Penny & Hayter

OPTICIANS

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Why would I need glasses?

This is often due to refractive errors, which are caused by faults in the focusing of light by the eye, frequently resulting in fuzzy vision.

During the sight test, our optometrist will establish whether your eyes have any refractive error (your prescription). After discussing the results with you, if any problem is found, glasses or contact lenses – made to your individual prescription – can be used to help you see more clearly.

Myopia (short-sightedness)

Short-sightedness occurs when light entering the eye is focused incorrectly in front of the retina, causing distant objects to appear indistinct.

Hypermetropia (long-sightedness)

Long-sightedness is caused through difficulties experienced in focusing, due to the eye being too short, making things close to you appear hazy

Astigmatism

Ideally, the curvature of cornea – the clear bit in the front of the eye – is equally rounded in all directions (like a football) but in astigmatism it isn’t (it’s more like a rugby ball). This makes vision generally blurred, whether objects are close to you or far away.

Presbyopia

As we reach middle age, most of us find it more difficult to see fine print or small objects clearly. This form of long-sightedness is due to a decrease in the elasticity of the lens inside the eye, resulting in a reduction of accommodation (the ability of the eye to adjust its focus).

Children's Eye Problems

Children are often unaware that they have a problem with their sight. They tend to assume that if the whiteboard is fuzzy, or if they have have trouble reading a book, that it's like that for everyone! Not being able to see very well could prevent your child from getting the best out of going to school, or doing fun things with friends and so reaching their full potential.

When should my child have their first eye test?

Ideally, between the ages of 3-4 but certainly before they start school. If your child is younger than this and you are concerned about their eyes, or there is a family history of eye problems, we are always happy to give advice. We give eye checks to children as young as 6 months old! Until they are 16, they should have an eye examination every two years at least.

What happens in an eye examination?

Children don’t need to be able to read to have an eye examination – we use fun things like looking at lights and matching letters or pictures to check their sight. Sometimes younger children will need drops to relax the muscles in their eyes, so that we can more accurately assess if they need glasses. Our optometrist will also check the health of their eyes, their colour vision and look for signs of a squint or "lazy eye" (amblyopia).

Amblyopia (squint or "lazy eye")

Even if your child seems to be able to see perfectly well, they can have a hidden problem. For instance, if they have one stronger eye, the brain can begin to ignore the weaker one (“lazy eye”). This can stop the eyes working together and sometimes leads to the weaker eye looking in a different direction (squint).

It is important that this problem is found as early as possible because, if treatment (e.g. glasses, eye exercises or patching) is not started before 8 years old, the vision in the weak eye can be reduced permanently, even with glasses (amblyopia).

NHS free eye tests

Regular eye examinations for children are so important that the NHS will pay for sight tests until your child is 16 years old (or under 19, if they are in full time education). They may also help with the cost of glasses (NHS optical voucher). Please call us to discuss what help you might get from the NHS or have a look at the NHS Choices website.

Dyslexia

If your child is behind with their reading & writing, or has difficulty with spelling, they may be dyslexic. Some people with dyslexia have problems coping with particular wavelengths of light (scotopic sensitivity) and find that using coloured filters can help them read more easily. We use Scotopic Sensitivity Testing to see if these filters might be of benefit and can prescribe and supply these coloured filters.

 

We are always happy to give you advice – either face-to-face if you want to pop in, or over the phone. You can also get more information on dyslexia and scotopic sensitivity syndrome from the websites below…

 

British Dyslexia Association http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk

 

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome http://www.irlen.org.uk

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, rather like a smudge on the lens of a camera, that can make everything you see less sharp. Initially cataracts don't cause a problem with your vision, but distinguishing shadows and contours gradually becomes more difficult & sometimes colours become less vivid, rather like turning the contrast on the television right down.

One of the causes of cataracts is damage done by the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. The lenses we use in your glasses can be treated to cut out all of these harmful rays.

 

Using a slit lamp, our optometrist will be able to diagnose whether you have a cataract and, if you have, will be able to monitor if it is getting any worse. If the cataract is affecting your vision you may need simple day surgery to remove the cloudy lens from your eye, replacing it with a fresh clear one. Our optometrists are trained to give a direct cataract referral to the ophthalmologist at the local hospital. This means you get to see the right specialist and get the treatment you need much more quickly.

You can also get more information on cataract from the website below…

http://www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/conditionsac/pages/cataract.aspx

Glaucoma

You may have wondered why, when you have an eye test, that the optometrist uses a machine that blows puffs of air into your eyes. This is because they are checking whether the pressure within your eye has increased. This increase in pressure, which is painless in itself, is often one of the first signs of glaucoma.

 

Glaucoma causes damage to the nerves that carry the visual information from the back of your eyes to your brain. Because the loss of vision is very gradual, patients often only notice that they have a problem when irreversible damage to their eyesight has already been done. The best defence against glaucoma is early detection and treatment, which is why our patients are screened for this disease.

 

We have all the latest equipment to diagnose & monitor glaucoma, please click on the words below to see how we use them

If you have glaucoma yourself, or you are over 40 and a member of your immediate family has glaucoma, you may qualify for free NHS eye tests, please do contact us for advice.

You can also get more information on glaucoma from the website below…

http://www.glaucoma-association.com

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by damage to the central area of the light sensitive tissue (retina) at the back of the eye, called the macula, which provides the most detailed part of your vision. It mainly affects the over 50s and often the first signs are having trouble with reading, recognising faces, adjusting to going from light to dark (e.g. coming indoors on a sunny day) or straight lines appearing wavy (e.g. looking at Venetian blinds at home).

The damage in AMD is mainly due to exposure to the UV rays in sunlight over many years but is thought to be hereditary in some families so, if you have a close relative with this condition, it is wise to let our optometrist know and make sure you keep up your regular eye examinations.

Even before your vision starts to be affected, our optometrists can see changes in the back of your eye and get you referred quickly. We have all the latest equipment to diagnose & monitor macular degeneration, please click on the words below to see how we use them

There are two forms of the condition – "dry" (which progresses more slowly) and "wet" (which progresses more swiftly). As wet macular degeneration can progress very rapidly, early intervention is extremely important. Our optometrists are trained to give a fast track referral to the ophthalmologist at the local hospital. This means you get to see the right specialist and get the treatment you need much more quickly, giving you the very best chance of preserving your sight.

Our optometrists are also trained to prescribe nutritional supplements that may slow the progress of macular degeneration There are also many visual aids to help patients with macular degeneration and we are always happy to give advice. You can also get more information on macular degeneration from the website below…

The Macular Disease Society http://www.maculardisease.org

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment happens when a hole or tear appears in the light sensitive layer in the eye, causing part of it to lift away from its backing.

 

Although this is not a common condition, it is a serious one. When a retinal detachment starts there is usually

  • A sudden increase in the number of “floaters” (the black blobs or shapes that we all see if we stare at a white surface)
  • Fleeting sudden flashes of light especially in the outside edges of the vision (unlike migraine, they only tend to last a second at a time)
  • Sudden blurring, or a dark shadow in the corner, of your vision

If any of these symptoms appear suddenly, it could be a retinal detachment that needs urgent attention. You should consult our optometrist or go to A&E within 24 hours of the start of the symptoms, if irreversible damage to your eyesight is to be avoided.

 

Please call us if you are concerned that you might have a retinal detachment. We will either be able to reassure you or ensure that you get the right treatment as soon as possible. We have all the latest equipment to diagnose whether you have a retinal detachment, please click on the words below to see how we use them 

You can also get more information on retinal detachment from the NHS Choices website or the website below…

http://www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/eyeconditionsoz/pages/retinal_detachment.aspx

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus causes high blood sugar – the first signs are often producing more urine (so you need to go the loo more often) and feeling more thirsty than normal – and if this is not controlled with diet, tablets or injections, it can eventually lead to damage of the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (diabetic retinopathy) by blood leaking from the blood vessels.

 

For you as a patient, there are often no early warning signs to look out for but some people get blurry vision that comes & goes through the day and may be worse when trying to focus on distant objects. The first signs are usually a temporary increase in the number of “floaters” (darker spots & shapes that move in front of your vision, that we all see when we stare at a white surface) but a few days or weeks later there is often a larger bleed which can completely obscure your vision. Anyone who has had diabetes for a decade or more is likely to suffer from retinopathy. The good news is that, with early detection, many new cases can be helped with prompt treatment.

 

The damage to the retina can be detected by optometrists well before it actually causes permanent loss of vision. Our optometrists can give a fast track referral to the ophthalmologist at the local hospital, which will mean you get to see the right specialist and get the treatment you need much more quickly.

  

If you have diabetes, we have all the latest equipment to monitor your eyes, please click on the words below to see how we use them

People with diabetes must have their eyes checked every year and are entitled to free NHS eye tests. In addition to this, you will be included in the NHS screening programmes at local hospitals or at our practice. You can also get more information on these screening programmes and diabetes from the NHS Choices website or the links below…

http://diabeticeye.screening.nhs.uk

http://www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/eyeconditionsdn/pages/diabetes.aspx

NHS & other eye care vouchers

The rules on getting help with the cost of eye tests, glasses and contact lenses are quite complicated. Before you book your eye test, you are very welcome give us a call if you need some advice.

 

National Health Service

  • Free Eye Tests - Up to the age of 16 (or 19 in full-time education) or over the age of 60, you are entitled to free NHS eye tests. If you are on certain income-related benefits, registered blind or partially sighted, have diabetes or glaucoma (or are over 40 & have a close relative with glaucoma) you are also entitled. How often you are able to claim this entitlement varies between these groups.
  • NHS Optical Vouchers - These are vouchers to help towards the cost of your glasses or contact lenses. They are available if you are under 16 (or 19 in full-time education), on certain income-related benefits, or have a complex prescription.
 

Help from your Employer

 

If working at a computer screen is a substantial part of your job, even if you work from home, your employer may be required to pay for you to have an eye test. Also, if you need glasses specifically for computer work, they may also be obliged to give you help towards the cost of these. Some firms provide Eye Care Vouchers, which we are happy to accept.

 

You can find out more about your NHS entitlements on the NHS Choices Website.

Eye Care

When you come to us for an eye examination, we won’t just be checking to see if you need glasses. Health screening is an essential part of, and an important reason for, regular eye tests – even if you feel well & your vision is perfect.

Our highly qualified optometrists place great importance on clinical eye care and use a wide range of techniques, employing the latest equipment - including optical coherence tomography (OCT) - to perform a thorough investigation of your eyes.

EARLY DETECTION

Many eye problems can be helped if they are found early enough, for instance –

  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment

HEALTH SCREENING

Few people are aware that diseases in other areas of the body can first be detected by examining the eyes.

These include –

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart and circulatory problems
  • High cholesterol
  • Nervous system diseases
  • Immune system diseases

This is one of the reasons the NHS recommends that adults & children should have eye examinations every two years. In some circumstances we may recommend more frequent eye tests.