March 29th, 2013
We continue this series of top threats to your eyes by Mary Browne F.A.O.I. who is based at our Rathmines branch. Cataracts are something we can look forward to see much more of as we all live longer. Perhaps some day we can look forward to a less invasive solution to curing the problem.
There’s a lens inside the eye like a clear lump of jelly. When we’re younger, it changes shape to help you focus up close. Over time, this lens can become cloudy, causing blurred vision.
The lens in the eye is made up of water and protein. With age, the protein tends to clump, causing the lens to become opaque.
- Blurry vision
- Glare at night time
- Yellowing, or fading of colours
- Sensitivity to light
- Frequent need to change the spectacle prescription
- Double vision in one eye
Risk Factors for Cataract
Over the age of 80, more than 50% of people will develop a cataract
After trauma to the eye or surrounding area, a cataract may develop
Children can be born with cataracts, or they can develop in childhood.
Can occur in UV exposure, diabetes, or as a complication after eye surgery. Smoking is also thought to be linked to cataracts.
- Wear sunglasses
- Don’t smoke
- Diabetics should keep blood sugars under control.
- A surgeon will make an small incision in the white part of the eye (sclera)
- The cloudy lens is broken up, and then removed from the capsule (a clear membrane that holds it in place)
- A clear artificial lens is inserted into the capsule, allowing light to pass through to the back of the eye again
- Often, some time after the procedure has been carried out, there may be further blurring of vision due to thickening of the posterior part of the capsule. This will mimic the effect of the original cataract. This can easily be thinned with laser by an ophthalmologist in just a few minutes, returning the vision to the original post-operative clarity.
February 25th, 2012
Some cheaper anti-glare coatings can make glasses very difficult to keep clean. These budget coatings get smudged very easily, should anything touch them. Most glasses wearers know how irritating it can be, constantly cleaning grubby lenses.
We recommend a Crizal Forte anti-glare lens coat. This scotchgard coating has a number of great benefits:
- It is very tough, and doesn’t scratch easily.
- It’s smudge resistant, and will stay cleaner than other lenses.
- It is also easier to clean, when it does get dirty .
- It lets through 99% of light, (up to 30% more light than cheaper alternatives), and minimises reflections and glare.
It’s a little more expensive than standard anti glare coatings, but well worth it when you consider the extra benefits.
November 30th, 2010
Macular Degeneration is an eye condition where your central vision gets gradually worse over time, and fine detailed work like reading becomes more difficult.
Last year we saw a patient in her 80’s who suffered from macular degeneration. She was having great difficulty reading, but assumed that nothing could be done to help her, as there’s no known cure for degeneration. However, when her daughter brought her in for an eye test we found that she also had cataracts. A cataract occurs when a clear jelly-like lens in one’s eye goes cloudy (usually with age), putting a shadow over the vision.
We referred the lady to an eye specialist in that field of expertise who removed the cataracts under operation. The cloudy lens was replaced with a clear artificial one. When a cataract is removed, the vision is no longer as dark and cloudy. Things start to look much brighter, and colours appear more vivid again.
We got a lovely letter from her daughter saying that she is now playing scrabble again! She wrote in the letter ‘Her quality of life has greatly improved. I hope that people in similar situations are aware that there is a chance that their vision can be improved’.
Even if someone feels their vision can’t get better, it’s worth having regular eye checks, just in case. You can also take eye vitamins such as Macushield to help your chances of avoiding macular degeneration later in life.
April 5th, 2010
Did you know that watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eyes?
If your tears aren’t oily enough, they will evaporate more quickly, leaving your eyes red, gritty and dry. When this happens, your eyes will compensate by producing extra tears. But because the tears aren’t good quality, they often run down your face, instead of remaining on your eye and doing the job they’re supposed to.
This can be more noticeable when you’re doing concentrated work like reading or driving, as your eyes become irritated when you blink less. Also, when you’re outdoors, your eyes may also water as the wind also aggravates dry eyes.
There are numerous drops available for dry eyes. Most of them are quite watery, and give only very temporary relief. Eye ointments will remain in your eyes for longer, but are quite greasy, so are usually only suitable for night time as they can blur your vision..
My favourite eye drops are Hylo-Tear. These have just the right consistency. They are oily and silky, but not so viscous that they will blur your vision. Every time you blink, they re-coat the eye, giving lasting relief.
They have a clever pump action, releasing each drop without letting germs in, so you can keep them for 3 months from opening if they’re not already empty!
They are slightly more expensive than other eye drops, but well worth it.
Mary Browne F.A.O.I.
March 20th, 2010
Patient aged 90 treats herself to new Versace spectacles, you can too!
Only last week one of our regular patients decided to make a fashion statement and treat herself to a beautiful Versace frame. Without knowing the brand before she made her final decision – she chose it on the basis of comfort, fit & quality. So age does not matter when it comes to style and taste. Discerning clients develop a lifetime of making good choices.
We try to help you by having our latest styles listed online for your viewing.
March 13th, 2010
Optician Saves lives ! It’s more common than you would think!.
When a group of opticians gather together for our continuing professional development and training events you can imaging our conversations. Always comparing the latest most exciting patient case. No doubt we get our biggest kick from saving lives. If you just look up optician saves lives on the web, you will just see how common it is. And that is just the reported incidents!
What we don’t see is how many lives have been saved when the quality of your sight is critical. Driving at dusk and on dark wet nights can be lethal. Every meter, every nanosecond can be the difference between life and death. I remember one incident when I was a passenger in a car and a new roundabout had been installed on the approach to Dublin. It was about 2 am as we returned from Waterford. We approached a new roundabout where there was lots of road works in progress. We were travelling within the regulated speed limits.
I began to wonder when the driver would steer around this new roundabout ….. too late….. We ploughed through the builders debris and came to a halt in gutter in the middle of the roundabout. The boat on our roof rack came down over the car and we were locked in. But we were ok – and thankfully rescued by some other passing motorists who all helped and ultimately lifted the car out of the roundabout. The car was a write off.
Guess what ! The driver had an undiagnosed mild prescription requirement which was fixed just a week later. It could have been much worse.It was a long journey that wet night to and from Wexford and that was the slowest part of our journey.
So if you are been driven by some one this evening, you know that the car has had its service and MOT test, but have the eyes of the driver had theirs ? Something to think about. Get them to have an eye test, its just a click away.
February 20th, 2010
It was recently brought to our attention by an eye specialist that the amount of Ultra Violet radiation emitted by many of the new green energy bulbs is equivalent to being out on a sunny day. Would you expose your eyes to that level of radiation with out UV protection on your sunglasses ?
UV light is widely regarded as one of the causes of cataracts. The invisible UV component of sunlight promotes free radical damage in the lens. The greater the light intensity the greater the UV radiation dosage and resulting damage.
The impact of radiation is cumulative over ones life and thus we see the formation of skin cancers many years after sun exposure.
Some vitamin supplements can help with the prevention of cataracts and macula degeneration, but in most cases cataracts gradually get worse and an operation is required to remove the damaged lens and the insertion of a synthetic lens. These synthetic lenses have improved enormously over the years and one has no longer to wear the bottle bottom lens types in order to have good vision. However the operation is a somewhat uncomfortable experienced for a few weeks during the post operative healing process for many patients.
The Health Protection Agency in the UK have been one of the first to identify the problem with the new bulbs. The industry Lighting group has commissioned further independent research into the claims and have welcomed the precautionary advice issued.
More recently the Australian Government Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted test on a number of well known branded lights and found that of the brands they tested that the bulbs did not created hazardous conditions for most skin types. However they did not address the impact of build up of radiation and the impact on eyesight with regard to development of cataracts.
The most comprehensive literature I can find on this matter suggests that more research is needed to determine if these bulbs can have negative health impacts. Green Facts.org give a reasonably balanced picture on the current status.
In conclusion – if there is danger – why not take the precaution of ensuring that if you work with a compact fluorescent lamp at your desk, make sure its got a cover and that your eyes are protected from any potential UV harm and preferably that you use an encapsulated double envelope such as that on the right of the picture below.
Encapsulated double envelope bulb on the right. Single envelope on the left.