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Posted by admin on May 23rd, 2013 — Posted in eye health, eyewear / Tags: , , , , , , ,

Adidas Blade SunglassWe are all aware these days how important it is to protect our skin from the sun and its damaging effects. Many people do not realize however that it is equally important to protect our eyes. Research shows that the sun’s ultra violet and infra-red rays contribute to eye diseases such as cataracts, pterygia and macula degeneration.
In the past providing sun protection to patients who wear glasses has posed a problem with many sunglasses being the wrong shape or curvature to fit optical lenses. Now those problems are over.  With new lens milling technology we are now able to provide prescription sunglass lenses into almost any sunglass frames, including the wrap-around and blade sports frames. These include Bolle, Oakley and Adidas frames with the clip-in and out lenses, so popular with the cyclists, runners and golfers. Sports enthusiasts who require a prescription are no longer at a disadvantage, because most prescription lenses can now be fitted directly into these types of frames doing away with the prescription insert that clips in to the back of the frame, making it more convenient and with an increased field of vision.
There are also many options for the type of sun protection we can provide. Whether you are into fishing and water sports requiring a polarized lens, high contrast drive wear or a changing tint option there is a lens to suit every need. Specialized tints and coatings for the outdoors are very popular including mirror coatings for skiing, and high contrast tints and filters for shooting. The reduced weight and impact resistance of our modern lenses means prescription sunglasses are now safe for rigorous activity so your eyes can remain protected.
Some eye conditions make patients prone to being glare sensitive and in these circumstances protective sunglasses are a must. Just as some people get sunburnt more easily than others, some people are more sensitive to eye sun damage too. A regular eye health examination will enable the optometrist to assess your sun protection needs
With the improvement in lens designs now available, tinted progressive lenses are also an option for those who would like to read in the sun or sign the score card at golf! With so many options newly available please call in and talk to us about what sunglass options might be best for your needs.

Posted by admin on December 27th, 2012 — Posted in educational, eye health / Tags: , , , , ,

Cataract

A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness inside the natural lens of the eye.  This cloudiness scatteres and reduces thelight passing through the eye, affecting vision.  The most common cause of cataract is aging and UV exposure.

Common symptoms of cataracts include cloudy vision, increased glare, poor night vision and a rapid change of glasses prescription.  When glasses can no longer provide adequate vision for driving or other important daily activities then cataract surgery is often necessary.

Cataract surgery is a very refined procedure where an Ophthalmologist removes the eye’s clouded natural lens and replaces it with an artificial, intraocular lens (IOL) implant.  The new lens stays in the eye for the lifetime of the patient. The patient returns home immediately after the operation.

Cataract surgery techniques and intraocular lenses (IOLs) have evolved significantly over recent times.  New technology provides better ways to correct vision after cataract surgery.  People now have more choice in what type of IOL they may have fitted in their eye, depending on needs and lifestyle.

Types of IOLs include:

  • Monofocal lenses (traditional IOL)  which correct vision at a set distance but require the wearing of glasses for close-up tasks.  In some cases one eye is set for far distance and the other eye for intermediate distances.
  • Multifocal lenses correct vision at all ranges (near, intermediate and distance). These are a compromise lens and are used in a small number of patients.
  • Toric lenses correct larger degrees of astigmatism.
  • Lenses which have increase UV protection.

The most recent advances in IOL lens technology involves being able to customize the optical characteristics of implants to minimise any irregular optical distortions present in the patients eye.  Additional surgical and laser procedures to reduce the amount of astigmatism in the cornea can also be carried out.  These procedures can significantly enhance the quality of the vision achieved after cataract surgery, especially in low light levels .

Generally a month after the surgery patients return to their optometrist so that new glasses can be prescribed to correct any residual distance blur if needed, and to find the most appropriate correction for the patients near and intermediate requirements.

Posted by admin on November 7th, 2012 — Posted in curious, educational, Uncategorized / Tags: , , , ,

3D vision is important in helping you judge depth, distances and speeds.
Because your eyes are set a small distance apart, what your left eye sees, is slightly different to what your right eye sees.
Your brain combines these two images and looks for the differences between them.  These very small differences are what make things seem 3 dimensional.

Film makers take advantage of this when they make 3D movies.  If you look at a 3D movie without the special polarized glasses the picture is doubled up and unclear.  When you put on your 3D glasses the image is separated into two different pictures, one for each eye.  The slight differences between the images allow you to perceive depth instead of a flat screen.

People who only have one good eye cannot fully experience 3D movies and have more trouble judging depths than people with two good eyes.

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2012 — Posted in educational, eye health / Tags: , , , ,

The sudden onset of double vision whether constant or intermittent, large or small can be a serious sign that needs prompt evaluation.  It generally causes disorientation and makes complex visual tasks like driving too dangerous.  Most cases of double vision are not serious, but an eye exam as soon as possible to determine the cause is necessary.

There are many causes of double vision, which range from being minor and easily treated, to being associated with life threatening conditions.  Fortunately most causes of double vision are easily treated.

It is initially important to determine whether the double vision is monocular (still present with one eye closed) or binocular (not present when one eye is closed) and whether it is of recent onset or long standing, intermittent or constant.

In the case of monocular double vision uncorrected astigmatism, cataracts or corneal irregularity are common causes. Quite often an update of spectacles will solve the problem.  In some cases a referral to an ophthalmologist may be warranted, particularly in the case of cataracts.

The causes of binocular double vision are more varied.  Common causes are  associated with a reduction in the ability to keep the eyes aligned, particularly with age or recent illness.  Some people have a tendency for their eyes to be misaligned and under normal circumstances our eyes can compensate for this, however this requires muscular effort and when the system becomes fatigued, the body is unable to cope and double vision occurs.  We also see this occurring when a change in occupation causes increased visual demands leading increased fatigue of the visual system. In these cases glasses often will correct the double vision.  Eye exercises by themselves or in tandem with glasses can also be helpful.

More serious causes that require urgent investigation include trauma, stroke, diabetes, tumours and thyroid disease.  Assessment includes determining which eye is involved and whether the double vision is present in all directions of gaze or only some.  This helps determine the causes of the double vision and if any other additional neurological or vascular assessments are required.  Temporary relief from double vision canoften be achieved by patching one eye or using a stick on prism over a spectacle lens.

By far the majority of causes of double vision are benign, but a prompt assessment from an optometrist is important to determine the cause and organise any for referral at the appropriate urgency.

Posted by admin on October 24th, 2012 — Posted in educational, eye health / Tags: , , ,

 

Most people at some point in their lives suffer from dry eyes.  This problem can occur intermittently or over long periods.  The main symptom is usually a gritty sensation as if a foreign body is in the eye.  Other symptoms can include a burning or stinging sensation, or excessive watering.

Dry eyes are usually associated with a disturbance in the quality and/or volume of the tear film. This film helps maintains the health and optical quality of the cornea.  People with dry eyes often have unstable spectacle prescriptions and variable vision.

The tear film is made up of 3 layers, disruption to any can lead to dry eyes.

  1. The innermost thinnest layer is a type of mucous which helps the tear film spread evenly across the eye.
  2. The middle thickest layer is essentially a saline solution, containing a nutrients and helpful bacteria, which assist in the maintenance of ocular health.  The main purpose of this layer is to keep the eye moist, and to assist in flushing out any foreign bodies.  Defects in this layer are the most common cause of dry eyes.
  3. The outermost thin oily layer helps to reduce the rate of evaporation of the underlying watery layer. Glands in the eyelids produce this layer and this oily secretion can become abnormal if these glands become infected.

Dry eyes are most common in women, particularly after menopause and in older people in general.  Some general health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are also associated with dry eyes.  Also drugs such as nasal decongestants, anti-depressants and acne medications can also cause dry eyes.  Environmental factors including UV exposure, wind and air conditioning can worsen the condition.

During an eye examination the cause of dry eyes can be determined and the best treatments offered.  These include-

  • Eye drops and gels to help moisten and lubricate the eye, for both long and short term use.  These are aslo available preservative free minims.
  • Eyelid scrubs with Sterilid cleanser, combined with lid massages and hot compresses help stabilise the oily layer. This treatment is particularly useful for people with blephritis and rosacea.
  • Dietary suppliments containing fish and flaxseed oil, have been shown to improve the quality of the oily secretion from the glands in the lids.
  • In severe cases the small tear drainage holes in the lids can be temporarily or permanently closed with small plugs.

Posted by admin on October 5th, 2012 — Posted in educational / Tags: , , , , ,

September was save our sight month. Almost one fifth of the members of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind have lost their vision due to a preventable cause.
Regular eye examinations are important even for people who don’t wear glasses, as many eye conditions come on so gradually you are not aware of any change occurring.

Common conditions which affect the eyes of New Zealanders include glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.

Glaucoma is an eye condition where damage to the optic nerve causes a gradual decrease in the peripheral vision. Because the fields of vision overlap, people with glaucoma do not suffer symptoms until a large amount of damage is done. It is estimated that 70,000 New Zealanders over 40 have glaucoma, and that half do not know they have it! To test for risk of glaucoma your optometrist will measure the pressure of your eyes, do a peripheral field test and look at your nerve to check for any changes.

The macular is the central region of the retina, it is responsible for fine detailed vision. In age related macular degeneration this area is damaged, causing blur, distortion and gaps in the vision.
It is the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens. A family history of the disease, smoking and UV light exposure all increase the risk of macular degeneration.

Cataracts are a very common cause of vision loss, which luckily are very easily treated. A cataract forms when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, preventing light from traveling into the eye properly. If you are beginning to develop cataract your vision will feel foggy, and you may develop problems with glare. Your optometrist will be able to tell you if the changes to your vision are due to cataract and refer you to an eye specialist for treatment if necessary.

In people who have diabetes the small blood vessels in the retina can begin to leak, causing bleeding and swelling in the back of the eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. It is especially important that people with diabetes have regular eye examinations, as the damage which is occurring to the eye blood vessels indicate what is happening the rest of your body and how well your diabetes is controlled.

We recommend you have an eye examination every two years to check the health of your eyes. How long has it been since your last check?

Posted by admin on April 12th, 2012 — Posted in eyewear / Tags: , , , ,

Enable NZ provides a subsidy which can help with the cost of your child’s vision test, and glasses frames and lenses. The subsidy can also be used for repairs to existing glasses.

The subsidy amount is $287.50 (incl GST).  An extra $51.11 (incl GST) is available for children who need an adult sized frame.  You can claim the subsidy every 12 months, if you are still eligible.

This subsidy is available to any of your children aged 15 years or under, but only if you or your child has a current Community Services Card or High User Health card issued by the GP.

At Optik Eyecare we can apply for this subsidy on your behalf – all you need to do is make an appointment for your child’s vision to be tested by one of our optometrists or bring in a prescription.

Posted by admin on April 6th, 2012 — Posted in educational / Tags: ,

What is Diabetes?
In diabetes elevated blood glucose or “sugar” levels (hyperglycaemia) cause damage to the blood vessel walls throughout the body.

How does this affect my eyes?
In terms of the eye this results in leakage and occlusion of the fine capillaries in the retina. This is seen initially as small aneurysms and haemorrhages at the back of the eye. In time this results in a reduction of nutrients and oxygen to the retina resulting in new but weaker blood vessel formation. These new blood vessels tend to bleed causing more larger haemorrhages and scarring. In the final stages this can result in Retinal Detachments, blood vessel formation in the Iris, cataracts , optic nerve disease and ultimately blindness.

Who is at risk of developing Diabetic Eye Disease?
Anyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy. The risk of vision loss due to Diabetes increases with the length of time a person has had diabetes and with poorer blood sugar control.

What can I do to protect My Eyesight?
It is important that people with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels closely and have regular eye examinations. This will mean that any diabetic changes can be found early and be treated before they begin to affect the vision. The current recommendation is to have 1-2 yearly Eye exams when no Diabetic Retinopathy is found. If any Diabetic retinopathy is found the follow up interval will vary and referral to an Opthalmologist through the Public or Private system maybe necessary.

In addition regular self monitoring of blood glucose levels, regular exercise, keeping within a healthy weight range and regular GP checks with monitoring and control of Blood Pressure and Cholesterol levels will reduce the risk of Diabetic complications.

What is involved?
In monitoring an eye for any Diabetic associated changes or the risk of developing Diabetic Eye disease a comprehensive yearly exam is advised and would involve the following;

  • History including Blood Glucose Control
  • Review of Medications
  • Internal and External eye check with photos and dilation
  • Intra ocular pressure measurement
  • Check of vision and a Refraction to improve vision if necessary.

Posted by admin on March 30th, 2012 — Posted in educational / Tags: ,

A large part of learning in children is done visually and at close distances. Most parents would imagine that if their child has passed the school vision screening test that their childs vision is perfect and therefore unlikely to be a factor in any potential learning issues. Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case.

Current testing in schools only measures the ability of the child to see clearly in the distance. This is important to ensure the child reaches his/her full visual potential in later life. However to learn and read to their potential a child must use a variety of scanning, focusing and visual coordination skills as well as having clear and comfortable near vision. None of these vision tasks is tested for in the current system. If these skills have not developed well, learning can be stressful and difficult and progress may be slow.

The latest statistics available suggest that 1 in 10 children in NZ have an identifiable vision defect. Due to the limitations of the screening done in schools many children go undiagnosed; a simple distance vision check cannot look at the complexities of the visual system or its interaction with the learning process. Many tests and techniques are necessary to look at visual function including measuring the accuracy of focus, flexibility of focus, accommodation, scanning and tracking skills, depth perception, ability to converge and sustain focus over time to name just a few.

Not all vision problems require glasses, for example some coordination skills, scanning and focusing problems can be helped with a series of eye exercises

Learning progresses much more easily if the visual system is functioning at an optimum level. If parents or teachers are concerned they should consult with the optometrist to have a full vision assessment.

Author: Raewyn Hart

Posted by admin on March 21st, 2012 — Posted in educational / Tags:


Astigmatism is an eye condition resulting from an irregular curvature of the eye. The eye is often more curved in one plane than the other, like a rugby ball compared with a soccer ball. Light is focused differently, giving not one, but two image points on the retina (the back area of the eye that processes visual images).This leads to increasingly blurred vision with increased amounts of astigmatism, in one or both eyes. Symptoms can include squinting, eye strain or eye fatigue, and recurring headaches. Roughly one in three people have some form of astigmatism, and the chance of developing the condition increases with age.

Optometrists have a lot of experience with diagnosing and treating astigmatism. The most common treatment for astigmatism is using glasses or contact lenses, which focus the image at a single point.