Focus on long sightedness
You’ve no doubt heard the term, but do you know what it actually means to be long sighted? Read on to find out more. And if you would also like to know more about short sightedness check out our previous blog!
What is long sightedness?
Technically known as Hyperopia or Hypermetropia, long sightedness occurs when light rays that enter the eye don’t converge enough and reach the back of the eye before coming to a focal point – in effect, the eyeball is too short. This results in the eye being unable to focus light properly on the retina so the image you see is still blurry.
For some people with a small amount of hyperopia, it can mean you are able to see clearly in the very far distance while finding it harder to focus on objects in the mid-ground. However, if you are more significantly long-sighted you might struggle with distance vision, too.
Who tends to suffer from long sightedness?
Anyone of any age can be long sighted, it’s just down to the size and shape of your eyes. For those who need a correction, glasses or contact lenses with a plus powered (converging) lens can be used to help correct long sighted vision.
People often confuse long sightedness with age related near vision difficulty (Presbyopia). As you get older your eyes’ ability to accommodate and focus on close objects gets harder. The lens inside the eye gets less flexible and can’t change shape so easily to alter the eye’s focal power.
Although in this situation you will typically be given plus powered lenses, it’s not the same as long sightedness in the true sense and can be experienced by people who are short sighted too.
Can you grow out of long sightedness?
Yes – most babies are born long sighted so at first their vision is blurry. This is quite normal and, in most cases it will correct naturally in time without help, about the age of 6 or thereabouts. As children grow, so do their eyes and eventually their become the correct length for the focal point of the eye – it all syncs together.
Some people, particularly children can find they’re long sighted and not experiencing any blurriness. As we mentioned previously, your eyes have the ability to change focus (accommodate) by using the focussing muscles to change the shape of the lens inside your eye.
This in effect exerts plus power and increases the eye’s own ability to converge the light rays and bring the world into focus. The problem with this is that it is a function that humans have developed in order to focus on near objects. If the distance vision is blurry and we accommodate for objects further away, it means the eyes are in a constant state of exertion, potentially leading to eye strain, squinting and in children, short attention span. Ideally the eyes should be relaxed when focussed at distance, and only exert effort for near objects. This is especially important for children whose visual system is still developing, up until the age of about 8-10.
What happens if I find out I am long sighted?
Depending on how long sighted you are, you will be prescribed plus powered lenses, either as glasses or contact lenses. As much as making sure the image is as clear as it can be on the back of the eye, it’s important to stop the eyes from accommodating for distance. Some people don’t see a lot of difference at first – children’s eyes in particular find it easy to accommodate but they don’t realise their eyes have been working really hard as a result. Eventually as you become used to your new lenses your focus relaxes, and you often find you experience less eye strain, and your vision is more comfortable.
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The facts about eye floaters
If you have ever looked at a plain backdrop and noticed the odd dark dot or squiggle swimming around in your vision, the chances are you have eye floaters.
This common condition is not usually anything to worry about, especially if you have experienced it for a long time and the number of floaters you can see stays roughly consistent.
Patrick & Menzies’ Dan Edwards explained: “Many people suffer from eye floaters and in the vast bulk of cases they don’t need any form of treatment. Typically, as you get older the vitreous – the gel inside your eyeball – becomes less jelly-like, liquefies slightly, and gets less stable. When tiny parts of the vitreous membrane that surrounds the vitreous forming a barrier between that and the retina, break away and float around in the vitreous, it creates floaters.”
Usually, floaters are black or dark in colour and they can vary in size. Once you experience floaters they won’t disappear but they can sink so they are less visible or often people get so used to them they no longer notice them.
People who suffer from floaters are often more aware of them when they look up at a cloudless sky or other blank canvas. If you look at a busy background, they tend to be less noticeable.
If you have medium to high levels of short-sightedness there’s a higher chance of floaters as the vitreous membrane and retina are under more tension.
Dan continued: “99.99% of the time eye floaters are completely innocent and nothing to worry about. However, if you experience a sudden onset or the number increases significantly, particularly if you start to notice flashes of light in your peripheral vision as well, it is important to book an appointment with your optician as in rare circumstances this can be a sign of some sort of detachment within the eye.”
If one of our patients is concerned that they are seeing floaters we will always want to have a look and talk through their eye history to find out what is going on.
Dan added: “We would always encourage our patients to book in to see us as soon as possible if they are worried about anything to do with their vision as it’s much easier if we can catch something early on.
“With eye floaters, in a rare situation they can be an early sign of retinal detachment. If we find that’s the case, we can arrange for you to be referred to an ophthalmologist, providing them with all of the details they need to help.”
Contact your local branch if you are concerned about eye floaters.
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Picking the right lenses for you
When you come to buying your next pair of glasses your thoughts are probably focused on hunting out the right frames.
And with so many different styles, colours and shapes on offer it’s easy to find just the right pair to suit your look.
There is another important option to consider, too – which lenses to choose for your perfect pair of specs.
There are various options available which can make a real difference to your vision.
Scratch resistant lenses
At Patrick & Menzies all our lenses come with a scratch resistant coating as standard. This will help your lenses last longer, slowing down the inevitable build-up of scratches that comes with daily wear. It doesn’t make them bulletproof but it definitely helps!
These are a great choice if you regularly sit in front of a computer screen or often drive at night as the coating cuts out harsh reflection and reduces glare, resulting in clearer vision. The reflection-free coating works by allowing more light to travel through the lenses which in turn means your eyes can relax so you don’t have to strain to focus. And if you are partial to taking the odd selfie you will notice another benefit with these lenses, as they allow the world to see your peepers rather than just a reflection.
At Patrick & Menzies we use Nikon’s SeeCoat range, providing a quality solution at the cutting edge of lens design and manufacture.
Thin and light lenses
Certain prescriptions, frame sizes and shapes can make your lenses thicker and heavier than they could otherwise be. At Patrick & Menzies, we use Nikon’s range of hi-index lens materials to make your lenses thinner and lighter so they can look great and feel fantastic. Plus all our thin and light lenses are anti-reflection coated as standard so they’re visually more comfortable too.
Fed up switching between your daily glasses and sunglasses? Photochromic lenses could be the answer! These lenses adapt to different light conditions giving excellent glare protection in bright sunshine, and a moderate tint for when conditions are less bright. It means you feel visually comfortable without the need to juggle multiple pair of specs! All photochromic lenses from Patrick & Menzies are fully UV safe and scratch resistant as standard.
The Patrick & Menzies team are happy to talk through the benefits of different lenses and help pick the right option for you. Just ask your dispensing optician when picking out your next pair of frames.
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While enjoying sunnier days and warmer temperatures it’s important to remember to take care of your eyes.
Here is our quick guide to some of the ways you can protect your peepers during the summer months.
Sunglasses are a must, whatever your age
Wearing sunglasses offers your eyes protection against UV rays which, over the years, can cause significant damage to your eyes.
By wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses you’re not just protecting the eye itself but the skin around it, reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Most sunglasses offer full UV protection, cutting out UV to a level required by EU law. Look out for the CE mark to show they conform with legislation.
As long as there are no other sight issues children should also wear sunglasses on bright days. Most damage caused by UV light is accrued over a number of years, so protecting your eyes from a young age can be a real benefit.
Consider the colour of the lenses as well as the size and fit of the sunglasses around your face and go for a pair that cuts out as much light as possible without steaming up or causing inconvenient reflections.
Sand in your eye? Don’t rub it!
There’s nothing better than a sunny day at the beach – until the wind whips up and you find yourself with sand in your eye. If this happens there is one firm rule – don’t rub it!
By rubbing your eye, you are much more likely to scratch the front of it. Even if the sand comes out it will still feel like you have something in there and you open yourself up to infection.
Let your eye water as tears are the body’s natural defence mechanism. Try to let the tears flow and don’t rub them away as they will help to flush out any debris. You can also try very gently pulling the lower lid away from the eye slightly to let the tears flow and well up which should help wash the sand out.
If the irritation continues use an eyebath to soothe your eye, and if it still doesn’t ease then call your optician so they can take a closer look and recommend what you need to do next.
Contact lenses and swimming don’t mix
As a general rule wearing contact lenses while swimming is a no no. For serious swimmers or those who are in the water a lot, ideally opt for a pair of prescription goggles. Otherwise wear an old pair of glasses that you wouldn’t mind losing or damaging as a worst-case scenario.
Combating hay fever
Sadly, one of the downsides of summer for many people is hay fever.
Sufferers often find their eyes become red and itchy with swelling or puffiness around the eyes.
Over the counter treatments such as antihistamine eye drops are usually the best course of action to combat hay fever symptoms. If after a week there is no improvement and your eyes are still dry, itchy and red you should make an urgent appointment at your opticians to make sure you’re not suffering from a different eye condition.
If warmer weather tempts you to play more sport, it’s worth considering investing in eyewear that fits the bill.
Sports frames and prescription goggles really can make a difference to your performance and are much safer, too. To find out more about specialist sporting eyewear take a look at our blog. [link to Glasses, Goggles and Contact Lenses for Sports | Patrick & Menzies (patrickandmenzies.co.uk)]
Check out our selection of sunglasses online.
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Keep your glasses in mint condition with our top tips
Considering plenty of us rely on our glasses to see clearly, it’s amazing that so many people fail to keep them clean!
It doesn’t take a lot to keep your specs in mint condition once you know how. Read on for Patrick & Menzies’ top tips.
Back to basics
When cleaning your glasses, aim to wipe or rub the lenses as little as possible. Every time you do, there is a risk (however small) of scratching.
Start with rinsing your lenses in cold water to wash away any dust. Avoid warm or hot water as this could cause the lenses to expand, potentially cracking and ruining any coatings instantly.
Lens cleaner from your optician is definitely the best option as it is designed to evaporate off the lens leaving less smearing – ask at your local Patrick & Menzies branch next time your visit for an appointment.
If you don’t have any cleaner tailored to the job mild hand soap can be OK, but it can leave your lenses smeary, which in turn means you wipe it more, increasing the risk of scratching.
You should never use washing-up liquid or household cleaners on your lenses as they can contain tiny amounts of solvent which causes damage to certain types of lens materials.
Clear of smear
Always polish your lenses using the cloth given to you by your optician when you bought your glasses. Commonly these are made from microfibre which will keep the need for rubbing the lenses to a minimum.
Most scratched lenses are caused by something getting caught on the cloth from your pocket, case or handbag, so make sure you keep your cloth and glasses case clean, too.
Never use kitchen towel or tissues as they are more abrasive than you think, and hankies should be avoided as they often have dust or debris from your pocket stuck to them.
When you are not wearing your glasses, it makes sense to keep them in their case. Although tempting, avoid keeping pens, nail files and other ‘handy’ items in the case too, as they are sure to scratch.
So many of us are guilty of pushing our specs up on the top of our heads, but this is also a no no as it bends the sides out of shape and can make them loose.
If you are taking your glasses off momentarily, put them down sides closed, lens up and do your best to avoid sleeping in your specs.
Ideally if you play sports invest in the right eyewear for the job rather than wear your everyday glasses. Prescription goggles for swimming and appropriate safety specs for other sports such as tennis or football, are designed to keep you safe and help you get the most from your vision.
If you are concerned about your eyesight please do give us a call to book an appointment. Even during lockdown we’re open to look after your eyes, glasses, and contact lenses, with measures in place to keep everyone safe.
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Tell-tale that signs you need your eyes checked
Regular eye tests are an important part of keeping your vision in check, and for most adults that usually means seeing the optician every couple of years.
But if you spot a significant change to your sight it’s important to get it looked at rather than wait for your next regular appointment.
Dan Edwards, Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician, said: “There are lots of reasons that lead to people booking an eye test, but if your vision is different to normal you really should get it checked out.”
One of the most common symptoms of late is eye strain or tired eyes which can often be caused by spending long hours looking at a screen. Although everything may look clear you may need to strain to keep focus and your optician can often prescribe glasses to help with this. Focusing on something up close can lead to headaches, too, because tension builds up across the forehead and temples.
Dry eyes – leaving your eyes feeling gritty and uncomfortable and looking a little red – may also be an indicator that you need an optician’s appointment.
And, if you need to screw your eyes up to focus it can be a sign that things are starting to go blurry. You might not even notice you are doing it, but because you are screwing up your eyes you may find you are getting a slight headache or tension.
Floaters – often caused by debris such as dust or bits of eyelash in the tear layer on the front of the eye – are very common. They look transparent and keep moving, following the direction of your gaze.
However, floaters are more concerning when they are darker in colour and are more permanent and defined.
Dan explained: “Nine times out of ten they are nothing to be concerned about but we can put people’s minds at rest. If you have had floaters like that for a number of years it is likely that is normal for you and not necessarily a concern, although if you have never seen an optician about them, you should probably consider it. However, if you experience a sudden onset of floaters, or get a noticeable change or increase in the number of floaters you can see, that’s when you should book a, examination.”
If you notice a different sort of obstruction to your vision such as something which looks like a curtain or cobweb, it might indicate something more serous and you need to book a consultation as soon as possible.
Changes to a child’s vision can be harder to spot either because they are unable to put it into words or because they find ways to adapt to the change.
Difficulty focussing can make them unusually grumpy, not want to do their work or complain that their eyes feel uncomfortable, it’s a good indicator that it’s time for a test. Children normally should be seen each year, even if they are not having any obvious problems. Sometimes more frequently if they have glasses, your optician will recommend the correct interval.
Getting back on track
Measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep everyone safe limited the number of people who could be seen over the course of an average week, which means lots of people may now find themselves overdue for a test.
Those with conditions such as glaucoma or diabetes, who would usually have a check-up every year, should arrange an appointment to make sure there are no changes to their vision or eye health.
If you are worried about your vision please do contact us to book an appointment. Get in touch however you prefer | telephone, email or in person!
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Eye care when working from home
Working from home has become the new normal for many people over the past year.
At first there were the struggles of getting to grips with Zoom, finding a space within the home where there was peace and quiet and making sure the wifi worked.
But even more important is the need to make sure you are looking after your eyes, especially as home working looks set to continue well into 2021 for many people.
Glare on your computer screen can lead to eye strain so while you are working try to position your computer so you are side on to a window.
You might need to shift this around slightly for video calls, ideally positioning your computer so you face natural light to avoid appearing in silhouette, or looking ill or tired.
For glasses wearers it’s definitely worth considering anti-reflective lenses if you video call a lot as they limit light bouncing between you and your screen, reducing scatter, distracting reflections and giving a less ‘cluttered’ image – helping you see better.
Give your eyes a rest
Don’t forget to take a break from your screen every now and then. As a rule, every 20 minutes look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
And don’t forget to blink! It might sound silly but research has shown that when we stare at screens we tend to blink less which can lead to dry and itchy eyes.
Position your monitor
Make sure that your monitor is in the right position. The College of Optometrists suggests the ideal distance is between 40 and 76 centimetres (16 to 30 inches) from your eyes with the top level with, or slightly below, your eyes. Try to position your screen to avoid any distracting reflections, too.
You can then adjust the brightness, font and the size of the type to suit.
Get your eyes checked
According to a study by The College of Optometrists, one in five adults in the country said they thought their vision had become worse during the first national lockdown, with one in three blaming it on too much screen time.
If you are worried about your vision please do give us a call today and we can arrange an appointment.
At Patrick & Menzies we are working hard to make sure that we can still offer our usual high level of service to our customers, even though the experience may feel a little different due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Don’t forget your specs
It’s all well and good going for a regular eye test, but you really do then need to remember to wear your glasses when you are meant to! If you have specs that are specifically for screen use then leave them on your desk at the end of the working day so you don’t have to spend time tracking them down the following morning.
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Top tips to encourage children to wear their specs
As any parent knows getting your child to do what’s good for them isn’t always easy.
Being told your child needs to wear glasses is a case in point. Despite there being very real advantages to the child in terms of improved vision, getting them to actually wear their specs may be a little trickier than it sounds.
So, we have come up with a few handy tips to help make your life easier.
Explain the benefits
Many parents will have already talked to their child about why they should have their eyes checked regularly before they first come in for an eye test. Once the need for glasses has been identified, it’s even more important for your child to understand how to look after their eyes and why wearing specs will improve their vision. Don’t underestimate their capacity to take on board this information. For children who are short-sighted, once they try their glasses on they immediately experience for themselves how much better they can see which may in itself be enough to convince them. Long-sighted children often have a little more difficulty as the benefits are more subtle and take a little more time to ‘feel’, however they are no less life changing and important.
Choose frames they love
Choosing a pair of frames your child loves will go a long way to making sure they want to wear them.
Children’s glasses frames have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Forget the dull standard issue frames of the past and think bright, fun and comfy glasses to match your child’s personality and style.
At Patrick & Menzies we have a great variety of children’s frames so there is sure to be a style that they will love.
Comfort and fit is key
These are so important to making sure people of all ages – especially children – wear their glasses when they need them. If your specs don’t fit properly, they will more than likely spend much of their time in the case. At Patrick & Menzies we take the time to make sure all our frames are fitted with the care and attention needed to ensure they are comfy to wear.
Find good influences
Depending on the age of your child, there are plenty of famous faces who show it’s easy to look great in glasses – from Harry Potter to Clark Kent and Katy Perry in her stylish cat eye specs.
For younger children it may prove useful to watch the episode of CBeebies’ favourites Topsy and Tim where Tim gets his first pair of glasses [BBC iPlayer – Topsy and Tim – Series 3: 8. New Glasses]. There are lots of great story books about wearing glasses, too such as Charlie and Lola’s I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses or Douglas, You Need Glasses by Ged Adamson.
And of course, there may be other glasses wearers in your family who act as real-life role models.
Talk to the teachers
If your child is of school age, have a chat to their teacher when they are first prescribed glasses to let them know when your child is meant to be wearing their specs. It’s quite normal for your child to simply forget about their glasses when they are brand new, so having someone around who can remind them can prove invaluable.
To book an eye test for your child, contact your nearest branch of Patrick & Menzies today.
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What are cataracts?
Cataracts are areas that develop in the clear lens inside your eyes, stopping light from reaching the back of the eye, and causing blurred or misty vision. They are not painful.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
- Blurred, misty or cloudy vision
- Difficulty seeing in dim or low light
- Colours look faded or more like sepia
- Double vision
- Seeing haloes (circles of light) around bright lights, or finding lights too ‘dazzling’ to look at
- You feel like the lenses in your glasses are dirty or greasy, even when they are clean
Cataracts can develop very slowly and may not be noticeable for some time. They often develop in both eyes, although not necessarily at the same time or in the same way.
What causes cataracts?
Unfortunately, most cataracts simply develop as we age, although you can reduce your risk by eating a healthy diet and not smoking or drinking alcohol. If you have been exposed to frequent strong UV light, have taken steroid medication over a long period of time, or have had untreated diabetes you may also be at higher risk.
Can you tell me if I have cataracts?
We always check for the signs of cataracts during an eye examination. When we look inside your eyes to check their overall health, we look through the lens inside your eye. In doing so, any cataract or cloudiness will be visible to your optometrist. Other tests will also indicate the presence of cataract, in particular a noticeable drop in visual acuity (the size of the letters you can see on the chart) Most of the time, the vision can be improved by an alteration to the type of correction you have. Where this is not possible, we can discuss referral to an ophthalmologist for more tests and treatment.
Unfortunately, because there are no drops or medicines that improve cataracts, and your vision will deteriorate slowly over time, the only effective treatment is surgery.
What happens during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the UK and has an extremely high success rate. It is a quick and simple procedure which is carried out under local anaesthetic as a day patient, so you will be able to communicate with your surgeon during the operation.
The surgeon will make a tiny incision in your eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new, clear artificial lens. You will not normally need stitches, but your eye will be covered to protect it.
If you have cataracts in both eyes, you’ll need two separate operations, usually carried out 6 to 12 weeks apart to give the first eye time to heal.
So, will I need new glasses after my cataract operation?
After cataract surgery most people will still need to wear glasses for certain tasks, although the prescription will be very different from before the operation, and the vision should be markedly better. You will need an eye examination about a month after surgery once your vision has settled down.
If you’re at all concerned about cataracts contact us today.
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Using technology to better examine your eye health
For years the standard way of checking the health of the back of your eyes has been either direct ophthalmoscopy (when we get really close with the bright light) or slit-lamp ophthalmoscopy where you have your chin on a chin-rest and we look inside the eyes using a microscope, a bright light and a super-powerful magnifying lens.
All optometrists are highly skilled at recognising anything that may be wrong, the only problem with this is one of comparison. Judging whether the appearance of someone’s retina two or more years ago has changed or not, can be difficult, even when comprehensive notes are kept. That’s where photographs can be invaluable.
Many eye conditions can be particularly hard to detect because the changes in the appearance of the back of the eye can be very subtle and slow. If we take glaucoma as an example, the appearance of what’s called the optic disc, where the optic nerve joins the back of the eye, is one of the things that we monitor very closely. Glaucoma damages the optic disc and it’s shape and size change slowly as the damage occurs over time. If we have images to compare, then this damage can be picked up a lot earlier than would otherwise be the case. This is not just true of glaucoma, the detection of diabetes and other problems hugely benefit from this too. At Patrick and Menzies, we were early adopters of this technology, known as Fundus Photography over 15 years ago.
Since fundus photography became commonplace, a newer, more advanced technology became available, known as Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT. From the patient’s perspective the procedure is very similar to fundus photography. However instead of a flat 2D photograph of the retina, OCT uses scanning light beams to create a 3D image, not unlike an ultrasound, of the retina. The advantage of this is that we can see the deeper layers of the retina, nerve fibres and blood vessels underneath, things that can’t be seen on a conventional fundus photograph. Conditions like Glaucoma, diabetes and many others can be picked even earlier than before, enabling treatment before any significant sight loss or other complications can occur. We installed OCT in all our practices over 5 years ago and they have proved invaluable.
Our Braintree practice also has something called Optomap. These machines give us an ultra-widefield image of the back of the eye, enabling easier detection of any problems in the peripheral areas of the retina.
These more advanced ways of examining your eyes are a standard part of our private eye examination, and included if you are part of our VisionPlan scheme.
For anyone who receives a basic NHS check, they are available as an upgrade for a small fee.
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