Beware of Halloween Eyes!

At some point in the past decade Halloween has popularised itself across Australia. While I was growing up Halloween was always an American ‘thing’. It was something we saw in American movies and a part of American culture. Halloween was an eve celebration of the feast of All Hallow’s Day: a three day observance of Allhallowtide dedicated to remembering the dead including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed.

With the rise of popularity of Halloween in Australia, interest in novelty or decorated contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume has also increased. While these may add that ‘wow’ factor to your costume, non-prescription accessory lenses can be dangerous and lead to significant, long-term eye damage. This is particularly true when they have not been fitted by an optometrist.

Best practice is to ensure not only optimal vision but also comfort and correct fitting in order to maintain ocular health. The cornea (the tissue layer in front of the iris) where the contact lens sits on is a delicate tissue. A compromised contact lens could potentially introduce unwelcomed bacteria to the corneal surface and cause mild infections to sight threatening conditions causing scarring and blindness. Furthermore, an optometrist is able to correctly advise the best method to remove, insert and clean contact lenses and the appropriate products to use to minimise the potential for scratched corneas and allergic reactions to solutions.

A recent study has found that cosmetic contact lenses available online circumvent regulation from safety agencies such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and can contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine, which can seep from the colourants in the lens to cause toxicity problems for the eyes. (i)

The image above shows what happens when a person gets an infection known as Acanthamoeba Keratitis. (ii) This parasite will literally eat the cornea away in 24 hours.

So even though you may only wear these contact lenses as a one off, they still require the same high level of care to be worn safely. The following is recommended for all contact lens wearers:

  • Have contact lenses properly fitted at an optometrist who will also instruct you on correct insertion, removal and cleaning of lenses.
  • Always wash hands before touching contacts and never store or clean contacts with tap water.
  • Don’t sleep in contact lenses unless advised it is safe to do so by your optometrist.
  • If your eyes become red, sensitive to light, painful, gunky or your vision becomes blurred remove lenses and see an optometrist ASAP. (iii)

(i) http://Scanning Electron Microscopy Findings with Energy-Dispersive X-ray Investigations of Cosmetically Tinted Contact Lenses, Eye & Contact Lens, Sept. 2015

(ii) http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/eyeforum/atlas/pages/acanthamoeba/index.htm

(iii) Recommendations from Optometry Australia

Main image is from www.allaboutvision.com

Measuring For Success

Measuring for success

Having the best lens in the world means very little if they are put in the wrong place! The great surprise we have in our industry is that many practitioners are trying to fit lenses using decades old techniques and technology. Look at your phone, how much does it have in common with the phone your parents used? What about your grandparents’ phone?

Lens technology has also moved far beyond the types of lenses we had available in years past. While this results in optical performance that is vastly superior to the older designs they also demand greater fitting precision than ever before.

At Hannaford Eyewear we are constantly evaluating the latest lens designs and measuring systems to ensure the best integration and results. Over the years we have watched the best measurement techniques grow from the old ruler and dot, various practical devices, the many attempts to get apps to identify the lens fitting parameters and finally systems like the ImpressionIST.

The latest generation of measurements systems are truly remarkable and make all other systems almost completely redundant. By taking multiple simultaneous images that are overlaid it is possible to create three dimensional models of the frame/face relationship, something that previous systems have struggled to achieve.

Knowing exactly how the lenses, frame, eyes and face are related allows many more compensations to be made. We can allow for everything from the distance of the lens from the eyes, to the tilt and even the wrap of the frame. This technology can be applied to almost every type of lens use, from reading through to progressive multifocal lenses.

So when your practitioner reaches for their ruler and a marker, ask them if they know of a better way to fit your lenses. We do.

Individual Fit Premium Care Hannaford Eyewear

Eye Care In Sports

Sports, Safety & Your Eyes

While all sporting activities carry a degree of risk there are some that are more prone to eye injury than others. It is important to consider this when taking up a sport as eye protection, just like any other piece of sporting equipment is vital to not only safety, but success in your chosen pastime.

In this post we will take a look at a two of the sports that have shown up in our practice.

Racquet & Stick Sports

One of the more obvious risks for racquet sports is the racquet itself, after all it represents what is effectively a club of some description that is used to hit a projectile or ball. Risks from being struck by the racquet centre around impact to the face which can cause damage to the soft tissues and bones of the skull. At the most basic we look to impact resistance lens materials to provide a first layer of safety but there are a number of frame options available to us now that are often tailored to specific sports.

While many people would look at the above picture and say that the cricket ball is the most dangerous, in real terms it falls behind the hockey ball, which is much harder, and the innocent looking squash ball. The reason why the squash ball is so dangerous is not just the high speed at which it travels, it is the size of the ball that does the most damage. Compared to the human eye they are almost exactly the same dimensions which means that an impact upon an unprotected eye can cause devastating damage as it fit’s easily into the eye socket. This is similar to golf although the placement of the participants on the course makes injury much less likely than in squash.

Karate/Contact Sports

This one may seem obvious but a quick look at any dojo will show that it is often overlooked. Spectacles are not the ideal solution when performing hand to hand combat sports but when weapons are introduced it is well worth considering some sort of protections, particularly if bunkai or paired work is being undertaken. If we look closely at the shape of most martial arts weapons they are, by design, dangerous. Even most wooden staffs have a diameter that fits the eye socket and of course swords and sai are designed to cause penetrating wounds.

All this considered it is worth examining safety equipment for use when performing martial arts. There are a number of options from the simple safety sports frames to more comprehensive solutions such as those below.

The benefit to full head gear is the overall protection it affords, however, if wearing contact lenses there may be issues with sweat and discomfort as it is not possible to access the face without removing the head gear. Much like the lenses mentioned before the face shields here are made from impact resistant materials to avoid fragmentation of the plastic on impact.

Vision Correction In Sports

Contact lenses can be an ideal solution for sports. It has many advantages over spectacles including:

  • better peripheral vision
  • unobstructed field of view
  • less likelihood of fogging up and getting splattered compared to spectacles
  • less chance of injury (a hit to the face with spectacles may cut the skin)
  • more stable vision
  • better compatibility with safety equipment

 

You haven’t spoken about my sport……..

We will endeavour to discuss as many sports as possible in future posts. However if you have a specific question, don’t wait and see, just contact us today and we’ll find the solution that’s just right for you.

 

 

What makes a good spectacle frame?

DSC_0291Many times when choosing a frame we get asked why one is more expensive than another. It’s a valid question and while there are brands that just inherently cost more, at Hannaford Eyewear we choose frames that have a direct link between quality and price. By doing this we ensure that you are getting the value for money that you deserve. It’s all too easy to be fooled by frames that look good but are cheap in every sense of the word!

Choosing your frame wisely means that you will have a reliable pair of spectacles that won’t let you down when you need them.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but when choosing a frame here are some things to look out for.

Material

Not all materials are the same, indeed there is such a wide range of quality in plastics that it can be a baffling ordeal without good guidance.

Plastic frames can range from low quality injection moulded materials that retail for less than $50 (but break very easily) to hand made Italian acetates that take weeks to craft and may last up to a decade. Country of origin is not necessarily an indicator either. There is one classic example of a frame company who elected to get their frames manufactured in China. This particular company had a strong connection with Chinese culture so it made good sense to carry on that theme, they did however set strict guidelines on quality control including asking that every frame be inspected rather than small selections from a batch. All of the extra requirements shot the price of the frame up until it cost almost exactly the same as if they had made it in Europe. The lesson we took from this was to look at the quality of the product rather than the price, country of manufacture or the name. After all, the brand name will not be so important if it falls apart while you are wearing it.

Metal frames are subject to the same range of quality so be wary of frame deals that look to good to be true, they probably are! More than once we have had patients bring their ‘2 for 1’ frames in for repair and the metal has been such low quality that it cannot even be soldered, it simply evaporated in the flame. In these cases the patient has learned the hard way the old adage ‘the bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price has faded’.

Importantly, consider whether or not you have any allergies, this will influence your choices. If you aren’t sure then try to remember if you have ever reacted to cheap jewellery or gotten a green stain from a watch. If the answer is yes then you most likely have an allergy (probably nickel). This can be addressed with the frame material, giving you a more comfortable wearing experience.

Design

Consider the design of your frame in the context of your final usage. All too often we let fashion drive our decision and this leads to poor fitting frames that aren’t really up to the task at hand. Examples of this are frames that are too small to accomodate a reasonable amount of reading area, or frames with poor fitting bridges that are nearly impossible to set securely on your face. While we may desperately want that retro acetate frame, if it doesn’t sit on our face properly then we are setting ourselves up for a frustrating experience. Indeed, this can result in the lenses themselves failing to perform properly, so the whole pair of glasses become a burden rather than a help.

Craftsmanship

The amount of time and care that goes into a frame will directly influence its longevity and wearability. The low end of the market is bulk produced with a few pairs taken out of every batch to check for quality. We have seen frames from companies that were, admittedly, quite inexpensive but we had to spend a great deal of time adjusting and fixing them just so they were saleable. Long ago we decided that if a frame needed to be fixed straight out of the box then it shouldn’t be sold, this is one of our core factors when choosing a frame supplier, which leads us to our final point to consider.

Support

It’s not just us at the practice that are involved in your care, it’s the companies that made your frame as well. We choose a select group of frame suppliers who not only provide the highest quality products, but insist that they are involved in caring for you throughout the warranty period and beyond. We have had reps hand deliver parts and repairs to us at the practice simply because they take care of you, the patient, so seriously.

At the end of the day we need to ensure that you are getting a pair of spectacles that you don’t have to think about, they should just do their job and let you get on with your day. The best people to do that are appropriately qualified professionals, optical dispensers and optometrists have been trained to sort through the multiple of frames to find the right one. That’s why we are here for you to guide you through the ‘great wall of glasses’!

What colour is this handbag?

Remember that white-gold or black-blue dress debate last year that divided the internet? Taylor Corso (@whyofcorso) tweeted this image with the caption “Everyone say hello to my new baby.” Someone responded “White. Daring.” To which she replied “It’s blue.” So a new colour debate is born #mybag.

The bag is said to be ‘mystic blue’. And while the eyes themselves have differing ratios of short, medium and long wavelength cones (a photoreceptor cell responsible for seeing colour) amongst people and can cause subtle differences in how we each perceive colour, it is probably not enough to explain the dramatic differences in perception.

The most likely explanation is a phenomenon known as colour constancy. This is the ability to perceive colours of objects, invariant to the colour of the light source. So in this instance, a person’s perception of colour can be changed by its context and surroundings. An example is colour seen in daylight versus artificial light. Because we are unsure, our brain makes a judgement on colour without the correct information. Here is a great video by AsapSCIENCE explaining this phenomena.