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Love Your Lenses Week (13–19 June 2022)

Love Your Lenses Week is the perfect time to review how you wear and care for your contact lenses. Here’s a handy checklist of steps all contact lens wearers should follow to help keep their eyes and vision healthy…

 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before handling your lenses
  • Do not use tap water, or any other water, on your lenses or lens case
  • Rub, rinse and store reusable lenses in the recommended solution before and after use
  • Always recap your solution bottle
  • Empty the lens case completely each day – never top up your solution
  • Rinse the lens case with solution, wipe clean with a tissue then air dry uncapped and face down on a tissue after each use
  • Replace the lens case with a new one every month
  • Don’t sleep (or nap) with your lenses in unless specifically advised by your practitionerDiscard daily disposable lenses after each use and replace extended wear contact lenses according to the schedule advised by your practitioner
  • Leave your lenses out if your eyes don’t feel or look good and consult your practitioner without delay
  • Avoid wearing your lenses for swimming unless you wear well-fitted goggles
  • Remember, your lenses and solution have been chosen specifically for you and your eyes – don’t change your lens type, the way you wear them, or use any other solution without your practitioner’s advice. And, never share your lenses with anyone else.


Speak to the team at your local optical practice if you’re unsure about any aspect of wearing or caring for your contact lenses. They are always happy to help.

 

(Based on information provided by British Contact Lens Association)

 

Published: 15 June 2022

Don't be blind to the dangers of flying corks

Every year scores of people across the UK sustain serious eye injuries – and, in extreme cases, experience permanent sight loss – after being hit by a cork as it explodes from a bottle of fizz.

A cork can ‘pop’ at over 60 miles an hour* so there’s often little opportunity to move or even close your eye if you suddenly see one heading in your direction.

The size and shape of a cork fits neatly into an eye socket so it can inflict extensive damage to the internal and external structures of the eye.

Typical injuries caused by flying corks can range from bloodshot and black eyes to detached retinas and intraocular haemorrhages. It can even lead to the onset of glaucoma as a result of changes to the pressure inside the eye.

So, always think before you pop and follow Eye Health UK's top tips for opening your fizz safely:

Chill out. Make sure you chill your fizz – a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.

Don’t shake it baby! Shaking the bottle increases the pressure inside and can result in an even more explosive reaction when you crack it open.

Never point and shoot. Don't point the bottle towards yourself or others. 

Go under cover.  Cover the bottle with a cloth and then hold it at a 45-degree angle before gently twisting it as you hold the cork.

Use protection. Keep the protective wire over the cork until you’re ready to pour to prevent it popping open unexpectedly!

In the event that a cork does hit you in the eye you should consult your optometrist or call 111 immediately to minimise any potential damage to your vision.

 

*Calculated by Friedrich Balck of Clausethal Technical University in northwest Germany.
 

DIY Eye Safety

DIY causes more than 30,000 eye injuries every year. So, it's crucial to know how to stop accidents and what to do when one happens.

 

Here are Eye Health UK’s top tips for DIY Eye Safety...

Before you start, check that you know how to tackle the job - if in doubt, call in an expert!

 

Choosing your safety goggles

- Eye protection is essential for many DIY tasks. Always wear the right protection for the job you’re undertaking. The team at your local optical practice can advise you about selecting prescription and non-prescription eye protection.

- When you buy eye protection for general DIY tasks, check it carries a CE Mark or EN 166 Mark. This ensures the safety goggles/spectacles comply with minimum British Standards. If welding, you must wear a proper mask which covers the whole face as well as goggles that conform to the Standard EN 169.

Click here for further information about safety standards for protective eyewear (supplied by Association of British Dispensing Opticians).

- Many accidents occur when goggles are lifted to ‘get a closer look’. Make sure that goggles stay on throughout the job. Take a break if you have to adjust your eye protection.

- If you require vision correction always wear prescription eyewear when DIYing.

- Wearing normal spectacles or contact lenses on their own does not offer sufficient protection from injury. Safety glasses /goggles are made using stronger and more durable materials than regular glasses to adequately protect against the dangers posed by chemical splashes, fumes, particles and high intensity light.

It is possible to wear safety goggles over your usual eyewear. However, always ensure the safety goggles/glasses are a comfortable and safe fit.

 

Caring for your safety eyewear

Check your protection before and after every job. Clean lenses and frames and replace scratched or cracked ones immediately. You should store all eye protection in a protective container when not in use. Make sure your protection fits. Eye protection should fit firmly but not tightly, sitting close to your eyes without the eyelashes touching the lens.

 

Common eye injuries

- The most common eye injuries among adults are caused by flying chips of wood or metal. Be careful when chiselling or hammering and when drilling into masonry, sanding wood, removing plaster, splitting tiles or concrete slabs, stripping paint, sawing, welding, laying insulation and painting ceilings. And, take special care when grinding, hammering and polishing. These generate small, high velocity particles which can penetrate an unprotected eye.

- Different accidents need to be tackled in different ways. For instance, what you do if a foreign body enters the eye depends on its size. Any foreign body needs medical assistance. However, a small splinter or liquid, such as a chemical, can usually be removed by flooding it with a saline solution.

Larger objects, like pieces of wood require urgent medical attention. Tackling an injury by rubbing the eye often makes it worse.

 

What to do if something goes wrong

1. Before you start, make sure you have first aid equipment and eyewash, you know where it is stored and it is easily to hand in case of an accident.

2. Do not rub the eye. This will make matters worse and increase the chance of further damaging your eye / vision. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.

3. Never wash a cut or punctured eye. Cuts should be bandaged lightly if possible. Abrasions will need hospital treatment with drops, ointments and a sterile pad over the eye for at least 24 hours. Lacerations are far more painful and may require drug therapy and eye ointment and stitching of any torn tissue.

 

If you have an out-of-hours medical emergency – a sudden and severe change in your vision, eye pain or trauma (eg: a foreign body entering the eye or exposure to a chemical substance) – you should contact your local eye accident and emergency service.

Find your nearest service here

NHS 111 is also available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

Optical practices in many parts of England now offer an NHS urgent eyecare service. Click here for more information and to find your nearest urgent eyecare practice.

 

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For information only. Always seek individual professional advice from your local eyecare practioner.

Date for Your Diary - National Eye Health Week 19-25 Sept 2022

Organisers of National Eye Health Week (NEHW) are urging everyone in optics to get behind this year’s awareness campaign (19-25 September 2022) to help spread the word on eye health.  

“There’s perhaps NEVER been a more important time for people to focus on their eye health”, warns David Cartwright, chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for organising the Week.  

David continues: “With ophthalmology the number one reason for hospital outpatient visits in England [1] and the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on the nation’s eyes we need optics to come together to educate the public to prevent a future tsunami of avoidable sight loss and poor eye health.”

The Week has the power to reach a mass audience - in 2021 more than 6,000 individuals and organisations joined the charity campaign and stimulated a social conversation on eye health that had a reach of 80 million+ and generated 200 million opportunities for the public to read, hear or see advice about caring for their eyes in the press and online.

National Eye Health Week 2022 will remind people why vision matters and inspire the public to be ‘eye aware’ as it shares advice about the important habits we should all follow to keep our eyes and vision healthy, including spending time outdoors, being screen smart, eating a healthy diet, being active and having regular eye tests.

The scale, scope and reach of activity during the Week relies on charity donations. Anyone wishing to contribute can support the charity by making a one-off donation or regular contributions from sight test levies. Contact the charity directly for more information. Every penny raised really does make a difference and benefits both the public and the profession.

A comprehensive supporter resource pack featuring posters, leaflets, infographics and social media assets will be available to download from the Vision Matters website from mid-August.

Practitioners can also get all the latest news about the Week plus inspiration about getting involved direct to their inbox by registering as a supporter on the Vision Matters website visionmatters.org.uk and by following the Week on social media here… 


Instagram @NationalEyeHealthWeek
Twitter @myvisionmatters
Facebook @NationalEyeHealthWeek

 


[1] NHS Digital, Hospital Episode Statistics for England. Outpatient statistics, 2019-20.

 

Published : 12 March 2022

Smoking Causes Sight Loss (No Smoking Day 9 March 2022)

Smoking Causes Sight Loss

 

The link between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. Take a look at our smoking and sight loss leaflet for 20 ways smoking harms your vision and eye health.

 

For help to quit visit the NHS Better Health website here.

 

 

Top Tips to Help Spectacle Wearers Beat Face Mask Fog!

Hot breath escaping from the top of a face mask can cause your spectacles or sunglasses to steam up, making it difficult to see clearly.


So, we’ve compiled these top tips to help Britain’s 30 Million+ spectacle wearers beat the fog!


Keep your lenses clean
Cleaning your lenses with your regular spectacle lens cleaning solution creates a thin film on the surface of the lens that can disperse fine water molecules in your breath and help prevent the lens misting up.


If you don’t have any lens cleaner to hand, try washing your lenses in warm soapy water.


Carefully wash your spectacles or sunglasses in soapy water – washing-up liquid works well – shake off any excess water and leave to air dry (or gently dry with a soft cloth).


Never use a paper towel or your sleeve to dry your lenses and avoid abrasive cleaners.


Apply anti-fog lens coatings or sprays 
Your dispensing optician can advise on anti-fog lens coating or off-the-shelf sprays, waxes or gels.


Seal it up
Use double-sided sticky tape to ensure your mask fits snugly across the bridge of your nose and cheek bones. This is not recommended for extended wear.


A good fit
A well fitted mask will dramatically reduce the amount of air escaping. Masks with a mouldable frame can help you achieve a good fit.


Double strap tying technique
A trick used by hospital surgeons is to tie the top straps of a surgical mask firmly below the ears before tying the bottom straps above the ears around the crown of the head to form a snug fit and vent air from the side.


Breath in a downwards direction
As a temporary fix you can try breathing downwards so the air you breathe out flows away from your glasses. Try holding your upper lip over your lower lip, then blowing air downward, as if you’re playing a flute.


Remember – always fit your mask to your face, not to the frames of your glasses!

 

Published : November 2021

Used Tea Bags Provide Relief for Dry Eye

A warm compress applied to the eyes can help provide relief from symptoms of evaporative dry eye caused by winter weather (cold windy conditions), central heating and prolonged screen use.

Symptoms of evaporative dry eye include: dry, itchy, red, gritty or even watery eyes.

 

How to Make a Tea Bag Compress

Make a cuppa as you normally would but hold the milk and sugar.

Once your tea has brewed squeeze the tea bag out, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes*, then sit back, close your eyes and place the bags over your eyelids.

Relax with the tea bag(s) in place for 5 to 10 minutes.

Make sure you use a separate bag for each eye.

 

If your symptoms persist speak to your optometrist or pharmacist for advice.

 

 

*Ensure the tea bag has cooled sufficiently before placing on your eyes

 

Published: November 2021

Firework Eye Safety Alert

Every year around 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks. And, its not just children larking about that are at risk – three quarters (73%) of serious ocular traumas are sustained by adults and most (45 per cent) occur at private parties (1,2).

Rockets take first place in the danger stakes accounting for more than a third (36%) of all serious eye injuries, but also flying high on the dangerous firework list is the innocent sparkler. Although sparklers are often thought to be one of the safest fireworks, they burn at temperatures up to 2000ºC – hot enough to melt gold.

Follow Eye Health UK's SPARKLER code for a safe and injury free Bonfire Night:

Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks. Use an electric torch to read the instructions and light at arms length using the taper provided. 

Plunge sparklers into a metal bucket of cold water as soon as they have burnt out

Attend organised displays wherever possible

Read the instructions on the fireworks with a torch and follow them carefully (ensure your fireworks comply with the British Safety Standard (BS 7114) or are CE marked.

Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box and only light one at a time. use an electric torch to read the instructions and light at arms length using the taper ptovided.

Leave fireworks that fail to go off – never return to a lit firework

Ensure everyone stands a safe distance away – AT LEAST 25 metres from Category 3 fireworks

Remove all debris and flammable objects (including plants and trees) from your firework display area

David Cartwright, Chairman of the charity says: “Eye damage caused by fireworks is so often avoidable and can lead to permanently reduced vision or even blindness, so this year the Trust is urging people to take extra care of their eyes and follow the SPARKLER safety code.”

If anyone in your party does suffer a firework eye injury:
• Seek medical attention immediately. Quick action can minimise long-term damage.
• Do not rub or rinse the injured eye, or apply any ointments to the eye area. If you do, it could increase any damage and make it more difficult for a specialist to provide treatment.

 

For further information about firework safety visit ROSPA.

 

1. Eye (2008) 22, 944–947

2. Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file30136.pdf

 

Published: 1 November 2021

Halloween Eye Care

The charity, Eye Health UK, today warned unregulated sales of contact lenses poses a risk to the public’s eye health.

Despite often being regarded as a fashion accessory or novelty item cosmetic or decorative contact lenses – including plano (non-prescription) lenses – must, by law, be supplied by or under the supervision of a registered optometrist, suitably qualified dispensing optician or medical practitioner . Yet, worryingly, cosmetic and decorative lenses are increasingly available from unregulated internet sites as well as market stalls, beauty salons and general retailers nationwide.

Kelly Plahay, Optometrist and Trustee of the charity explains: “All contact lenses whether you wear them for fun or to correct your vision require the same level of care and attention because improper use can lead to serious eye infections, corneal ulcers, abrasions and even sight loss.”

Kelly continues: “Coloured and decorative contact lenses are really popular during the Halloween season so Eye Health UK is urging people to seek professional advice at their local optical practice if they or their children plan to wear them.”

Common symptoms associated with unsupervised contact lens use include: red, sore or gritty eyes; a watery discharge; dry eyes; sensitivity to the light; headaches; blurred vision and in very extreme cases, eve sight loss.

Follow Eye Health UK’s ten top tips for wearing cosmetic contacts to help safeguard your eye health and keep your eyes looking gorgeous, sassy and bright…

 

  1. First, have an eye test. Your optometrist will advise you on your suitability for contact lens wear
  2. Take advice on the best sort of lens for your individual needs. Poorly fitted lenses can scratch the surface of your eye
  3. Only buy from a registered optical professional who will give essential advice on how long and how often you can wear your lenses, as well as guidance on handling, cleaning and storing your contacts
  4. Don’t wear the cosmetic lenses for longer than advised. Wearing time restrictions will vary from person-to-person
  5. Ensure you go for regular check-ups of both your contact lenses and eyes
  6. Disinfect and clean your lenses and any storage case daily in the recommended solution to kill any micro-organisms that may cause infection. Never use water.
  7. Don’t shower or bathe with your lenses in.
  8. Daily disposables should be disposed of daily! Remember to check the expiry date on packaging.
  9. Never wear anyone else's lenses or allow them to wear yours
  10. If your eyes hurt, look red or feel irritated remove the lenses immediately and seek professional advice. You should also seek advice if you suffer discomfort after wearing your lenses

 

Contact the General Optical Council or your local Trading Standards Department to report suspected mis-selling of cosmetic contact lenses.

 

Say 'Eye Quit' for Stoptober

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, but many are unaware that it can be damaging to our eyesight too. A recent survey by the Macular Society found that more than half (53 per cent) of UK adults were unaware that smoking can cause blindness.

The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and internal structure of the eye, which can increase your risk of eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the UK’s leading cause of sight loss – as well as nuclear cataracts, thyroid eye disease, dry eye and poor colour vision. The link between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer.

David Cartwright, Chair of Eye Health UK, comments: “Any amount of smoking, even light, occasional or second-hand, can affect your eye health and increase your chances of suffering sight-threatening eye diseases. “Half of all sight loss in the UK is avoidable and smoking is the single biggest modifiable risk factor. Saying ‘eye quit’ and joining one of the free NHS cessation programmes will improve your eye health and significantly reduce your risk of losing your sight. After a decade or so being smoke free your risk of sight loss reduces to that of a non-smoker.”

Statistics reveal that smokers are up to four times more likely to have AMD than non-smokers and are more likely to suffer the condition earlier than non-smokers. Smokers are also likely to experience a more rapid progression of AMD and poorer treatment outcomes.

In addition, smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts as tobacco toxins cause oxidative damage to the lens proteins; the risk of nuclear cataracts (those that form in the centre of the lens) is three times greater in smokers.

Smoking increases your risk of thyroid eye disease by up to eight times and can increase the severity of symptoms.

Smoking cigarettes has also been found to increase the risk of dry eye syndrome and can exacerbate existing eye conditions.

Smoking is linked to other eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and uveitis – an inflammation of the eye’s middle layer, or uvea, that can result in complete vision loss.

There is also growing evidence that cigarettes impair colour vision; smokers who consume more than 20 cigarettes per day may suffer colour vision defects.

Worryingly, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the number of smokers here in the UK; a study funded by Cancer Research UK found that hundreds of thousands more people smoked compared to before the pandemic hit. There was a 25 per cent rise in 18- to 34-year-olds who smoke – resulting in more than 652,000 new smokers.

It’s not all bad news though, as the research also found increases in the number of smokers quitting successfully. Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, said: “There’s no ‘safe’ level of smoking or drinking, and stopping smoking or cutting down drinking will help to reduce your risk of cancer.”

It’s never too late to stop smoking, quitting at any age can reduce your risk of developing many sight-threatening eye
conditions. It’s time to take care of not only your eyes but your overall health too; it’s time to stub it out for good and say eyequit.

Help to quit…

In England:
■ Smokefree (nhs.uk/betterhealth/quit-smoking)
■ Call the Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044

In Scotland:
Quit Your Way is a free NHS stop smoking service. To find out more information on stop smoking services, call the Quit Your Way Helpline Service on 0800 84 84 84 or visit QuitYourWay.scot.

In Wales:
■ Help me quit
■ Call the free Stop Smoking Wales Helpline on 0800 085 2219

In Northern Ireland:
■ Want to stop
■ See local support services for telephone support

Or visit your local pharmacy for more advice on quitting and local smoking cessation services.

 

Published : October 2021