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Preventing Falls through Eye Examinations

Good Vision can Prevent Falls and Save Lives

One of the things about getting older is that we are at greater risk of falling.  Sadly, our vision and body deteriorates and this can cause issues in later life.  If you are worried about the consequences of taking a tumble or have a family member who is vulnerable in this regard, this post is for you.

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Falling in Old Age

Falling when you’re elderly can have severe consequences.  A broken hip can result in hospitalisation, disabilities, and in the worst case scenario, death.  Research into preventing falls has discovered that vision plays a significant part in preventing falls.

A study commissioned by the Geriatric Society and the College of Optometrists show that almost 1 in 3 people that were aged 65 or over suffered impaired vision.  This is what you may be experiencing if you’re in this age group in terms of vision loss:

  • Blurry, distorted vision
  • Sensitivity to bright lights/glare
  • Difficulty seeing objects
  • Depth perception problems
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Problems seeing the edges and changes in surfaces

As a result you may experience issues with maintaining balance, movement, and seeing objects in your path.  Although vision is not the only factor to falls in your old age, it is significant.

Eye Examinations Help Considerably in Avoiding Falls

Although eye examinations will not help you completely to avoid falls, they will give help you stay you on feet.  The same data that showed 30% of people aged over 65 had vision problems also revealed that almost 75% had issues that could be corrected through wearing glasses or contact lenses.  So, next steps:

If you still have difficult seeing, speak to your doctor about low vision services.

Sources: Fall Prevention, BGS.org.uk, Aop.org.uk

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours for VisionCare Branches

christmas

Christmas and New Year opening hours for Visioncare branches

Wealdstone Branch

Sat 24th Dec 09h00-14h00
Mon 26th Dec closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Tues 27th Dec closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Wed 28th Dec 09h30-16h00
Thu 29th Dec 09h30-16h00
Fri 30th Dec 09h30-16h00
Sat 31st Dec closed
Mon 2nd Jan closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Tue 3rd Jan 09h00-18h00

Barnet Branch

Sat 24th Dec 09h00-14h00
Mon 26th Dec closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Tues 27th Dec closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Wed 28th Dec closed
Thu 29th Dec closed
Fri 30th Dec closed
Sat 31st Dec closed
Mon 2nd Jan closed(BANK HOLIDAY)
Tue 3rd Jan 09h00-17h30

Harley Street Branch

Closed from Tuesday 20th December 2016 and reopening Tuesday Jan 10th 2017.

State of The Nation Eye – Health Report

In the UK we are relatively lucky that eye examinations are easy to obtain and cheap.  We also have some of the best standards of eye care in the world.  Eye tests help prevent blindness and eye conditions and increasingly give us an accurate picture of our overall health. That being said, few of us have regular eye examinations despite the obvious health benefits.

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Ensure you schedule your eye tests regularly for you and your family

According to a recent report by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) entitled The State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016, there are two million British people living with sight loss.  Nearly half could have avoided sight loss if they had a regular eye test as their conditions could have been caught early and treated.

Sadly, many of us do not seek out help until it is too late, invariably when we notice a problem.  Like most health conditions early detection is key to prevention and cure.

Children and Eye Care

One aspect of the report highlighted clearly was the benefits of children having regular eye examinations.  It has long been established that good vision is essential to good learning, and that untreated eye conditions in children, often lead to a deterioration of performance at school and distress.

Unbelievably, the report showed that 25% of parents hadn’t taken their children for an visual examination before their eighth birthday.

Mental Health

As well as the impacts on our physical health, vision loss can and does lead to depression.  Consider that 43% of people that attend low vision clinics meet the criteria of depression.  Eye conditions impact our lives in ways we do not expect.

Book your Eye Appointment Now

To avoid this scenario for you and your family, and to ensure your child is not hampered at school by poor eyesight, book an examination for your child today.

Eye conditions are costing £28 billion a year according to the RNIB, and you don’t want your quality of life impaired by poor eye sight.  Click here, and make an eye appointment.

Source: RNIB

How to Clean your Glasses and Prevent Lens Scratches

If you are a wearer ,to be able to see well you should ensure your spectacles are cleaned daily.  Cleaning your spectacle lenses the correct way ensures that they will last longer, reduce lens scratches, and it will give you better vision.

For optimal cleaning tips, follow these simple steps.  They can be applied to all types of spectacles including sunglasses, sports eyewear, and safety glasses.

Cleaning your glasses daily will help you see better and prolongs the life of your specs
Cleaning your glasses daily will help you see better and prolongs the life of your specs

How to Clean your Glasses and Prevent Lens Scratching

Wash your Hands

Before you start cleaning your glasses, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly.  Anything that is on your hands transfers to your glasses and impairs their effectiveness at helping you see.  Wash your hands in lotion-free soap or dishwashing liquid, and clean your hands using a lint free towel.

Rinse your Spectacles under Luke Warm Water

Hold your spectacles under a gentle stream of lukewarm water.  This removes dust and debris which has a habit of causing scratches.  Do not make the water too hot as this can damage lens coatings.

 Apply lotion-free Dishwasher Liquid to each Lens

Using a drop of dishwasher liquid to each lens, clean your glasses ensuring you cover the frames as well as the lenses with the liquid.  Concentrate on the area where the lens meets the frame as this is prone to debris build-up.  It is very important you use a lotion-free brand, and you will only need a drop, literally a drop on each lens.

Once you have cleaned your eyeglasses rinse away all traces of the dishwasher liquid under lukewarm water as you did before.

Shake and Clean your Spectacles

Once you have rinsed away the last traces of dishwasher liquid inspect your lenses to ensure they are clean.  If you can see areas that are still affected by debris then repeat the cleaning process.  If you are satisfied they are clean, use a towel to dry gently dry them.   It is important that the towel has not been washed with fabric conditioner and is lint free.

A clean, lint-free towel that is used to clean fine glassware is perfect for drying your glasses.

Inspect your lenses

After you have dried your lenses inspect them to ensure they are clean.  If you spot smudges clean them off using a microfiber cloth.  You can get lint-free cloths from your opticians and photography shops.

Tips for Looking After your Specs

These tips will help you look after your spectacles and keep them in good shape:

  • Use specialist cleaning wipes if you’re travelling and can’t get your hands on dishwasher liquid or have access to running water. Ensure you use wipes which are dedicated to cleaning your glasses and are compatible with your lens coating.  Other wipes can be incorrectly formulated.
  • Consider using spray eyeglass cleaners. There are several different types.  Always ensure they are compatible with your lens coating.
  • As scratches cannot be repaired ask your optician about applying scratch resistant lens coating and ask if there is a warranty you can purchase. Always store your glasses in a case, and never place them on a table or counter on their lenses.
  • If your lenses are in good shape but other parts of your glasses are deteriorating, take them to your optician for professional repair

Book an Eye Exam

Click here and book an eye examination if you are in the London area.

Can Eating the Right Foods Improve your Eyesight?

Dr. Mosley BBC Medical Journalist Believes Certain Foods May Help Eyesight

Dr. Mosley underwent an experiment which proves diet contributes to healthy eyesight
Dr. Mosley underwent an experiment on how diet can contribute to healthy eyesight

Dr. Michael Mosley best known as a BBC presenter of television programmes on biology and medicine, recently conducted an experiment to see if his eyesight could be improved by changing his diet.  He has worn spectacles for most of his life, and recently underwent a series of tests at the City University in London.

The tests measured his perception of different colours, small objects, and night vision.  The tests also focused on the macula and the level it protected him from UV light.

The tests discovered that his perception of yellow and blue colours was poor; the professor conducting the tests said this was probably a result of his brush with diabetes, and his night vision and detail perception was also not the best compared to young people, although consistent with his age.

Doctor Mosley as part of his experiment for the Trust Me I’m a Doctor program subsequently started taking lutein and zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin supplements.  He states he does not like taking supplements, so he used a smoothie recipe devised by a team in the US that contained the key chemicals.  The smoothie contained kale, kiwi fruit, milk, and wheat.

Twelve weeks later

Twelve weeks later and Dr. Mosley retook the tests.  To the surprise of the professor, significant improvements to his eyesight had occurred.  His blue and yellow perception had improved to normal levels, and his night vision was better.  His macular pigments had also improved.

Dr. Mosley’s experience is a shared one.  Research in Ireland found similar results with a study sample of 100 people.

Evidence from other quarters suggests this may slow or halt age related macular degeneration although this is hotly contested.

What foods contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin?

Lutein can be found in green vegetables such as green kale, spinach, and the yellow yolks of eggs.

Zeaxanthin this can be found in corn, yellow bell peppers, and saffron spice.

Meso-zeaxanthin is made by your body from lutein.  It can be found in some fish skins, and in supplements containing marigold extract.  Dr. Mosley points out this ingredient may not be listed on some labels.

Although more research needs to be performed it is good to know that by changing our diets we can potentially improve our eyesight.

Image credit and for further information visit: BBC

How Eye Examinations can help your Child’s Education

Ensure you Schedule your Child’s Eye Examination before the Start of Term

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Children learn better with 20/20 vision. Ensure you schedule an eye examination for your child every year

With the start of a new school term only weeks away, now is the time to schedule your child’s eye examination.  It is not just about ensuring your child can see with 20/20 vision, but research has shown poor eyesight results in children struggling at school.

It is important to realise that 80% of what a child learns up to twelve is done visually.  As such, poorer eyesight impedes learning.

Even if your child says they can see fine, there are symptoms to watch out for.  If your child exhibits this behaviour constantly, schedule an eye exam as a priority:

  • Loses their place while reading
  • Avoids close work
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Tends to rub his or her eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential

Eye tests also detect signs of visual stress which also affects your child’s ability to learn.

Eyesight Related Behavioural Problems

Now and then children whose eyesight is deteriorating often get frustrated and this can lead to behavioural problems at school, further compounding learning issues.  Dr. Barry Jose, a founder of an American eye clinic shared this:

“One time we had a mother bring her young son in for an exam. Before we started she shared how disappointing the new school year was going with her son. She felt this year her son wasn’t trying to learn but was being influenced by the wrong kids to act up in class. I proceeded to give the son an exam and discovered his eyes were becoming quite nearsighted. This downgrade in vision probably meant he had real difficulty clearly seeing things in the classroom and was hurting his ability to learn.  We set him up with his first pair of glasses. A few months later the mother came back in to tell us the eyewear made all the difference as her son was learning and doing much better in school.”  

As you can see eye tests are important for your children.

To make an appointment click here

Sports Eyewear More than Protection for your Eyesight

Sports Eyewear Enhances Performance

Sports eyewear has evolved.  No longer just for protection, good sports eyewear will also give you a performance edge.   In a recent study the theory of professional athletes instinctively knowing where the ball is and where the ball is going to go instinctively was debunked.

spectacles-sports-eyewear

Optometrist Geraint Griffiths proved the importance of hand-eye coordination by putting together a study in 2003.  Griffiths measured Wimbledon tennis players and clay pigeon shooters ability to hit a target, by making them wear goggles which slightly distorted their vision.  He then tested them again with normal vision.

Here’s the result:

Wearing vision blurred goggles:

  • Tennis players hit the target 62% less with 47% fewer bulls-eyes
  • Clay pigeon shooters hit 25% fewer clay pigeons

Further studies have shown the importance of good eyesight in sport and hand-eye coordination.

In fact, some sports eyewear can be configured to correct vision, making you more competitive when playing your chosen sport.

Eyesight Risk from Sport

Sport does pose risks to your eyesight.  Here is a brief summary:

  • Sunlight Sunlight causes damage to your eyes due to UV radiation. It is always advisable to have eye protection when outside.  Any sport that you play outdoors, this risk will be present.
  • Glare – Snow and water sports carry the risk of glare damage. Skiing, snowboarding, fishing, rowing, all carry a risks of light reflecting into our eyes causing damage.  You have probably have heard the term ‘snow blindness’.
  • Projectile – Balls, insects, and foreign bodies of all kinds , can clearly do damage to your eyesight. Eye injuries of this kind affect thousands of athletes every year.

Eyewear Protection for Sport

Sports that carry high risk to eyesight such as skiing, fencing, and diving, have specialised eyewear and this should be worn when playing.  As a rule of thumb you should never play a sport where eyesight risks are high without the right eye protection.

Other sports where you would not associate a need for eye protection such as football do have eye goggles designed specifically for the sport.

Generally sports eyewear will have at least one of the following:

  • A shatterproof construction and be made from polycarbonate or Trivix materials
  • Be wraparound for comfort and complete protection from the sun
  • Contain reflective and polarised properties to protect from glare

Sports Eyewear and Children

Children should be encouraged to wear sports eyewear at an early age.  This will cement in good habits, and protect their eyes from the sun and other elements.

Eye damage from sunlight is accumulative over time, so keeping your children as safe as possible from outside elements and sport injuries, are setting them off on the right track.

What Sports Eyewear should I Get?

To discover what sports eyewear you need, call in and talk to us.  You can make an appointment at your local branch by clicking here.

Seasonal Precautions Checklist to Keep your Eyesight Healthy

Although it is nice to get out in the sun, and thrilling to weave down the piste, both of these weather conditions pose threats to your eyesight.  The damage to your vision is accumulative, i.e. the more you partake the more likely your risks of developing conditions such as cataracts.  This checklist will make it easy to see what precautions you should adopt given the weather.

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Ensure you schedule your eye tests regularly for you and your family

Summer

Sunlight carries UV radiation straight to your eyes, causing deterioration and increasing risks from conditions such as glaucoma.  (For more details on summer eye care, read out blogs, Take care of your eyes this summer, and Top tips to protect your eyes from the sun).  With this in mind always:

Wear UV resistant sunglasses: These block the UV rays that cause the damage, and if you’re doing outdoor activities such as sports or boating, consider polarised lenses to prevent damage caused from reflective light.

Swim Goggles: Always wear swimming goggles when swimming.  If you wear glasses or contact lenses you can obtain prescription swim goggles which help you see as well as protecting your eyesight.  Never wear contact lenses without goggles when swimming.

Autumn

Ensure you get outside during the autumn months and exercise.  Exercise is good for the whole body including your eyes.  Also, ensure you:

Protect from Computer Vision Syndrome:  Always follow the 20-20-20 rule.  When using a computer, take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Get Ready for the Rest of the Year: Renew eyewear for the family, ensuring eye tests are carried out by an optician.  Consider buying low vision aids such as magnifying glasses as this can change someone’s life for the better.  Don’t forget to purchase back-up glasses!

Exercise Outside: Exercise is good for your eyesight so get out there and get fit!

Drink Plenty: Drink plenty of water as this is good for your eyesight.  If your eyes suffer from redness, dryness, or puffy eyelids, it could be a sign you need to drink more liquids.

Winter

With the onset of the cold months ensure your diet is especially healthy.  Also, ensure you:

Stop Smoking: Smoking causes damage to your eyesight as well as your lungs.  Ensure you knock the habit on the head.

Gifts at Christmas: Consider donating to vision charities and giving reading aids as Christmas presents.

Vision Insurance: If you have insurance on anything vision related it will probably expire in December, ensure you renew it.

Spring

Spring is a good time to upgrade sunglasses and other visual aids to new models.  As well as this, ensure you:

Replace Sports Eyewear: Replace sports eyewear as necessary.  It is a good idea to speak to your optician about your requirements.

Safety Goggles: As you’ll be out in the garden for the next few months doing plenty of outdoor DIY projects, speak to your optician about the best form of eye protection for these projects, especially if you wear glasses or contact lenses.

Upgrade Eyewear: Use spring to get ready for the summer and upgrade your existing eyewear.  Why not donate your old eyewear to charity?

And Don’t Forget Eye Tests

Ensure you schedule regular eye examinations for you and your family.  This should be added to your back to school checklist.  It will catch the onset of early conditions and make treatment more effective.

Click here to schedule your eye test if you are in the London area.

Take Care of Your Eyes This Summer

It is fair to say that living in the UK we jump with joy when we have two consecutive days of sun.  It is a time for celebration and before you can say ‘wow, that sun is hot’, we have mowed the lawn, primed the barbeques, and our skin starts to turn red.

Sadly, the downside to our blasts of sun is the damage that we can and do cause to our eyesight.  This post looks at ways to protect our vision in the heat while carrying out summer activities.

This woman has the right idea, good quality UV sunglasses keeping her eyes safe from sunlight damage
This woman has the right idea, good quality UV sunglasses keeping her eyes safe from sunlight damage

Swimming

In the summer it tends to get warm and having a dip in the pool or sea is often appealing, especially if you have children and it is the school holidays.  Chlorine in the swimming pool is pretty harmless, but if one of the family complains their eyes are stinging get out of the pool.  This could indicate an imbalance in the chemicals.

Rinse eyes out with normal water, and if they are still irritated a few hours later, seek professional advice.

Similarly, if you are swimming in the sea and experience irritation, follow the same steps.  Wherever you swim your contact lenses should be removed.

DIY

Summer is great time for doing DIY, especially jobs outside.  As well as damage from the sun’s UV rays, we can also be prone from flying splinters, insect bites, getting chemicals in our eyes (think paint, wood preserver etc), and let’s not forget spitting fat and smoke from barbeques.

Ensure you wear suitable eye protection for the activity you are doing, and keeping insect treatments to hand is a good idea too.

The Beach

Most of us are fully clued up about sunburn and splash the suntan lotion on like there is no tomorrow, but what you might not know is that you need a good pair of UV resistant sunglasses to go with it.  UV rays cause constant damage to our vision, like the way it causes constant damage to unprotected skin.  It is a good idea to wear a hat in the heat to give further protection.

Children are especially vulnerable so make sure the whole family has good quality sunglasses. Not only will you be protecting your eyes but you will all look cool at the same time.

Sports

Summer is a good time to get outside and play ball.  That said, a cricket or tennis ball in the eye is no fun and can cause damage.  It is fair to assume that many of us won’t be wearing a mask to bat a ball around, but at the very least wear protection suitable to the level being played.

Again, take the heat into account.

Enjoy the sun but protect your eyesight.

Sources

WebMD

Aao.org