you how often you need to have an eye check-up, depending on your general health, age, family history and other medical conditions. Early detection of problems often allows more effective treatment.
To book an appointment call us on 01268 544646.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers a characteristic form of damage at the back of the eye which is often associated with a raised level of intraocular pressure.
The optic nerve damage causes patchy loss of vision that varies in severity from patient to patient.
Without treatment, the loss of vision usually gets worse over the course of many months or several years. The loss of vision in glaucoma is permanent, but with early treatment, the damage to vision can be minimised.
Most patients with glaucoma are not aware of problems with their vision. This is because the central vision (for reading and recognising people) is only affected when glaucoma has advanced to a late stage.
Even when central vision is still good, glaucoma may affect the vision needed for driving and getting about (for instance, seeing steps). Blindness from glaucoma is rare. If blindness does occur, it is usually because the glaucoma is already advanced when it is first diagnosed, because the eye pressure has not responded well to treatment or because patients have not taken their drops regularly.
For most glaucoma patients, the main effect of the condition is the inconvenience of taking eye drops.
Are some people at increased risk of developing glaucoma?
Yes, there are several risk factors which make the onset of glaucoma more likely and they tend to be cumulative in their effect.
Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) becomes much more common with increasing age. It is uncommon below the age of 40, but the number of people with the condition rises from about 2 per cent of people over the age of 40 and doubles for those over the age of 80.
People of African-Caribbean origin have about a four times increased risk of POAG when compared with those of a European origin. The condition also tends to come on at an earlier age and be more severe. Regular testing is therefore vital if visual impairment is to be avoided. People of Asian origin are at an increased risk of developing primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG).
There is at least a four times increased risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative with the condition (father, mother, brother, sister or child) which is why early detection is so important as treatment is more effective when the glaucoma is detected early. Eye examinations are funded by the NHS for such people from the age of 40 years, but an earlier test is recommended, especially if you also fall into one of the other risk categories. Regular eye health checks should include the three glaucoma tests: ophthalmoscopy, tonometry and perimetry.
If you have glaucoma, don’t forget to tell your relatives about the condition and the need for them to be tested.
People with severe myopia (very short sight) are known to be at increased risk of developing glaucoma, and should ensure that they are regularly tested for glaucoma.
Long sighted people are known to be at increased risk of developing angle closure.
People with diabetes may be at increased risk of developing glaucoma, although it is not known whether there is a direct link between the two conditions. However, all people with diabetes should have regular routine eye examinations for diabetic eye disease, however, this does not include comprehensive tests for glaucoma, but these can usually be requested at the same time.
To book an appointment please call us 01268 544646 and we will be happy to help.
However there are many additional layers to an anti-reflective coating which helps it's performance, and it is these invisible layers which make anti-reflection coatings either a nightmare or a dream. I have separated the layers below to allow you to appreciate what is involved in the best anti-reflection coatings, such as the Nikon Seecoat Plus UV or the Zeiss Purecoat Plus. Cheaper lenses will obviously omit certain layers and it is up to individual lens manufacturer to decide what to compromise on to keep the cost low for the consumer.
Lenses without anti-reflective technology reflect a significant amount of light. Surface reflections from lenses can distract the wearer and even interfere with vision, particularly in low-light conditions like night driving or when performing intensive visual tasks like computer use. The anti-reflective technology helps reduce reflections to less than 1% of the incident light — compared with 7% to 13% for uncoated lenses.
Plastic lenses help make glasses lighter and more comfortable, but they’re much more prone to scratches than glass lenses. The scratch resistant technology varies depending on the lens manufacturer with some lenses easier to scratch than others. This technology helps keep lenses from developing scratches from cleaning and normal wear and tear.
Dirt and dust can cling to traditional untreated lenses, reducing vision quality and leading to scratches when cleaning. The anti-static element in premium coatings helps repel contaminants like dust and debris.
Hydrophobic and Oleophobic Technology
Grease, water, and oil will more readily slide off the surface of lenses treated with this super-slick coating, so the lenses are easier to clean and stay clean longer.
UV Blocking Technology
We all know UV can damage our skin. But what about our eyes? UV can seriously damage your vision. Normal UV protection helps shield your eyes from rays that pass through the front of your glasses. The Nikon Seecoat Plus UV goes further, protecting your eyes from UV light reflected off the back surface of your lenses too.
It's a dilemma that many patients face following an eye examination: whether to choose spectacles or contact lenses?
Some people may have already made up their minds on this matter, but for the undecided, here's our beginner's guide to choosing between these two quite different options.
If your preference is for spectacles, the most crucial element is finding a pair that suits you, and this is a very subjective issue. A lot depends on your facial characteristics - dainty features suit small, curved frames, whereas a more masculine jawline can be set off nicely against a pair of larger, chunky glasses. From rimless rectangles to ostentatious ovals, modern spectacle design has never been more varied or fashionable, and a well-chosen pair can provide the finishing style statement for any face, particularly for aficionados of designer brands. Clever frame choice can
actually highlight your eyebrows and cheekbones as well, by subtly drawing attention to them.
Conversely, if your eyes are one of your best features, contact lenses will show them off to best advantage. In the same way that some people prefer to wear spectacles for specific scenarios (such as driving), contact lenses are invaluable in many other situations. Typical examples include playing sports or pursuing certain hobbies, and if you have an outdoor job there's much to be said for not having to worry about raindrops obscuring your view. Indeed, contact lenses work best
when worn outdoors, rather than staring at a computer screen for hours on end. In contrast, this is one situation where spectacles may be more comfortable.
By contrast, contact lenses are slightly more time consuming, and it takes a little while to get used to ; putting them in and taking them out. However, this process soon becomes as natural as removing make-up or jewellery. Daily disposables (individually suspended in a neutral solution and ready to wear without any cleaning or maintenance) are a quick and easy way into the world of contact lenses. Their high water content and oxygen-permeable design make them so comfortable to wear that you'll completely forget about their presence.
Ultimately,you might decide to have the best of both worlds and use spectacles and contact lenses in different situations. Combining the two options can allow someone with a varied lifestyle to be completely comfortable in every activity.
So why not pop in to book an appointment to see our optometrist or call us on 01268 544646.
As the most common cause of impaired vision throughout the world, cataracts are a problem many of us may have to face one day. Although they are potentially capable of causing blindness, cataracts can be easily dealt with, and like so many medical issues, the key to successful treatment is recognising the symptoms as early as possible.
Situated behind the coloured part of your eye, the lens is a clear piece of tissue, through which light passes. Cataracts are hazy patches in the lens, which block daylight in a similar way to clouds blocking sunlight. Eventually, the lens will become so misty that light can filter through but it
becomes impossible to focus on detail, and the cloudier the lens becomes, the more your eyesight will be impaired.
Although they can be present in newborn babies, cataracts are more usually associated with the older generations and they are equally common in men and women.
Because of their gradual development, it can take years for a person to notice the deterioration in their vision. Using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope, which directs a bright light through the lens of each eye and picks up the telltale cloudiness, your optometrist will be able to detect them during a routine eye examination, which is why regular checks are important.
Cataracts often develop in both eyes, but at different rates of progression. Particular indicators about the onset of problems include difficulty seeing in very dim or bright conditions, discomfort when facing towards strong light, a washing-out of colours and problems focusing on written
words or a TV picture. Other symptoms can include halos around light sources and double vision, although these are comparatively rare side effects. Although experts are uncertain about the exact cause of cataracts, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of them developing. A healthy balanced diet is one key factor in helping to avoid cataracts, as is not smoking. Wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed or peaked cap can also make a big difference, since they protect the eyes from having to filter out the damaging UV rays of harsh sunlight.
If you do develop cataracts, medical treatment involves a small operation, usually under local anaesthetic as an outpatient. With liquid drops helping to dilate the pupil, a surgeon breaks down the lens into tiny pieces using ultrasound before those fragments are sucked out through a small incision in the cornea. A bespoke artificial lens is then inserted, designed to remain in place permanently. It's frequently possible to go home almost as soon as surgery is over, and recuperation should be straightforward.
If you are not sure you have cataracts or you would like a general eye health examination call us on 01268 544646 to book an appointment.
Your eyes are delicate and complicated organs, and even a minor infection can have a big impact on your sight and appearance. Any face-to-face communication involves eye contact, so a condition like conjunctivitis can be socially embarrassing, as well as physically uncomfortable. In this article, we'll explain the main causes of conjunctivitis, outline some simple treatments, and explain why an appointment with your optician should be your first course of action.
Conjunctivitis occurs when one part of the eye, called the conjunctiva, gets infected or swells up. This thin layer of clear tissue is designed to protect the eyes from harm, but it can easily be attacked by viruses or bacteria, resulting in various different symptoms. Fortunately, conjunctivitis is easily dealt with, and your optician is ideally placed to diagnose it and recommend a programme of treatment. There's no need to visit a doctor- our qualified optometrist can recommend most required medication.
Viral conjunctivitis is very common and often attacks one eye only. Classic symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are excessive itchiness and watering, and there are relatively few available treatments for this condition. Cool compresses and eye baths can help to soothe any itching, and it's important to avoid make-up for a week, giving your eyes the best chance to recover.
Unlike the viral strain, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with eye drops or creams. This type of conjunctivitis often produces small amounts of pus, which (as well as looking rather unpleasant) can make it difficult to open your eyes first thing in the morning. If the inner eyelids become infected as well, your eyes can feel gritty and sticky, as though something's trapped inside them. Fortunately, like viral conjunctivitis, these symptoms should go away within a few days.
The cause of allergic conjunctivitis can be hard to pinpoint, but new cosmetics or high pollen levels are classic triggers. Once a likely source has been identified, you should do your best to avoid it. This type of conjunctivitis often feels like a bad dose of hayfever, with itchiness and watery eyes. Running water can provide short-term relief, and your optometrist may decide to prescribe special antihistamine drops as well as lubricants to relieve the symptoms.
A few treatments are recommended for all forms of conjunctivitis. Gentle eye cleaning and cold compresses will ease discomfort, and regular hand-washing can prevent other people becoming infected. Conjunctivitis sufferers should use their own towels and tissues at all times, and contact lenses must be avoided (along with eye make-up) until the condition has cleared.
If you do not see an improvement then it may be a good idea to book an appointment by calling us on 01268544646 and one of our optometrists will be able to help you further.
Although our eyes are fully-formed at birth, it takes a long time for these powerful tools to develop the skills we take for granted, like recognising each other. Newborn babies can't focus or see colours, but in their first year, their eyes will master the techniques of tracking and identifying moving objects.
Toddlers are constantly improving their hand-to-eye co-ordination and depth perception, and young children learn to read, write and play as their eyes become more able to interpret the world around them.
Because good eyesight is so vital for children, it's never too early to book them into the practice to see an optician for a full eye test. Even if they're too young to read, optometrists can still learn a great deal about your child's overall eye health and vision.
Regular eye tests are particularly vital for toddlers and young children because their eyes can develop a number of vision problems that could last a lifetime if left undiagnosed, even though successful treatment is often quick and easy. Although some conditions are obvious, such as a
squint, others can be impossible to spot without specialist equipment and medical training. It's important to remember that young children naturally assume their eyesight is normal, so things like blurred vision won't seem strange or unusual to them.
As well as organising family trips to the optician, you can help to identify sight related problems by watching out for symptoms like light sensitivity or sitting too close to TVs or books. Investigate any family history of eye-related diseases, because your children may be at higher risk of developing
Eye examinations are free on the NHS for children under 16 years of age and up to 18 years of age if they remain in full time education. We have a wide range of spectacles for all ages so book your children in by calling 01268 544646.
Along with poor lighting, regular computer use is one of the biggest causes of discomfort for your eyes. Headaches, uncomfortable dryness of the eyes, mental tiredness and a gradual loss of sharp vision throughout the day are all tell-tale signs that prolonged computer use might be contributing to undue strain on your eyesight.
Millions of us rely on computers to do our jobs, and many people unwind after a long day by web-surfing, on social media or instant messaging. Numerous studies have proved that looking at a monitor or phone doesn't damage your eyesight in itself, but like so many things in life, doing it to excess can be unhealthy. The eyes were not intended to stare at a screen for hours on end, so if this is part of your daily life, how can you ease the burden on your eyes?
Firstly, adjust your seating position as you would in a car. Set your monitor and seat so that the centre of the screen is around two feet away and positioned slightly below your natural eye level. Adjust the screen brightness so that it isn't too piercing or dull. If necessary change the standard font size on your computer; bigger text will be easier to read. Don't be tempted to squint in order to see things clearly, since muscle fatigue will almost inevitably follow.
Lighting is a crucial component in avoiding eye strain. If your computer is near a window, could sunshine make it hard to see things clearly? Harsh artificial lighting is another potential problem, especially in the office;full spectrum lighting is much better for you than standard bulbs or striplights, since it gives a more accurate representation of real daylight. It's also considered helpful in reducing seasonal affective disorder.
Other things you can do to reduce eye fatigue include taking a few minutes away from the screen every hour, giving your eyes a chance to focus on more distant objects. When we stare at things, we tend to blink less, but regular blinking helps to prevent the surface of our eyes from drying out. Contact lens users are particularly susceptible to this, although lubricant eye drops can also be used to help restore the tear film layer. Screen filters reduce glare in bright environments, and it's important to keep dust off your monitor - it's much harder to see the screen clearly
through a layer of grime.
If you habitually use a computer screen, legislation obliges your employer to provide and pay for regular eye examinations and to contribute towards any spectacles which may be required specifically for computer use.
For more information or to book an appointment please call us on 01268 544646.
No its not a disease....it's a sign of maturity. This is my 'PC' way of letting my patients down gently that they are in fact getting older.
Presbyopia may be an unfamiliar word to many people, but it is one of the most common conditions affecting our eyesight. In essence, it concerns the inability to focus on close objects.
We know that presbyopia is a naturally occurring and universal phenomenon, but its precise cause is unclear. Most experts believe that the eye's lens hardens and becomes less elastic as it ages, making presbyopia different to more genetic conditions like astigmatism or myopia. Although
there is no known way to prevent onset, people with presbyopia can now choose from a number of alternative treatments to counterbalance the condition's effect.
Reading glasses have usually been the simplest solution for people with presbyopia, although their
popularity has been lessened by the development of alternative more sophisticated lenses. As the name suggests, bifocal lenses offer two types of magnification - a prescription for distance vision in the top lens, with the lower section containing a different strength for looking down at close objects. Meanwhile, the relatively recent phenomenon of progressive (varifocal) lenses has created seamless vision correction. These graduated lenses change in shape and strength from the top down, creating a smoother distortion-free transition between distance and close-up focus,
as well as offering aesthetic benefits, with no join between different lenses. Varifocals now account for almost a fifth of lenses professionally prescribed, enabling people to use a single pair of spectacles for reading, driving and everything in between - particularly practical for close tasks
using compact modern technology like mobile phones.
Contact lenses are another increasingly popular option for presbyopia sufferers, and thanks to the flexibility of modern manufacturing techniques, it's now possible to obtain bifocal and multifocal lenses, to achieve different prescription strengths at varying distances.
One final alternative is monovision, where one eye has a distance contact lens fitted and the other wears a near-sighted lens, although some patients find this method of vision correction takes time to adapt to, and distance perception can be affected.
Call us to book an appointment on 01268 544646
Could 2015 be your year? It is said if you want to break a repetitive cycle then change something...well why not change your look?
Contact lenses have metamorphosed into tiny visual aids, worn over the cornea so comfortably that users can forget about them for hours on end.
Anyone considering contact lenses needs to make a few key decisions about their new visual correction aids, and the first choice concerns the actual lens material. Until the 1930s, all lenses were made out of glass, but advances in manufacturing mean that they can now be created from
a variety of materials. Modern "soft" lenses have a higher water content and are generally agreed to be more comfortable to wear, allowing plenty of oxygen to reach the eye's surface, although they usually have a shorter lifespan as a result of their "wetter" composition.
In recent years, there has been strong growth in the popularity of "daily disposable" lenses. These are supplied individually in blister packs, worn once and then thrown away. The principal advantages of daily disposables involve hygiene and the absence of cleaning. Alternatively, it's possible to obtain lenses which are re-useable for varying time periods - often worn for
a month and then discarded. These require daily care and maintenance, usually in a twin-pot plastic case with an all-in-one cleaner/disinfectant solution for overnight storage.
Lets not forget the children, many lenses can be worn from around the age of ten, making daily disposables a safe, popular option for youngsters. This is especially beneficial for children who regularly participate in sports.
Other innovations in contact lens design include toric lenses, with an asymmetric design for people with astigmatism, who couldn't comfortably wear normal spherical lenses. Multifocal lenses allow individuals, who normally wear reading spectacles or varifocals, amazing freedom with an ability to see near and far. Contact lenses can be tinted or coloured (often for purely cosmetic rather than corrective reasons), and many incorporate UV protection against the sun's harmful rays.
Silicone based soft contact lenses are fast becoming the norm as they allow the cornea to breathe better than the older 'hydrogel' lenses. This allows safer, longer wearing times and less dryness especially towards the end of the day. Silicone based lenses are available in daily, two-weekly or monthly disposable forms.
For more information or if you are interested in booking a contact lens trial call us on
A very Happy New Year to you all.
I hope 2015 brings you happiness, and good health.
If you have not done so, book an appointment with us to have your eyes examined...but you can do this tomorrow.
For now CELEBRATE!
Good eye hygiene is important for many reasons, particularly since your eyes are the part of your body people usually notice and look at the most. Here are a few tips everyone can follow to keep these windows on the soul looking as good as possible.
As the second most complex organ in the human body (after the brain), eyes need the same things as people, such as regular cleaning and plentiful sleep. Washing your face regularly dislodges oil and dirt from nearby skin that could irritate the eyes, and make-up should always be removed before going to bed, to prevent eyelids and lashes being caked in chemicals overnight.
Our eyes have their own in-built cleaning systems - eyelids are designed to sweep impurities off the surface of our eyes, and tears naturally remove toxins and irritants. Although we never think about blinking, doing so regularly keeps the eyes hydrated, which is especially important for contact lens wearers; eye drops can improve comfort if dryness is a problem. It's vital to follow any
contact lenses cleaning programmes recommended by your optometrist, including the use of in-date solutions, and to handle lenses with clean hands to prevent bacterial infection.
Finally, prevention is always better than cure. Smoking doesn't just cause irritation to the eye surface and a gritty sensation, it damages vision in many other ways, such as increasing the risks of age-related macular degeneration and cataract. A vitamin-rich diet can help preserve your
vision and regular physical exercise helps maintain good eye health. UV-filtering lenses are also highly recommended to prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from damaging the eyes. Most importantly of all, visit your optometrist regularly - a qualified expert can identify potential hygiene problems much earlier, and many common eye-related conditions can be easily treated.
To book an appointment simply call us on 01268 544646