2018 marks 80 years of optician-ing in Leyland. Starting off as Sutcliffes on Towngate before moving and merging with other opticians on Hough Lane. Around 35 years ago, 78 Hough Lane became home for what is now ‘Leyland Opticians’.
Leyland has changed greatly in those eighty years and so has optics. Things we take for granted now were mere pipe dreams in ’38. The NHS hadn’t been born (recently celebrated it’s 70th birthday!) and it took another ten years till 1958 for eye testing to be made part of NHS provision.
Implanting a new lens after removing cataracts was not possible until British surgeon Harold Ridley performed the first operation of its kind in 1949. This took till the 1970s to improve sufficiently to become routine. What used to need 5-7 days stay in hospital now takes place in under two hours.
Macular degeneration (AMD) has blinded many of our grans and grandads. Today we have a cure. Well, maybe a treatment but compared to twenty or so years ago, it seems like a cure. Ten years ago in Leyland, it might take 5-6 months to get an assessment for AMD (usually at Blackpool). Often by this time damage was so severe as to be too late. Thankfully, assessment and treatment can happen within a week locally.
Most adults have come to expect to have their eyes ‘puffed’ when they go to the opticians. The machine that blows or puffs in your eyes does so to measure the pressure in the eye. This is of interest, as excessive pressure in the eye is not healthy. It can damage the sensitive nerve fibres that send signals to the brain affecting the picture we see of the outside world.
A bit like blood pressure, there is a normal range for eye pressure. People with eye pressure higher than normal are more likely to get a condition called glaucoma (I must stress that you can also get glaucoma with normal pressure). Glaucoma is a range of conditions where nerve fibres in the eye are damaged affecting the signal the brain receives.
Unfortunately, it has got into the public psyche that the ‘puff test’ is the definitive test for having glaucoma which is not true. In reality, a combination of measures and factors are taken into account. Plus, in the early stages, glaucoma can be difficult to rule in or rule out. That is why repeat measurement of certain tests is required.
A substantial number of people don’t like air blowing in their eyes. If you really don’t like ‘the puff’, there are other ways to check the eye pressure. Depending on your optician, you may be able to have different measurements taken, say with a blue light, but most high street opticians only offer the puff test.
A commonly asked question is ‘How can you test a child’s eyes?’
Parents often think young children can’t have their eyes tested as some chain opticians often say ‘not till at school’.
But this isn’t true. Children can be checked from a few months old. In fact, they are checked just after birth to ensure there are no obvious problems.
Depending on the age of the child, we can use the natural reflexes of the eyes to help check for normality. We will also use shapes instead of letters, as well as toys to attract attention. All the room lights may be switched off and a special torch shone in the eyes to check their focus and health.
I describe seeing children as ‘short attention span theatre’: children need to be engaged and entertained so their eye test should be fun and will not be like an adults. Your child should leave wanting to come back again.
We take our children regularly to the dentist from a young age. You can do exactly the same for their eyes. You just need to find a children friendly optician in your area.
Now that we are into the depths of winter, it is all to evident that grey skies make us feel grey. Some of us are more affected by these seasonal grey skies than others and this is commonly know as Seasonal Affected Disorder. Research in this area has been uncovering more and more evidence that the mighty vitamin D can influence more than our mood. We are now becoming increasing aware that it also affects our eyesight.
It has been commonly assumed that the swatty bookworm with thick glasses is all down to the amount of reading that’s done. It has also been attributed to the bookworm’as shortsighted parents. There is certainly a genetic component to the children of the shortsighted also becoming shortsighted and this is greater when both parents are shortsighted. In fact, we can predict the likelihood of a child becoming shortsighted before it happens at a young age. So by the age of 6 or 7years old, we can fairly accurately say what children will progress to shortsight. Now that short sight can be controlled, we can take measures to prevent it (but that’s a whole other story).
Back to our story: SUNSHINE (or bright daylight) helps prevent short sight. Vitamin D is thought to have an influence as well as ultraviolet B. It would appear there is something to do with how this interacts with the photoreceptors. No doubt the truth will out, in due course. For now, we’ll hope for a crisp, bright winter for the SAD among us.
Leyland Opticians optometrist, Colin Tonner, has been announced as winner of a prestigious national award in recognition of his work in contact lenses. Run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, the awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.
Mr Tonner was named winner in the Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year category during an awards ceremony in Birmingham on 5 November. The category, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, recognises an individual who actively promotes contact lens wear within the practice and beyond – particularly focusing on groups such as teenagers and the elderly.
Asked about what he thinks makes his service ‘gold standard’ Mr Tonner said: “I think it would be the way that I try to interact with people and deal with the psychological aspects that hold potential wearers back. Patience and encouragement for patients to come back two, three or more times until they are comfortable with the process. I would not want them to feel hurried.”
Commenting on his award, Mr Tonner said: “Being shortlisted was a big surprise, but I am gobsmacked that so many people have taken the trouble to vote for me. It is an honour for me and the team.”
Mr Tonner enjoys his profession and commented: “I have always loved the positive reaction that people have when you are freeing them from their glasses.” He added: “For different people, being fitted with contact lenses means different things. Some people do, literally, describe it as life-changing.”
Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “The AOP Awards gives us the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the individuals and organisations who give so much to the public and the profession. Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted for this year’s Awards.”
More than 14,000 votes were cast across this year’s awards categories. The twelve awards categories include a new accolade for Newly-qualified Optometrist of the Year. For more information on the AOP Awards 2015, including details of all the winners and shortlisted nominees, see the AOP website www.aop.org.uk
The eye research charity Fight for Sight have highlighted the results of a study of over 60,000 people of Europeans ancestry. This includes figures taken over a 25 year period that shows that there were more than 3x as many short-sighted participants between 25-29 than those over 70.
The study looked at the number of short-sighted in the different age groups as well as the proportion across age groups. In the younger age group, myopia was the biggest cause of visual error. More alarming is that in the younger age group alone, almost half were short-sighted.
In some ways this is not surprising as a similar pattern had previously been demonstrated in Hong Kong Chinese. We were only waiting for the maths to be done on a European group to confirm a similar trend.
To read the full report click www.ow.ly/MTA61
It was great news to hear of Leyland Opticians’ nomination for the upcoming 2015 Optician Awards – it is the second year running we have achieved this. This year’s nomination is for Enhanced Services going beyond the standard eye test and providing public benefit. Seeing the other optical heavyweights shortlisted for the award, makes us very proud that little provincial opticians can offer eye care services along with the best in the country. We look forward to meeting the judges in early March and enjoying the Awards ceremony in mid April. Better get the penguin to the dry cleaners?
The sun has been high in the sky all summer which has been fantastic.
Now we are in autumn the sun is low in the sky, particularly in the morning and late afternoon. Combined with wet roads, this results in a dazzling glare that makes driving difficult, even dangerous.
Most sunglasses won’t make a big difference. Nor will lowering your visor. So what’s the answer ?
Polaroid driving lenses.
When the sun is low in the sky, a wet road changes how light reflects from it. It becomes more intense, dazzling …. polarised. Only a polaroid filter will stop this and restore comfortable vision.
Call 01772 421697 and ask about our great range of Polaroid driving lenses.
A recent survey of advice to consumers looking for laser eye treatment found that information offered was often unsatisfactory and, in some cases, inaccurate.
Investigators found that information provided to questions varied greatly from clinic to clinic with some claims, as to the efficacy of equipment, being highly exaggerated.
With consolidation of laser eye companies, the choice available to consumers is reducing as competition diminishes.
Laser eye surgery can be a fantastic experience but because it is advertised all the time, the public think it’s common place, therefore, it’s totally safe. Nothing could be further from the truth and people need to realise that, despite claims, results are not permanent. Look at Jonathon Edwards. Former Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth triple jump champion and still the world record holder. Next time you see him on tv with his glasses on, remember, he has been lasered.
For the full report see http://www.which.co.uk/news/2014/08/undercover-we-expose-laser-eye-surgery-clinics-376378/