Short-sightedness in children must be managed

A study out this week has found that yet again the rate of myopia (short-sightedness) in young people is on the rise. Now more common between aged 25 and 29 than those aged 55 to 59, with as many as half of this age group suffering from the condition.

The research from King’s College London also found that those with a higher education are more likely to suffer from myopia than those who left school at 16. It is still not clear exactly why people develop myopia however, these findings further indicate that people who spend more time working on computers and reading, seem more likely to suffer the condition. The research also suggests another contributing factor could be the lack of time spent outdoors.

In response to research like this, Cameron Optometry is soon to launch a myopia control clinic that will work to halt the progression of myopia in young children. The use of contact lenses in childhood can make a real difference in a bid to ensure that by the time children become adults, their myopia has not deteriorated as it would if left untreated. Severe myopia can lead to more serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and retinal detachment reaffirming the need for myopia control.

Through a shark’s eyes

The Shark documentary on BBC 1 last night was fascinating (and a pleasant break from GE coverage!). Sharks have a bad reputation, not least as a result of the 1970’s blockbuster, Jaws. But actually they are a species that pose very little threat to humans and instead are truly majestic creatures.

Caribbean_reef_shark

You may think this is a little off topic. What do they have to do with the human eye? Well you might be surprised to learn that the shark’s eye structure is very similar to that of a human’s eye with a cornea, lens, retina, pupil and iris. In fact so similar that the shark cornea has been used in human eye surgery.

However the eye surround is very different. Many sharks don’t blink, they just use their eyelids when they need protection and rarely close their eyes. Some don’t even have eyelids, instead species like the great white roll their eyes into their head when they need protection, usually when feeding. They also have the ability to see in the dark due to the eye tissue called the tapetum lucidum which can lead to their eyes appearing to glow in the dark, much like the household cat.

From the goblin shark to the tasselled wobbegong, there is a lot more to the species than the great white which stole the show in the Steven Spielberg thriller. We need to preserve the lives and habitats of this remarkable predator.

Ian Cameron named UK Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year

Pioneering work recognised at Optician Awards

Contact Lens Practitioner - Ian Caneron

We are delighted to announce that managing director, Ian Cameron, has been named UK Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year at this year’s Optician Awards. Recognising the specialist work he performs on a daily basis, the award is an acknowledgement of his work supporting those with complex eye conditions.

A thrilled Ian said, “It is a great honour to receive this award, especially as the judging panel is made up of highly regarded optical industry experts. I am hugely passionate about the work I do and am always eager to help those with specialist eye conditions who had thought that they couldn’t wear contact lenses. Lenses have life-changing potential for some people, from babies who have had cataracts removed, to those who have complex conditions like keratoconus, it’s my job to find the right approach to ensure they can enjoy all the benefits that contact lenses can bring.

“We are soon to launch a specialist myopia (short-sightedness) clinic for children in a bid to stop their vision deteriorating throughout their childhood, through the use of specialist contact lenses. This is an approach that has shown great results but parents, and even some optical professionals, are unaware of the potential benefits of contact lenses in halting the progression of myopia.”

The award will sit alongside our Association of Optometrists (AOP) UK Practice of the Year award and Donald Cameron’s AOP Lifetime Achievement Award which he collected last year.

You only get one pair of eyes, so you really should give them the best possible care. That is what everyone at Cameron Optometry aims to do every time a patient walks in to the practice. It has been an incredible few years for the practice and we are confident the success will continue in the coming years with our fantastic team here.

 

Calls for tighter regulation on the laser eye industry

Further to a report calling for tighter regulations in the laser eye sector, Ian appeared as an expert guest on BBC Radio Scotland to discuss the procedure. At the moment anyone who is a qualified doctor, such as a GP, can perform laser eye surgery without any specialist eye training.The feature also follows protests this week by individuals who feel they have experienced ‘botched’ laser eye surgery, reiterating calls for tighter regulation.

Ian discussed what is involved in laser eye surgery, a process where the front of the eye is reshaped to change the prescription. In an industry that is currently booming, he pointed out that it takes regulators time to catch up and this is what is required in this case. He also discussed the lack of transparency in a sector where private companies are not obliged to publish their statistics so the estimate that around one in twenty people experience problems with the procedure, could in fact be higher.

The advice from Ian is to make sure you fully research your specific surgeon, not just the clinic. Check out their training, reputation and experience in the specific area and ensure that you are always treated by that individual. In addition, ask your own optometrist for a recommendation before undertaking a procedure, which if it goes wrong, could leave you with permanent eye damage.

Listen to Ian’s thoughts and advice here.

Don’t let the eclipse leave you with eye damage

As Friday morning’s celestial spectacle nears, people are flocking to Scotland for the best view of the first eclipse in over 15 years. Not to be the ones to spoil a party, we must take this opportunity to reiterate the words from the Association of Optometrists regarding the damage that looking directly at the eclipse could do to your eyes.A glance for even a minute could lead to you burning the back of your eyes.
Ensure you don’t look directly at the sun and please don’t see it as the opportunity for the perfect solar selfie. Doing so puts you at risk of blindness as you will undoubtedly keep looking up to see when your moment to snap is upon you.

eclipse

Binoculars and cameras are a no no as they will concentrate the already powerful rays into your eye. Leave the photography to the experts with the super solar filters.Pinhole cameras are another option if you can get your hands on one, or if you want to make your own Blue-Peter-style follow the steps in this BBC article. Specifically designed eclipse-viewing glasses are also available to buy quite cheaply. Sunglasses on the other hand will provide no protection.

For those of you stuck in the office, you’ll be pleased to hear that the safest way to view it is on TV or online. If you have a bit of time on your hands and want to learn all there is to know on the subject of eclipse viewing, the Royal Astronomical Society have a PDF you can download here.

Protect your eyesight

“Prevention is better than cure.” “You only get one set of eyes, look after them.” Just a couple phrases that any optical professional will say on a daily basis. So with that in mind, please take some time to read this article from the RNIB. Advice that we just can’t say enough.

NHS_for eye problems

If you can’t follow all of our tips, make sure you do the most important thing: visit your optician and have an eye exam!

1. Wear sunglasses: Ultraviolet light from the sun can cause damage to your eyes. To reduce risks, when outside in the sun always wear sunglasses that have a UV factor rating and carry the CE mark.
2. Take regular screen breaks: If you use a computer, take frequent breaks from your screen – at least one an hour. Resting your eyes can avoid headaches, eyestrain, soreness and double vision.
3. Eat the right food: Foods containing either lutein or zeaxanthin can help prevent eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They are found in many fruit and vegetables including: mango, squash, broccoli, green beans, and spinach.
4. Know your family eye history: Glaucoma is a condition which if detected early can be treated and controlled. It can be hereditary, so if family members have the condition you need to get your eyes tested more regularly.
5. Clean your contact lenses: Only use commercially prepared solutions for contact lens care. Never use tap or distilled water, or saliva. If you don’t stick to a strict cleansing routine your eyes can become infected and you risk corneal disease, or even the loss of an eye. You should never sleep in your contacts unless advised you can by the optometrist.
6. Wear safety glasses: Cleaning, DIY or gardening can be hazardous to your eyes as chemicals, garden debris, or nails and splinters can all cause injury. Consider wearing safety goggles.
7. Diabetics: Although the majority of people with diabetes don’t experience any eye problems, people who have diabetes are at risk of losing vision through a condition called diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes you should have an eye exam at least once a year.

Visit your optician: More than half of all sight loss is avoidable if the cause is caught early. A regular eye exam can identify any early indications of diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. It can also identify other problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure for which the optometrist can refer you back to a GP. It is recommended that people have an eye test every two years but research shows that one in four of us fail to do this.

Advice from www.rnib.org.uk.

What do blind people see?

As part of Royal Blind Week at the end of last month, the charity challenged people to take some time out to experience what it is like to be blind, whether for an hour or a whole day. Those who took the challenge shared their experiences, talking of how difficult daily mundane jobs became and what they missed seeing, people’s expressions, scenery etc. But what did they see? Most probably they were wearing thick blindfolds so saw complete darkness and I think many would assume this is what a person who is blind would see. However this is rarely the case.

This was highlighted in a recent BBC article , ‘What people see instead of darkness’. One individual, who lost his sight in childhood, says the world is an array of luminous colours and light, seeing swirls of light, spinning circles of colour as you might see in a kaleidoscope.

The article was a follow up to an article by a journalist who lost his sight in his youth and he says one of the things he misses most since losing his sight is darkness. Even although he has had the cord cut between his eyes and his brain, his world still has colour and lots of it, moving, swirling, changing colours.

Some who have been blind since birth describe seeing nothing, no colours, not even darkness. Like what you see out of the back of your head or as another person said it as “like trying to see out of one’s foot”, you literally don’t see a thing.

If you are fortunate enough to have your sight, make sure you look after it.

Treatment could be avoided with early diagnosis, say 73% of optometrists

I received this infographic from Spectrum Thea,suppliers of eye drops and solutions. I’m not a huge fan of infographics but the info in this particular graphic was eye-catching. The statistics shouldn’t be a great surprise to my colleagues and me. As an industry, we know the issues, but when you see the figures presented like this, I still find it alarming.

PT00060_Spectrum Thea InfoGraphic_NEW LOGO d2

The most shocking statistic, for me, is that 94% of optometrists think as a nation we don’t take our eye health seriously. That is an enormous figure. And the fact that 81% of optometrists believe that people only get their eyes tested when they experience problems or symptoms is also seriously worrying. The issue with the latter is reaffirmed with 73% of optometrists believing that their patients could have avoided treatment with earlier diagnosis and 80% of optometrists believe many of their patients could have slowed their symptoms by taking preventative measures if they had been diagnosed earlier with more regular eye tests.
I could find an abundance of similar views and statistics from the eye industry. So why do people still fail to have their eyes examined regularly? I think it’s largely down to people believing that if they can see well, their eyes are fine. What they don’t realise is that good vision does not go hand in hand with good eye health. The eye industry has a huge mountain to climb in educating the nation to think about their eye health.
Give your eyes the same care and attention that you give the rest of your body, and make use of the NHS subsidies on eye exams. As far as medical examinations go, an eye test has to be one of the least intrusive. Patients even get decent coffee at Cameron Optometry! So if we haven’t seen you in the last couple of years, please make an appointment to get a thorough once over.

Demodex: a nasty little mite

This weekend I spoke at the 100% Optical event, one of the UK’s largest trade event for eye care professionals. The topic was not one to be relayed over the dining table; it definitely had the ‘eugh’ factor. Demodex are a form of eyelash mite, who get their name from the Greek ‘demo’ meaning fat and ‘dex’, a woodworm. These little mites take up home in eyelash follicles and are stubborn and hard to get rid of. They don’t cause serious harm, in fact many won’t even know they have them, however for some it can be very uncomfortable.

A demodex infestation in the eyelashes can lead to blepharitis, a condition where the eyelids, can become inflamed, red and itchy. Or on the face they are linked with rosacea. It is a very common condition, although one that many probably choose not to share.

Unfortunately it is one of these conditions that is very hard to eradicate so during the workshop I discussed ways to manage it. Firstly I recommend removing as much of the crusty area around the eyelashes as possible, followed by a deep clean of the affected area. The next phase includes the use of tea tree oil. But before you nip out to the shops to buy some, please bear in mind that the concentration required to kill the mites could seriously harm the eye so this is best done by an optometrist who knows what they are doing. Then patients will be given a lid hygiene programme that may include various specialised wipes and products. The condition should then be continually monitored to ensure it does not become more severe and to gauge whether further deep cleaning is required.

Blindness feared more than Alzheimer’s

Research out from the RNIB has found that adults in the UK are more afraid of losing their sight than any other age-related health condition. The survey of over 2000 people found nearly half (44%) feared blindness more than Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or heart disease. I have many patients who have said they feel the same.

Old age eye
Not all sight loss is preventable, but throughout your life there are steps that you can take to reduce your chances of losing your sight in later years.
• Starting from childhood,parents can ensure their children’s eyes are protected from the sun by wearing sunglasses and hats. Instilling these lessons in children early on will hopefully benefit them throughout their adult lives.
Diet is also something we have covered many times before and is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and will benefit your eyes.
• Studies have also identified that smokershave an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration.
• The importance of having regular eye tests is one that we tirelessly preach to anyone who will listen! With detailed eye examinations using the most advanced technology, we can pick up early signs of eye conditions that can then be treated or at least managed. We also take a full family history to identify where someone might have a higher risk of developing conditions such as glaucoma and manage their care accordingly.
Some degree of sight loss is usually an inevitable part of ageing, however following the above advice could make the difference between needing reading glasses and serious vision loss.

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