Our job as opticians is to help you make the most of your vision and eye health. Obviously wearing glasses or contact lenses, if you need them, improves your vision and helps ypu make the most out of life. We only recommend glasses or a change in your spectacle prescription if we really believe it will make a difference to your vision, so you can have an eye examination with full confidence. The eye examination is very thorough and we check all aspects of your eye health and visual function- if we find anything that needs further attention we will take all necessary steps for further evaluation.. Most eye health problems benefit from early intervention, and often the individual is unaware that anything is wrong until the eye examination, so it is important that you have the reassurance of a regular full eye examination.
Immediately behind the pupil in the eye is a living lens which provides about a third of the focusing power of the eye. As we become older it becomes a little cloudy and at a certain level of cloudiness it becomes a cataract. At a denser level it needs to be removed which is done in a short operation, which is usually very successful.
The old lens containing the cataract is removed under local anaesthetic and replaced with a clear plastic one. The results can seem miraculous! Almost invariably a change in glasses is required to make the most of the new vision.
Once the cataract is removed it cannot return, but sometimes, typically two to three years after the surgery, the “capsular bag”, the “skin” of the old lens, which is left in place to allow the new plastic lens to be held in the correct position, may become cloudy. It needs to be treated with a laser to become clear again.
Macula degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the eye in which waste products (of metabolism- sight is avery energy-intensive process) are not removed properly as we age. The vision becomes distorted.
There are two mian types of macula degeneration; “wet” and “dry”. Dry AMD has fatty deposits and/or pigment clumps at the macula; wet involves leakage of fluids at the macula.
Currently there are injections (not as bad as it sounds) available for wet AMD. In Scotland the normal referral process is through your optician. There is no current treatment for dry AMD, but there are steps you can take to try to stabilise, or protect yourself from it:
- have regular eye examinations
- don’t smoke
- protect your eyes against UV light
- eat well- coloured fruit and vegetables in particular
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye associated with raised pressure. We don’t have any blood vessels running over the cornea at the front of the eye or we wouldn’t be able to see. We get nutrients from the aqueous, a fluid similar to plasma that fills the space between the cornes and the iris, the coloured part of the eye, and then drains away. Sometimes the drainage channels become blocked and the pressure (IOP) increases and damages the nerves of the retina at the back of the eye.
Yes, eyedrops usually control the pressure and halt the progression of the disease. The important thing is that the individual will not realise that there is something wrong until it is too late, whereas the optician would pick up the early signs in a routine eye examination and treatment can start before too much damage has occured.
- dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and parsley
- yellow foods such as sweetcorn, yellow peppers and egg yolks
- tomatoes, especially cooked
- carrots and peas
- blueberries and other dark berries
- melon and grapes
- oily fish
- foods containing vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries
Research suggests that the nutrients in these foods build up macula pigment and that thick macula pigment is better able to withstand ageing changes.
Children may not realise that they are not seeing as well as they could- research shows that one child in five has an eye examination that their parents are not aware of- and obviously good vision is vital for a child’s educational and social development.
We make the examinations fun! As long as the child’s eyes are open we can find out what we need to know. We discuss the results fully with the parents/guardians and if glasses are needed we have a great range of frames. We also have a children’s play area which children love. We routinely examine children from the age of 18 months- younger if required.
When a child is very young the binocular (two eyes together) system of vision is not fully developed, so the eyes do not always look as if they are focusing together. If after about six months there still seems to be a turn (squint) in an eye (or if there is ever a definite squint), bring your child in for us to check. Often the appearance of squint is just caused by the child having a very small bridge to the nose and when the child looks to one side the eye partly disappears into the fold of skin by the bridge, but it is VERY important that an opthalmic professional checks this out. Left untreated a squint could cause poor vision in the effected eye, but treatment, through eye exercises, glasses if needed, or in rare cases, surgery, is readily available. It is important to have your children’s eyes examined anyway, but particularly important if you have ANY doubts about whether their eyes are straight or not.
As a practice we made the decision to only offer high quality frames and lenses. We do have frames at a lower price, but we choose carefully to make sure they are of a good quality within that price range. The lenses (and contact lenses) we use are all of excellent quality, although there are entry-level choices within the ranges we use.
We aim to offer excellent advice in both frame and lens choice in a friendly, relaxed environment. We don’t go for any high-pressure selling techniques and offer a full guarantee on all our products, so you can choose with confidence. We also work very hard to select a great range of frames, so we’re sure you can find a frame and lens combination that enhances your vision and that you’ll love to wear.
Children and people on certain benefits are entitled to a voucher towards the cost of their glasses- contact us for further details.
The NHS pays for the eye examination for everyone in Scotland so it’s free to the patient. Book your appointment on 01382 224 620.
What happens during an eye examination varies from patient to patient- and from optician to optician- but the basics are similar. We talk to the patient/client to find out the reason for the visit- is it routine or is there some particular reason, some worry or concern. We ask questions about health, work and hobbies, all designed to be able to offer the best possible advice to allow the person to make the most of the vision. We then check the vision, perform various tests to check how the eyes are working together and to check the peripheral vision, and do a refraction- tests to find out whether you need glasses or not, and if so what “prescription” is needed. We examine the inside and outside of the eye, using special instruments, and depending on age and symptoms, perform other tests like measuring the pressure inside the eyes or checking colour vision. When we have finished all the appropriate tests we explain the results and advise on the various options available. We also offer advice on eye-health, including supplying written information.
An eye examination may be the first occasion that high blood pressure is suspected. With our opthalmoscopes, digital retinal cameras and other equipment, we may detect the first signs of a problem. We can see “nipping” of one blood vessel as it crosses another, or spot haemorrhages on the retina.
In extreme high blood pressure the sight may be threatened as there may be swelling at the optic nerve at the back of the eye and haemorrhages over the retina. There may also be an “occlusion” or blockage of the central retinal artery or vein, the main blood vessels in and out of the retina, with devastating results to the retina- but don’t worry, these events are rare and if you stay healthy and keep your blood pressure under control, they are unlikely to happen.
Diabetes can have many effects on the eyes, and indeed an eye examination may be the point at which diabetes is discovered, but the main risk to sight is the development of diabetic retinopathy. When blood sugar levels rise the “cement” that keeps the cells of the blood vessels together can deteriorate, and blood can leak. When this happens at the back of the eye the vision can be effected. Usually this process happens slowly and there is treatment available, so regular attendance for diabetic eye screening appointments (usually having a photograph of the back of the eye taken at your local hospital or clinic, which is then assessed for signs of diabetic retinopathy) and attendance for your annual eye examination is very important. Keeping good control of your blood sugar level is very important in reducing these effects.
I enjoy wearing eye make-up myself, and I wear contact lenses most of the time, but I am careful in how I apply it. My advice is to throw out any make-up that is caked or in grubby pots and especially with mascara, throw it out after six months or so. If you do get make-up in your eye, don’t panic- the eye has very good protective mechanisms and your tears will wash the make-up away- help it with cooled boiled water if necessary. Remove make-up gently with eye make-up remover and make all movements around your eyes gentle- the skin is quite delicate. Particularly, always wipe from the outside-in when you wipe your eyes, to make sure you’re not dragging the puncta, the tiny holes in the lids that tears drain through, away from the eyes. If you feel that make-up has caused any damage, do not hesitate to visit your optician.
There are several causes of dry eye and different treatments required, depending on the cause. Sometimes the cause is an illness; dry eyes can be linked with conditions like arthritis or Sjogren’s Sundrome, and artificial tears and/or lubricants are useful. Other times blinking can be deficient and blinking exercises are helpful. Certain eye conditions, such as blepheritis or meibomian gland dysfunction may also lead to dry eyes, and lid hygiene or hot massage of the lids is needed. Please book an appointment on 01382 224620 to find out what is needed.