Keeping Your Eyes Healthy In Winter

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy In Winter

Winter weather can certainly take a toll on our bodies – eyes included! We spend so much time focused on wrapping up in warm clothing, we can often forget the impact cold weather, wind and rain can have on our eyes. Many people in the winter months will be susceptible to dryness and irritation, particularly as central heatings are heavily used. To keep your eyes healthy in winter, here are some of our top tips. 

Use Eye Drops for Dryness

With heaters and radiators at full blast, your eyes can certainly take the brunt of the heat. With warm air circulating your eyes are much more likely to feel dry and irritated. Not to worry though, regular eye drops which can be sourced from your optician directly or through a pharmacy are great for reducing feelings of irritation and keeping your eyes moist.

Keep your eyes protected from UV rays 

You might be thinking sunglasses are not necessary in winter. You’re not alone, many people forget that UV rays are prevalent all year round. In winter these can be just as damaging, particularly when it snows as the UV rays are also reflected from the brightness of the white snow. It’s important to wear sunglasses as often as possible to ensure your eyes are not damaged by the harmful UV rays. 

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is key to keeping you healthy. Your eyes will rely on water consumption to remain lubricated. When your eyes lack this lubrication you may suffer from feelings of irritation and dryness. Even in winter, water consumption is vital.

If you are dehydrated your eyes can be impacted in a number of ways: 

  • Eye redness
  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches 
  • Blurred vision

Visit your optician

A visit to your optician is important all year round. If you are due an eye examination or are experiencing changes in your vision, do not hesitate to book an appointment at one of our practices. Our team of high quality eye care professionals will take great care of you in one of our warm and welcoming practices. 

Preparing Your Child For An Eye Exam

Preparing Your Child For An Eye Exam

If your child has never had an eye examination before or they are feeling slightly apprehensive, it’s best to help prepare them beforehand. The environment of an optician practice can certainly feel daunting to a child, particularly as they enter a room full of strangers, with alien looking equipment and an unfamiliar scenario. Although it may seem daunting, the experience should be relatively simple! Across the RWoodfall Group, the teams at our practices are all highly experienced professionals with a great understanding of how to care for children’s eyes as much as an adult’s eyes. Here’s how we recommend preparing your child for their eye exam. 

Explain to your child who an Optician is and what they do

Although an optician shouldn’t be someone your child is scared of, they may feel slightly reluctant to speak to a stranger. It is therefore best to explain to your child beforehand exactly what an optician does and why they are so important. During the eye examination, the optician will want to speak with your child directly, answering questions about their vision, it is best your child feels comfortable doing this before heading into the appointment.

Explain what will happen during the eye exam

When taking your child to their first eye exam it is useful to run through with them exactly what to expect. This should help calm any nerves they have and ensure they feel comfortable in the environment. One test that may be conducted is a visual activity test which will assess how they see up close and far away. One way our optometrists assess your child’s vision is to ask them to repeat what they say. For young children we may ask them to say what they see, like a shape or animal, for older children this could be numbers or letters. For the most part, an eye examination for children is not so different to an adult’s eye examination. 

Your child should understand the importance of eye examinations for their health

By teaching your children at an early age just how important their eyes are will ensure they are aware of the importance eye examinations have for their health. We recommend bringing your child into one of our practices before they start primary school. This way we can ensure their eyes are healthy and will support them in this important time for learning and development. 

Bring toys and snacks

If you have a very young child they can easily become agitated and distracted when having to sit in waiting areas or in an unfamiliar environment. We recommend bringing some home comforts to make them feel at ease. Snacks and toys are great for keeping them entertained and sitting still. 

If you would like more information about children’s eye examinations before bringing your child into one of our practices, our team of experts are available to answer any of your questions. Get in touch with us today.

How to Choose Glasses vs Contact Lenses

How to Choose Glasses vs Contact Lenses

If you’ve discovered that you need to wear corrective lenses, you will most likely have the choice between traditional glasses or contact lenses. At R Woodfall, we can help you decide which is the best option to suit your vision as we can offer both glasses and a variety of contact lenses. 

In most cases, contact lenses will be suited for most people but it’s important to visit an optometrist to ensure you are making an informed and safe decision.

What’s the difference between glasses and contact lenses?

The most obvious difference is how you wear glasses versus how you wear contact lenses, as the latter goes on your eye itself. However, there are other differences that you may not be aware of.

If you choose to wear contact lenses, you will require a different prescription to your glasses. This is because the two sit differently on your face, with the contact lenses much closer to your eye while glasses will sit further away. This is why it’s important to visit an optician before wearing contact lenses for the first time.

Your glasses will generally be one type, such as single vision or varifocal. On the other hand, there are many different types of contact lenses including daily disposables and frequent replacements, as well as specialist contact lenses like gas permeable and Ortho-K.

What to consider about contact lenses

Contact lenses can offer a number of advantages to your lifestyle, particularly if you are active. This is because you can remove the need to wear frames or plastic lenses which may be a hindrance if you play sport. Similarly, if you’d like to achieve the aesthetic value of no longer having to wear frames, such as for special occasions, you can still see clearly with contact lenses. 

It’s important to remember that you must wear contact lenses with care. If you’re new to wearing them, you may be more susceptible to scratches or infections, and they can take some time to get used to. You might notice your eyes feel drier than usual with contact lenses, and there will be some maintenance to consider to keep your contact lenses clean and hygienic.

You may also find that contact lenses can provide a wider field of view with better peripheral vision than traditional glasses.

What to consider with glasses

Glasses will offer less need to touch your eyes, which can reduce your chance of infection. Your glasses might even help to protect your eyes better against the outside world, including things like debris and wind. 

While some glasses will still take some getting used to, they are generally very easy to use. The better quality the lenses, the easier they will be to adjust to.

In some cases, glasses may be cheaper in the long run than having to buy new contact lenses frequently. 

No harm in choosing both!

There’s no reason why you can’t alternate between both glasses and contact lenses, depending on the occasion. Just remember that your glasses should be an up-to-date pair, just in case you need to take an unexpected break from contact lenses due to irritation or an infection.

The team here at R Woodfall can help you to make the right decision depending on your vision needs and eyesight. Get in touch today to learn more about our eye care services. 

What is a Refractive Error?

What is a Refractive Error?

When you attend an eye examination, we are generally looking at your vision capabilities to determine if there are any problems with your eyesight, as well as checking your eye health. Part of the eye test process is a refraction exam, where we identify if you need lenses to correct your vision.

If you do need corrective lenses, there is a chance you have a refractive error. Here we help you to understand what this means for your vision and what can be done to help it.

Types of refractive errors

There are three main types of refractive errors and they can impact your ability to see clearly if left uncorrected. Myopia, which is also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is one of the most common vision problems around the world. 

Myopia typically begins around school-age children and can get progressively worse, until the eye stops growing. It’s usually caused by eyes that have are slightly longer than normal, causing the refracted light to focus just in front of the retina, instead of on it. It can make it much more difficult to see things at a distance, but your up-close vision will typically be clear.

Hypermetropia, or long-sightedness, is essentially the opposite of myopia in that you will struggle to see objects up close clearly. This is because your eyes may be too short, which means the light is focused behind the retina.

The third main type of refractive error is astigmatism, which is typically caused when the cornea or lens isn’t a normal shape. It’s usually present from birth.

How do you know if you have a refractive error?

All of these refractive errors are easily picked up during a routine eye test. However, you may notice some signs yourself. This can include having to squint more often, experiencing headaches or eye fatigue, as well as blurry vision either at a distance or up close.

A refraction test generally includes the familiar letter chart that you’ve no doubt seen before. You’ll be asked to read the smallest line that you can see from a distance of 6 metres, before we ask you to wear a series of trial frames to determine if any make your vision appear clearer.

This can help us to find the right corrective lenses to meet your needs, restoring your vision and helping you to see objects clearly again.

Why you should wear your corrective lenses

If refractive errors are left uncorrected, it can lead to a number of complications and eye conditions. This could include a squint, lazy eye, glaucoma and cataracts. So, if you need corrective lenses, it’s beneficial to your overall eye health to wear them.

It’s important if you drive frequently too, as the DVLA has minimum eyesight standards. You should be able to meet the standards with your corrective lenses in order to drive lawfully. 

If you’ve noticed any change in your vision, or you’re experiencing headaches or eye strain, it’s worth getting in touch to book an appointment for an eye test today.

How to Protect Eyes from Mobile and Computer Screens

How to Protect Eyes from Mobile and Computer Screens

Although we are grateful for the use of mobile and computer devices making our daily lives simpler and more connected, looking at these screens for long periods of time can actually have a negative impact on our eye health. You may not think about this often, since we have become programmed to use our screens for hours each day, whether this is for work or to stay connected with family and friends. They can in fact cause our eyes to strain, resulting in a number of concerns.  Since we use our screens so often, it is important we take protecting our eyes seriously. Simple measures can be implemented into your daily life to help protect your eyes from the screens of mobile and computer devices. As we see a range of patients of various ages, including children, we are going to explore these measures in this latest article.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS is currently on the rise with case numbers increasing as our average screen time increases. CVS is caused by the prolonged use of any digital device with a screen. It can result in a number of symptoms including:

  • Tired and sore eyes
  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • A loss of focus or difficulty to focus
  • Dry eye

Computer Vision Syndrome is caused by prolonged screen use, that requires your eyes to work harder to focus when staring at a screen. When the muscles in your eyes have to strain to focus, they can soon become tired. Your blink rate may also decrease, since you are focusing so intently, that can cause your eyes to become dry and tired.

How to reduce computer eye strain

Fortunately, computer eye strain or CVS is not a permanent condition, in fact there are a number of ways you can reduce these symptoms and protect your eyes from your screens. For example:

Following the 20/20/20 rule

If you are not familiar with the 20/20/20 rule, the name is simply a fun reminder to take a much-needed break from your screen during your long workdays. This is a particularly good rule to follow when working in an office environment and should be encouraged by companies and managers.

If you are spending longer than 20 minutes looking at your screen, take some time to focus on something 20 feet away from your screen for at least 20 seconds. This is enough time for your eyes to adjust, reducing your risk of eye strain and common symptoms like headaches and dry eye.

Reduce the glare of your screen

The glare and brightness of your screen can make a real difference to the amount of strain your eyes are under. Where possible, try to reduce the glare either by adjusting your settings or investing in an anti-glare screen. If you already wear glasses, opt for an anti-reflective coating on your lens.

Have regular eye examinations

Visiting your optometrist regularly ensures your eyes are still healthy and allows for signs of common eye conditions to be detected early. You should be making annual visits, particularly if you already wear glasses or lenses. At R.Woodfall we treat adults and children, so if you are concerned about your eye health or need to book in for a routine eye test, get in touch today.

Your Child’s Eye Health

Your Child’s Eye Health

Good eyesight in children is vital for their development and to help them reach their full potential, particularly at school but also in social settings. It is reported that as many as 1 in 5 children have an undiagnosed eye condition. Detecting eye conditions early in life will aid in the treatment process, also making it easier for your child to adjust to wearing prescription lenses. At R. Woodfall we highly recommend all parents take their children for their first eye examination before they start school. Since eye conditions and vision problems can make school life rather difficult for young children. Regular eye examinations should be scheduled in, much like dentist appointments and doctor check-ups. As children’s eyes are still developing, these should be examined much more frequently than an adult’s eyes.

Should your child require glasses to help them see, we will arrange follow up appointments to ensure these are working as they should be. The teams across the R. Woodfall group are also trained to help you and your child find the perfect frames for their face, making sure they fit comfortably and securely. Book your child’s eye appointment today.

Signs your child may be struggling with their eyesight         

Sometimes children are unable to communicate problems they may be experiencing, particularly younger children who may not realise they have a problem with their vision. For parents and also carers and teachers, there are a few signs which may indicate a child would benefit from an eye examination. Possibly requiring prescription lenses as a result. These signs include:

  • Squinting often
  • An eye appearing to drift inwards or outwards
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Behavioural problems
  • Headaches
  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Rubbing their eyes frequently

What you can expect at a child’s eye examination

If your child has never had an eye examination before, a good way to prepare them for this experience is to explain the process to them step-by-step. At no point during an examination will your child experience any pain or discomfort.

Eye examinations for children do not differ massively from eye examinations for adults. Except, of course, our optometrists will explain things in much simpler terms. Making this a relaxed and generally easy-going experience for your child.

Since younger children may find it hard to read letters and words, optometrists will instead use pictures and symbols during their eye test. Asking your child to identify what they see. During their eye test, the optometrist will also test the child’s eye reflexes. Observing the eye movement from left to right and up and down. Usually, they will ask your child to follow the movement of an object with their eyes.

Your child will then be asked to look through a selection of lenses, saying whether what they see is blurry or clear to them. This will help to identify a refractive error.

As a parent you will also be asked about your family history of eye conditions and whether your child had any issues at birth which may affect their eye health.

Children’s eyecare tips for parents

As well as taking your child to regular eye tests, you can also practice the following eye care tips:

  • Creating a healthy and balanced diet for your child, full of the relevant vitamins and antioxidants for their vision and eye health. Yes, carrots are good for the eyes, thanks to their high levels of Vitamin A.
  • Ensure your child spends plenty of time outdoors, aiding in their development.
  • Minimise their screentime. Reducing the risk of eye strain, headaches, and dry eye.
  • If your child requires prescription glasses, monitor their wear of these, checking they are wearing them when they should be.