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Eye Examinations

NHS/Private eye examinations and contact lens checks available, ask in practice.

Contact Lenses

We supply a full range of contact lenses and solutions. Ask for a FREE trial today.

Spectacles

We have a range of eyewear from budget to designer including Varilux, Versace, Zeiss, Armani and many more.

Repairs

Repairs and re-glazes are available at our practices or at our laboratory. Visit our FAQs for more details.

We care about eye care...

*Please do not make appointments or orders via email. Emails are checked once a day maximum.

At what age should a child have its first eye examination?

Many parts of the eye examination cannot be performed until the patient can recognise pictures and/or letters; however we are happy to see any child at any age if there are any concerns. In practical terms all children should have an eye examination before they start school.

What is a squint / lazy eye?

A squint is when the eyes are not both looking exactly in the same direction, even a small difference can affect the development of the wayward eye. This can lead to a ‘lazy’ eye. Glasses are the first option to cure this, simple surgery is sometimes required. The earlier treatment is started the better the chances of success.

What is short-sightedness?

Short-sightedness is when distance vision is not as clear as near vision. It often increases during growth, however it is not associated with close work, watching television, or using a computer. It is easily corrected with contact lenses or glasses.

What is long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness is when near vision is not as clear as distance vision. It often decreases during growth; however as the amount of close work performed increases overcoming long-sightedness may become more difficult. It is not associated with close work, watching television, or using a computer. It is easily corrected with contact lenses or glasses.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is when the prescription required to correct the focus of the eye is unequal along different directions. It is often said to arise as a result of having a ‘rugby ball’ shaped eye. Almost everyone has a certain amount of astigmatism; it is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is said to be a problem with a person’s ability to process the printed word effectively leading to problems with reading, and spelling, and is often associated with underperformance at school.

There are times when correcting even the smallest of prescriptions, or using tinted glasses, or using coloured overlays can help reduce these problems.

What if I cannot come to the practice?

We spend one or two days a week visiting patients at home. We cover the area between Bristol, Cheltenham and Chippenham. Any resulting glasses are delivered and fitted. Please call our Hammersmith practice on 0117 9698737 for all enquiries.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is part of the natural aging process. It is rare for a patient to reach 50 without having to put increased effort when doing close work. It is best corrected by prescription glasses, either simply for reading or bifocal or varifocal glasses. It can be corrected by contact lenses.

What are varifocals?

Varifocals are lenses which incorporate blended areas for distance, intermediate, and close work. There are many different designs, with the emphasis on different areas dependent upon your needs. Our fully qualified opticians can guide you to the best design for your lifestyle, and pocket.

Why do all glasses look ugly?

When I started wearing glasses in the 1950’s, there was very little choice as to frames, and all lenses were heavy glass. There is now no need for lenses to be thick, heavy, and ugly. Modern materials, coatings and aspheric designs, and the correct choice of frame can enhance the appearance of any prescription. Ask our qualified opticians for advice.

Do computers damage the eyes?

No. Working on a screen is a hard visual task, so whereas you may not find any problem when working on paperwork, symptoms may appear when the eyes are asked to work at ‘computer speed’.

Do glasses damage the eyes?

Patients frequently claim this, I compare it to moving from a 2 bedroom house to a 3 bedroom house, and then trying to move back next week, the 2 bedroom house hasn’t shrunk, but you can’t fit things in, in the same way, one gets used to seeing clearly, and one feels that the vision without glasses is inferior to how it was before one had glasses.

Does sitting too close to the television damage your eyes?

No, just as with computing, errors and strain will show if the eyes are asked to do a harder than normal task.

I can see a number plate at the driving test distance, so my eyes are perfect?

The driving standard was set in the 1930’s, when there were a lot less cars, travelling a lot slower. Ask your optometrist to show you where on the chart the driving standard is, it’s a lot worse than you think! If you can see in the distance better with glasses than without, use them all the time.

I can see, why should I have an eye examination?

I once had a patient who lost an eye in a car crash, and the insurance company wouldn’t pay out because he couldn’t prove that he had ever been able to see with that eye. Had he had an eye examination there would have been a record of his vision. Apart from that extreme example, you don’t know how well, or comfortably, you can see until you have an eye examination.

I can manage without glasses, so why use them?

There is a difference between seeing clearly, and seeing clearly comfortably. ‘Managing’ is rarely either as comfortable or as efficient as you could be.

I can see near without glasses, why should I wear the glasses?

Many short sighted patients can manage for near vision without glasses, but they are using their eyes in a way that they were not designed to be used. This can cause problems in years to come.

When should I wear sunglasses?

It is now believed that ultra violet light is a cause of cataracts and macular degeneration. Using protective eyewear in any bright sunlight should minimise damage, and thus help to preserve good vision.

Can I use my old frames again?

We are happy to put new lenses in patient’s old frames, where the old frame is not obviously flawed, but no guarantee can be given, since sometimes, despite the best checking and care, frames are too weak to be re-used.

What can I do with unwanted old glasses?

We collect old glasses for use in the third world.

What happens after I have bought glasses?

When we have supplied glasses we endeavour to keep them well fitting. If the glasses become uncomfortable for any reason, drop in and we will adjust them. We also do minor repairs in the practices or at our own workshop.

Can I buy glasses from the Internet?

You can, but please do not ask us to check the fitting, or deal with any problems you may have with your purchase.

Can I wear contact lenses?

Almost certainly yes. Contact lenses can correct short-sight, long-sight, astigmatism, and presbyopia. With some prescriptions the vision is not as good as it might be with glasses, some patients cannot wear contact lenses all day, some patients choose only to wear them for certain activities such as sport. New materials and designs are being introduced every year. Being an independent optician we are not tied to any supplier so we can get any lens available on the market. We do not charge our patients for a contact lens trial.

What is corrective laser surgery?

Corrective laser surgery involves burning part of the cornea away to reshape it and thus lessen the need for glasses. It is irreversible through further surgery; however it does at times reverse itself. Whereas it has its place in the range of options for vision correction it is not, in my experience, a permanent substitute for glasses.

Corrective laser surgery should not be confused with the medical laser surgery used for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetes.

What is dry eye?

If an eye gets sore during use, then it is often due to a lack of the right sort of tears, and this is termed dry eye. Tear chemistry and production is far more complicated than first thought. If there is an error, then the first thing to do is to remove any extra strain on the eyes by wearing even a small prescription as much as possible. If the eye is overworked, then extra cooling and lubrication is needed hence excessive tearing.

How does diabetes affect the eyes?

Even well controlled diabetics can suffer damage to the blood vessels in the eye. This damage can cause a big loss of acuity. Good control of blood sugars will minimise the chance of this happening. Regular eye examinations will mean that damage can be treated before it is even noticed by the patient. The yearly retinal photograph available from your G.P. is in addition to the usual eye examination, not a substitute.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is damage to the nerves of the eye, usually caused by an increase in pressure in the eye. This increase in pressure causes irreversible damage, firstly causing loss of vision to the periphery of your field of view, and progressing inwards. Usually painlessly, and it may be imperceptible until the final stages.

Although if you have glaucoma in your family, the chance of you suffering the disease is increased, many people have glaucoma without any relative having the same problem. Regular eye examinations help to spot this disease before too much damage is done.

What are cataracts?<

A cataract is an opacity inside the normally clear lens of the eye (this is generally referred to as a primary cataract). These opacities are part of the normal aging process. They can develop such that they reduce acuity to below the driving standard within months or they can take decades. The only sure thing about cataracts is that they do not go away by themselves.

As they grow the prescription can change rapidly resulting in the need for a frequent change of glasses.

How is a cataract removed?

A primary cataract is removed by a relatively simple 20 minute operation. This can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. As soon as your vision has been reduced such that your quality of life is affected you should be referred for assessment by the Eye Hospital.

What happens after a cataract is removed?

New glasses will invariably be required but a prescription is often not stable until 6 weeks after the operation, and adjustments may need to be made even after this time.

Some 30% of patients will experience a secondary cataract, some two to five years after the original operation. This is an opacity of the remaining tissue from the original lens. This new opacity can be removed quite simply by laser without any need for further surgery.

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is damage to the back of the eye which means that the patient loses the ability to pick out fine detail when directly looking at an object.

It is a major cause of blindness in the western world for the over 80’s. There are two types wet, and dry. New treatments are being developed every year. Causes are said to be smoking, ultraviolet light, and lack of essential items in the diet.

So correct diet (or the taking of dietary supplements), no smoking, and the use of good sunglasses all help to protect you from this disease.

Do you carry out repairs?

Depending on the repair required we may be able to do this at the practice, or in our lab, or it may have to be sent away . Sometimes repairs are not possible or are not economical.

Am I entitled to an NHS eye examination?

Click here to find out. If you are entitled, no matter what the interval since your last eye examination, if you are concerned about your eyes you are entitled to another one.

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