Dear Glasses Wearer

Dear Glasses Wearer,

Have you ever been alone in your kitchen late at night? It’s cozy and quiet and there is not a sound. But then suddenly the fridge stops and you realise that you hadn’t noticed the noise. Now however it’s even quieter and you realise how lovely real silence is. But then after a while the fridge restarts. Its return is noisy and intrusive, disturbing the silence you had been enjoying.

Well, can you imagine the same experience but this time instead of the fridge stopping its your need for glasses that stops! Continue Reading…

Computer Vision Syndrome: the Dangers of Modern Living

As you’re reading the pixelated words projected onto this screen, I regret to inform you that your eyes are losing their childhood suppleness. A downhill slope awaits.

Presbyopia is caused by the loss of elasticity in the lens, typically affecting middle and old age; screens only hurry this process. Perhaps you’ll combat presbyopia by distancing the screen with an extended arm; this is a somewhat reflex act that attempts to combat squinting, by making it easier for the lens to focus. Or you might enlarge the font size to a progressive/regressive (depending on your attitude) level. Both of these measures, however, combat the consequences rather than the root of the issue.

Laser eye surgery combats the root of the problem, as it ensures vision is lastingly corrected.

But we must also look beyond the eye, and into the cause. Screens. Our dependence on them and the addictive nature of brightness. Like morphine, it persuades us to increase the level ad nauseum until we find we are blinded like moths to a bulb.

Perhaps we should change the objects we look at, as well as our perception of them. With the rise in Virtual Reality, are phones becoming our reason for vision?

Where is the ink? Displaced from the physicality of the page, it now exists somewhere upon the screen. But precisely where? The bulbs that create the screen emit light, rather than definitively place it in the realm of the physical. Our eyes now have to do the positioning.

Let us cast our minds back to our ancestors. Before the reign of technology, our eyes dwelt outside, exposed only to the natural elements. Our gaze transitioned from the panoramic highlands to compressed, short-sighted city settings, and we spend more time than ever with our eyes glued to the screen.

Anti-glare technology, rest breaks, blue-filtering lenses and blinking help to reduce eye-strain. 65% of American adults complain of eye-strain.

Is the camera, really, just an eye?

Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in his diary “this is the eye, the chief and leader of all others” (1500s). Da Vinci explored the notion of the eye as an optical instrument, and his conceptual search for the science behind sight eventually gathered material momentum with the aid of his various successors. The Camera Obscura came into being a century later, powered by nothing but sunlight and a biconvex lens.

In some sense, this ancient contraption is a scaled-up simplification of the human eye. It is an optical device that projects an image of external surroundings onto an internal blank screen. Light passes through the pinhole, and the biconvex lens flips the image 180 degrees. Colour and perspective is preserved, and in turn, projected onto a screen on the other side of the room. Think of the dark box-room as the interior of an eyeball, and the screen on the back wall as the retina.

Invented by an artist, and used by artists, the camera obscura is essentially a practical extension of the human eye, designed to enhance detail and map reality directly onto paper. Once in circulation, the camera obscura underwent a variety of alterations. In order to aid drawing, it was reduced to the sizeable convenience of a box, in which a mirror re-reversed the image.

Throughout its various stages of development, its slight alterations have given rise to a plethora of charming names: Mozi’s “Locked Treasure Room” or “Collecting Plate” became Gaspar Schott’s “Magic Lantern”, and by the 18th Century, it was known as Conte Algarotti’s “Optic Chamber”.

It persists in Modern Culture; in February earlier this year, a model was installed in the New York Public Library. The Oakes brothers, dubbed “The Perspective Twins”, are conducting an exploratory journey into the origins and mechanisms of sight, specifically bifocal visual perception. Their investigation aims to detail the spherical distortions dictated by the curvature of the eyeball.

If this hasn’t convinced you enough of the wonders of the human lens and its purposes in the field of photography, go and have a listen to the delightful band “camera obscura”, whose name pays homage to this ancient wonder.

Vision development in babies

Our expert paediatric orthoptist Rudrika Joshi-Borrel tells us all about vision development in babies:

Did you know that almost all babies are long sighted when they are born? In most cases the eyes will correct themselves within 2 years through Emmetropization.

As an orthoptist, I am a specialist in helping people with squints and similar eye conditions. If I am examining a 2 year old child, glasses are not always necessary due to the commonality of long-sightedness. On the contrary, short-sightedness in children of this age is much more unusual. Read more about long and short sightedness in our blog: What are myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism?”

Emmetropization is when the eye’s process of aligning its axial length to the focal length of its optics. However, imperfect alignment causes short-sightedness, and both genetics and environment can have an impact upon this process. For example, there is strong evidence to suggest that children who spend less time outside are more at risk. (refer below for the studies). When emmetropization doesn’t happen, light entering the eye isn’t properly focused on the retina and so the brain receives a blurred image. A secondary effect of this is that neural pathways in the brain responsible for sight start to get ‘lazy’, thus working less effectively.

An eye test, called a refraction test, needs to be done in this case as this measures which prescription lenses the child will need in order to correct their sight. If the child is given the right prescription, their vision be immediately corrected whilst wearing the glasses, and refractive adaptation will begin. So wearing glasses can actually exercise the visual system in such a way that the eye and brain eventually adapt to self-correct the child’s sight.

The more often a child wears their glasses the more adaptation occurs.There is a bit of neuroscience behind this; because the brain now receives a clear image from the optical nerves the visual pathways in the brain are stimulated to work properly. This reawakens the neural pathways.

Refractive adaptation does not always completely restore perfect vision, but does much to significantly improve it. Depending on the length of time the child’s vision has been left untouched, treatments such as occlusion may well be needed in order to further stimulate the cells, so the earlier the better. Research shows that a full 18 weeks with glasses is the maximum potential time period for refractive adaptation to have an impact, before occlusion is necessary.

Glasses make up for the miscalculation between the lens and the size of the eye; however, this will only slightly change as a child grows, as long as the prescription is very small. In these cases, the optician may advise them to wear their glasses as teenagers when at school, work, the cinema and whilst driving. For children under the age of 10, however, it is advisable to wear glasses full time.

The coordination of eye movement develops after birth once a baby sees for the first time. Whilst this development progresses it can be normal for babies to look slightly cross eyed up until about 6 months of age.

Naturally if you’re a parent you might be concerned by this, especially if it continues beyond 6 months. If you’re a bit worried, seek medical advice at the GP. If a problem is spotted then the GP may refer your child to a paediatric ophthalmic (children’s eye specialist), like My iClinic. From there a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be made by a doctor if necessary.

If you are wondering who do you need to see, here is a list of specialists and what they do in the eye world:

Opticians and Optometrist specialise in glasses and eye tests, prescribing glasses and may detect eye diseases.

Orthoptists specialise in the non-surgical diagnosis, such as the management of squints, amblyopia and eye movement disorders, isolated and secondary to systemic disease.? Ophthalmologists are the medically trained doctors and surgeons specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and disorders. They can also perform “refraction tests” and prescribe glasses.

What are myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism?

Often people say ‘I am long-sighted’ or ‘short-sighted’, but for a lot of us who don’t wear glasses sometimes it’s difficult to understand what this means.

Fancy long and complicated words like myopia and hypermetropia make this all the more confusing.

Does short-sighted mean you can see things up close or you can’t? What makes a person long-sighted? How can glasses, lenses or laser eye surgery correct this? We can help you find the answers to these questions!

Short sighted or long sightedness occur when a person’s lens cannot focus light entering the eye in the right way on the back of the eye, also known as the retina.

If you are short-sighted (also known as myopia) you can see things that are up close, but can struggle to see things further away. This is because light entering the eye is focused in front of the retina, when it should focus on the retina. It focuses too soon. This happens for two reasons: either the lens focuses light too strongly or the eye is too ‘long’ meaning the retina is too far away from the lens. To correct this we give short-sighted people lenses that change (diverge) the way light enters the eye so once it is focused by their natural lens it focuses on the right place of the retina. These types of lenses are called minus, hence why short-sighted people get ‘minus prescriptions’.

Long sighted (also known as hypermetropia or hyperopia) is when you cannot see things up close. It’s exactly the opposite problem to short sightedness. This happens when light entering the eye is focused behind the retina; you can think of it like the eye focuses light too late. This happens when either the eye is too short and the retina is too close to the lens, or when the lens focuses light too weakly. To correct this we give long-sighted people lenses that converge the light that enters the eye so once it is focused by their natural lens it focuses on the right place of the retina. These types of lenses are called plus, hence why short-sighted people get plus prescriptions’.

Another term that we hear quite often when talking about disorders of the eye is astigmatism. It is caused by abnormalities in the cornea and the lens. Astigmatism can be described as the condition when the front of the eye is not a perfect round shape like a football, instead it is more oval like a rugby ball. This gives the front of the eye an asymmetric curvature so light scatters as it goes into the eye. This produces a jagged and slightly distorted image.

Some people are unlucky enough to have astigmatism as well as long or short-sightedness. Luckily short-sighted and long sighted don’t often happen together. But some people when getting older may get one eye short sighted and another one long sighted. Optometrists may leave these patients with uncorrected vision if they feel comfortable and would find glasses an inconvenience.

Fortunately, the wonders of modern medicine and technology mean there are many amazing ways to correct long or short sightedness! Glasses can be a low cost and even stylish solution, contact lenses although not always ideal can be a practical one. But there are even more exciting and amazing ways that vision correction can done now.

At My-iClinic our specialists are experts in two types of procedures that can cure long or short sight and astigmatism: laser eye surgery or refractive lens exchange. You can read more about these procedures on our website.

Allergies? How to treat them?

Spring is just an absolutely lovely season: the temperature gets higher, the green gets greener and the flowers are blossoming. With all this amazing things happening around us there is going to be a number of people that will continually complain. As with the arrival of spring your eyes became: watery, itchy, red, and uncomfortable – in one word they are allergic.

Allergies are classified in three categories:

1. Mild allergy

2. Seasonal allergic disease known as hay fever

3.Vernal keratoconjunctivitis – more severe and could be all year round with allergies to house dust mites and pollen. These people tend to have severe general allergies and are called “ATOPES”. Systemic allergic signs and symptoms would include: Eczema, Asthma which tends to get worse with seasonal allergy in the spring/summer. In severe atopies, it is advisable to see an allergist. The general advice is usually to avoid exposure.

Known as allergic conjunctivitis or hay fever, this reaction of the body is an inflammation. The causes of the inflammation are actually the excessive reaction of the body’s immune system to the allergens in the environment. As during spring time the nature revives. And with this new life the nature is bringing in the air a lot of particles (usually pollen which guarantees reproduction.)

Because a lot of our patients asked us about natural remedies to solve this issue, we decided to write a useful blog revealing our medical expertise.

Unfortunately we need to inform you that there are no home remedies, which will be able to eliminate the symptoms of the allergic conjunctivitis.  All the remedies that we are going to list would rather help reducing the amount of allergens that come into contact with the eyes than actually cure you.

Our first advice is to reduce the direct contact with the allergens: one of the solutions for it can be by staying at home for weeks until the season finishes, but face it we all have to work and we all need to carry on with our responsibilities, so most probably our second solution is better for you. Get a pair of protective sunglasses; there are quite a lot of options for sunglasses. Although most of them will look like googles, they will cover your eyes very well.  There are options starting with 10£ and if you are more interested in this subject you can check this article here. Use simple non allergic emollient face creams and avoid creams which may contain E 45.

Another action that you may take is to minimise the house dust mites: regular washing of beddings including mattress cover; avoid use of carpets and use hard floor as this limits the accumulation of the allergens. Change the air filters and use eco ventilation systems which filter out the pollen and house dust mite while recycling the heat.

The second advice is in case the contact with the allergens already occurred, there are a couple of solutions that you have:

1.First you can make some cold compresses. Soak a clean face cloth in a bowl of clean chilled water and place over your eyes. You can chill the water by putting in some ice cubes or you can use the water from the bottle kept in the fridge.

2. Second you can dilute the pollen and the antigen in the tears with unpreserved (preservative-free) artificial tear drops. We verified many of them and can truly recommend the following drops: Hylo-forte by Ursapharm, Hydramed night by Farmigea and Xailin night by Nicox. 

However we strongly recommend seeing an ophthalmologist as soon as possible because the problem with the allergies is that you can’t treat it until you know the source of it, therefore stopping wasting time and book your appointment with the specialist.

How do virtual reality goggles work

Having two eyes facing forward is a great advantage. Animals that have two eyes which face forward see the some objects in each eye. But because the two eyes are separated by a small distance each eye can see the same scene but with slight differences. The two photos of the glass with the pens have been taken by moving the camera the same distance as there is between the average person’s eyes. Look closely and see that there are slight but definite differences in the spacial arrangement of the object. In the third photo I have photoshopped the two images together and you can see the intolerable double vision that would result if the brain just superimposed the two images one on top of the other.

Clearly the brain is able to deal in some way with this so we don’t see two different images superimposed. Instead in reality we get a clear 3 dimensional view of the scene. How does our brain do it?

Continue Reading…

How did Amanda join My-iClinic?

Back to December, when I joined the clinic, Amanda was the third team member who I was introduced to. When I met her I didn’t even think she was a nurse at the clinic. She seemed so down to the Earth, funny and super friendly. 6 months passed since and nothing has changed. I can still use these attributes to describe her.

We couldn’t choose a better month than May to reveal her story and to tell her how thankful we are, that she is a part of our team, as this month Amanda celebrated International Nurse’s Day and her Birthday.

As I recall her story she started working with Mr. Bolger more than 13 years ago. Such a lovely story: Amanda was a CQC inspector pregnant with her first child; Mr Bolger had a small practice back then, across the road from where My-iClinic is right now. Mr. Bolger connected really quickly with Amanda and since then they have been working together.

Continue Reading…

Seeing in the dark, Kale Crisp recipe

You are what you eat: recipes for helping healthy eyes

We were all taught growing up that carrots were the wonder-food that could make you see in the dark – and as exciting as that sounds I’m not convinced. I’ve eaten many-a-carrot in my time, but sadly neither from-frozen-overboiled-school-dinner batons nor juliennes dipped in luxurious hummus have granted me with the supernatural gift of unassisted night vision. There’s an interesting story behind this myth which you can read about in another of our blog’s here.

However, not all hope is lost. Evidence suggests there is good reason to believe that green leafy veggies can greatly benefit general eye health. Though vegetables like kale, spinach and cabbage can’t give you superpowers they can help you maintain healthy eyes and good vision because of the nutrients they contain. Organically grown veg are supposedly more nutrient dense and arguably tastier so even better if you can get your hands on some of those.

Want some inspiration?

My iClinic’s team have contributed their favourite green veggie recipes and we’re sharing them with you so you’ve got no excuse to avoid eating your greens!

Kale Crisps – great snack or sprinkled over salads, pastas and stir-fries. It’s simply seasoned curly kale baked in the oven.

Prep time – 10 mins

Cook time – 15 mins

Ingredients

250g curly kale

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

French-style

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp dried rosemary or mixed herbs

Drizzle of olive oil, about 1 tbsp

Japanese-style

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp tomato puree

Generous pinch of chili flakes

Sesame seeds

Drizzle of sesame or coconut oil, about 1 tbsp

1 tsp of honey, wasabi and/or miso paste if you like

Korean-style

1 tbsp gochujang (delicious korean fermented chili paste)

1-2 tsp vegetable oil

Method

Turn fan oven onto 180 degrees.

In a large bowl mix your prefered seasoning ingredients.

Roughly chop the kale, washing it first if necessary, and place in the bowl with the seasoning. Mix the kale into your marinade – use your hands to make sure it’s well and evenly coated, adding a little splash of water if needed.

Put your marinated kale onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Do keep an eye on it though, as the kale sometimes has a tendency to catch (…although the burnt bits are often the crispiest and tastiest!)

Free-style

Feel free to make up your own version of this recipe, depending on what you have in the cupboard. Chuck in any flavours you like! Add all the nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, pastes, oils and sauces you can think of. Go crazy…