Posted on 19 October 2019
Autumn is in full swing and what comes with it are some of the most challenging driving conditions where sight is concerned.
If you’re not driving to work in the dark, you will be faced with very low sun and lots of road surface reflections which are worse still in the rain.
What that means for your eyes is either dark driving conditions with headlights, or low sun and glare from the road.
So what can be done to help you with these conditions?
1) Make sure your sight is corrected, best as can be.
In 2018 over 3000 road collisions in the UK involved a driver with vision below the driving limit. Some with vision that couldn’t be improved by wearing spectacles but there are so many drivers who vision could and should be improved to a good and safe level for driving.
There are thousands of drivers out there this very moment in the UK who are within the driving limits but who could see much sharper. Why settle for ok when you could have HD correction.
Even more worryingly there are many out there who fall below the driving level, who can be corrected by specs who choose not to be putting theirs and other road users safety in jeopardy. Police in the Midlands and Staffordshire have been given increased powers to stop and test people’s sight at the roadside, revoking licences on the spot if you fail to see the licence plate from 20m away.
Some individuals are aware that their vision is not good enough for driving and choose to drive anyway, but many are completely unaware that they no longer meet the vision driving requirements, often because their vision has deteriorated slowly with time, which can be more difficult to detect. This teamed with a low awareness of the visual standard to read a number plate at 20 meters away on a clear day, leads to individuals driving illegally. A recent study found that 50% of Optometrists had come across one or more individuals that knew they not meet the driving standard, but said they would continue to drive anyway, during a one month period.
One of these people may be a friend or relative of yours. Many have glasses but won’t wear them others may not have had a test in years. It’s important to educate these people in the importance of correcting their sight when driving, it could save a life.
If you haven't had a sight test in the last 2 years, get yourself checked out.
2) Keep you windows and mirrors clean
By keeping your windows and windscreen clean, you can avoid extra glare and condensation. This is especially prevalent in Winter, with the falling leaves and debris. Dirty mirrors can reflect and distort light so keeping them clean is essential to a safe drive. If it has been raining, then make sure you give them a wipe, so the droplets don’t further disrupt your vision.
3) Polarised sunglasses
Sunglasses are a key item all people should have. But if you are a driver, make sure they are polarised. Ordinary sunglasses only protect and relieve your eyes from the brightness of the sun, polarised lenses also eliminate glare that reflects off the road surface and dashboard. For the remainder of this year, we are offering a free upgrade to a polarised lens from a standard tint.
4) Coatings and coloured filters.
Lens manufacturers spend a lot of money in research and development of new coatings and tints which may improve a patient’s lifestyle. Driving coatings and tints are a big part of this development especially as headlight brightness and colour has changed with the introduction of a bluer based LED bulb.
In a nutshell a yellow filter helps with the brightness and colour of this LED bulb.
You may have seen some adverts selling yellow driving lenses or clip on’s. Sadly the vast majority of these are illegal for night driving in the UK as they leave you unable to see certain colours and therefore miss hazards on the roads.
Lens manufacturers have managed to create a coating which gives this yellowing and therefore dampening effect to the brightness of headlights while still giving you clarity of other colours, making them safe for night driving.
These coatings can be applied to single vision and Varifocal lenses.
However for some the yellowing can be a hindrance when not driving so they are more suitable as a second pair for specialist use when driving.
5) Driving Varifocals
There are now specialist varifocals for use when driving. Rather than the conventional design of a varifocal where the narrowest field of view is the intermediate range (the distance at which the speed dials etc sits), a driving varifocal gives an extra wide distance field of view and a much wider intermediate range, sacrificing the near distance area which is not needed when driving.
These again are best served as a second pair as not having the near area may be a hindrance to everyday life.
6) Don’t look directly into the lights
Headlights when directly looked at leave an after image for several seconds on the retina making it difficult to re adjust to the dark road. Avert your gaze keeping your eyes focused down on the road rather than up into the lights.
If you have any questions about lenses which may help you in these conditions call your nearest practice today, where one of our Dispensing Opticians will be happy to discuss our range and offers.
Posted on 27 July 2019
At Colin Lee Opticians we have always prided ourselves on providing a first class service and leading the way in innovative technologies within eye health care. We were one of the first optical practices to introduce OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomography) technology to the high street a few years ago and we now expanding this tech to more of our practices. This has allowed for earlier detection of many eye conditions including glaucoma and macular degeneration as well as providing peace of mind to patients to patients on NHS waiting lists.
What is OCT and how does it work?
Ocular Coherence Tomography is a non-invasive imaging scan. It is the optical equivalent of ultrasound: ultrasound uses sound waves to bounce of layers of tissue of varying reflectivity to build up an image; OCT works in a similar way. We can then see a cross-sectional image of the retina, thickness measurements are taken and maps formed, which are all important in diagnosing and monitoring eye diseases.
The retina is the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye that detects images and lets us see – a bit like the film in a camera. With OCT your optometrist can see each of the retina’s distinctive layers enabling earlier detection of many eye conditions.
We all love cake and an iced cake is a great way to think about how OCT works. The top layer of the retina is the icing and without OCT (such as with a microscope or looking into the eye with standard equipment or with retinal photography) we can only see the icing without being able to see inside the cake. Are the layers all even? Is there the right amount of jam, or has it leaked into the sponge? Is there anything hiding in the layers of that cake? Without looking inside the cake, only looking at the icing, you just don’t know. Luckily we don’t need to cut into the cake/eye to find out what is going on in the layers under the surface of the retina as the OCT simply shows us on the screen.
What happens during an OCT appointment?
During an OCT scan you will sit in front of the OCT equipment and rest your head on a support to keep it as still as possible. The camera will then scan your eye, without touching it. You will simply see a few red lines moving around and you will be asked to looks at a green or white dot. Scanning takes about 5 – 10 minutes in total – but most of this time is getting you positioned correctly – the actual scan itself is just a couple of minutes. If you have an OCT scan immediately preceding your eye examination then the optometrist will be able to show you the fascinating images on the screen in the consulting room. Most people don’t require any drops to have the scan either, but the odd few have too small pupils to get a good view so it would be in their
interest to have the drops put in for the quality of the scan.
Why should you have an OCT scan?
OCT scans can identify many more conditions, in addition to glaucoma and macular degeneration (both wet and dry), conditions such as macular holes, macular pucker, macular oedema, central serous retinopathy, diabetic retinopathy & vitreous traction. Many patients choose to have a scan when referral is advised to the Hospital eye clinic, to firstly get answers faster rather than waiting several months for an appointment at the hospital and secondly decrease the For many conditions (and also for routine eye health checking), serial scans give us the most valuable information. If we can build up a number of images over time, it allows us to see if a condition is developing or changing. In addition in detecting disease, serial OCT scans carried out at each eye examination can also give reassurance that healthy eyes are continuing to be perfectly healthy!
We have an OCT at our Aldridge and Tamworth (Jenks) practices so far, so all within easy reach of our other 5 practices.
Posted on 11 July 2019
Posted on 06 July 2019
Colin Lee optician’s product of the month for July is Xperio Polarised lenses.
With the summer in full swing and the holiday seasons approaching you may be looking to invest in a new pair of sunglasses. And a tint is a tint right? Wrong. There are loads of different types of materials and technology out there with a range of optical properties.
My personal favourite are Polarising lenses, but even within this market, they are not all alike with some having more advantages than others.
First of all let’s dispel the Jargon:
What does Polarised/polarising mean?
Light waves travel in many directions. When light waves reflect off of horizontal surfaces such as roads, water or ice they often become concentrated horizontally. This is known as visible glare, which can be uncomfortable for our eyes and potentially dangerous especially when driving as you may miss a hazard. This type of glare is not eliminated by regularly tinted lenses. Lenses with Polarised technology allow only vertical light through the lens and therefore eliminate blinding glare for optimal visual comfort and safety. If your into your fishing you would have already at least heard about this form of lens, rather than see the water like a mirror you see straight into it seeing any of the fish below the surface, oh and rocks you may trip over.
In a nut shell, best lens form for drivers (no glare from road, no reflections of dashboard, anyone who spends time around water, snow or sand.
And what is Xperio?
There are loads of polarising lenses on the market which in a nutshell all block out these horizontal light waves, but when you take light away you lose colour perception and clarity. This is where Xperio differs, this technology enhances colour perception. Xperio Polarised combines the 2 technologies; eliminates harsh, blinding glare and provides a pop, dynamic range of visual experience. This is achieved by improving colour perception and stopping dazzling light to travelling through the lens. Xperio also offers the highest level of UV protection meaning optimum ocular health properties too.
What are they available in?
This technology is available in both single vision (including no power) and various Varifocal designs meaning we can match them to your everyday lenses. The lenses can be made thinner and lighter if your prescription is higher.
There not just available in Grey and Brown colours either, we have loads of colours they can be made in and they can be made with a mirror finish too.
And the best part of all is we are offering a free upgrade to this technology for the rest of the summer. So you pay for a regular tinted pair of lenses and get a free upgrade to Xperio polarised. Not only that we have a very special offer on these lenses if brought as a second pair with discounts of up to 80%.
Posted on 18 June 2019
Top Tech at Colin Lee Opticians – No puff test for Glaucoma
This week is Glaucoma awareness week, so what better week to discuss what it is and how we at Colin Lee & Jenks Opticians are at the top of our game in detecting it.
Glaucoma is a complicated condition which actually should be called ‘the glaucomas’ as there are many different sub-groups of the disease. Essentially it is a neurodegenerative disease whereby the optic nerve, which is comprised of over a million nerve fibres in each eye, begins to lose nerve fibres at an accelerated rate. This can ultimately cause blindness if not treated. There are many risk factors for glaucoma, with family history and eye pressure being two of the most important. This is why we test adults’ eye pressure each time they come for an eye examination and if you are over 40 and related to a Glaucoma "sufferer", your sight test is free of charge. Approximately 1 person in 50 over the age of 40 has glaucoma, and up to 1 in 10 over the age of 80 but many of these are undiagnosed until there is significant visual loss.
Glaucoma doesn't usually cause any symptoms to begin with. It tends to develop slowly over many years and affects the edges of your vision (peripheral vision) first.
For this reason, many people don't realise they have glaucoma, and it's often only picked up during a routine eye test.
If you do notice any symptoms, they might include blurred vision, or seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights. Both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one eye.
Very occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly and cause:
Intense eye pain
Nausea and vomiting
A red eye
Tenderness around the eyes
Seeing rings around lights
Here at Colin Lee and Jenks we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest advances in ophthalmic equipment. We were one of the first groups to solely use ‘no-puff’ instruments for checking eye pressures. Testing the eye pressure is important in adults as high eye pressures are one of the main risk factors for developing the eye disease, glaucoma.
The equipment used to measure eye pressure is called a tonometer. The very earliest tonometers involved the patient lying down, and weights being rested on the open eyes – unpleasant for the patient and not without risks! The air-puff tonometers were a huge step forward in tonometer technology but many people found this technique unpleasant and some people would actually avoid having their eyes tested as they disliked the stress caused by waiting so intensely for the dreaded ‘BANG!’ from the machine. In addition, as if that wasn’t bad enough, several readings had to be taken to get an average as the pressure in your eyes varies with the cycle of your heartbeat so one reading is not enough. Some air puffs require 3 readings per eye – but some up to 5.
Because we knew how much patients hated the anxiety-inducing ‘bang!’ from the old air puff instruments, when we came across the gentler ICare tonometers (which were originally developed in Finland) that hardly cause so much as a blink, we knew we had to invest in this. With this new instrumentation all you hear are some digital beeps to indicate the readings being taken, and you may feel a tickling sensation on your eyelashes. No more nasty puffs or bangs to worry about when you come to have an eye examination here!
Posted on 06 June 2019
Having personally specialised in children's eye care for 10 years and recently becoming a father for the first time it only seemed fitting to do our very first blog post on Children's eye care.
Hopefully we can try to educate fellow parents and dispel some myths you may have heard from a friend of a friend.
The first 8 years of life are known as the critical period for sight development. This is the period in a child's life where all visual function develops and when the vision is still in its elastic stage, so any developmental issues can have the potential of being corrected.
This is a “use it or lose it” stage of life where problems which are not dealt with may be irreversible or the potential for treatment success reduced.
Here are some commonly used words associated with sight development:
Amblyopia is the fancy word for a lazy eye, where the eye is healthy but the vision has not developed at the same rate as the other, "good" eye. If detected early and before the end of the critical period, serious differences in vision, between eyes can be reversed.
Strabismus is the fancy word for a squint, where the eye turns in a different direction to the fixing eye. Sometimes these squints can be rectified just by giving the child the spectacles they need. Other times surgery may be needed to rebalance the muscles with one another. Either way the sooner this action is taken the more likely a child’s binocular vision may develop.
When should you get your child’s eyes tested?
Definitely before they start school. What If they can’t see the board? What if their near vision is blurry? All of these things will deter their start in education.
However if you have any concerns ever about a child’s eye sight, you have a family history of childhood eye problems or you think a squint may be present get them seen sooner. These issues are best dealt with before the child is 3 years old.
Many districts run a school screening program run by Orthoptists from the local hospital eye department, where children are tested for vision and binocular vision issues in Reception. However they have a lot of schools to cover within the year and it may be towards the end of the year with some children approaching their 6th birthday when they are seen leaving limited time to treat any issues detected.
What if my child doesn’t know their letters or even isn’t speaking yet?
Your child doesn’t have to know their letters to have an accurate sight test. In fact a child doesn’t even have to speak to have an accurate sight test.
Matching cards and pictures are used for preschool children (see attached picture) and cards with an image on one half are used to observe babies responses (using their inquisitive nature).
Drops can also be used if the responses given are unreliable or inconsistent, the drops mean we can measure for spectacle prescriptions by just using light and moving it across the eye. These drops also make the pupil large so we can have a good look inside the eye.
NHS, children and glasses.
Sight tests are free for any child under the age of 16 and a voucher is issued towards the cost of spectacles if needed. The cost of some children’s glasses will be fully covered under these vouchers.
• New-born’s sight is very blurry and insensitive to colour for the first few months of life so don’t worry if you think they can’t see you from across a room etc. Download an app called “Babysee”. This uses your phones camera to show you what your baby’s sight is like at their current stage of development.
• According to research, Vision is responsible for 80% of all learning in a child’s first 12 years. Having children’s eyes tested before they start school and yearly throughout is therefore recommended to prevent any avoidable obstacles in their education.
• New research shows that the majority of the suns UV exposure and therefore damage occurs in our eyes during childhood. However children who wear sunspecs are as few as 3%. Something to think about for sure!
• All Children’s glasses must be supplied and fitted by a registered Optician in accordance to UK law. We have at least one Dispensing Optician at each of our practices who are the experts in frame and lens selection and fitting.