Top tips for better vision while driving at night

As winter arrives, driving at night becomes a more common occurrence.  As a result, so do many of the common symptoms associated with night driving.

You know the feeling – tired eyes, haloes around street lights, sudden glare of oncoming traffic and wet, shiny streets.

With fatal accidents three times more likely to happen at night1, considering options for better vision when night driving can be very useful.

As we age, our pupils naturally become smaller.  As a result, less light is able to enter the eye.  This affects our colour recognition, our concept of how far away things are and reduces our side or peripheral vision.

Here are some helpful tips that can help to improve your night vision:

  • Keep your glasses and the windscreen clean. Marks on either surface can create a halo effect around oncoming lights.
  • Dim your dashboard lights
  • Ensure you wear anti-reflective lenses as they allow more light to pass through to your eye, helping you to see more clearly. Standard lenses will reflect light, increase glare and reduce light transmission by almost 10%.

The importance of sunglasses during winter

Did you know that your eyes are susceptible to sunburn all year round? In fact, you may be at greater risk of damaging your eyes during the cooler months. Optometry Australia’s 2020 Vision Index revealed that over 75% of Australians don’t think that UV protective sunglasses are necessary for the winter months however this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Australia has one of the highest exposure levels of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation in the world. UV radiation is emitted by the sun and exists in three forms:

  • UVA – not absorbed by the ozone layer at all
  • UVB – about 15% of UVB transmits through to the earth’s atmosphere
  • UVC – absorbed by ozone and does not reach the earth’s surface

In terms of eye damage, it’s UVA and UVB rays that are concerning. 90% of UV radiation can penetrate clouds and that exposure can sometimes be made more intense due to reflections off these clouds. As the sun sits lower on the horizon in the winter months we are actually more exposed to those damaging UV rays, as they directly enter the eyes.

Another interesting fact is that UV exposure to the eyes is maximised between 8am to10am and 2pm to 4pm when the sun is lower in the sky often making these the most important times to be wearing your sunnies to protect from UV and give comfort from glare.

 

Eye problems arising from UV exposure

Too much winter sun without protective eyewear can potentially lead to:

  • Photokeratitis – this is typically experienced by those who spend time in the snow and is often called snow blindness. The exposure to high doses of UV causes the cornea to become sunburnt.
  • Cataracts – clouding of the eye leading to blurred and distorted vision
  • Pterygium – typically experienced by surfers from overexposure to UV rays reflecting off the water’s surface. It results in a fleshy white-pink growth that can invade the cornea and disfigure the eye.

 

Sunglasses – a practical and fashionable solution

If you want to protect your eyes all year round (and you should!), simply wear a pair of quality sunglasses and in summer add a wide brim hat. If possible, look for lenses that are polarized as they offer greater protection as they cut down more reflections. All sunglasses sold in Australia must be tested and labelled according to the Australian Standards. This standard sets limits for the allowable UV transmission of sunglasses for adults and children. Your sunglasses should have a lens UV rating of at least 3. To know what the UV level is where you live, use the SunSmart app for live updates.

 

We offer a range of sunglasses to cater to your lifestyle needs. Whether it’s prescription sunglasses allowing you to see clearly when you’re outdoors or plano sunglasses if you’re a contact lens wearer or simply don’t require a prescription – we’ve got you covered.


Enhancing your lifestyle with contact lenses: FAQ

For those of you considering trying out contact lenses to enhance your lifestyle, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about contact lenses.

 

Can anyone use contact lenses?

Most people are eligible to use contact lenses. However, there are some prescriptions that are not suitable for contact lenses. It is best to check with your optometrist if contact lenses are right for you.

How long does it take for your eyes to get used to contacts?

It can take up to two weeks for your eyes to adjust to contact lenses. While your eyes adjust you may experience blurred vision and find yourself blinking more often than usual. The more you wear your contacts the quicker your eyes will adjust.

Can contact lenses get lost behind your eye?

Good news – it is impossible for the contact lens to get behind your eyeball and become trapped.

What is the difference between daily and extended wear contact lenses?

Daily wear contact lenses are disposed of daily after use. The benefit of daily wear contact lenses is there is no need to clean the lenses or by any solution as the lenses get disposed of after use.

Extended wear contact lenses can be worn anywhere from one week to one month depending on the type of contact. Extended wear contacts require a cleaning regimen to care for the contacts.

Can I sleep with contact lenses in?

Majority of contact lenses are not suitable to sleep in. There are some contact lens options that are approved for overnight use. It is bet to talk to your optometrist about which option is right for you.

Can I use contact lenses while playing sports?

Absolutely. One of the big advantages of wearing contact lenses is being able to use them while playing sport or when engaging in other physical activity. However it is not recommended to use contact lenses while swimming.

Do contact lenses expire?

Yes, they do. Even if the contacts haven’t been opened, they could still have expired. Make sure to always check the packaging for the expiration date.

How often do I need to update my contact prescription?

In Australia, contact lens prescriptions are valid for a maximum of 12 months. If your prescription is older than one year, it’s time for an eye test.

 

If you are interested in trying out contact lenses – make an appointment with one of our optometrists today to discuss which options are right for you.


Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome

Our eyes are the most sensitive and easily disturbed part of your body. Even with slight irritation, they may start watering. Therefore, we have to take extra care in order to maintain eye health and prevent inflammation, especially with aging. It is therefore important to understand the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and how it should be treated.

Tears & Why They’re Important

The eyes produce tears to remove irritants and to keep our eyes lubricated. Tears are made up of:

  • Mucus
  • Oil
  • Antibodies
  • Water

The above-quoted ingredients come from special glands around your eyes. An excess tear-flow from your eyes can occur due to poor tear drainage or overproduction of tears. Watery eyes are often not harmful but can be the cause of irritation. Alternatively, dry eye condition means that glands around the eyes aren’t working properly, and cannot adequately moisturise the eye.

What Happens If Tears Don’t Work Properly?

The production of tears is a natural cleaning mechanism, flushing away foreign objects that may come into contact with the eye easily. With the dry eye syndrome, the eye can not remove irritants effectively, and one of the two things can happen; insufficient or excessive production of tears. Inadequate production of tears may cause:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Continuous discharge of mucus
  • Swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

If your eyes drops out water continuously, the result is often Reflex Tearing. This is because your eyes will send a distress signal to your nervous system to have the eyes lubricated to overcome the irritation and dryness. And as a result, excessive tear production will start.

Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome?

There are many reasons described by science for this syndrome. However, the main ones are:

  • An unbalanced tear flow system
  • Dried tear film
  • Drug-induced side effects
  • Natural aging process
  • Menopause
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Collagen vascular diseases
  • Lagophthalmos
  • Blepharitis
  • Uneven eyelids
  • Long-term use of contact lenses

How Is The Syndrome Diagnosed?

You need to go through a comprehensive eye examination to determine the exact quality and quantity of your tears that are produced. Furthermore, your doctor will go through some more procedures to determine the exact cause of the syndrome, and those tests will include:

  • General medical history to note the symptoms and health problems
  • Environmental causes and age factor that may add more to dry eye condition
  • External assessment of the eye like the eyelid structure and blink dynamics
  • Eyelid and cornea evaluation with bright light and magnifying glasses
  • Tear abnormality along with quality and quantity difference
  • Insertion of special dyes will be performed to observe the tear flow along with changes in the outer surface

Once your optometrist/doctor performs all of the above tests, then he/she will be suggesting the best treatment based on the current situation to smoothen out your dry eye condition.

Various Types Of Treatments For Dry Eyes

There are a lot of treatments available for treating dry eye syndrome. However, here are a few that your healthcare provider will prescribe depending on the severity of your condition. These are:

  • Artificial ointments and teardrops
  • Conserving tears
  • Non-dissolving punctal plugs
  • Punctal occlusion by cautery
  • Lipiflow
  • Temporary Punctal occlusion
  • Cequa
  • Testosterone cream
  • Lifitegrast
  • Xiidra
  • Fish oil

These solutions are not to be administered without an expert optometrist’s prescription and advice. Visit us today to book your eye test consultation with our expert doctors and optometrist.


Macular Focus in May

May is Macula month, a campaign centred around the education and awareness of macular disease.

The macula is responsible for detailed central vision, meaning we use it for activities such as reading, driving and recognising faces. It’s also responsible for most of your colour vision, so its quite shocking to learn that an estimated 1.7 million Australians have some evidence of macular disease.

Macular disease covers a range of painless conditions affecting the central retina which can be found at the back of the eye.

Conditions only affecting the macula don't lead to total blindness, instead, they impact central vision, leaving peripheral vision intact.

SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR DISEASE

You can have early signs of macular disease without knowing it. However, when symptoms do appear, they can include:

  • Difficulty with reading or any other activity which requires detailed central vision (despite wearing appropriate glasses)
  • Distortion, where straight lines may appear wavy or bent
  • Problems distinguishing faces
  • Dark patches in the central vision
  • Macular disease can affect anyone, at any age, so knowing your risks, and having regular macula checks, is the only way to protect your vision.

But how do you know if you are at risk ?

Take the 'Check My Macula' quiz and in one minute, you’ll have a better idea of your risk factors.

Take Quiz

So, if you've just taken the quiz and have any vision concerns that you think might need attention, please contact us to make an appointment or visit us online.


Blonde woman in city wearing glasses, coat and beanie

How can the cold affect your eyes?

One of the most common patient complaints during the winter months is dry eyes. Cold and windy weather conditions can reduce the natural moisture in your eyes resulting in a burning or itching sensation.

Blonde woman in city wearing glasses, coat and beanieDry eye is a common visual condition which affects one in four people worldwide and is more likely to occur in women and the elderly. The medical name for dry eye syndrome is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Symptoms can include burning, scratchiness or irritation, redness, watering and even blurred vision. Although dry eye is generally not a sight-threatening condition, for those who suffer from it, it is often more than just a minor aggravation. Dry eye can be caused by insufficient tear production from the lacrimal gland or an unstable lipid layer, which is the thin oily layer on the outer most part of the tear film.

Some tips to get you through the winter months:

  • Talk to your optometrist about the best eye drops for your eyes
  • Stay hydrated, drink lots of water
  • When heating indoors try using a humidifier
  • Keep distance from blowing heat sources
  • No matter how irritated your eyes are, don’t rub your eyes

For more information on dry eye or any other eye disorder, contact your Optometrist.

 


dark chocolate in a teal bowl

Can dark chocolate improve our eyesight?

Chocolate lovers rejoice!
Recent research by the University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry, in San Antonio, Texas USA, suggests that eating dark chocolate could improve visual clarity.

dark chocolate in a teal bowlBars with more than 72% cacao increase ocular blood flow which enhances macular function and sharpens the ability to read words and numbers.

The new research tested people 2 hours after eating 47g of 72% Cacao dark chocolate, and again after 40g milk chocolate in separate sessions more than 3 days apart. The testing looked at various aspects of visual performance.

More than 70% of people scored significantly higher after eating the dark chocolate. The biggest improvement was in contrast sensitivity, which helps us see in low light, or when text is poorly printed. Another area that improved was visual acuity – a measure of the sharpness of vision.

Cacao beans are rich in flavanol, an organic compound which improves blood flow in the brain and cardiovascular system and aids in reducing inflammation.

Researchers proposed increases in blood flow could explain the improvements, but suggested more work needs to be done to understand the exact mechanism. In the meantime we think it sounds like a good excuse to load up on dark chocolate and do some private testing. Sounds like a delicious experiment.


Importance of polarised lenses

It’s summer 2022, the sun is out and there is no doubt that we are all spending more time outdoors after two years in doors. With increased levels of sun exposure, it is critical that we continue to protect our eyes.

Polarised sunglasses are a great option for anyone who spends time outdoors. They are great for high-glare activities such as being on the water. Polarised lenses help reduce glare and provide additional clarity whilst protecting your eyes.

Polarised sunglasses have changed and improved immensely over the years, with newer technology now offering lower distortion to eliminate the swim effect. High-definition polarised lenses also reduce vibration, enhance clarity, allow for faster adaptation and minimise eye fatigue. When considering polarised lenses, it’s important to also consider UV protection.

There is also now a variety of colours in polarised lenses and a large range of fashionable frames on offer. So why not update your look this summer whilst still giving your eyes the best form of eye protection by wearing polarised sunglasses.

Visit our practice and chat to us about polarised lenses and what options might suit your lifestyle.

Until Feb 28, 2022 - get $100 off a pair of sunglasses when you buy specs.*

*Redeemable with the purchase of a complete set of frames and lenses until Monday February 28, 2022. Sunglasses can be prescription or non-prescription. Not to be used in conjunction with any other discounts, packages or offers. Not redeemable on contact lenses. Valid once per patient only.


10 Foods to Assist Your Vision

Eating the right foods can protect your vision and keep you healthy. Adding vitamins, antioxidants and minerals to your diet can improve your overall eye health. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.1 You can find these antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and a lot of other foods.

Here are the top 10 foods that will boost your eye health.1, 2

Carrots

The hype is true, carrots are good for your eyes. These crunchy root vegetables are a great source of vitamin A, which is important for keeping your cornea clear. Carrots get their bright orange colour from beta carotene, which is essential for vitamin A production in the body.  Other foods rich in beta carotene include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum, mangoes, apricots and rockmelon (and any other bright yellow or orange fruits and veggies you can get your hands on).

Fish

Fish is a very good source of omega-3, which is an important nutrient for eye health. Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which are essential for your body to produce new cells, muscles, nerves and organs, as well as having potent anti-inflammatory properties. They benefit our eye by nourishing the retina and aid tear production to keep the eyes moist and healthy, reducing dry eye syndrome.

Leafy green vegetables

Easy to digest, easy to include into every meal, and readily available, leafy greens are great not just for your eyes, but for your overall health. The darker the green, the better they are for you.  Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and green veggies are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for keeping your retina healthy. Broccoli, avocados and peas are also good sources of this powerful combination of antioxidants.

Berries and Citrus fruits

Oranges, lemons, red capsicum and berries are high in Vitamin C – a water soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye. Vitamin C also promotes healthy bones, skin and blood vessels, including the delicate capillaries in the retina.

Legumes and Pulses

Legumes are plants, pods and seeds that belong to the Fabaceae family. They refer to foods like peas and beans, such as green beans and broad beans. Pulses are dried legumes. They include chickpeas, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, mung beans, and lentils. Not only are legumes and pulses a protein powerhouse and an excellent source of fibre, they are also full of omega-3.

Nuts

Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, whichever take your fancy, are excellent sources of Vitamin E and minerals such as zinc that help keep your eyes healthy and may decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Seeds

Like nuts and legumes, seeds are high in omega-3s and are a rich source of vitamin E to help fight age-related eye health issues. Seeds such as chia seeds, pepitas, flaxseed, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds will help protect your retina.

Extra-virgin olive oil

The queen of oils, extra virgin olive oil can help your body absorb lutein and zeaxanthin, those all-important carotenoids that are vital for good eye health.

Eggs

Two of the most powerful antioxidants for eye protection, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found generously in egg yolks, just like in leafy green vegetables. When you have them in your omelette, you’re increasing your chances of antioxidant absorption because of the high-fat content of eggs. You also get ample vitamin C and E in the egg yolk, which are believed to be helpful against macular degeneration.

Lean Meat

Protein from lean meats such as beef, poultry (chicken, duck, turkey etc) or pork can be beneficial to your eyesight.  Beef is rich in vitamin A and zinc, both of which are beneficial to your cornea and your retina. Poultry and pork are also good sources of zinc.

 

As well as adding these 10 superfoods to your diet, you should also consider piling your plate with plenty of other fresh fruits and vegetables. Aim to get your two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. The more colourful your cuisine gets, the better it will be for your eye health. As an added bonus, your overall health will benefit too.

 

References

1. American Optometric Association , “Diet and Nutrition,” 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/caring-for-your-eyes/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y.

2. L. Arundel, “Top foods that can improve your eye health,” Good Vision For Life, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://goodvisionforlife.com.au/2016/08/04/top-ten-foods-can-improve-eye-health/

 


Holiday Trading Hours

Holiday Trading Hours

Friday, December 24th: 8.30am - 5.30pm

Saturday, December 25 - Tuesday, December 28: Closed

Wednesday, December 29: 8.30am - 5.30pm

Thursday, December 30: 8.30am - 8.00pm

Friday, December 31: 8.30am - 5.30pm

Saturday, January 1 - Monday, January 3: Closed