World Glaucoma Week 11-17 March

Australia is amongst the best in the world for the diagnosis and treatment of potentially blinding glaucoma but 50 percent of Australians with the eye disease still remain undiagnosed.

Glaucoma is commonly referred to as ‘the sneak thief of sight’. It irreversibly destroys vision silently and gradually, starting with the side vision. Fortunately, if detected early enough it can be arrested or at least slowed by appropriate treatment.

Worldwide figures show glaucoma remains undiagnosed in as many as 85 percent of an estimated 65 million people with the disease.  It is even higher in India with 90 percent undiagnosed while the Asian region accounts for between 60 to 80 percent of people yet to be diagnosed.  The USA matches Australia with 50 percent of people unaware they have the disease. While Australia is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, 50 percent of Australians or about 150,000 people are still unaware they have glaucoma, which is still alarming. Around the globe the eye disease that has blinded 10 million people, according to a 2005 report.  Australia has 7000 residents blinded from glaucoma.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people have a higher risk. These include:

  • family history of glaucoma
  • diabetes
  • migraine
  • short sightedness (myopia)
  • eye injuries
  • blood pressure
  • past or present use of cortisone drugs (steroids)

People in these groups should have their first eye check no later than the age of 35. For most people, it is recommended to have an eye check for glaucoma by the age of 40.

CAN GLAUCOMA BE TREATED?

Although there is no cure for glaucoma it can usually be controlled and further loss of sight either prevented or at least slowed down.

Treatments include:

Eye drops – these are the most common form of treatment and must be used regularly. In some cases pills are prescribed. The drops can be varied to best suit the patient and the type of glaucoma.

Laser (laser trabeculoplasty) – this is performed when eye drops do not stop deterioration in the field of vision. In many cases eye drops will need to be continued after laser. Laser does not require a hospital stay.

Surgery (trabeculectomy) – this is performed usually after eye drops and laser have failed to control the eye pressure. A new channel for the fluid to leave the eye is created.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER FORMS OF GLAUCOMA?

Chronic (primary open-angle) glaucoma is the most common form of this disease. However, other forms occur:

Low-tension or normal tension glaucoma: Occasionally optic nerve damage can occur in people with so-called normal eye pressure. This form of glaucoma is treated in the same manner as open-angle glaucoma.

Acute (angle-closure) glaucoma: Acute glaucoma is when the pressure inside the eye rapidly increases due to the iris blocking the drain. An attack of acute glaucoma is often severe. People suffer pain, nausea, blurred vision and redness of the eye. Immediate medical help should be sought. If treatment is delayed there can be permanent visual damage in a very short time. Usually, laser surgery performed promptly can clear the blockage and protect against visual impairment.

Congenital glaucoma: This is a rare form of glaucoma caused by an abnormal drainage system. It can exist at birth or develop later. Parents may note that the child is sensitive to light, has enlarged and cloudy eyes, and excessive watering. Surgery is usually needed.

Secondary glaucomas: These glaucomas can develop as a result of other disorders of the eye such as injuries, cataracts or eye inflammation. The use of steroids (cortisone) has a tendency to raise eye pressure and therefore pressures should be checked frequently when steroids are used.

The major concern throughout the world is that glaucoma blindness can be largely prevented if the disease is detected early enough and treated. It is so critical for people to be aware of the need for an eye check-up every two years or more regularly if you have a family history of glaucoma or diabetes, high blood pressure or have suffered from an eye injury.

With studies in recent times about the relationship between the corneal thickness and intraocular pressure, your optometrist may use a pachymeter during testing. A thicker cornea may present the pressure to be higher than the true intraocular pressure. The reverse case can also occur where a thinner cornea presents a lower pressure and may mask a person who in fact has glaucoma. Assessment of the optic nerve and field of vision as well, plays a part in diagnosis.

Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is useful in early detection of glaucoma. It is a non-invasive imaging technique used to scan the layers of  the retina and optic nerve. It is able to assess the density of retinal ganglion cells (neutrons which receives visual information from photoreceptors) and detect loss of these cells. Early detection could potentially prevent a person from losing their sight.

Awareness is the only way we can hope to limit the impact of this dreadful, but easily treated disease. There is no need to lose your sight to glaucoma. Often, people who don’t have regular eye check-ups only find out they have the disease after they have lost considerable peripheral vision. This can have negative consequences including losing your driving licence or suffering injuries caused by falls or hitting into unseen obstacles.

A collaboration between the Prince of Wales Hospital Ophthalmology Department and the Centre for Eye Health has led to the establishment of the Glaucoma Management Clinic at UNSW. This clinic was the first of its kind conceived in Australia. To raise awareness about the disease during Glaucoma Australia’s Glaucoma Awareness Week, the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Sciences and the Centre for Eye Health are hosting a B.I.G. Breakfast on Wednesday 14th March, 8 am to 10:30 am on campus.

Glaucoma is a disease that irreversibly destroys eyesight. You can’t get back what vision you have lost to glaucoma. The only way to detect it is to have regular eye check-ups with your optometrist at least every two years.

For further information, see your eye care practitioner.

  1. https://www.glaucoma.org.au/events/world-glaucoma-week-2018/
  2. https://www.wgweek.net/about-world-glaucoma-week/
  3. http://www.optometry.org.au/your-eyes/your-eye-health/eye-diseases/glaucoma.aspx
  4. http://www.rsb.org.au/glaucoma
  5. https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/collaboration-between-eye-care-professionals-improves-glaucoma-management

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.