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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I have my eyes tested?

Every two years is the recommended interval between eye examinations.
There are exceptions,
Every year if you have diabetes, glaucoma or close relative of someone with glaucoma, a complex prescription, are under 16, over 70.
Every 6 months if you are under 7 with spectacles or a binocular vision defect, or aged 7 to16 with a binocular vision problem or rapidly changing short sightedness.

What age can I start having my child's eyes tested?

Any age is fine especially if you are worried. I can examine babies for normal development and children long before they can read or recognise letters can be assessed as fully as adults. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is testing children's eyes and ensuring their development is normal.

Does wearing spectacles make my eyes worse?

Absolutely not! There is wide evidence to show that wearing spectacles does not encourage the eyes to deteriorate. In some cases, such as short sightedness, the evidence points to prescriptions changing more slowly when spectacles are kept up-to-date.
Reading vision will naturally weaken as we age and having your eyes corrected comfortably with the right prescription for you and your visual tasks makes this natural change easier to cope with.
Eye strain, headache and blurred vision are all symptoms of eyes not getting the correction they need; all are relieved by wearing your prescribed spectacles.

At Eye Deal Opticians you will be prescribed spectacles appropriate for your eyes and the way you use your eyes and you will never be prescribed spectacles that you do not need.

What age can I have contact lenses?

There is no easy answer to this. Babies can be given contact lenses from a few weeks old in some cases and there are some adults who are not suitable for lenses.

Responsibility and clinical need are the most important factors in deciding if someone is suitable. Some issues such as oxygen requirement and cleaning problems are not such important factors now with new lens materials delivering high levels of oxygen to maintain ocular health and frequent replacement lenses such as Daily contact lenses which are thrown away after one use.

Before I prescribe lenses I need to be sure that the person wearing them will look after their eyes properly by following my advice on hand washing, wearing times and follow up appointments. If I am unsure that this will be adhered to I will not supply contact lenses.

If you are interested in wearing lenses we will discuss all the options, benefits and suitability during the contact lens trial.

Can I have laser treatment instead of spectacles?

You may well be suitable for laser treatment for your correction. I am happy to advise on all the options and have spent time at one of the largest laser treatment providers seeing how they work, how they select suitable patients and what the results are like in the short and long term.

A little like contact lenses, some people are suitable for refractive laser surgery and others are not, and there may be better surgical options for your eyes. Please ask during your eye examination.

What can I do to protect my eyes?

Three basic things

1. Eat a healthy diet

  • Vitamin A: cod liver oil, liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: spinach, kale, collard greens.
  • Vitamin C: sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe.
  • Bioflavonoids: citrus fruits, cherries, grapes, plums.
  • Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts.
  • Selenium: brazil nuts, yeast, seafood.
  • Zinc: oysters, hamburgers, wheat, nuts.
  • Fatty acids: cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, trout).

In general, you should eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables, two servings of fish per week, some nuts and some yellow or orange fruits and vegetables.
Drinking water is also vital for healthy eyes. A good balanced diet will provide all the vitamins in the correct proportions to maintain you sight.
Supplements are only useful in cases of macular degeneration where one eye has been affected; ocular supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of the condition developing in the other eye. (AREDS study).

2. Avoid UV damage
Ultraviolet light is known to be a major factor in eye disease as we age. There is evidence to show it ages the eyes faster by releasing damaging free radicals in our bodies. Cataract and macular degeneration have been closely linked with UV damage.
Fortunately protecting your eyes is quite simple if you wear spectacles with UV coatings, anti reflection coatings, photochromic coatings (go garker in the sun) and tinted lenses. I supply UV blocking contact lenses too. If you do not wear prescription spectacles out doors try wearing sunglasses when it is bright but make sure they have the CE mark on the inside of the arm. Also a hat with a brim reduces the UV levels getting to the eyes.
Children are at the most risk from UV damage as their eyes let through more UV light to the retina at the back of the eye. Always encourage your child to wear a hat when it is sunny and sunglasses where appropriate.

3. Regular eye examinations
See above for how often you should have your eyes tested. I can give you a wide range of ideas on keeping your eyes healthy tailored for your eyes but a good start is the advice listed in the Top Ten Tips for Eyes leaflet available in the Eye Information section.

Why does my eye twitch?

Mild twitching of the eyelid is a common phenomenon. Although these involuntary contractions of muscles are annoying, they are almost always temporary and completely harmless. The medical name for this kind of twitching is ocular myokymia. It is quite common and most often associated with fatigue. When your eye is twitching, it is not visible to anyone else. I am often are asked what causes the twitching and what can be done to stop it. Lack of sleep, too much caffeine or increased stress seem to be root causes. Often, gently massaging your eye will relieve the symptoms. Usually, the twitch will disappear after catching up on your sleep.

Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?

No, there is no evidence that working at a computer damages the eyes. However, long hours of work can be fatiguing to the eyes, neck and back. Monitor glare from various light sources can also be a problem. It is often helpful to take periodic breaks, looking off in the distance and adjusting your work station (angle of the monitor, height of the chair, changing the lighting, etc.).

How does the eye work?

When you take a picture, the lens in the front of the camera allows light through and focuses that light on the film that covers the back inside wall of the camera. When the light hits the film, a picture is taken. The eye works in much the same way. The front parts of the eye (the cornea, pupil and lens) are clear and allow light to pass through. The light also passes through the large space in the center of the eye called the vitreous cavity. The vitreous cavity is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called the vitreous or vitreous gel. The light is focused by the cornea and the lens onto a thin layer of tissue called the retina, which covers the back inside wall of the eye. The retina is like the film in a camera. It is the seeing tissue of the eye. When the focused light hits the retina, a picture is taken. Messages about this picture are sent to the brain through the optic nerve. This is how we see!

Will sitting too close to the television set hurt my child's eyes?

No, there is no scientific evidence that TV sets emit rays that are harmful to the eyes.

Are sunglasses good for my eyes?

There is a benefit to wearing UV protective lenses--wearing them may protect against cataract formation. Clear lenses with UV protection may offer greater protection than dark lenses because they allow the eyes to be exposed to more light. This causes greater constriction of the pupil which lets less light enter the eyes.

Will reading in dim light hurt my eyes?

No, but most people are more comfortable reading with proper lighting which is bright enough to provide good illumination but not so bright as to cause glare.

What Are Short-sightedness And Long-sightedness?

Shortsightedness occurs when the eyeball is longer than normal. The eye can still focus on near objects, but parallel rays from the distant objects can no longer be focused onto the back of the eye, the retina, and are brought to a focus in front of the retina forming a blurred image. The correction for this defect is to wear minus or concave lenses to diverge the rays from distant objects before they reach the eye. These rays can then be focused onto the retina and a clear image formed. Without spectacles shortsighted people can focus objects clearly only when they are very close to the eye.

A person suffering from long-sightedness can see distant objects clearly but cannot see near objects clearly. The near point of the eye may be more than a meter away so that ordinary reading is not possible. This defect arises from a shortening of the eyeball along the horizontal axis from the lens to the retina. Rays from a near object are brought to a focus behind the retina. This defect can be corrected by wearing suitable plus or convex lenses so that the rays from the near object are made to converge and focus upon the retina.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is like the LBW rule in cricket or the Offside rule in football, very difficult to explain. However, here goes!

Astigmatism occurs when the front part of the eye, the cornea, is not a regular symmetrical spherical shape. Instead, it is like a circle cut out of a rugby ball with a flatter curve in one direction and a steeper curve along the other. Because the cornea is an irregular shape, the eye can't focus light passing through it sharply on to the back of the eye or retina. So vision is distorted at all distances. It is very common and is present in most peoples' eyes to a lesser or greater degree.

In most cases, astigmatism can be corrected by wearing properly fitted spectacles or contact lenses or even laser treatment and corneal surgery. Milder astigmatism may not need treatment unless the person is doing a job that puts intensive demands on the eyes, for example, computer work.

What is cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.

The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.

As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

This is when I may recommend that you see a surgeon for a cataract operation. See the Eye Care Information page for more details.

For other eye conditions such as Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Dry Eye Disease and Dyslexia, go to the Eye Information Page




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