■ In a vision rating like 20:20. what do the two numbers mean?

If your visual acuity is 20/20, you see at 20 feet what a person with normal vision sees at 20 feet. If you have 20/40 vision, you see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 vision would see at 40 feet.
And, if you’re one of the lucky ones (e.g.. 20/15), you can see at 20 feet what others would have to move closer (15 feet) to see.

■ ls, it bad for contact lenses to touch water?

Water is infrequently sterile and so there is a chance of introducing bacteria to the surface of the eye. Another reason is that some lenses can actually absorb water and this makes the lens very floppy and hard to manipulate into position.

■ What can be done to prevent degeneration of my eyesight?

Many doctors suggest taking anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. Macular degeneration is not very well understood and is hereditary. It has been shown that smoking greatly increases the risk. So perhaps the first step would be to stop smoking. Wearing sunglasses is also certainly important when the eyes are exposed to UV light.

■ What do all those technical terms mean!?

Myopia: short-sightedness
Hypermetropia: long-sightedness
Astigmatism: distorted vision
Strabismus: squints
Amblyopia: lazy eyes

■ I like the idea of multifocals but my friend had trouble adjusting to them. What happens if I do too?

Our sophisticated measuring equipment and fitting means problems are rare. However if you do still have trouble after receiving your spectacles from us, we will exchange them for bifocals and/or single vision lenses and refund any price difference.

■ What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the end result of a variety of diseases and is analogous to heart failure or liver failure. It is characterised by a specific pattern of optic nerve head and visual field damage. The risk of glaucoma increases if it is hereditary.

■ How is a cataract treated?

If we find a cataract, you may not need surgery for several years. Regular check ups will determine the best path of treatment. If surgery is required your clouded lens is removed and, in most cases, replaced with a clear, plastic lens. Cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision. In fact, it is one of the most common surgeries performed.

■ My eye has been twitching for months. What causes it and how can I stop it?

A twitching muscle in the eyelid is extremely common. Its medical name is myokymia. It is often caused by tiredness and lack of sleep and goes away as mysteriously as it comes.
However, sometimes it can be abnormally persistent and in extremely rare cases it may be associated with more serious nervous conditions such as multiple sclerosis (although this is highly unusual).

■ ls there a cure for colour blindness?

Colour blindness is not correctable. It is caused by an inherited defect of the light-sensitive pigment in special cells called cone cells in the retina at the back of the eye. The
condition is much more common in males than females, although women can carry the defect and pass it on to their children without being affected themselves.

■ Why is an Eye Examination so important?

Good vision gives a better quality of life. Your eyes cannot be replaced. An Examination can pick up very early signs of problems that you aren’t aware of such as diabetes, high blood pressure, brain tumours and multiple sclerosis. The earlier they are treated the better. You should have your eyes examined at least every 2 years.

■ How do televisions and computer screens affect my eyes?

It makes our eyes blur or strain. The rate at which we blink is also reduced, which can develop eye problems like short-sightedness. Some radiation is also emitted from these devices which may affect us. The best thing is to have regular breaks so that your eyes are not staring with a fixed focus all the time. We recommend giving your eyes a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes of computer or television time. You may also consider having an anti-glare screen on your monitor.

■ Why do I need regular eye examinations if l’m diabetic?

Your Optometrist can detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy by looking inside your eyes. The earlier any changes are detected the more likely it is they can be monitored and treated to prevent
loss of sight. Early treatment is essential so an annual eye examination is the best step you can take to protect your eyes.