With online classes now the norm, the concern, for many parents, is that it will cause eye strain that may affect their children’s sight due to increased screen time. This has been an issue heard by the team at Monnow Eyecare.
What causes digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain, sometimes known as Computer Vision Syndrome, is caused by an increase in screen time on digital devices such as computers, laptops and tablets. Children complaining of itchy or tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches or neck pain could be indicators that they are experiencing eye strain.
As with most health conditions, the risk of developing a sight-threatening eye condition increases as we age. This happens for several reasons. First, the lenses in our eyes naturally become less flexible, starting in our teens. But it isn’t until we experience problems in our mid to late forties, often with focussing when reading or doing close work, that we become aware of this change. Other factors that can change our sight include the cumulative effects of exposure to UV light, eating a diet that isn’t well balanced, smoking or not taking sufficient exercise. There can also be an inherited, genetic element involved that affects how our vision ages.
Drivers should be extra careful in the weeks following the clocks going back as Police data shows the changing light and weather conditions contribute to an additional 20 accidents per day in which someone gets injured. Three quarters of these extra collisions occur between 5pm and 8pm but there is more risk in the morning as well, with Wales showing a 50% increased risk of accidents in the morning rush hour.
Kids all love the dressing up and make-up for Halloween and going out ‘trick or treating’ with their friends. Novelty contact lenses such as yellow cat eye lenses, coloured lenses, blacked-out lenses or even all white lenses are a great way to look even more scary and impress your friends but there can be a health risk using them.
As children go back into classrooms, parents want them to be able to learn, play and communicate well. Sadly, for over 1 million children in the UK, these things are more difficult because they have a vision problem that has not been diagnosed or corrected. That means that there are, on average, at least one child in every classroom who could be helped to see better.
With many more people working from home and more meetings taking place online, rather than face to face, everyone needs to be aware of the risks to their eyesight from screen working. Long spells at computers are unlikely to cause permanent damage to your eyes if done for a limited amount of time, but can lead to discomfort from dry eyes, tired eyes, temporary short-sightedness, headaches and sometimes blurred vision. The UK Health and Safety Executive also require employers to do a workstation assessment and to provide information and training for employees using screens when working at home.
The Welsh Government has announced a further relaxation of the Coronovirus restrictions so we’re delighted to let everyone know that Monnow Eyecare is able to offer their full range of services. We continue to work within the health board guidelines to keep patients and staff safe.
During the shutdown, the practice has still been busy. More than 350 residents were able to receive emergency treatment at Monnow Eyecare, which has meant prompt treatment for patients and reduced stress on our local NHS hospitals.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that happens if the nerve connecting the eye to the brain becomes damaged, usually by a build up of pressure within the eyes. It can affect people of all ages but is more common as we age with most adult patients in their 70’s and 80’s. Other risk factors include having a family history of developing glaucoma or having another medical condition such as diabetes, short-sightedness or long-sightedness.
If you or someone you know has injured their eye or experiences a sudden change in their sight, it’s important to get help from an experienced optometrist immediately. There could be a critical moment which will have an impact on whether that person will be able to see when they get older. If you live in Wales or have your GP in Wales, you can get a free emergency appointment by contacting Monnow Eyecare. We’ll talk to you about the situation to determine the best course of action and ensure prompt treatment. There is no need to go to casualty or get a GP appointment.
Most people know that smokers are at increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease and strokes but they don’t know that it can also adversely affect your vision. Doctors have studied the rates of eye diseases amongst people who smoke and compared them to non-smokers. The evidence is clear – smoking increases the risk of developing vision problems. If you live with a non-smoker, they can also be at increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration through ‘passive’ smoking.
As we get a little older, it’s often time to take more care of ourselves and our health. The stress of using computers for longer hour at work and more screen time on our mobiles mean that many of us should visit an optician more often. In our 40’s changes occur to the flexibility the lenses in our eyes, so reading small print requires us to move objects further away from our face to focus properly. If you get eye strain or headaches at your desk or find reading a food label in a supermarket more challenging, it’s probably time for an eye exam.
As the clocks go back this month, many of us find ourselves needing to drive when it’s dark outside and we often find this more stressful than driving in daylight. Accident statistics do show that accidents are more frequent at night and especially at the end of the day when we are more tired. So how can you make sure that its’ as safe as possible for you to drive at night?
Children should be regularly screened to avoid problems with their sight affecting their early vision and schoolwork. For young children, the tests only take 20 to 30 minutes and are done using pictures, for older children the tests are the same as for an adult. If a child does need glasses, there is help towards the cost of buying these through the NHS. Getting a test done provides real peace of mind for parents as, on average there are 2 or 3 children in every classroom who should have prescription glasses to help them see properly. Tests are free for all children under 19.
Canadian Andrew will be joining the Monnow Eyecare team, working part time in June and then full time in August, once he’s had a visit home. He has just completed his dissertation at Cardiff University. In the next couple of weeks, Andrew will be completing his final exams, which will involve seeing a variety of patients with many different eye conditions.
Spring has arrived and it’s the time of year most of us think about our sunglasses. People who spend long periods of time out of doors need to be especially careful to make sure their eyes are fully protected from harmful UV rays. Farmers, gardeners, golfers and children playing out will all be at a higher risk of causing damage to their eyes as well as people who take some prescription drugs including contraceptive pills, antibiotics, diuretics and tranquilisers. If you’ve had a recent eye operation, you also need to take extra care by wearing sunglasses.
Monnow Eyecare Dispensing Optician, Emily Biddlecombe, has brought a touch of glamour back with her from the latest London trade show, 100% Optical. Her visit enabled her to add yet more breadth and variety to the range of glasses in stock at the practice.
The Bocca range, from Face a Face, all have stunning colours and are made of translucent materials that allow light to move through the frame. They each have a quirky ‘boot’ on the end of the arm, which were originally inspired by high heeled boots and Art Deco styling. Each brings a touch of catwalk high fashion to the wearer. Customers are loving the range, many commenting on the exciting colours, new shapes and especially the cute little boots!
Although scientists do not exactly understand why, children and teenagers in developed countries like the UK are more likely to develop myopia (or short sightedness) than children in less well-developed countries. Short sightedness is a very common eye condition that causes distant objects, like a school whiteboard, to appear blurred, while close objects on a child’s desk or their mobile phone screen can still be seen clearly. It's thought to affect up to 1 in 3 people in the UK and is becoming more common.
Professor Barbara Ryan arrived home late one evening in November to find her family gathered around a mysterious envelope bearing a Government stamp.
That was the moment that Professor Ryan discovered she had been selected as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
“It was a very unusual day,” said Professor Ryan "I was amazed; I wondered if they got the right person.”
Helen Tilley of Monnow Eyecare has successfully completed her Diploma in Therapeutics and Independent prescribing. This means that the emergency service they provide at the practice in Cinderhill Street, Monmouth can now include the prescribing of medicines for common emergencies, so patients can avoid having to wait for long periods at a hospital A&E department.
Sudden change in your eyes or your visions can be scary. You may wake up one morning experiencing red or watery eyes, or you might notice a peculiar flash or a shape floating across your vision. Sometimes an accident can cause a change in vision, for example if you are hit by a ball playing sport or you scratch the eye surface when trimming back your hedge. If that happens to you or to someone you know, it’s possible to get a free emergency check-up appointment at Monnow Eyecare from a fully trained professional, and most people get an appointment the same day.
Local optometrist Helen Tilley took a break from her Monnow Eyecare practice this month to support some of the poorest communities in rural Cambodia, with the charity Kymer Sight.
As we get older, our eyesight isn’t as good as I was when we were younger. Thankfully, it’s very rare these days for someone to lose their sight altogether but conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma can mean some people struggle, even wearing their normal glasses or contact lenses, to do everyday tasks such as reading or watching television. These people can benefit from a free consultation with a low vision specialist and starting to use some of the many vision aids available.
Every year there are an estimated 2,900 casualties caused by drivers who have poor vision, according to the Association of Optometrists. A regular sight test – for most people this is every 2 years - can make sure you’re safe to drive and that your insurance is valid.
In every classroom there are, on average, 2 or 3 children who have an undetected problem with their vision. That may mean that they cannot read a blackboard, have difficulty learning to read or even develop behaviour issues in school. Sadly, these children do not progress their learning as they should and often the reason for this is missed by parents, teachers and the children themselves. Getting a free eye test provides peace of mind for parents about their child’s health.
Spring has brought a welcome relief from one of the coldest, longest winter on record. Many of us want to make the most of the sunny days to come. We all know to wear sun cream on our skin to protect it from damaging sunlight, but many are less sure about protecting our eyesight.
Monnow Eyecare want to say a big ‘Thank you’ to the local community and patients for supporting us through our first 10 years in Monmouth. We continue to offer more than just ‘sight tests’. We’ve grown by our commitment to providing patients with the best possible standard of eye care but in a relaxed, professional environment.
Did you know that the average time we spend looking at tablet, laptop and television screens at close range is now 6 hours a day? Add in the time we spend looking at our mobile phones and that’s a lot of screen viewing. In the USA an adult will spent 2 hours 51 minutes each day on their phone and this will be higher for teens and young adults.
The Monnow Eyecare customer survey, started in 2012, has now gone digital in 2017! This makes it quicker and easier for Monnow Eyecare customers to tell the team how they feel about the staff, service and facilities at the practice.
Glaucoma patients at the Royal Gwent Hospital benefit from having their eye tests done by glaucoma specialists at Monnow Eyecare in Cinderhill Street.
Speaking to an optician about how you work, rest and play can help you make the best choices for the work you expect your eyes to do. There are a huge variety of specialised lenses available and they’ll be able to help you match your lenses with the unique demands your work and leisure environments places on your eyesight.
The new practice extension to Monnow Eyecare in Cinderhill Street is now complete and it’s stunning! There is a spacious reception area and four fully equipped ground floor consultation rooms. The entrance has easier access for disabled people and wheelchair users appreciate the new ramp. Overall the look is sleek and modern, with stylish curves to the walls, wooden floors and large colourful lanterns in cool, calming colours.