Sara Cox, radio and TV presenter and busy mum to three children, is the new ACUVUE® Brand Ambassador. She recently mentioned on her radio show that she thought her eyesight had changed. ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses interviewed her to find out more. She said she was having difficulties “reading the very small print up close”. She was concerned that contact lenses might no longer work for her and she might have to get some reading glasses. When we asked her about it, Sara said: “I thought I might have to get a small pair of spectacles, perhaps on a pearl chain around my neck – that wasn’t necessarily the look I was going for!” Sara has developed presbyopia. If you have started struggling to read the small print or find the text on your phone doesn’t seem big enough anymore, you might have presbyopia too. But don’t worry, it’s normal.
What is presbyopia?
Put simply, presbyopia is when the lens in the eye stiffens and thickens with age. This makes it harder to see things at close range. As we get older, our eye’s lens becomes stiffer and less able to change shape making focusing more challenging. Presbyopia is particularly common in people over the age of 40 and eventually happens to almost everyone.
What can I do about presbyopia?
The good news is there are many solutions for people with presbyopia. They can wear varifocal glasses, wear both contact lenses and reading glasses, or even have surgery. But even better news: now innovative technology brings you 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST Brand MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses.
Why contact lenses?
Contact lenses don’t get in the way, or obscure your face, like glasses. Thanks to ACUVUE® , you can have a contact lens that gives you clear vision – near, far and in between – so you can maintain the active lifestyle you’ve always had. You don’t have to stop living your life the way you want to. As Sara Cox says: “I don’t wear glasses to the gym…EVER”. Unlike varifocal glasses, multifocal contact lenses fit seamlessly into your busy life whether for work or play, going to the gym or out with friends. If, like Sara, you have recently developed presbyopia, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses may be the perfect solution! Forget reading glasses! See clearly without glasses getting in the way or steaming up. You won’t have to fiddle around with reading glasses to view the menu or get a message on your phone!
As with all 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST Contact Lenses, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses have exclusive LACREON® technology, that embeds a moisturerich wetting agent in the lens for extremely comfortable wear and a fresh feeling all day and all night long. As Sara says, she doesn’t “really know that they’re in, you just feel like you’ve got your old eye sight back”.
Whether you wear contact lenses every day or just occasionally, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses make it easy. No need to clean and store contact lenses every day – just take a new pair for all day freshness. Contact lenses are easy to handle, convenient and comfortable and give you clear vision, near, far and in between.
All ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses have UV blocking for protection from the transmission of UV radiation*.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Depending on its cause and severity, it may not be completely curable. But in most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision as well.
Because dry eye disease can have a number of causes, a variety of treatment approaches are used.
The following is a list of dry eye treatments that are commonly used by opticians to reduce the signs and symptoms of dry eyes. Your optician may recommend only one of these dry eye treatments or a combination of treatments, depending on the cause(s) and severity of your condition.
For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops.
Artificial tears usually are the first step in dry eye treatment.
There are many brands of artificial tears that are available without a prescription. The challenge with using artificial tears is not lack of product availability — it’s the confusing number of brands and formulations available to choose from.
Artificial tears and other over-the-counter (OTC) lubricating eye drops are available in a wide variety of ingredients and viscosity (“thickness”).
Artificial tears with low viscosity are “light” and watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision when you apply them. But often their soothing effect is very short-lived, and sometimes you must use these drops very frequently to get adequate dry eye relief.
On the other hand, artificial tears that have a high viscosity are more gel-like and can provide longer-lasting lubrication. But typically these drops cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes immediately after you apply them. For this reason, these drops often are not a good choice for use during your work day or when you need immediate clear vision for tasks such as driving. Instead, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended only for bedtime use.
Also, the ingredients in certain brands of artificial tears may determine which type of dry eye condition they are better suited for. For example, one brand might work better for aqueous-deficiency dry eyes, while another brand may be more effective for an evaporative dry eye condition.
If your optician recommends that you use one or more brands or formulations of artificial tears, be sure to follow the directions he or she gives you concerning when and how often you use the drops.
Steriod Eye Drops
Over the past several years, doctors have discovered the importance of inflammation as a cause of dry eyes. Inflammation frequently causes the redness and burning associated with dry eye disease; but in many cases, it may be present without any visible signs or symptoms at all.
Artificial tears usually do not adequately address these inflammatory changes, and your doctor may recommend steroid eye drops to better manage the underlying inflammation associated with dry eyes.
Often there’s no “quick fix” for dry eyes. Follow your eye doctor’s instructions and be patient for results from dry eye treatment.
Steroid eye drops are generally used short-term to quickly manage symptoms. They are often used in conjunction with artificial tears as a complement to these more long-term treatment strategies.
While a small amount of the steroid may get absorbed systemically, in the right candidate, the effects of steroid eye drops are generally not noticed beyond the eye. Still, it’s important to discuss your medical history with your eye doctor before starting steroid eye drops.
Many different types of steroid drops are available and differ in their potency. Most doctors prefer to start with mild steroids that are quickly degraded inside the eye. In some cases, however, more potent drops are required to address more severe symptoms.
Steroid eye drops can increase the risk of developing high eye pressure or even cataracts if used for extended periods of time. But these risks are low when the drops are used only on a short-term basis for dry eye treatment.
Punctal plugs are sometimes used in dry eye treatment to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer.
This drawing shows the lacrimal glands and tear ducts. A lacrimal plug (or punctal plug) has been inserted into the lower tear duct to keep the eye’s moisture from draining away too quickly. Image: Oasis Medical, Inc. [Enlarge]
A punctal plug is a small, sterile device that is inserted into one of the small openings (puncta) of tear drainage ducts that are located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids.
After these openings have been plugged, tears can no longer drain away from the eye through these ducts. In this way the tear film stays intact longer on the surface of the eye, relieving dry eye symptoms.
So where do the tears go? Usually they will simply evaporate from the eye surface without symptoms. But if insertion of punctal plugs causes the eyes to “water,” one or more of the plugs can be removed.
Meibomian Gland Expression
A very significant percentage of dry eye cases are caused by inadequate oil (meibum) being secreted from meibomian glands located along the margin of the eyelids.
The openings of these glands are near the base of the eyelashes, and if these openings get clogged, the oil that is critical to keeping the tear film from evaporating too quickly cannot do its job. This is called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which leads to a condition called evaporative dry eye.
To treat MGD and evaporative dry eye, your eye doctor may perform an in-office procedure called meibomian gland expression. In this procedure, warm compresses may or may not first be applied to your eyelids; then a forceps-type device is used to squeeze the clogged contents (hardened meibum and possibly other substances) from the meibomian glands.
To fully express the contents of the meibomian glands and get them functioning properly, significant pressure must be applied to the eyelids, which can be uncomfortable. But the results usually are worth putting up with the short-term discomfort of the procedure.
An alternative (and potentially more comfortable) way to help open clogged meibomian glands to treat dry eyes is to simply apply warm compresses to the closed eyelids to soften the hardened meibum.
Unfortunately, for warm compresses to work well, some researchers say you have to use a compress that can maintain a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes, and the compresses have to be applied for this length of time at least twice a day.
Most people are unable or unwilling to perform this type of dry eye treatment correctly, and shorter and less frequent use of variable-temperature warm compresses typically is ineffective.
Good sources of omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and cod. For a vegetarian source of omega-3s, some eye doctors recommend flaxseed oil to relieve dry eye.
Drinking more water can help, too. Mild dehydration often makes dry eye problems worse. This is especially true during hot, dry and windy weather. Simply drinking more water sometimes reduces the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
If you have mild dry eye symptoms, there are several things you can try to get relief
Blink more frequently. When using a computer, smartphone or other digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less frequently than normal, which can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms. Make a conscious effort to be aware of this, and blink more often when using these devices. Also, perform full blinks, gently squeezing your eyelids together to wash your eyes fully with a fresh layer of tears.
Take frequent breaks during computer use. A good rule of thumb here is to look away from your screen at least every 20 minutes and look at something that is at least 20 feet from your eyes for at least 20 seconds. Some eye care practitioners call this the “20-20-20 rule,” and abiding by it can help relieve both dry eyes and computer eye strain.
Remove eye makeup thoroughly. Eyeliner and other eye makeup can clog the openings of the meibomian glands at the base of the eyelashes, leading to meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye. At the end of the day, be diligent about remove all traces of makeup from your lids and lashes.
Clean your eyelids. When washing your face before bedtime, gently wash your eyelids to remove bacteria that can cause blepharitis and meibomian gland problems that lead to dry eye symptoms. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your closed lids for a minute or two. Then gently scrub your lids and lashes with a mild cleanser, such as diluted baby shampoo or premoistened eyelid wipes sold in drugstores.
Wear quality sunglasses. When outdoors during the day, always wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays. It’s best if they feature a wrap-style frame to protect your eyes from wind, dust and other irritants that can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms.
Check out our fabulous new range of Stella McCartney frames, now in store!
We had a lovely evening at the Wesminster Abbey Cloisters thanks to Kering eyewear who supply Stella McCartney frames. We were lucky enough to view Kering’s entire range of frames and sunglasses……watch this space for more exciting new brands!
Contact lenses are an excellent choice for nearly anyone who needs vision correction but doesn’t want to wear spectacles full time or undergo Lasik Surgery.
Here are the basics you should know about contact lenses before seeing your optician if you are interested in wearing contacts.
Contact Lens Materials
The first choice when considering contact lenses is which lens material will best satisfy your needs. There are five types of contact lenses, based on type of lens material they are made of:
CONTACT LENS MATERIAL
Soft lensesare made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels. These lenses are very thin and pliable and conform to the front surface of the eye. Introduced in the early 1970s, hydrogel lenses made contact lens wear much more popular because they typically are immediately comfortable. The only alternative at the time was hard contact lenses made of PMMA plastic (see below). PMMA lenses typically took weeks to adapt to and many people couldn’t wear them successfully.
Silicone hydrogel lensesare an advanced type of soft contact lenses that are more porous than regular hydrogel lenses and allow even more oxygen to reach the cornea. Introduced in 2002, silicone hydrogel contact lenses are now the most popular lenses prescribed in the UK
Gas permeable lenses— also called GP or RGP lenses — are rigid contact lenses that look and feel like PMMA lenses (see below) but are porous and allow oxygen to pass through them. Because they are permeable to oxygen, GP lenses can be fit closer to the eye than PMMA lenses, making them more comfortable than conventional hard lenses. Since their introduction in 1978,gas permeable contact lenses have essentially replaced nonporous PMMA contact lenses. A significant advantage GP contacts have over soft or silicone hydrogel lenses is sharper optics due to the rigid nature of the lens material.
Hybrid contact lensesare designed to provide wearing comfort that rivals soft or silicone hydrogel lenses, combined with the crystal-clear optics of gas permeable lenses. Hybrid lenses have a rigid gas permeable central zone, surrounded by a “skirt” of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material. Despite these features, only a small percentage of people in the UK wear hybrid contact lenses, perhaps because these lenses are more difficult to fit and are more expensive to replace than soft and silicone hydrogel lenses.
PMMA lensesare made from a transparent rigid plastic material called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which also is used as a substitute for glass in shatterproof windows and is sold under the trademarks Lucite, Perspex and Plexiglas. PMMA lenses have excellent optics, but they do not transmit oxygen to the eye and can be difficult to adapt to. These (now old-fashioned) “hard contacts” have virtually been replaced by GP lenses and are rarely prescribed today.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are the most popular lenses in the UK, accounting for 68 percent of new contact lens fittings and refittings in 2015.
Contact Lens Wearing Time
Until 1979, everyone who wore contact lenses removed and cleaned them nightly. The introduction of “extended wear” enabled wearers to sleep in their contacts. Now, two types of lenses are classified by wearing time:
Daily wear— must be removed nightly
Extended wear— can be worn overnight, usually for seven days consecutively without removal
“Continuous wear” is a term that’s sometimes used to describe 30 consecutive nights of lens wear
When To Replace Your Contact Lenses
Even with proper care, contact lenses (especially soft contacts) should be replaced frequently to prevent the build-up of lens deposits and contamination that increase the risk of eye infections.
Soft lenses have these general classifications, based on how frequently they should be discarded:
LENS REPLACEMENT FREQUENCY
Daily disposable lenses— Discard after a single day of wear
Disposable lenses— Discard every two weeks, or sooner
Frequent replacement lenses— Discard monthly or quarterly
Traditional (reusable) lenses— Discard every six months or longer
Gas permeable contact lenses are more resistant to lens deposits and don’t need to be discarded as frequently as soft lenses. Often, GP lenses can last a year or longer before they need to be replaced.
Contact Lens Designs
Many lens designs are available to correct various types of vision problems:
Sphericalcontact lenses are the typical, rounded design of contact lenses, which can correct myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
Bifocalcontact lenses contain different zones for near and far vision to correct presbyopia
Orthokeratologylenses are specially designed to reshape the cornea during sleep, providing lens-free daytime wear.
Toriccontact lenses correct for astigmatism, as well as for myopia and hyperopia
All of these lenses can be custom made for hard-to-fit eyes. Many other additional lens designs are available. Typically these are less common and fabricated for use in special situations, such as correcting for keratoconus.
More Contact Lens Features
Bifocal contacts for astigmatism. These are advanced soft contacts that correct both presbyopia and astigmatism, so you can remain glasses-free after age 40 even if you have astigmatism.
Contacts for dry eyes. Are your contacts uncomfortably dry? Certain soft contact lenses are specially made to reduce the risk of contact lens-related dry eye symptoms.
Coloured lenses. Many of the types of lenses described above also come in colours that can enhance the natural colour of your eyes — that is, make your green eyes even greener, for example. Other colored lenses can totally change the colour of your eyes, as in from brown to blue.
Special-effect lenses. Also called theatrical, novelty, or costume lenses, special-effect contacts take coloration one step further to make you look like a cat, a vampire, or another alter-ego of your choice.
Prosthetic lenses. Coloured contact lenses also can be used for more medically oriented purposes. Opaque soft lenses called prosthetic contacts can be custom-designed for an eye that has been disfigured by injury or disease to mask the disfigurement and match the appearance of the other, unaffected eye.
Custom lenses. If conventional contact lenses don’t seem to work for you, you might be a candidate for custom contact lenses that are made-to-order for your individual eye shape and visual needs.
UV-inhibiting lenses. Some soft contact lenses help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultravioletrays that can cause cataracts and other eye problems. But because contacts don’t cover your entire eye, you still should wear UV-blocking sunglasses outdoors for the best protection from the sun.
Scleral lenses. Large-diameter gas permeable lenses called scleral contacts are specially designed to treat keratoconus and other corneal irregularities, as well as presbyopia.
Myopia control contacts. Special contact lenses are being developed to slow or stop the progression of nearsightedness in children.
Which Contact Lens Is Right for You?
First, your contacts must address the problem that is prompting you to wear lenses in the first place. Your contact lenses must provide good vision by correcting your myopia, hyperopia,astigmatism, or some combination of those vision problems.
Second, the lens must fit your eye. To do that, lenses come in tens of thousands of combinations of diameter and curvature. Of course, not every lens brand comes in every “size.”
Your Opician is skilled in evaluating your eye’s physiology, and your eyesight, to determine which lens best satisfies the two criteria above.
Third, you may have another medical need that drives the choice of lens. For example, your Optician might pick a particular lens if your eyes tend to be dry.
Finally, consider your “wish list” of contact lens features — colors, for example, or overnight wear.
Contact Lens Wear and Care
Caring for your contact lenses — cleaning, disinfecting and storing them — is much easier than it used to be.
A few years ago, you would have needed several bottles of cleaning products, and perhaps enzyme tablets, for proper care. Today, most people can use “multipurpose” solutions — meaning that one product both cleans and disinfects, and is used for storage.
People who are sensitive to the preservatives in multipurpose solutions might need preservative-free systems, such as those containing hydrogen peroxide. These do an excellent job of cleaning contacts, but it’s very important to follow the directions for using them. The solution should not come into contact with your eyes until soaking is complete and the solution is neutralized.Of course, you can avoid lens care altogether by wearing daily disposable contact lenses.
Contact Lens Problems
Trial and error often is involved in finding the perfect lens for you. People react differently to various lens materials and cleaning solutions.
Also, the correct “parameters” of your lens — that is, power, diameter, and curvature — can be finalized only after you’ve successfully worn the lens. This is especially true for more complex fits involving extra parameters, such as with bifocals or toric contact lenses for astigmatism.
If you experience discomfort or poor vision when wearing contact lenses, chances are that an adjustment or change of lens can help.
Today, more contact lens choices than ever are available to provide comfort, good vision, and healthy eyes. If your eyes or lenses are uncomfortable or you are not seeing well, remove your lenses and visit your eye care professional to explore available remedies for contact lens discomfort.
Eye allergies — red, itchy, watery eyes that are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers — are very common.
If you think you have eye allergies, here are a few things you should know — including helpful tips on how to get relief from your red, itchy, watery eyes.
What Causes Eye Allergies
Normally harmless substances that cause problems for individuals who are predisposed to allergic reactions are called allergens. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold, dust and pet dander.
Eye allergies also can be caused by reactions to certain cosmetics or eye drops, including artificial tears used for treating dry eyes that contain preservatives.
Food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites typically do not affect the eyes as severely as airborne allergens do.
Eye Allergy Relief
To get relief from your eye allergies and itchy, watery eyes, you can take a few approaches:
Avoiding allergens. As the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The best approach to controlling your eye allergy symptoms is to do everything you can to limit your exposure to common allergens you are sensitive to.
What is the pollen count in your area of the country?
For example, on days when the pollen count is high, stay indoors as much as possible, with the air conditioner running to filter the air. Use high quality furnace filters that can trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently.
When you do go outdoors during allergy season, wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from pollen, ragweed, etc., and drive with your windows closed.
Removing your contacts. Because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens, consider wearing only eyeglasses during allergy season. Or consider switching to daily disposable contacts that you discard after a single use to avoid the build-up of allergens and other debris on your lenses.
Over-the counter eye drops. Because eye allergies are so common, there are a number of brands of non-prescription eye drops available that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness and watery eyes caused by allergies.
If your eye allergy symptoms are relatively mild, over-the-counter eye drops for allergy relief may work very well for you and may be less expensive than prescription eye drops or other medication. Ask your optician to recommend a brand to try.
Prescription medications. If your allergy symptoms are relatively severe or over-the-counter eye drops are ineffective at providing relief, you may need your eye doctor to prescribe a stronger medication.
Prescription eye drops and oral medications used to relieve eye allergies include:
Antihistamines. Part of the body’s natural allergic response is the release of histamine, a substance that dilates blood vessels and making the walls of blood vessels abnormally permeable. Symptoms caused by histamine include a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Antihistamines reduce allergic reactions by blocking the attachment of histamine to cells in the body that produce an allergic response.
Decongestants. Decongestants help shrink swollen nasal passages for easier breathing. They also reduce the size of blood vessels on the white (sclera) of the eye to relieve red eyes. Common decongestants include phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine. Combination drugs are available that contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant.
Mast cell stabilizers. These medications cause changes in mast cells that prevent them from releasing of histamine and related mediators of allergic reactions. Because it may take several weeks for the full effects of mast cell stabilizers to take effect, these medications are best used before allergy season starts as a method to prevent or reduce the severity of future allergic reactions (rather than to treat acute allergic symptoms that already exist).
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAID eye drops may be prescribed to decrease swelling, inflammation and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, also called hay fever.
Steroids. Corticosteroid eye drops are sometimes prescribed to provide relief from acute eye allergy symptoms. But potential side effects of long-term use of these medications include high eye pressure, glaucoma and cataracts, so they typically are prescribed for short-term use only.
Immunotherapy. This is a treatment where an allergy specialist injects you with small amounts of allergens to help you gradually build up immunity.
EYE ALLERGIES SELF-TEST
Common allergens include pollen, animal dander and mold.
Take this quiz to see if you might have eye allergies. Always consult your optician if you suspect you have an eye condition needing care.
Do allergies run in your family?
Do your eyes often itch, particularly during spring pollen season?
Have you ever been diagnosed with “pink eye” (conjunctivitis)?
Are you allergic to certain animals, such as cats?
Do you often need antihistamines and/or decongestants to control sneezing, coughing and congestion?
When pollen is in the air, are your eyes less red and itchy when you stay indoors under an air conditioner?
Do your eyes begin tearing when you wear certain cosmetics or lotions, or when you’re around certain strong perfumes?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you may have eye allergies. Make an appointment with an optometrist to determine the best course of action.
STRATEGIES FOR YOU
8 Tips For Eye Allergy Sufferers
Get an early start. See your optician before allergy season begins to learn how to reduce your sensitivity to allergens.
Try to avoid or limit your exposure to the primary causes of your eye allergies. In the spring and summer, pollen from trees and grasses are the usual suspects. Ragweed pollen is the biggest culprit in late summer and fall. Mold, dust mites and pet dander are common indoor allergens during winter.
Protect your eyes from airborne allergens outdoors by wearing wraparound-style sunglasses.
Don’t rub your eyes if they itch! Eye rubbing releases more histamine and makes your allergy symptoms worse.
Use plenty of artificial tears to wash airborne allergens from your eyes. Ask your optician which brands are best for you.
Cut down your contact lens wear or switch to daily disposable lenses to reduce the build-up of allergens on your lenses.
Shower before bedtime and gently clean your eyelids to remove any pollen that could cause irritation while you sleep.
Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home, and purchase an allergen-trapping filter for your heating/cooling system.
MILLIONS are risking their eyesight by not getting regular eye tests – despite it being the sense they treasure the most, according to a report from National Eye Health Week .
The Generation Eye Report(1) – found almost 14 million people in the UK are not having an eye test as recommended at least every two years, despite 55 per cent saying deteriorating vision is their biggest worry about getting older.
The research, unveiled on the first day of National Eye Health Week (19 to 25 September), investigated the value people place on their vision and the depth of knowledge in the UK about eye health. Based on a survey of more than 2000 UK adults it revealed three quarters (75%) of people had suffered poor eye health in the last 12 months and more than one in five (22%) said this had restricted or impaired their daily life. This is despite studies showing that nearly half of all cases of sight loss are preventable2.
David Cartwright, Chair of National Eye Health Week, says: ‘What our study found was that millions are totally in the dark when it comes to eyes and eye health.
‘National Eye Health Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all. An eye test at an opticians is quick and easy, and for a lot of people, including children and over-60s, is free on the NHS.
‘Poor eye health is affecting every aspect of daily life. This National Eye Health Week, our message is clear: people across the UK, of all backgrounds, age groups and genders need to recognise that our vision is both precious and fragile, and thus the risks to it need to be understood, accepted and addressed.’
Despite the number of people not getting regular tests, the report found deteriorating vision was people’s number one fear of getting old – ahead of illness (50%) and losing their hearing (32%).
Dr Nigel Best, says: ‘The Generation Eye Report makes startling reading. Millions are risking losing their sight unnecessarily because they fail to have regular sight tests and make poor life style choices
‘Half of all sight loss cases are preventable – and a simple eye test can be the first step in prevention.
‘Raising awareness and educating people on the importance of looking after their eyes through regular testing and better lifestyle choices is absolutely vital to addressing the nation’s eye health problems.’
The report focused on three key groups: 18 – 24 year olds (The Unseen Generation), their parents (New Presbyopes) aged between 45 and 54 and their grandparents aged 65 and over (The Low Vision Generation).
Worryingly it found those aged 18-24 were the group whose quality of vision or state of eye health had most restricted or impaired their daily life (36%), with around a third (32%) not having an eye test in the last two years.
The report found 80% of 45 – 54 year olds said they’d experienced problems with their eye health in the last year.
While 94% of over-65s wore prescription eyewear however almost a third (32%) didn’t know wearing the wrong prescription glasses or contact lenses could affect their eyesight.
(1)The Generation Eye report is based on the findings of a survey commissioned by National Eye health week and Specsavers. The survey was conducted by Atomik Research, in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations, on a representative sample of 2002 UK respondents aged 18+ between 24 – 31 August 2016. All figures quoted in this release are from this study unless otherwise quoted.
What considerations do people with sight problems need to make when driving?
It’s important to have your sight tested if you think you may have a problem with your eyesight, in fact, studies suggest that up to one in five middle aged drivers are taking to the road knowing their eyesight is not as good as it should be. It is not just common sense to ensure your eyesight is good enough to enable you to drive comfortably, but you will be breaking the law if it isn’t.
What is the legal responsibility?
A driver of a car or motorbike must be able to read a number plate, with symbols, 79mm high by 50mm wide, from a distance of 20 metres AND a driver should have a visual acuity of at least 6/12 with both eyes open. This can be done with glasses or contact lenses if you usually wear them. The law also requires drivers to have a wide field of vision, your optometrist will tell you if you may not meet the field of vision standard. Bus and Larry drivers are required to have a higher standard of vision.
If you are not able to do this, your insurance may be invalidated. Driving with uncorrected defective vision is an offence punishable with a heavy fine, penalty licence points and possible driving disqualification.
The eyesight test involving reading number plates is conducted as part of the driving test. As the law stands however, no further sight checks are needed until the driver reaches the age of 70, so the responsibility lies with you to ensure you wear corrective eyewear if necessary. Check your vision regularly by reading a number plate from a distance of 20 metres. If you notice any changes, visit your optometrist for an eye examination.
What if I have been diagnosed with glaucoma?
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes, this will affect the amount you can see, and the law says that you must tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority). You may have to take some extra tests, but most people are still allowed to carry on driving. You can find out more at www.direct.gov.uk/driverhealth
How can people ensure their vision is roadworthy?
Always wear an up-to-date pair of glasses or contact lenses while driving, if they are needed, and go for a regular sight test to make sure your prescription is up to date. It’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle too; in France and some other European countries drivers who wear glasses must, by law, carry a spare pair in the car. If possible, have an anti-reflection coat on your glasses and keep your car windscreen clean inside and out so you can see as clearly as possible.
What can occur specifically when driving at night to impact our driving?
Night driving is certainly more demanding than driving during the day; this is particularly true of older people, who may test well with their optometrist, but struggle to focus on the road at night. If you notice any particular difference in your vision when driving by night, it’s important to see your optometrist for advice. I would also point out that tinted lenses should not be used for night driving, and to make sure your windscreen is clean on the inside and outside.
A recent survey revealed that children now spend nearly five hours a day using the likes of Facebook, watching films & TV and messaging friends.
As an optician it’s worrying that children are spending so long doing such activities as there’s a chance they could be risking their long-term eye health without knowing it.
The problem is blue light which, put simply, is part of the visible light spectrum that we use to see the world. “Good” blue light (Blue-Turquoise) is essential for children’s vision, development and well-being. “Bad” blue light (Blue-Violet) can be harmful to their developing eyes.
What many people don’t know is that blue-violet light is emitted by computers, tablets, smart phones and flat-screen TVs however, banning children from using tech is not really a practical solution and children are actually exposed to higher amounts of blue-violet light in other ways. In homes and schools, energy saving light bulbs radiate this light, while outdoors, come rain or shine, significant amounts of ultra-violet (UV) and blue light from sunlight reach ground level.
The effects of UV rays and blue-violet light are cumulative and can accelerate the development of eye disease during adult life. With an increased exposure to technology much earlier in life and children spending three times more time outside than adults we need to think about protecting their eyes now. Here are my top tips:
Diet – serve up green leafy veg like spinach, kale and broccoli
Tech – limit the amount of time spent on tablets, smartphones or watching TV and encourage them to keep their eyes as far away from the screen as possible.
Sunglasses – a pair of good quality sunglasses offers tremendous protection
Indoors – a new of prescription spectacle lens, Crizal Prevencia, will protect indoors and out. It is designed to let “good” Blue-Turquoise light in and filter out “bad” Blue-Violet light.
Optician – the best thing you can do for your eye health is go for regular eye checks with a trained professional at least every two years.
Riskometer – check your child’s exposure to blue light by using the www.thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk “Blue Light Riskometer”
Digital retinal imaging uses high-resolution imaging systems to take pictures of the inside of your eye. This helps our Optician to assess the health of your retina and helps them to detect and manage such eye and health conditions as glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration. Finding retinal disorders as early as possible is critical to potentially preventing serious disease progression and even vision loss.
A Piece of History
In addition to helping detect diseases early, retinal images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, to discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health.
Retinal images also make it easier for your doctor to educate you about your health and wellness. The two of you can review your images together, and your doctor can point out the various structures of the retina and explain treatment options for any conditions revealed by the pictures. The more you know about eye diseases, the more likely you will understand and follow your opticians recommendations for treatment and prevention.
Here are just some of the diseases retinal imaging can help a optician notice or see more closely:
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is usually signified by leaking of fluid or bleeding in the back of the eye. This causes central vision loss.
A dark spot at the back of the eye may signal a melanoma, which can grow unnoticed within the retina. If caught early, melanomas can be treated before they cause serious damage and travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream.
Diabetes can cause changes in the blood vessels of the retina, like swelling and leakage or the creation of new blood vessels. Blindness can result without early detection.
Pressure against the optic nerve and compression of the eye’s blood vessels may indicate glaucoma. This disease causes permanent and irreversible vision loss.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Signs of high blood pressure often appear first in the eye. Indicators can include narrowing of the blood vessels, spots on the retina, or bleeding in the back of the eye.
Retinas can lift or pull away from the wall of the eye. If not properly treated, this can cause permanent vision loss.
Unia Opticians Performs Retinal Imaging with our Eye Test Contact us to find out more
Eyes can say a lot about a person. These organs not only offer insight into a personality but can offer clues to the body’s overall health.
When the whites of the eyes turn yellow, it generally indicates that something is going on in the body that causes jaundice. Jaundice describes a yellowish tint to the skin and the whites of the eyes.
Excessively high levels of bilirubin in the blood cause jaundice. Bilirubin is a yellow waste substance found in bile, the liquid the liver makes to help break down fats.
When there is too much bilirubin in the bloodstream, it may leach into surrounding tissues like skin and eye tissues, causing them to yellow. Jaundice has different causes in adults, children, and newborns.
Jaundice mainly affects the front of the eye as this is where the yellow pigment would be visible.
A diagram of the eye. Jaundice is often seen in the sclera, iris, and eyelid.
It’s important to understand the anatomy of the front of the eye to understand how jaundice affects the eye. The front part of the eye is made of several different parts:
Eyelid and lashes: Upper and lower lids and lashes offer eyes protection from dirt and dust. They are also used to blink so the eyes stay moist. If jaundice is present, both the outer eyelids and the underside of the eyelid that is visible when the lid is lifted may have a yellow tint.
Pupil: The pupil is the dark center of each eye that controls the amount of light that enters. Generally, jaundice does not discolor the pupils.
Iris: The iris is the colored part of the eye immediately surrounding the pupils. It has muscles that contract the pupils. Yellowing may be seen in the iris if a person has jaundice.
Sclera: The whites of the eye. The sclera surrounds the iris and protects the fragile structures on the inside of the eye. Yellow eyes are often first noticed because the sclera yellows.
Causes of yellow eyes in newborns
Jaundice in newborns is very common because a newborn’s liver is still maturing. Bilirubin often builds up faster than a newborn’s immature liver can break it down, causing jaundice to occur frequently.
Aside from a yellowing of the skin, one of the clearest signs of jaundice in a newborn is the yellowing of the eyes.
Jaundice is common in newborns as their livers are still developing.
Yellow eyes are only one symptom of newborn jaundice. New parents should also watch for the following symptoms:
Any newborn with these symptoms should be checked immediately by a medical professional.
Most cases of newborn jaundice are harmless and resolve on their own as the baby’s liver matures.
Normal newborn jaundice causes include:
Physiological jaundice: Many newborns have this type of jaundice, due to the newborn’s still-developing liver. It normally appears when a baby is 2 to 4 days old.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can cause jaundice when a baby isn’t getting enough breast milk to flush the bilirubin out. This type of jaundice often resolves when a mother’s milk comes in.
Breast milk: Occasionally, substances in breast milk cause a baby’s intestines to hold onto bilirubin rather than pass it through stool. This form of jaundice normally resolves itself by 12 weeks.
Some causes of newborn jaundice may be more concerning. These causes include:
Blood incompatibility jaundice: When a mother and baby don’t have compatible blood types, the mother’s body may attack the baby’s red blood cells while it is in the womb. As the mother’s antibodies are already breaking down the baby’s red blood cells before birth, this type of jaundice may present itself as early as 1 day old.
Jaundice of prematurity: Premature babies are at the greatest risk of jaundice because their livers are very immature. Premature babies may have more severe jaundice or jaundice alongside a number of other conditions.
Infections: Some bacterial infections like sepsiscan cause a newborn to have jaundice.
Hemorrhage: Internal bleeding can cause jaundice. Premature babies are particularly at risk from hemorrhages.
While most cases of normal jaundice are mild to moderate, more severe newborn jaundice is possible. Cases of mild jaundice may resolve themselves while more moderate jaundice can be treated with light therapy.
Very severe cases may be treated with a blood transfusion. A pediatrician will be on the lookout for jaundice at a baby’s first checkup.
Causes of yellow eyes in older children and adults
In older children and adults, yellow eyes are always concerning because jaundice is not common in these age groups.
Unlike yellow skin, which may be from eating too many yellow and orange vegetables, yellow eyes are nearly always a sign of jaundice. Yellow eyes and jaundice in older children and adults normally indicate an underlying medical issue.
Yellow eyes in older children and adults often signal an underlying medical problem.
There are three main reasons for jaundice to occur:
Liver disease or liver injury: Liver problems cause a type of jaundice known as hepatocellular jaundice.
Breakdown of red blood cells: When red blood cells are broken down too quickly, there is an increase in bilirubin production.
A blockage in the bile duct system: When the tubes that carry the bile from the liver to the gallbladder and intestines get blocked, bilirubin can’t leave the liver and builds up excessively. This type of jaundice is called obstruction jaundice