iStock_000030825040_XXXLargeMay & June – Exam season – GCSE’s, A- Levels, International Baccalaureate

All designed to stress the visual system to its maximum.

Digital devices usage is increasing in everyday life, how many of us go any length of time before we are peering at our screens. I am as guilty of this as anyone else.



I have been asked a lot by patients what can be done to help? Do I need glasses? Should I sit closer/further away from the screen – and lots more similar questions.


The easiest piece of advice that I can give – that does work is the 20-20-20 rule:





I have said to my kids and say to all my patients who are studying that taking a break from the books and picking up the Phone , Tablet or laptop to log into social media is not resting your eyes. Looking into the distance is when the eyes are at their most relaxed natural state.


There are lots of Apps available that use the 20 20 20 rule and have a timer that will alert you when its time to rest and relax the eyes. Look out the window – even better get outside and get some fresh air as well .


Good luck to all our patients in their exams and remember 20/20/20.

not a dry eye in the house


Itchy, sticky,gritty,dry,weepy,burning,red all words that are regularly used to describe the symptoms of dry eye.

We are seeing more and more people coming in to the practice with dry eye symptoms. It seems that a lot of patients feel that the underlying cause is VDU and Electronic gadget use.

Whilst this may well be a factor there are other things to consider – we live in centrally heated, sealed houses, our workplaces are generally very dry , we drive around in air conditioned cars, we do not keep ourselves properly hydrated, age ,  some medications, hormonal changes,  diet.

All of these can be factors – the important thing is what can be done to not only relieve the symptoms but also to determine the cause and implement a treatment plan.


At eyelines we can carry out a full dry eye assessment to determine what the cause is and can implement a treatment plan to not only relieve the symptoms in the short term but to mange the condition to give long term comfort.


Dry eye drops can be used to lubricate and hydrate the surface of the eye, in order to help to restore and maintain the natural balance of tear composition. Modern eye drops can also  protect the eye from environmental stresses. Some are also available in gel form for longer lasting relief, particularly overnight. We generally recommend eye drops that do not contain preservatives.


Heat Treatment on the eyelids can also give short term relief as well as helping to restore the efficiency of the tear flow.




Nutritional supplements can also be beneficial in treatment of dry eye.






A new treatment programme for dry eye that we are carrying out at eyelines is the Blephex treatment.

A soft medical grade sponge is moved across the eyelids and base of the eyelashes, whilst it spins it  removes debris and bacterial build-up that contributes to blockages of the glands in the eyelids.


Blepharitis – pre Blephex treatment.


Post Blephex treatment.

This is similar to a dental hygienist removing plaque, the unblocking of the glands and the removal of the biofilm build-up from the lids means long term relief and clean clear comfortable eyes.



Contact us at eyelines to discuss further any dry eye issues that you may have.











cpd makes me feel old

I have just attended an all day conference in London hosted by one of our  suppliers Thea Pharaceuticals. It enabled me to gain some valuable CPD (Continuing  Professional  Development) and to catch up with some of the changes in Optics.

It was a full days course with a mix of Lectures Workshops and Peer reviews with a choice of options depending on what your requirements were.

I choose to attend a Peer Discussion on Interpretation of OCT cases. A Workshop on Dry Eye & Blepharitis Management and Lectures on Blinking and  Vitamin D Deficiency.

I managed to learn at least one new thing from each of the sessions I attended and will make sutble changes to what we do in practice – which really is the point of CPD.

When I first qualified it was not compulsary to do any further education – although I always have.  It now is a condition of registration with our professional body – but I  enjoy expanding by knowledge and it is always of benefit to the practice and our patients.

I also met up with a couple of Optometrists who I had not seen since we graduated – and we realised that we graduated nearly 25 years ago – hence why CPD makes me feel old.



abc 123 OCT

For almost a year now we have had an OCT Scanner within the practice at eyelines.

OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography is basically an ultrasound for the eye. Instead of using sound waves to image structures within the body the OCT uses light waves to enable high quality imaging of sub surface structures of the eye –  generally the Retina.


This is a non invasive technique that enables viewing and measurement of the layers of the retina  that will help in the diagnosis and monitoring of Glaucoma and conditions affecting the retina such as: Macular Degeneration; Vascular Disease; Diabetic Retinopathy; Retinal Detachments.


It has proven to be a very useful addition to our testing routine and we have spotted a number of conditions much earlier than we would have been able to in the past, and been able to refer for treatment or been able to monitor for change ourselves.

Here are some of the scan images





Scan of a healthy eye from a 15 year old.





Scan showing sub retinal fluid around the Macular area that did not have much effect on the visual acuity. The patient was able to draw a vague area of distortion that he was aware of that matched the size and shape of the sub retinal fluid exactly.



eye 1


Scan showing a Macular hole and associated retinalschisis and epiretinal membrane.


Of course we never like discovering anything wrong with a patients eyes, it is much better to be able to do the scans and tell the patient that everything is perfectly healthy, but if we do pick up an abnormality we can get the patient referred to an eye hospital and treated.


The technology that is available to an optical practice now has changed by a huge amount even in the 20 or so years that I have been practicing. It will be interesting to see what the next developments are in the next few years.




how do you solve a problem like myopia

In a previous blog post I mentioned the increase in Myopia that some have likened to an epidemic.

Apart from correcting the vision traditionally with spectacles or daily wear contact lenses what else is available – especially for  children.



Refractive Surgery has been an option in various form since the mid 1960’s and whilst techniques have been improving it is still usually not recommended for those under the age of 21 (or at least until any prescription changes have stabilised).

For a lot of  patients the thought of having any form of surgery will be enough to dissuade them from this option.

Happy snapping

Another possibility is Orthokeratology – or Ortho K – a technique of overnight contact lens wear that gently reshapes the cornea by about the thickness  of a hair. I have been using this technique in the practice for nearly 10 years.  (Previous Blog Post on Ortho K)

Until recently I have used Ortho K  mainly on adults but in the last 6 months I have been fitting the  lenses more and more to children with excellent results.

Isabella Green drawing a

One of the first youngsters that I fitted last summer was Isabella  whose extended  family have been with the practice for many years. Isabella had been wearing spectacles for six months and her myopia was increasing rapidly, her father is quite myopic so Isabella was concerned that she would follow a similar pattern. We discussed all of the options available and decided to fit Ortho K – with great success.  Isabella has recently featured in a news article  about  Ortho K on ITV Meridian News.

ITV Meridian News Feature

Since Isabella’s success I have had an increasing number of children coming along and being fitted with Ortho K and it has proven to be a wonderful tool to enable children to cope with an active lifestyle without having to worry about vision, glasses or contact lenses during the day.


Boy Heading a Soccer Ball - Isolated

If you are interested in Ortho K or any aspect of either your eyes or your childs eyes  then contact us to have a chat about it.



“myopia epidemic”

Recent studies on childhood shortsightedness both in the UK and in the US have shown that the condition is on the increase.

Both the studies from California and Northern Ireland have shown that there are twice as many children today who are myopic than in the 1960’s.

16.4% now compared to 7.2% in 1960

The study also showed that children with one myopic parent were three times more likely to become myopic than those who had non myopic parents. Those who have two parents with myopia were seven times more likely to be myopic.

The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction Study also found that children were becoming myopic at an earlier age.  Myopia is more likely to occur between the ages of 6 and 13.


There are many opinions on what the reasons for this increase in shortsightedness are but opinion seems to suggest that too much time indoors on mobile devices and not enough time outdoors is a factor.

Myopia is generally a progressive condition so it is worth keepin an eye on (apologies for the awful pun).

I will blog later on some of the options that are available to both correct the vision and also to control the myopia.