We are commonly asked the same questions from our Patients, so we have grouped together the most common questions in the hope that it helps explain things. If you have any questions that we have not answered, please contact us and we will aim to respond within a few hours of receiving your email.
What is shortsighted?
The light coming into the eye has to focus on the back of the eye. In this case the eye is too long and the light focuses in front of the retina (shortsighted). This means they cannot see things clearly far away.
What is longsighted?
This is when the eyes are too short and light focuses behind the retina (longsighted). This means they have to focus more than normal especially on things that are close up.
What is astigmatism?
If your eye is more rugby ball shaped than football shaped then the light is not focused properly meaning we get letters confused far and near. Hopefully this is picked up in childhood and the vision is allowed to develop normally.
What is a lazy eye?
This is evident from early years and indeed needs to be picked up pre-school. It occurs in 2-3% of children and can be caused by one eye being more shortsighted, longsighted than the other or they may have a squint. For more information please refer to our separate `children’s eyecare’ page.
What is presbyopia?
This is a perfectly normal but very frustrating change that happens to us all after the age of about 45yrs of age due to the fact that the muscle that focuses at near for us starts to do less work, we then need a pair of glasses for seeing small print and our focus continues to get further away arising in the need for stronger glasses as we age. No one can stop this ageing process and it is not the glasses that cause the ongoing deterioration.
Why do I need bifocals or varifocals?
No one needs to have these combined lenses but everyone can benefit from just having the one pair of glasses to see different distances instead of 2 or 3 pairs for different tasks. Varifocals for instance can give you clear vision at any distance just like our vision is when we are young. They can be excellent for anything from office use to shopping, instead taking reading glasses on and off constantly.
‘But I don’t want to wear glasses all the time.’
These multifocals don’t mean you have to wear them all the time it just means you only have the one pair to use for all tasks ie TV, driving, reading and computer, even doing the house work and eating a meal can require glasses for some people.
Once I start wearing glasses will my eyes not get worse?
This is primarily a myth. Unfortunately when you present with eyestrain it is often the start of a deterioration in the eyes whether it is due to age or just our genetics, in both of these cases our eyes would get worse anyway whether we get glasses or not especially if it is due to age. There are even cases in young children when caught early the glasses will improve the vision and may be they won’t need glasses in later school years. Your Optometrist will advise you on when to wear your glasses for the best preservation of your vision.
‘I want to try contact lenses but don’t know if I could put them in’
Most people are put off by this fear of the unknown but contact lenses are a lot easier than you think. Most people can hardly feel them when the Optometrist first inserts them and master putting them in themselves with ease after guidance and supervision in the practice the first few times.
The response we most often get from patients is they wish they had done it years ago. And yes they can be fitted even if you have an astigmatism or just need reading glasses.
The trial will determine your suitability and you are not committed to anything if you don’t want to go ahead. There is normally a small fitting fee though for the time spent initially.
‘I suffer from glare from car headlights’
Usually this can be managed by a simple anti-glare coating put on the glasses at time of manufacture and helps with any artificial light sources such as headlights, streetlight, office and computer glare.
‘Do computers and fluorescent lighting damage my eyes?
Essentially no, today’s lighting in the workplace is controlled by strict regulations and should not damage your eyes as with computer screens, if you feel a change in your eyes it is more likely to be due to a natural change in the eyes. It is however essential to make sure you have a safe working environment and usually your health and safety department is on hand to assess this for you.
There is now evidence to say that the high energy blue light emmited from all the screen devices such as phones, tablets and tv’s can be more tiring for the vision and can also affect our sleep patterns. It is advised not to use these screens within a few hours of going to bed. There are new coatings available which can filter out some of these blue rays.
You can also be aware that staring at the one thing for too long whether it be a computer, phone or tablet then the eye muscles are constantly working so it is advisable either to take regular breaks or even look into the distance every now and then to gives these muscles a rest.
Also if you are working on a computer for most of your day then your work may provide you with the time to have your eyes regularly examined and even pay something towards glasses should you need them for the computer.
‘I am not having any problems why should I have my eyes examined?’
There are a lot of eye conditions go undetected and especially in young children it can hinder the development of their vision during their school years and for and indeed the rest of their life. Under 16’s can be tested every year on the NHS from the age of 3-4 (especiailly advised if there is a family history of glasses at a younger age) in an Opticians and if younger we would refer any findings probably to the hospital for assessment by people who specialise in the younger ones.
Over school age we can provide NHS examinations every 2 yrs. This can not only detect eye concerns but in some cases high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol issues can be detected early and referred to your G.P for management. Hopefully we can just reassure you that your eyes are in good health and keep monitoring for changes on a regular basis. If you have any concerning issues with your eyes we can check them as often as necessary through the nhs eyecare funding.