A few questions and myths answered and demystified!
At what age should I get my child’s eyes examined?
At any age but the earlier the better and it is vital that the first examination is done before your child starts school. Not every school provides a visual screening programme and so there is a risk that visual problems may not get detected until it is too late. An eye examination carried out by an Optometrist will be more thorough and is free on the NHS.
Is it true that wearing glasses will make my eyes lazy and make me dependent on them?
No. Correctly prescribed glasses will make your vision sharper and more comfortable. This means that you will no longer tolerate the sub-standard vision that you experienced before.
Why do I need an eye examination if my vision is good?
Apart from checking to see if you need glasses an eye examination is a vital health check. An eye examination will screen for many conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, cataracts and macular disease to name a few. Most people should have an eye examination every 2 years. If there is any family history of eye disease or diabetes a more regular eye examination is recommended.
Does working with computers damage your eyes?
Research has not shown any definite link with computer use and eye damage. However our eyes are not designed to focus at a fixed distance for long periods and this often results in tired/strained eyes. Regular breaks from the VDU are very important to help reduce eyestrain. Due to the intense concentration effort required for VDU, small focusing errors in your eyes can become more symptomatic and may need correcting. Your employer may pay a portion of your eye examination if you spend more than 4 hours on a VDU.
I’ve heard that varifocals are difficult to get used to. Is this true?
The aim of a varifocal lens is to give you the ability to maintain clear vision at all distances without having to swap or remove glasses. This makes them a great, practical option for general purpose. However, they may not be suitable for certain tasks such as reading in bed, decorating, DIY and pro-longed computer use. These situations may require more task specific glasses. Modern varifocal lens designs are individualised and give wider viewing areas making them easier to adapt to. Good frame choice and accurate fitting measurements are vital for successful varifocal use.
We don’t get much sun in the UK so why do we need to wear sunglasses?
The WHO states that “sun protection is not only necessary on the beach or at the swimming pool but applies to all outdoor settings even on cloudy days.” As well as reducing glare from the sun, sunglasses also prevent absorption of harmful, invisible UV radiation. Cumulative exposure to UV radiation will increase risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
I’ve heard contact lenses are not suitable for children. Is this true?
No. Contact lenses can be worn safely by many children. Daily disposables are a good starting point as they require no cleaning and are thrown away after each wear. If your child is short-sighted contact lenses will allow them freedom to participate in sports, drama, improve their self image and confidence. There is no set age limit and suitability depends on the individual child. Regular aftercare is very important in children.
I have astigmatism and have been told that contact lenses are not suitable for me. Is this correct?
No. There are many contact lenses which can correct astigmatism. They include daily disposables, 2 weekly and monthly soft lenses. For more complex astigmatic prescriptions there are custom made soft and gas permeable options.