The Blog

GPs lack confidence when dealing with major eye conditions

UK Vision Strategy in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners has announced that it is working to improve GP knowledge of eye care after a survey found that GPs have low confidence in diagnosing major eye conditions. Our view is if you experience problems with your eyes, visit your optometrist.

The survey found that just one third of the GPs questioned were confident in diagnosing symptoms or signs of age-related macular degeneration and only half were confident in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy.

Worryingly only a quarter of respondents had been offered training on how to support patients who were blind and partially sighted. And although it is encouraging that the vast majority wished to enhance their knowledge through training, the experts on eyes will always be optometrists. GPs shouldn’t be expected to have the level of expertise in eye care that you will receive from your optometrist. They also don’t have the technology on hand to give your eyes a thorough examination to accurately diagnose an eye condition.

If you have toothache, you visit your dentist. If you have issues with your eyes, you should visit your optometrist.

Caring for your lenses

World renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital has recently launched a campaign to encourage contact lens wearers to ensure they take care of their eyes. The hospital has seen a marked increase in cases of eye infections relating to contact lens wear. Most worryingly an increase in an infection called acanthamoeba keratitis which can be extremely difficult to treat and in the most serious cases, can see the patient require a corneal transplant.

Tiny parasites called acanthamoeba can live in water so should your lenses come in contact with water the parasites can take up residence in your eye. If they aren’t killed through thorough cleaning, this serious infection can develop. This is a serious yet thankfully uncommon infection, however with cases of it on the increase, now is a good time to remind yourself of some basic guidance which applies to all lenses.

• Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
• After removing your lenses, clean them immediately. Don’t store them without cleaning them first. Cleaning will remove mucus, protein, make up and debris that naturally build up on the surface during the day.
• Never use tap water (or saliva!) to rinse your lenses or case. Microorganisms can build up in water, even distilled water, and can cause infections or even sight damage.
• Ensure your lens case is kept clean. Replace your case every time you open a new bottle of solution.
• Use clean solution every time. Don’t reuse or top up.
• Do not sleep in your lenses unless advised by your optometrist.
• Ideally lenses shouldn’t be worn when swimming but if you do wear them make sure you wear goggles to reduce the chance of contact with pool water.
• Follow the cleaning guidelines you were given, using the recommended products. Doing this will reduce the chance of picking up a nasty eye infection.
• Insert your lenses before applying make up.
• Have an up to date pair of spectacles on hand should you pick up an infection. Many treatments require you to stop wearing your lenses for the duration of the treatment so don’t be caught without a backup.
• Don’t use any eye drops without advice from your optometrist.

Remember these three simple questions:

• Do my eyes feel good with my lenses? You have no discomfort.
• 
Do my eyes look good? You have no redness.
• 
Do I see well? You have no unusual blurring with either eye.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, take out your lenses and consult us straight away.

Here’s a helpful video produced by Moorfields to guide you through the process for soft contact lenses and one for gas permeable lenses

Lenses for occasional wear

We’re supplying a patient with free lenses ahead of their participation in the Spartan Race in Edinburgh later this month. She’s running, as well as tackling various obstacles and mud, in aid of Downs Syndrome Scotland so we’re delighted to help out. She’s a glasses wearer but obviously glasses and muddy, wet obstacle courses don’t go too well together. The point of this blog is to highlight that lenses don’t have to be a fulltime commitment. You can dip in and out as you please.

The great thing about most lenses on the market is they don’t actually take much getting used to, especially daily disposables which are what we usually recommend for occasional use. Sometimes there is a bit of trial and error before we find you the perfect pair, but because we know our patients’ eyes so well we almost always find them the right pair first time.

Participating in a sporting event is an obvious time where glasses wearers can struggle. Whether on the ski slopes, to partake in some holiday snorkeling or when running a marathon, glasses are just not the practical option. Or maybe it’s a vanity thing – nothing wrong with that! You perhaps don’t want to wear glasses to attend a stylish black tie do. Occasional contact lens wearing is perfectly possible. Once you’ve tried them, you won’t look back.

Cameron Optometry on BBC Scotland following research on vision and driving

In light of research by charity Brake encouraging drivers to get their eyesight examined regularly, I was asked on to BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie Show to discuss the lifecycle of the eyes. Listen here:

The research found that almost nine in 10 (87%) are in favour of drivers having to prove they have had a recent sight test every 10 years, when they renew their licence or photo card. The survey also shows that a quarter of drivers admitted they have not had their eyes tested in more than two years.  A worrying one in eight drivers (12%) who know they need glasses or lenses to drive have driven without them in the past year.

I discussed the four stages that most people experience in their vision lifecycle. The developmental phase from birth until late teens, where a prescription is developing, followed by the stable phase from early twenties until late forties. People then enter the period in their early sixties where their vision may experience some decline as the eyes lose the ability to focus making near tasks, like reading, difficult. This is then followed by a phase of continual decline where people may experience conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

I finished off by highlighting that regular eye tests can also help avoid tricky discussions with loved ones! Rather than having to point out to a family member that perhaps they need to get their eyes tested as they strain to see the newspaper or don’t see a cyclist in the corner of their eye, an eye examination at least every two years, will pick up any signs of declining vision.

Independent opticians top Which? poll of where to buy glasses

which
It was fantastic to read, as we’d always suspected, that Which? has found that the best place to buy glasses is an independent optometry practice.

Independent practices were the only eye care provider to score top marks for product quality, timekeeping and the all important, customer service. We also shone when it came to staff skills. At Cameron Optometry we often talk about the expertise of our optometrists so it is encouraging that this is as important to clients as it is to us.

It is reassuring to see that clients aren’t being swayed by flashy advertising campaigns from big brands and they still value the expertise, quality, care and attention they get from their independent eye care provider.

Thinner, lighter lenses for less

glasses

Thinner is usually considered preferable when it comes to lenses. From September until November, we are offering an ‘index upgrade’ on all Nikon lenses.

The index is the density of the lens and the higher the number, the thinner and lighter the lenses for example, pay for 1.5 and get 1.6. It includes all types of lenses including varifocals. If you are looking to update your spectacles, come in and see us  before the end of November to benefit from this offer.

The link between vision and hearing

hearing

How vision and hearing are inextricably linked. Make sure both are examined.

Age-related vision deterioration and hearing loss usually occur around the same period of life. This fact along with others has lead to the conclusion by scientists that hearing and vision are inextricably linked. An Australian study concluded that people with restricted eyesight were more likely to suffer hearing impairments and vice-versa. At birth, hearing and vision are tested at the same time however this is often where the joined up approach ends and the senses go their separate ways.

Nowadays you will see many opticians offering hearing tests. At Cameron Optometry, we believe in sticking to what we are good at, eyes. Instead we work closely with House of Hearing, who we believe are the best in their field, ears. Here Stephen Fairfield, Managing Director of House of Hearing shares the signs of possible hearing loss.

Hearing loss is often a very gradual process that may take place over a number of years with one in seven of the population experiencing some level of hearing loss at some point. Often, people do not become aware of any problem until their hearing loss has reached a level where its impact is felt in everyday communication. However, there are some early signs that you can look out for:

  • Do other people seem to mumble?
  • Is it sometimes difficult to hear other people’s voices in a noisy pub or restaurant where others seem to manage quite well?
  • Do you find other people’s TV or radio volume too low for you to hear clearly?
  • Do other people comment that your TV or radio is too loud for them?
  • Do you sometimes misunderstand what others are saying to you?
  • Do you find yourself ‘filling in the gaps’ when you have misheard what someone has said to you?
  • Do you often have to ask others to repeat what they have said to you?

With many types of hearing loss, the high frequency sounds are the first to go, which leads not to a lack of volume as such, but to speech sounding less distinct.So, while you may still hear someone talking, you may think they are mumbling and not be able to make out exactly what is being said. Increasingly finding yourself in such a situation can become difficult, and over time, you may withdraw and begin to feel isolated.

So if you, or a loved one would benefit from a hearing test, please visit House of Hearing on our recommendation where they offer a free initial hearing test.

Caring for your lenses

contact

Are you still looking after your lenses properly or is it time for a recap?

When you are prescribed your first pair of contact lenses you hopefully took on board all our tips on how to look after your lenses. You read all the information we gave you and meticulously cared for your new lenses. However after years of wear are you still treating them like you did during week one?

Different lenses require different care however, so please take some time to remind yourself of some basic guidance which applies to all lenses.

  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
  • After removing your lenses, clean them immediately. Don’t store them without cleaning them first. Cleaning will remove mucus, protein, make up and debris that naturally build up on the surface during the day.
  • Never use tap water (or saliva!) to rinse your lenses or case. Microorganisms can build up in water, even distilled water, and can cause infections or even sight damage.
  • Ensure your lens case is kept clean. Replace your case once a month.
  • Use clean solution every time. Don’t reuse or top up.
  • Do not sleep in your lenses unless advised by your optometrist.
  • Ideally lenses shouldn’t be worn when swimming but if you do wear them make sure you wear goggles to reduce the chance of contact with pool water.
  • Follow the cleaning guidelines you were given, using the recommended products. Doing this will reduce the chance of picking up a nasty eye infection.
  • Insert your lenses before applying make up.
  • Have an up to date pair of spectacles on hand should you pick up an infection. Many treatments require you to stop wearing your lenses for the duration of the treatment so don’t be caught without a backup.
  • Don’t use any eye drops without advice from your optometrist.

Remember these three simple questions:

  • Do my eyes feel good with my lenses? You have no discomfort.
  • 
Do my eyes look good? You have no redness.
  • 
Do I see well? You have no unusual blurring with either eye.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, take out your lenses and consult us straight away. We are the experts in eyes and are fortunate to have two prescribing optometrists so can write you a prescription should you require treatment.

Sights on the Commonwealth Games

Glasgow-Commonwealth
Cameron Optometry’s Gillian Bruce shares her experiences of working with the world’s finest athletes at the Commonwealth Games this summer.

Having volunteered at the Olympic Games in London I was selected as part of the team of eye experts for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. ! was part of the medical team which was made up of not just the obvious professionals like doctors and physios, but also podiatrists, sports massage therapists, dental teams, emergency doctors, crowd doctors, chiropractors, radiologists and of course optometrists.

In the build up to the Commonwealth games, I had spoken to many other volunteers, doing a wide variety of jobs at a whole host of venues, but I certainly felt I was the one who had landed the best role. Having the chance to work with athletes on a one to one basis in the Athletes’ Village was a real coup.

 

It is not fair to make comparisons between the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics as they are different events with very different budgets but there was something very special about the atmosphere within the polyclinic in Glasgow. The four-storey purpose built clinic in London was replaced by a partitioned, one room, temporary structure. I’m spoiled with fantastic equipment at Cameron Optometry and it wasn’t quite that high tech but our area was still kitted out with everything we needed to provide first class eye care.

 

The eye care service was a scaled back version of the Olympic service that provided spectacles for huge numbers of athletes and officials. Our daily team consisted of an optometrist, dispensing optician and ophthalmologist. We were on hand for all emergency eye care that might be required, as well as testing some individual’s eyes for the first time in their lives as many were unable to access care at home. We also assisted with repairs and replacements of spectacles and contact lenses.

 

Unsurprisingly Usain Bolt didn’t come looking for an eye test but I was fortunate to chat with and treat, some truly inspirational athletes. I greatly enjoyed testing the eyes of a female badminton player from the remote Norfolk Islands who has to practice on the only court on the island. It is an adapted basketball court that is also used as a dance floor, requiring masking tape to draw out the badminton lines each time they play. I was delighted to test the eyes of a young triple jumper from Trinidad, and then watch her from my seat at Hampden the next day receive a bronze medal. My favourite moment though was my chance to share half an hour with Kip Keino. Now in his 70’s he was a double Olympic Gold medalist and world record holder, and continues to be an inspiration to Kenyans through his foundation and the orphanages he runs.

 

This summer I only had to travel 60 miles from my front door to feel like I’d experienced the sunshine and warmth of the entire Commonwealth.

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0131 225 2235