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!!
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.
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
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