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Latest news from your Manchester & North West eycare specialists

Eyeing 80 years in Leyland.

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.

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Why do opticians blow air in your eyes?

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.

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