Autumn 2008

Welcome to our autumn practice newsletter. In this issue we have article In the Right Frame giving you advice on choosing the right frame - so that it will convey the image you want to portray. An article on the eye condition Glaucoma tells you all about this condition, and why a regular eye examination is important. Lighting the way is all about lighting in our modern hi-tech world. Dos and Don'ts for Healthy Eyes is practical advice for healthy eyes and vision. Remember prevention is better than cure......

In the right frame

Fashion advice abounds in press and media about how to look good and what not to wear. Your spectacle frames help to define your image and a wide range of eyewear is available.

Whether you are updating your prescription or are simply considering a different look, our experienced staff are trained to help you make a choice. They can advise you on shape, colours, style and fit of spectacle frames which will enhance your facial features, personality and lifestyle and will give you the quality of vision you need.

lady wearing spectacles

Colour confidence

Light metal frames with a subtle hint of colour will suit blonde or grey hair, pale eyes and fair complexions. Warm colours are flattering; bright or strong colours and heavy frames can be too overpowering; clear or green tinged frames can drain colour from paler skins.

With black hair and dark skin, try metallic frames in a simple shape and colour. Bright colours are best avoided unless you want to match a particular outfit.

People with dark hair and an olive skin look good in a metal frame in silver or gold, or browns or tortoiseshells. Avoid very dark colours or pastel shades.

Warm colours such as gold, copper or bronze complement auburn hair. Equally cool colours can make a strong impact for redheads.

Look in the mirror

Remember, the frame shape should contrast with your face shape and should enhance your best feature. There are basically five face shapes:

Round

A round face is short and fairly wide with full cheeks and a rounded chin. Beware of round or very large shapes as these can make your face look too round. Small frames are also unflattering. Square or up-swept shapes can highlight the upper face. Choose those with decoration or colour near the temples rather than on the lower rim.

Square

A swuare face is short and wide or strong and angular. Avoid any frames which emphasise this shape such as thin, square styles and those with colour emphasis on the botton rim. Oval, soft rectangular or round shapes work as they can help soften the jawline. If the top of the frame also sits high on the face it helps draw attention upwards.

Oval

An oval face softly rounded and well balanced with a forehead slightly wider than the jaw. This is the ideal face shape, which suits virtually any frame, so do not be afraid to be adventurous. Angular or rounded aviatior style spectacles are particularly flattering.

Long

spectacles

A long face has a deep forehead, high cheekbones and a strong jaw line. Frames with solid colour work well, as do rounded shapes and wide frames with a strong top line. Avoid small, square frames, instead try wider frames to counteract the face's narrowness.

Heart-shaped

A heart-shaped face has a small neat chin and mouth, tapering up and outwards to a broader forehead. Try smaller tapering up and outwards to a broader forehead. Try smaller styles without decoration on the outer edges. Delicate, rounded or oval styles help balance the narrower jaw against the wider forehead. Frames with strong horizontal features are best avoided, as they can make the forehead seem weven wider.

Spectacles for all occasions

Your frames can help to convey the image you want to portray. some people have different spectacles for different occasions or for a different mood. A smart, efficient look can be perfect for work, but you may prefer a more informal style for social situations. You may like to coordinate the colour of your frames with your clothes and other accessories.

We look forward to helping you select the spectacles that are just right for you.

Glaucoma

The onset or progression of many diseases is usually signalled by changes in health and symptoms which you can describe.

A problem with one of the most common eye disorders - Glaucoma - is that there is often no pain or other warning signs, so the condition may already be quite advanced before you notice it. If not detected and treated, the damage to your sight can lead to blindness. This is why regular eye examinations are so important, especially as you get older.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma results from damage to the optic nerve caused either by raised pressure in the eye or weakness of the nerve itself. High pressure occurs when the liquid produced behind the iris cannot be drained properly and affects the optic nerve.

This usually develops gradually and often affects bot eyes, though sometimes at different rates. Often the work of the damaged eye is taken over by the other eye, making it very difficult to notice that anything is wrong.

An initial sign is deteriorating peripheral vision, but as the disease progresses very slowly damage can already have occured before you become aware of significant change.

Some symptoms may appear in more advanced stages.

These may include eye pain, headaces or dicciculty in focusing on close work. There may be further loss of peripheral vision, coloured rings appearing around lights, or difficlty in adjusting to the dark.

Risk factors

Age

Glaucoma is one of the most common eye disorders among older people. It affects about 25% of the UK population over the age of 40, rising to five percent of over seventies.

Ethnic origin

The risk of developing glaucoma is several times higher for people of Afro-Caribbean and Asian origin.

Family history

IF you have a close relative - a parent, brother or sister - who has the disease, you may also have an increased chjance of developing the condition. People over the age of 40 with an immediate family member who has glaucoma are entitled to an eye examination funded by the NHS.

Medical history

IF you suffer from diabetes, have severe myopia (short sightedness) or are a smoker yoy may be more likely to develop glaucoma.

Diagnosis

Eye examinations can detect signs of not only glaucoma, but also cataract and other serious health conditions such as diabetes and macular degeneration. That is why they are a good health check, especially if you are in one of the risk groups, even if you think there is nothing wrong with your sight.

There are mainly three quick and painless tests involved in checking for glaucoma:

  • Tanometry - measuring the eye pressure
  • Opthalmoscopy - viewing the optic disc at the back of the eye with a special torch
  • Perimetry - measuring the field of view of each eye

Treatment

Sight loss resulting from glaucoma is preventable with early diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of the condition.

Reduction and control of the pressure is usually by eye drops, but can also consist of tablets, laser treatment or surgery.

Your optometrist will advise about the best course of treatment and help you to manage the condition on an ongoing basis to ensure that good vision is preserved.

Lighting the way

In thehigh-tech world in which we live computers and television play a large part in most people's lives. Long periods staring at the screens are more likely to show up eye discomfort or problems seeing clearly, which is why it is important to have regular eye esaminations, where your Optometrist can make sure your eyes are working well. However, you can also help protect your eye health by checking the environment around you.

Ergonomic studies have shown just how important lighting conditions are, and not just in the workplace. A few simple changes to the lighting in your home may make all the difference to your well-being. Good lighting is essential for taks like reading and writing, and for close-work hobbies.

Use adjustable floor or table lamps which can be raised or lowered so you can direct light where it is needed.

Good lighting also improves home safety. In the kitchen position lighting near the appliances you use mist, such as under-cupboard lights over a work surface. Making sure stairs and doorways are well lit will help to prevent such as falls or spills.

Everyone responds differently, but too much or too little light can be a problem, especially for someone with a sight condition. Poor or inadequate lighting can cause headaches, eyestrain and blurred vision. It can also make your eyes irritated or more sensitive to light.

As we get older, less light enteres the eye. This causes a reduction in visual acuity, contrast and how brightly we see clolours. The direction of light, lits intensity and colour can all affect your visual ability, which is why it is worth trying different kinds and levels of lighting to find what is the most effective for you.

Types of lighting

Fluorescent lighting is blue-white colour and is commonly used in public places. However, it can create increased glare if the tubular lamps are not in proper fittings with diffusers.

fluorescent lighting

Most ordinary light bulbs are incandescent lights which give a more yellow, direct light and are most often used in desk or table lamps as well as ceiling fittings.

The brightest, whitest light comes from halogen lighting. Correctly directed using adjustable table or floor standing spotlights, this can enhance the contrast between print and background, helping to reduce eyestrain and improve visual performance.

The most comfortable light, especially for those with eye conditions, is full spectrum lighting, which is closest to natural sunlight. It gives the greatest contrast and the least discomfort. Full spectrum light bulbs are available from lighting specialists.

Avoiding glare

Increased sensitivity to glare caused by sunlight, overhead lighting or reflections can occur as we get older. Partial masking of the source with curtains or adjustable blinds can help. Try to position your desk, and especially your computer screen, so that any windows are to the side. If necessary use a good quality glass anti-glare screen with an anti-reflective coating.

Reflections on your monitor or your television can also sometimes be overcome by adjusting your angle of viewing slightly.

We can advise on special and/or tints for spectacles which can help to eliminate glare. Our dispensing staff can help you make the right choice.

Dos and Don'ts for Healthy Eyes

Maintaining a healthy active lifestyle and applying simple common sense in your everyday pursuits will improve your general wellbeing and help to reduce the risk of developing common health conditions which may affect your sight.

Nutrition

DO consume a healthy balanced diet to ensure a good supply of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy are degenerative eye conditions which are related to poor nutrition or inadequate supplies of antioxidants. Dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables are good sources of these essential elements.

Smoking

As well as harm it does to other organs of the body and the health of other people around you, smoking significantly increases susceptability to eye disorders. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the delicate blood vessels at the back of the eye and can increase the risk of developing AMD. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of disease.

Makeup

Apply your eye makeup with care. USe hypoallergenic products if you are sensitive to skin irritation and renew them at least every six months to prevent any build up of bacteria.

Remember to remove your make-up including mascara before you go to bed, allowing the skin around your eyes and lids to breathe. DON'T share or swap cosmetic applicators or brushes with other people, to avoid the risk of cross-infection.

Lens Hygiene

If you are a contact lens wearer, make sure your hands are thoroughly clean before handling your lenses. This is vital to prevent eye infections or damage to the eyes or contact lens. Always use the recommended cleaning solutions (never tap or bottled water.) DON'T swim or shower whilst wearing your lenses as the water may contain bacteria harmful to the eye.

Sun UV protection

High levels of ultra-violet light can burn and sometimes cause premanent damage to the eyes. Protect them from bright sun or the glare of winter snow by wearing good quality sunglasses.

Make sure that the pairs you choose carry the CE mark; this indicates they have been manufactured to controlled high standards and have UV absorbers in the material of the lens.

DIY and Sport

Many DIY or gardening tasks create dust particles and falling or flying hazardous objects, causing thousands of accidents a year. Protect your eyes by wearing goggles to help prevent injury. Playing most sports can involve an element of injury risk and it may be appropriate to discuss some form of safety protection for your eyes with your Optometrist, especially if you wear spectacles or contact lenses.

Foreign Bodies

If you think or feel you have something in your eyes, DON'T rub it! Pull the upper eyelid outwards and downwards; this increases tear production and will often help to flush away the object. IF this is not successful after several tries, then contact your Optometrist immediately.

On Screen

Tired, dry or blurred vision, eyestrain and headaches can be the consequence of prolonged concentration on your computer screen. Take regular breaks away from the monitor; consciously increase your blink rate to help restore the tear film layer. Emilinating glare and reflections, correctly positioning your screen and documents, and suitable lighting conditions can all help to minimise problems.

plate of rice and brightly coloured vegetables

Clean up your act

Make sure your car windscreen and mirrors inside and out are clean and smear free. This is important to avoid glare and blurring especially when driving at night. Clean your spectacle lenses regularly too; purpose-made cloths and cleaning sprays have anti-static properties and will remove dust and particles without smearing.

Prevention is better ...

A regular eye examination will not only test wether you need any for of correction to see clearly. Your optometrist will check for the possible presence of any disease or abnormality and monitor your eye health to prevent unnecessary deterioration or loss of sight. Changes in vision can occur very gradually and the sooner a problem, if there is one, is detected, the better the chance of successful treatment. Usually you should have an eye examination at least every two years.