Our eyesight is something that we can take for granted, and when minor issues arise, we know what to do: book an appointment for a sight test.
But what happens when a sight test isn’t available?
For those aged 65 and over, regular eye health check-ups are an essential part of maintaining personal independence and quality of life, as well as acting as a way of managing underlying health concerns – such as diabetes, strokes, and cancers.
While sight tests may only be available for emergencies and urgent care under current COVID-19 restrictions, that doesn’t mean your vision and eye health should suffer.
As one of the UK’s leading eye care providers to the care home sector, Visioncall wants to ensure that you’re equipped with the information you need.
Our expert optometrists have shared their top 10 tips to help you understand the little things you can do daily to look after your eyesight for the long term.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Eating plenty of fruit and veg is essential for a healthy body. A balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals can help protect your eyes against conditions such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.
Choose protective eyewear
Wearing glasses with a built-in UV filter can help protect against cataracts developing, as even the winter sun’s rays can be harsh on eyes.
Smoking increases your chances of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as many other health issues, so it’s best to quit the habit completely.
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against diabetes, which can lead to sight loss. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and trying to stay active where you can, will help you to achieve this.
Let the light in
Did you know that our eyes need three times as much light aged 60 than they did at 20? Keep your home bright and light by keeping the curtains open during the day and ensuring that lighting is appropriate. Daylight bulbs are an excellent investment to keep the house as bright as possible.
Regular exercise, good circulation and oxygen intake are essential for eye health, so try and stay active as much as possible, and get outdoors as much as you can. Keeping windows open can also help you access plenty of fresh air during the day.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleeping is when your eyes are lubricated and cleared out, so a restful night’s sleep is essential. Aim for eight hours a night, and ensure your room is dark enough to aid a night of good, deep sleep.
Check your eyesight regularly
Checking your eyesight individually – or ‘monocularly’ – is an excellent way of comparing the vision in both eyes. Cover each eye in turn with the palm of your hand and pay attention to the level of detail you can see in each eye. Many people don’t notice that sight in one eye has deteriorated significantly, as your ‘good eye’ compensates for it.
Take screen breaks
Try and keep your screens at eye level, and around 40cm from your face, and every five minutes, look away from your screen and blink a few times. Follow the 20x20x20 rule too; every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away.
Check your prescription regularly
If you wear glasses or lenses, check that you’ve got the correct prescription, to prevent eye strain.
We hope these tips will help you maintain great eye health, but if you do have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist.
At Visioncall we want to say thank you to the thousands of care staff who are working tirelessly around the clock to provide essential care for the most vulnerable in our society.
We want to show our appreciation for everyone who works so hard to keep our loved ones safe during these uncertain times.
These past few weeks have been incredibly transformative to everyone’s lives, and with considerable impact to the care industry.
As one of the UK’s leading providers of domiciliary eye care, working closely with care home partners, we understand how testing this period has been.
Our teams across the UK are still working with care providers to assist with essential eye care services.
Supporting you with eye care matters
Our clinical teams to remain on hand to support our care home partners with advice and guidance on eye care matters at home.
While we have stopped routine visits, We understand that social distancing measures must be respected during this time to protect our patients, their carers and our staff.
The effort we are seeing from all NHS and care staff working with those who need the most support is truly inspiring during this challenging time.
It serves as a reminder of one of our core company values – we believe the right people can make a huge difference.
So from everyone here at Visioncall, thank you.
Thank you for making a real difference in people’s lives when it’s needed most.
We look forward to seeing our patients safely.
Until then, support our NHS and carers – stay home, save lives.
Adjusting your glasses
During this challenging time, although we can’t visit you, we can still help you – starting with how to adjust your glasses at home.
So here are a few tips to help you adjust and care for glasses!
When to adjust nose pads
Nose pads should be flat against the nose.
Glasses should not slip down the face when nodding.
Please note, if nose pads dig into the nose, you should follow steps for if glasses are sitting too high.
We have step-by-step instructions and a visual guide below to help you safely adjust nose pads.
If glasses are sitting too low
If glasses are sitting too low, you should push the nose pads inwards.
1. Hold the glasses with your non-dominant hand.
2. Use the outside of your dominant thumb to push in on the arm of the pad gently.
3. Do this for both nose pads until the glasses fit comfortably.
If glasses are sitting too high
If glasses are sitting too high, you should push the nose pads outwards.
1. Hold the glasses with your non-dominant hand.
2. Use your dominant thumb to push on the nose pad gently.
3. Do this for both nose pads until the glasses fit comfortably.
How to adjust nose pads
What to do if glasses are too loose or too tight
If a frame is too loose or too tight, you should adjust the end tips of the glasses.
We have step-by-step instructions and a visual guide below to help you safely adjust the frame leg.
How to tell if a frame is loose or tight
A loose frame will slip forward when nodding or there is a lot of space behind the ear.
A tight frame will press or dig into a person’s head or ear.
Using a ruler to measure the leg of the frame can be helpful to avoid constant readjusting.
How to adjust the frame leg
To adjust the frame leg, you should:
1. Assess the glasses when the individual is wearing them – are they too loose or too tight?
2. Use warm running tap water or a hairdryer on low heat to warm up the end tip of the leg.
3. With your hands, straighten the leg of the frame as much as possible.
4a. If the frame is too loose, you should create a bend further down the leg towards the hinge to shorten the leg.
4b. If the frame is too tight, you should create a bend closer to the end tip of the frame to extend the leg.
5. If you used a hairdryer, wait for the frame to cool before reviewing the glasses on the individual.
Adjusting glasses using warm water
Adjusting glasses using low heat
How to fix a loose leg on a frame
If a leg of the frame is loose, you should tighten the screw in the joint.
1. Hold the glasses with your non-dominant hand.
2. Use a small flathead screwdriver to tighten the screw.
3. Close the leg and review whether it needs to be tightened more.
Clean the lenses carefully
Use a dedicated lens cleaning cloth with lens cleaning solution.
Try to avoid using paper towels or your top to clean lenses.
You should ensure that you hold the glasses by the frame, not the lenses.
As a result, you minimise the risk of inducing fine scratches on the lens.
How to handle glasses
You must handle glasses with two hands when putting them on and taking them off.
You should place on hand on each leg of the frame to prevent misalignment.
Try to avoid pushing glasses back onto the head as this also causes them to misalign.
Touching the lenses can make them dirty, which may cause poor vision.
Where to store glasses
The most secure place to store glasses is in a case.
Cases can be soft or hard, but both of them should have a soft lining inside.
If you don’t have a case, place your glasses on a flat surface. Do not put them with the lenses facing down.
Avoid mixing up glasses
In your residence, there may be several pairs of glasses.
Some people may have more than one pair too!
Visioncall’s engraving includes the name of the wearer, the purpose of the glasses and the date of the sight test.
In light of the recent spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases throughout the global community, we would like to inform our partners of our COVID-19 statement.
We believe in a caring society; it’s one of our core values and has never been more important to us than during these challenging times.
Protecting our patients, some of whom are the most vulnerable adults in society, is our priority.
Following government and professional recommendations, we’ve already suspended all routine sight tests to our patients in the community.
We believe this is the right decision to protect our patients.
If we were due to visit your home, our team will contact you to postpone our visit.
Maintaining and preserving sight is still vital during this time, and we want to assure our care home partners that we are here for you throughout this period to provide critical and essential eye care services.
Our clinical teams will still be available through our triage service, offering emergency visits if appropriate.
We will also continue to provide you and your residents with a repair and replacement service throughout this period.
If you require emergency or urgent assistance, please continue to contact our customer service teams for help and advice through VC24, telephone and email.
Thank you again for your valued partnership and understanding.
You can continue to rely on our critical eye care services to help your residents see better and live better throughout this challenging time.
Please note, we will keep our COVID-19 statement up to date
As our glaucoma entry for our ‘in focus’ series explores the condition, we now look at whether you’re at risk of glaucoma.
Our previous blog covers what the condition is, symptoms, the different types of glaucoma and treatment.
Am I at risk of developing glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness.
That’s why it’s vital to be aware of risk factors and speak to your optician as early as possible.
Some of the types of glaucoma share certain risk factors, such as a family history of the condition.
Did you know that it’s possible to be at risk of one type of glaucoma, but not another?
Potential v strong risk factors
It’s possible to divide some risk factors into potential and strong.
For instance, the use of corticosteroids like eye drops and inhalers are a potential risk factor for open-angle glaucoma.
On the other hand, having a thin cornea is a strong risk factor.
Either way, don’t ignore your symptoms and let your optician know.
Open-angle glaucoma risk factors
This type of glaucoma is most likely to develop in people of black-African or black-Caribbean heritage.
If you’re from these backgrounds, you’re at risk of open-angle from the age of 40.
Whereas, if you’re from any other ethnicity, you’re more at risk from the age of 60.
It’s interesting that this type of glaucoma only affects1-2% of the white population.
Angle-closure glaucoma risk factors
Angle-closure glaucoma is less common fin the UK than open-angle.
However, Eastern Asians are at greater risk of developing this form of glaucoma.
Your risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma also increases if you have an eye injury or eye surgery.
If you suffer from an eye injury, you should ring your optician and follow their advice.
Normal-tension glaucoma is an exception, as you can develop this type of glaucoma even if you have normal eye pressure.
Naturally, you can be at risk of normal-tension glaucoma and not other types of the condition.
Your risk of normal-tension also increases if you have cardiovascular disease or if you have Japanese heritage.
What to do if you’re concerned about your eye health
If you have concerns about your eyes, you should speak to your optician.
You should provide your full family history and answer all lifestyle questions honestly.
Protect your eyes
Proactive eye care is essential to keep your eyes healthy to try and reduce your chance of developing the condition.
However, practising daily eye care does not guarantee that you will avoid glaucoma.
We’re going to explore the positive benefits of quitting smoking, from caring for your eyes to your loved ones.
Benefits of quitting smoking
Smoking may be a social activity or a vice, but either way, it can cause some adverse side effects.
There are several benefits when you quit smoking.
For some people, a particular benefit may be their motivation to succeed.
You can improve your general health
One of the main benefits of stopping smoking is to enhance your general health.
By general health, we mean breathing, heart problems, stress, cancer, fertility, cholesterol, diabetes and white blood cell count amongst others.
You can find more general health benefits here!
Quitting smoking can benefit your eye health
So, by stopping smoking, it helps to preserve your vision and reduce the smoking-related harm to your eyes.
Did you know that smoking can quadruple your risk of sight loss?
The benefits to your eye health when you quit smoking are more significant than you’d think!
As you’ll most likely know, passive smoking (also known as second-hand smoking) can be harmful.
However, did you know that passive smoking is almost as damaging as smoking yourself?
Although smoking around others or indoors can seem harmless, passive smoking affects your pets and interior too.
No one wants yellow windows!
Save money when you quit smoking
When we talk about quitting smoking, people typically mention saving money first.
It’s easy for £10 here and there to seem minuscule, but it does add it up over a month or a year (or more!).
Find out how much you can save if you were to quit smoking today with this calculator!
Support to quit smoking
It can naturally be hard and scary to quit something, especially if it’s a coping strategy or recreational.
NHS Smokefree is a free service to help you quit smoking.
See the benefits yourself by starting your journey today!
With our daily eye care guide helping you to care for your eyes, we’re turning our attention to the expectations vs reality of eye care.
I won’t develop an eye condition
As I practice eye care daily, I won’t develop an eye condition.
Practising daily eye care doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop an eye condition.
While these steps may help to prevent eye conditions or delay their progression, it’s not an exact science.
It’s the same with exercise and eating well – neither guarantee that you won’t develop a health condition like diabetes.
Practising eye care means I have perfect eye health
After taking time to care for my eyes proactively, they’re now in perfect health.
Can we ever really achieve ‘perfect’ eye health?
Your eye health can improve as a result of daily eye care, but there are other factors at play.
Yet you may have good eye health!
Practising eye care for one month is plenty
After following eye care steps for a month, I can stop practising eye care, and my eye health will maintain itself.
Eye care is a one-time, short-term solution when your eye health or eyesight is poor.
Although it seems like caring for your eyes is a quick and easy fix, in reality, it’s quite the opposite.
Proactive eye care is a labour of love for your long-term benefit.
Following the steps when I remember is enough
I follow the eye care steps now and then when I remember, and my eyes are in the best of health.
I also pick and choose which steps to follow because I don’t have time for all of them.
It’s essential to care for your eyes every day and to stick to the advice.
Although on-and-off eye care is long-term, it’s more beneficial when it’s consistently practised.
Ultimately, you can help to maintain your eyesight by improving your eye health.
Our eye care tips can help you to see better and live better for longer.
You’re now more prepared to care for your eyes after learning about the expectations vs reality of eye care!
Take a moment to ask yourself, when did you last have your eyes tested?
Your answer may surprise you!
When did you last have your eyes tested?
If you’re unsure of when you last had your eyes tested, you should ring your optician to find out when your next sight test is due.
If your answer is ‘over two years ago’, then you should also ring your optician to book a sight test.
Moreover, if your answer is ‘never’, then you should definitely book a sight test with your local optician!
There’s nothing to be nervous about – it’s better late than never!
What is a sight test?
A sight test is an essential check-up for your eyes.
It’s important to have a sight test even if your eyes seem fine.
Most importantly, the more you tell the optician, the better their advice and the more accurate your prescription will be.
How often should I have a sight test?
You should have a sight test every two years unless your optician recommends otherwise.
Will a sight test hurt?
Having a sight test doesn’t physically hurt.
It’s common to feel visual discomfort as you readjust to light after the sight test is complete.
Book a sight test with your optician today!
You may put off visiting your optician for a number of reasons, such as your eyes seem fine or they don’t hurt, your glasses do the job or you have too much on.
While naturally, we don’t want to hear that something’s wrong, a sight test helps to diagnose eye conditions early.
The earlier an eye condition is caught, the sooner treatment can begin!
However, this is only possible if you have a regular sight test.
Going for your first sight test can be unnerving if you don’t know what to expect, including whether a sight test is painful.
So, we’re going to answer this question to help relieve your fears!
You may have heard stories about different eye drops or procedures, and you don’t want any of that.
As a result, you never have a sight test.
So, is a sight test painful?
The good news is that a sight test is not painful.
It’s common for your eyes to take a few moments to readjust once the lights in the room come back on.
You’ll likely see dark patches in your vision while your eyes readjust.
However, your vision should return to normal once you leave the consultation room.
If you have concerns about your eyesight during or after your sight test, you should tell the optician.
Eye pressure test
Usually, the test involves blowing a puff of air on your eye – this is known as non-contact tonometry.
This test does not hurt, but it may tickle or make you jump.
Will the optician touch my eye?
The optician won’t touch your eye with his or her finger or equipment (with exception to contact tonometry which isn’t common).
Equipment such as a slit lamp will help your optician look into your eye to see your retina and optic nerve.
So, now that we’ve established that a sight test isn’t painful, you should book a sight test with your local optician today!
As we expand our ‘in focus’ series, we’re answering the question “what is refractive error?”.
What is refractive error?
Refractive error is the name for a number of eye disorders that are the result of irregular eye shapes.
When light enters your eyes, the shape of your eye may prevent the light from focussing on your retina correctly.
So, the information that your brain receives may lack clarity, or your brain may work harder to correct the image.
As a result, you may experience some symptoms.
Types of refractive error
There are four types of refractive error:
Myopia, or nearsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects far away.
Hyperopia, or shortsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects close-up.
Astigmatism can distort your eyesight for objects both far and near.
Presbyopia can make it difficult to read or see detail. However, presbyopia develops with age and usually affects people over 40.
Symptoms of uncorrected refractive error
There are several symptoms of the condition, and you may experience some or all symptoms, or none at all.
Blurry vision may make it difficult to see objects both near or far (or both).
You may experience headaches as your eyes are working harder to focus and adjust.
Your eyes may feel tired or strained as a result of trying so hard to focus.
You may squint your eyes as your eyes are working hard to focus.
You may not necessarily realise that you are experiencing these symptoms at the time.
However, as some of the symptoms can indicate other eye conditions or general health conditions, you mustn’t self-diagnose.
You should attend your regular sight test to monitor these symptoms or treat any refractive error.
Do you know how often you should have a sight test?
Treating the condition
The treatment to manage refractive error includes wearing glasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery.
However, uncorrected refractive error (i.e. wearing the wrong glasses or an old prescription) means vision will remain poor.
That’s why it’s vital to wear your glasses or contact lenses if you need them!
You can keep your prescription up-to-date by attending your regular sight test and updating your glasses as advised by your optician.
If you have any concerns, you should speak to your optician.