The Diabetes Epidemic

Diabetes is regarded as the biggest health epidemic of the modern era.

More than 20 years ago, in 1994, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s declared that diabetes had reached epidemic proportions. Get the latest research information from CDC here.

They reported then that it should be considered a major public health problem. Now, more than 20 years later, diabetes is raging out of control with the incidence of type 2 Diabetes more than tripling in that time.

Tragic Experience

In Australia, our First Nation People are at the greatest risk as they are “four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and much more likely to develop serious diabetes-related complications. The gap in health outcomes for indigenous Australians is greatest in diabetes,” Professor Greg Johnson, CEO Diabetes Australia.

Wiradjuri woman Dr Tamara Power, member of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Nurses and Midwives working at the University of Technology Sydney, is one of Australia’s leading First Nations nurse academics.

Her experience with diabetes has been tragic.

“A pregnant cousin of mine, who lives with type 2 diabetes, gave birth to a full-term, stillborn baby and that was partly due to complications from high blood glucose levels during pregnancy,” Dr Power said.

“I have many family members and friends who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are living with severe complications like cardiac and renal disease. As a First Nations person you generally know a lot of people with diabetes, that’s the reality of the diabetes epidemic.”

Type 2 diabetes: Leading Cause of Blindness

Eye surgeon and Australian of the Year, Dr. James Muecke, blames poor dietary guidelines which recommend low fat, high carb diets, as key reasons for Australia’s obesity problem – which effects 67% of Australians – and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

If obesity is eradicated we can reduce the number of people who get type 2 diabetes by over 40%.

Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Diabetic Retinopathy

A complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, the most widespread form of diabetic eye disease which can lead to vision loss. It is estimated that between 25 to 35% of people who have diabetes suffer from some form of diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is an insidious disease. High sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina which, over time, leads to vision loss.

Detection

There may be no obvious symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

The only way you can find out if you have diabetic retinopathy is from a comprehensive eye examination. It is a simple test where the optometrist dilates your pupils in order to see details inside your eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms include:

  • Blurred, distorted or patchy vision (that cannot be corrected with prescription glasses)
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching television, and recognising people
  • Being overly sensitive to glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night

Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is critical in order for the disease to be treated. By doing this you can reduce the incidence of severe vision loss by 95 percent.

Diabetes can cause serious health problems. It is important that people who live with diabetes see their local Eyecare Plus optometrist every year for a comprehensive eye test so that diabetic retinopathy can be identified and treated early.

Summer Eye Protection

Sunglasses are an essential part of any wardrobe, particularly in summer.

Invented in China in the 12th century sunglasses moved into the mainstream during the ‘roaring 20s’ when actors wore them for eye protection from the bright klieg lights on movie sets and to shield their identity when out in public. Initially they were considered a fad but as they became more embedded into popular culture, sales of sunglasses soared.

Today, no wardrobe is complete without a pair of stylish sunnies.

Aside from cutting out glare and being fashionable, there are many other important reasons to wear sunglasses.

Preventing Eye Injuries and Serious Eye Problems

Most of us understand the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation but constant exposure to UV rays can cause some serious eye problems including cataracts, pterygiums, photokeratitis, macular degeneration, cancer of the conjunctiva and skin cancer of the eyelids.

In Australia, we are more prone than other countries to sun damage.

Eyelid Protection

Because Australia is close to the equator, has a high proportion of clear blue skies and low pollution, we have the highest levels of UV radiation in the world and, as a result, one of the highest rates of skin cancer.

UV levels cannot be felt on your skin. They are not connected to temperature, can be dangerous on cold or hot days and are highest in the middle of the day from 10am and 2pm (or 11am and 3pm during daylight saving).

 Whilst our eyes are sensitive to UV so too is the skin around our eyes, with the upper and lower eyelids vulnerable to skin cancers.

Wearing UV-protective wraparound sunglasses with large lenses can not only protect your eyes, but they will protect the skin around your eyes as well. They serve to block out light and glare from the side, as well as the front.

Selecting the Right Sunglasses

When you buy a pair of sunglasses in Australia, they need to have a mandatory classification labelled and tested according to the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 1067.1:2016.

Specifically, the best rating for sunglasses that provide eye protection from UV rays are rated with a lens category of 2 (medium protection) or 3 (highest protection).

The sunglasses safety standards are set out in the Consumer Goods (Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles) Safety Standard legislation.

Sunglass Classifications

  • Lens category 0: Fashion spectacles. These are not sunglasses and have a very low ability to reduce sun glare. They glasses provide little or no UV protection.
  • Lens category 1: Fashion spectacles. These too are not sunglasses. They provide limited sun glare reduction and some UV protection, but it is minimal.
  • Lens category 2: Sunglasses. This is the minimum eye protection from the sun. These sunglasses provide medium level sun glare reduction and good UV protection.
  • Lens category 3: Sunglasses. These are the sunglasses you want to look out for. Level 3 sunglasses provide a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection.
  • Lens category 4: Sunglasses. These are special-purpose sunglasses which provide a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. These glasses should not be worn while driving.

These standards not only refer to fashion sunglasses but to all framed or rimless sunglasses, clip-ons or slip-ons, children’s sunglasses, and light tint sunglasses.

Your local Eyecare Plus optometrist has a very good understanding of what type of eyewear are best to suit your needs.

Use it or Lose it

Fewer Australians have been getting their eyes tested this year.

According to Medicare there has been a significant drop in the number of people seeing their optometrist.

Optometry consultations have dropped by 7% due to COVID. And, alarmingly, amongst some of the most vulnerable people who need eye health assistance, low vision consultations are down by 20%.

These drops in eye health care are concerning to Optometry Australia, the peak optometry group in Australia.

Patients have been putting off important eye health appointments until after COVID but as lockdowns around the country have continued to drag on, by putting optometry appointments on hold people have been placing their eye health at risk.

Whilst many eye conditions have subtle symptoms, the seriousness of a potentially vision threatening disease can only be seen during an eye examination.

Any changes to your vision need to be discussed with your optometrist.

Use Your Health Cover

If you haven’t seen your optometrist this year, and you are one of the nearly 50% of people who have private health cover, you have an even greater incentive to get your eyes checked as majority of private health fund benefits may expire at the end of December.

You have been paying premiums all year, so take advantage of the benefits your health fund makes available to you. Now is a best time to focus on your eye health and take advantage of your optical benefits.

Health funds do not allow us to roll over our benefits each year. Once 1 January rolls around the benefits that you did not use the year before will lapse.

It is important to have your eyes checked every two years because your prescription can change. And, as we get older our eyes are prone to eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The earlier these conditions are found, the more expedient the treatment.

See Clearer

If you have not had your script checked in a while you will be surprised to discover how much lens technology has improved. Today, lenses are much thinner and lighter with a wide choice of lens coatings.

Lenses not only help you see the world more clearly, but they can also be personalised to your individual needs. Aside from being thinner and lighter they come with anti-reflective and scratch resistant coatings. They can reduce the effect of harmful UV rays, block out blue light glare from computer screens and photochromic lenses can transition from clear to dark when you walk outside.

How to Use Your Rebate

There are many ways to use your health fund rebate.

Who doesn’t need a spare pair of reading glasses at home! Now is the best time to get that extra pair so that you don’t spend another afternoon turning the loungeroom upside down looking for your reading glasses.

What about a pair of prescription glasses for sport? What about contact lenses? If you have yet to try on a pair of contact lenses now is a good time. Did you know that you can try a trial set of contact lenses at no charge?

There are many eye health services and ‘no gap’ frames you can claim on your private health insurance.

As Covid restrictions to the number of people allowed inside a practice may still apply in some states it is important to call first to book an appointment with your local Eyecare Plus optometrist.

All health funds are welcome at all Eyecare Plus optometry practices. Book an appointment today.

The Avoidable Blindness

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on 14 November each year. This year, WDD honours the role of nurses who work with people living with diabetes.

Around the world nurses account for more than half of the health workforce. People with diabetes benefit enormously from the education and support they receive from nurses and other health care workers, including optometrists, in managing the impact of this debilitating disease.

Cost of Diabetes

In Australia, it is estimated that 1.8 million people live with diabetes, with 1.3 million diagnosed and an estimated 500,000 undiagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Every five minutes in Australia someone is diagnosed with diabetes, and a staggering 25 per cent of adults over the age of 25 are living with either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

The disease accounts for more than 10 per cent of all Australian deaths, making it the seventh most common cause of death by disease in Australia.

Enough is Enough

Dr. James Muecke, Australian of the Year and ophthalmologist has declared war on diabetes.

This deadly disease is now the leading cause of blindness in Australian adults.

Dr. Muecke has had enough.

Every year, Dr. Muecke sees an increasing number of patients with eye disease due to diabetes.

It is upsetting to see so many people suffering from the disease particularly as “type 2 diabetes is a preventable, dietary disease,” he says.

“We should not be seeing these blinding, maiming and deadly consequences at all. It’s time to put a stop to it.”

Sugar is Toxic

To reduce the impact of diabetes, Dr. Muecke says we need to go back to the root cause of the disease to “challenge our perception of sugar, our relationship with sugar and the impact it has on the development of diabetes. I want to encourage hard hitting strategies to build greater awareness of the detrimental role sugar plays in our society.”

“Sugar is as toxic and addictive as nicotine.”

By reducing our consumption of “sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed products containing these substances (we) can prevent type 2 diabetes. It’s proven and powerful.”

Through diet and early detection of diabetic eye disease, loss of vision from diabetes can be prevented. Sadly, once vision has been lost it cannot be reversed.

Early detection, by having a regular eye examination is the best way to identify problems before they get worse, and to ensure early treatment.

Diabetes causes far too many Australians to lose their sight each year, but this can be avoided by cutting out sugar from your diet and by having regular eye tests.

Surprisingly, Dr Muecke says that of the 1.8 million people in Australia who have any type of diabetes, “less than half are having their regular eye checks, which is why it’s become such a major cause of blindness in our society.”

If you have diabetes, to avoid diabetic retinopathy, it is important to be proactive about booking an annual appointment to see your local Eyecare Plus Optometrists.

Healthy Heart, Healthy Eyes

Most of us understand that the best way to look after our heart is to reduce cholesterol, eat a balanced healthy diet, do regular physical activity, get a good night’s sleep, and avoid smoking and drinking.

We know that if we do these things over weeks, months, and years, we will reap the rewards and reduce the risk of having a heart attack and developing heart disease.

What you may not know is that by having a healthy heart you are also reducing the risk of eye disease.

It is true: the eyes really are the windows to the heart.

The Heart and Eye Study

A recently published study states that if we look after our heart, by leading a healthy lifestyle, we are much less likely to develop eye diseases, particularly diabetic retinopathy.

There is an “association between eye diseases and individual lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, or hypertension,” explained lead investigator Duke Appiah, PhD, Texas Tech University, USA.

“It is known that these metrics of ideal cardiovascular health do not work alone and may interact additively to result in diseases. However, prior to our research, no other studies have comprehensively evaluated the association of all the metrics of ideal cardiovascular health with ocular diseases.”

At least one billion around the world suffer from moderate to severe eye diseases as a result of refractive error, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, trachoma and near vision impairment caused by unaddressed presbyopia. Eye problems that could be prevented or treated.

The study highlighted that “primary prevention and early detection approaches of ocular diseases are important, considering that over half of all deaths from ocular diseases and cardiovascular diseases are known to be preventable,” commented co-investigators Noah De La Cruz, MPH, and Obadiah Shabaneh, MPH, Department of Public Health, Texas Tech University, USA.

A Healthy Heart Equals Less Eye Problems

People with the best possible heart health have a 97 per cent lower chance of getting diabetic retinopathy compared with those with poor cardiovascular health. Healthy lifestyle practices also reduced the risk of getting age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

It can be difficult to know whether you have any form of eye disease as many symptoms do not show up in the early stages. As a result, people may not seek treatment even though options are available.

It is important that patients have regular eye checks to screen for eye diseases. Because there is a substantial connection between eye health and cardiovascular diseases, it is important to incorporate eye health appointments with your optometrist in with all other clinical appointments, especially those relating to screenings for any form of heart disease.

Hopefully, the results of this study will encourage people to adhere to healthier lifestyles and behavioural habits to help reduce the impact of age-related heart and eye diseases.

Book a regular appointment with your local Eyecare Plus Optometrists so they can detect and treat preventable eye diseases.

The Process of Diagnosing Dry Eye Disease

With no single treatment regime, dry eye disease, is difficult to treat creating frustration for both optometrists and patients.

Early recognition of the symptoms of dry eye disease are important so do not let the discomforting symptoms continue until they become painful and debilitating.

 We speak with two Eyecare Plus optometrists, Glenn Vessey and Denise Lee, who discuss the treatment process of dry eye disease.

Often underdiagnosed, dry eye is quite a common eye condition. Many people who have the dry eye symptoms are often not aware that they have them. Studies show that the prevalence of dry eye increases with age, occurring in up to 30% of elderly people.

The Treatment Processes

Glen Vessey, an optometrist for more than 30 years, has been particularly focussed on the treatment of dry eye disease since 2013.

“The equipment and technology we have to diagnose and treat dry eye disease has improved markedly over the last five to10 years… and we are steadily finding new ways to improve its diagnosis and management.

“It is essential to accurately diagnose the condition. Correct classification of the type of dry eye is equally important,” says Glenn.

During the eye examination, your optometrist will look for signs of the disease and ask you questions about their symptoms, including grading their symptoms.

“Once the optometrist accurately diagnoses and classifies the condition, the next step is to determine the most suitable treatment regimen for each patient,” says Glenn.

This leads to a more detailed discussion about dry eye disease and prescribed management.

Optometrist Denise Lee says that “mild cases of dry eye disease are prescribed lubricating eyedrops, whereas moderate to severe cases are invited to return for further testing to ascertain what other management and treatment options should be done.”

Treatment options include “a variety of medications (both prescribed and over the counter), Intense Regulated Pulse Light (IRPL), Blephasteam, heat compresses on the eyes, expression of the meibomian glands and natural oral supplements to improve tear production,” says Glenn.

“As a chronic eye condition,” Denise points out that it is important for patients to be educated, specifically, about “how to slow down its progression”.

Dry eye disease can become “debilitating for some, and difficult to manage in the advanced stage,” she says.

Treatment Improvements

In the past, management for dry eye disease involved lubricating drops, gels, and ointments, as well as bandage contact lenses and punctal plugs. Glenn Vessey states that, “if we diagnosed someone with dry eye we simply treated the condition by giving the patient additional (artificial) tears, which only treated dry eye symptoms, not the cause of the dry eye (the tear glands not producing enough tears).”

Now there are many more treatment options for dry eye.

“Now we identify those patients who would benefit from unblocking, stimulating, and rejuvenating the tear glands; reversing the process by which the glands become blocked, stop producing tears, atrophy and eventually die off. This not only provides improvement in the dry eye symptoms but reverses the deterioration of the disease over time.”

Denise Lee says that, “modern day management encompasses a myriad of options depending on the type and severity of dry eye disease”.

Treatment options today include “meibomian gland expression, intense pulse light, scleral contact lenses, amniotic membranes and drops, blood serum drops, and new formula eyedrops that target inflammation, infection, and immune suppression.

As well as these, Denise Lee uses “LipiFlow and Rexon-Eye dry eye treatments”. LipiFlow is an automated thermal heating massaging system and Rexon-Eye is a non-invasive cellular regeneration treatment.

Individual Treatment Options

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease.

The treatment of each person with dry eye disease is unique to their own situation.

Glenn Vessey implores that, “accurate diagnosis of the type of dry eye is essential.” Once that is achieved the best possible treatment can be tailored to the individual patient’s condition using a combination of treatment options.

When seeing an optometrist, you need to ensure that “they are continually updating their knowledge and skills relating to diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease,” says Denise.

Dry eye is one of the most underrated diseases.

Symptoms in severe cases can be debilitating and have a detrimental impact on a patient’s lifestyle. Like many diseases, prevention is the best form of treatment.

If you want to find out more about dry eye disease book an appointment to see your local Eyecare Plus optometrist.

The Benefits of Wearing Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are a great alternative to spectacles, and for many people, they are the preferred vision option.

As a result of improvements in technology almost any vision problem can be corrected with contact lenses.

There have been enormous advances made in contact lens material and design, including the use of improved silicone hydrogel lens materials, advances in daily disposables for presbyopia and soft lenses that correct both astigmatism and presbyopia.

The latest contact lenses are comfortable and convenient to use. They are easy to adapt to, can correct most vision problems and are able to be worn from a young age. Many reasons why more than 680,000 Australians aged between 15 and 64 years wear contact lenses.

There are many other benefits to wearing contact lenses, including:

Full Range of Vision
Contact lenses provide you with a full range of vision, with no frames to obstruct your vision, particularly important when driving a car.

No Fog
Contact lenses, unlike spectacles, contact lenses do not fog up.

Wear Them Playing Sport
Contact lenses are perfect for sports and exercise.

More Natural Vision
Contact lenses move with your eye, which provides wearers with a more natural vision.

Daily to Extended Wear
Contact lenses can be worn daily or, in the case of extended wear every day, up to 30 days for some lenses.

Fashionable
Contact lenses are a good fashion choice. They will never clash with the clothing you wear, and many people feel that wearing contact lenses make them look better.

Surgery Alternative
Contact lenses offer a safe, effective, stable, and changeable alternative to refractive surgery.

During this time of COVID there has been some uncertainty based on confusion and misinformation as to whether it is still safe to wear contact lenses.

So, how can you be sure contact lenses are safe to wear?

The simple answer is to be vigilant about your hand hygiene.

We are all aware that practicing good hand hygiene helps protect us from the COVID-19.

This same hygiene practice should also be applied to the wearing of contact lenses.

Advice from Optometry Australia recommends to “always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after inserting and removing your contact lenses.”

As to some of the myths, a joint statement from contact lens experts puts paid to these:

Contact Lens Wear is Safe
Despite myths and misinformation contact lens wear remains a safe and highly effective form of vision correction for millions of people worldwide.

Proper Hand Washing is Essential
When using contact lenses, careful and thorough hand washing with soap and water followed by hand drying with unused paper towels is paramount. This should occur before every insertion and removal of contact lenses.

Disinfect Contact Lenses
Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect their monthly and two-week lenses according to manufacturer and eye care professional instructions.

Discontinue Lens Wear Only if Sick
Ceasing contact lens wear when sick is advised. This advice is consistent with guidance for other types of illness.

 

If you have further questions about contact lenses, contact your local Eyecare Plus optometrist.

Dry Eyes in the Age of Covid

Dry eye disease can be extremely frustrating and upsetting for people who suffer from it.

It is a multifactorial condition which affects one in five adults, caused by a chronic lack of moisture to the surface of the eye.

Dry eye symptoms can range from a combination of a stinging or burning feeling, occasional blurred vision, redness, constant tiredness (like you always need to close your eyes) and/or the feeling that you have something like an eyelash in your eye.

Dry Eye Treatment

Treatment for mild dry eye disease can be in the form of artificial tears which lubricate the surface of the eyes.

If you are on the computer for long periods, take a break and look into the distance for 20 to 30 seconds to give your eyes a break. By focusing on a computer screen for long periods most people will blink less. As a result, our eyes become dry. Make a deliberate decision to take breaks from the screen and blink. Blinking renews the tear film which prevents dry spots on the eyes.

Drinking plenty of water, especially in hot weather, can help decrease dry eye symptoms, as will supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids.

For those with more severe dry eye symptoms, as part of an ongoing treatment plan, steroid eye drops are used short-term to treat the root cause of the inflammation.

Other treatments for long-term dry eye sufferers include a warm compress to the closed eyelid to soften and unclog the meibomian glands and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment which flashes filtered wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the dilated blood vessels to reduce inflammation.

Mask Associated Dry Eye (MADE)

A new source of dry eye problem has arisen during the Covid pandemic – mask associated dry eye (MADE).

That is, a rise in dry eye cases due to the wearing of a poorly fitted face mask.

Wearing a mask helps to reduce the spread of the virus but can, if worn incorrectly, exacerbate dry eye symptoms when a person breathes out, spreading air upward toward the eyes.

Many people wearing a face mask for a long period of time who are not wearing their mask correctly, firmly against their face, are experiencing dry eye symptoms.

This is problematic, particularly for people who have an existing dry eye problem.

When wearing your mask, it is important to wear it snug against your face to help stop the air that you exhale from escaping upwards and over the surface of your eyes. If you wear a loose mask your breath will not only disperse out the sides but also upwards and across the ocular surface which could aggravate dry eye symptoms.

The Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) recommend some simple solutions that can help stop or reduce the severity of dry eye symptoms when wearing a mask.

Dry Eye Solution Tips

  1. Adjust your mask so that it fits firmly around your nose and under your eyes to stop your breath escaping upwards.
  2. Artificial tears will help to lubricate your dry eyes and maintain moisture on the outer surface of your eyes.
  3. Reduce the time you spend in air-conditioned environments
  4. Give your eyes regular breaks from digital devices.

Wearing a mask correctly has played a critical role in reducing transmission of the global virus pandemic.

If you have questions about dry eye symptoms make an appointment to see your local Eyecare Plus optometrist who can advise you on an appropriate treatment plan.

How to Stop your Spectacles Fogging Up

Wearing a mask is a way of life for many Australians but, for those who wear spectacles, a new problem has emerged out of Covid 19 – glasses fogging up.

When the New York Times asked readers for their questions about Covid 19, one of the most common was, “how do I solve the fogging problem”?

Fogging of the glasses has always been a problem for health care workers, one which now that it is in the public domain is causing many people a great deal of consternation.

The Fogging Problem

Fogging occurs when the warm air that we breathe out comes into contact with the cool surface of our spectacle lens and, as a result, forms condensation.

Whatever mask you wear, whether it is a cloth, homemade or a surgical mask, your glasses will more often than not, fog up. It is so annoying that many people give up wearing a mask altogether.

Some pundits suggest to just ‘breathe through your nose, not your mouth’. This will work for a short time but eventually your natural inclination is to go back to breathing through your mouth.

There are better ways to stop your glasses from fogging up.

Solving the Problem

If you do a Google search, you will find a plethora of articles and videos sharing tips and problem-solving hacks on how to demist your lenses. We tried many and came up with our own list of the most effective methods for keeping your glasses fog-free.

Mould the Wire

Press the wire at the top of the mask tight against the bridge of your nose and the top of your cheeks. You want to make sure that no warm air from your breath can escape. Then, place your glasses firmly over the top of your mask. The weight of your glasses against your mask will create a seal to stop the warm air from escaping.

Please note to always wash your hands with soap and water first before touching your mask.

Soap and Water

A time proven method used by surgeons who wear surgical masks all the time is to wash your glasses with soap and water gently and make sure not to leave any soap suds on your lens, shake off the excess water and let them air dry. The soap will then leave behind a thin film that acts as a fog barrier to prevent the lenses from misting up.

Folded Tissue

Fold a tissue horizontally a few times so that it is about one cm wide. Place it inside the top of your mask and against your nose bridge. This will help absorb the moisture from your breath and stop it from fogging your glasses. The tissue may shift, so if it does, staple it to the mask to keep it in place.

Surgical Tape

For those wearing a mask for long periods, place a strip of non-irritating white athletic or surgical tape across the top of the mask. The tape must be hypoallergenic and easy to remove. The tape will create a tight seal and also stops your mask from slipping down.

Band-Aid Solution

If there is no surgical tape on hand, try using a couple of band-aids instead. They will work nearly as well as surgical tape.

Tie Your Mask

To create a better seal, tighten your mask at the side by double looping the mask ties then hooking them over your ears. Your breath will then pass through the mask and not out the sides or the top.

Anti-fog Products

An anti-fog spray or wipes is an easy to use product made to disperse the fog droplets from your lenses. Spray on both sides of the lens after cleaning.

Take note that you may need to do this repeatedly as the fogging could return.

 Anti-fog Lenses

Lenses that are made with an anti-fog coating are designed primarily to provide anti-fog protection.

Contact Lenses

A complete solution to lenses fogging is to wear contact lenses. They avoid the issue of fogging all together. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting in your contact lenses.

It is a bit of trial and error. Try our tips and you will find a solution that works for you.

To find out more about anti-fog lenses and products or contact lenses contact your local Eyecare Plus Optometrists.

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses in Winter

It may seem counter intuitive to wear sunglasses in winter; however, health experts warn that wearing sunglasses during winter months is essential.

Sunglasses are not only an important fashion accessory; they provide eye protection from harmful UV rays which are there no matter the season and can be a lot worse in winter.

They also protect your eyes from wind and dust particles as well as glare, particularly when driving.

Winter Glare

Imagine driving home during winter without your sunglasses… very uncomfortable and somewhat dangerous trying to dodge the glare and intensity of the low winter sun!

If there are marks or dirt on your windscreen the glare becomes much worse as the light refracts off the surface which makes it harder to see.

The problem is that the majority of people still do not wear sunglasses in winter.

In fact, according to research conducted by Optometry Australia for the 2020 Vision Index, a staggering 76 per cent of Australians think wearing sunglasses in winter is unnecessary. Not only that but 10 percent do not know that you can buy sunglasses with UV protection.

In winter, the light that pours in through your windshield is a lot lower on the horizon than in summer. As a result of this angle the winter sun can cause intense glare when driving.

Damaging Ultraviolet (UV) Rays

Sophie Koh, Optometrist and Optometry Australia National Services Advisor, says that even on overcast and cold days that although we may not be able to see the sun “it’s there and so too are its damaging UV rays.”

“Just because the sun is behind the clouds, it doesn’t mean we should forget about protecting our eyes, especially when a staggering 90 per cent of the sun’s UV rays can filter through even the thickest cloud cover,” said Ms. Koh.

In winter UV levels are above three in many parts of Australia, which can place your eyes at risk of “short term or permanent damage – including cataracts, pterygium and photokeratitis,” says Ms Koh.

Winter Sun Eye Damage

Cataracts is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. It develops as we get older and is made worse by UV exposure. Wearing UV protected sunglasses during winter can substantially reduce the risk of cataracts.

Pterygium is a fleshy growth of tissue on the white of the eye that can extend over the cornea. It develops due to long term exposure to UV rays, wind, glare, and dust. It is also referred to as ‘Surfer’s Eye’ because surfers are in bright sunlight for long periods of the day and in the surf, which reflects UV rays. Pterygium is easily avoided by wearing UV sunglasses.

Photokeratitis, more commonly known as ‘Snow Blindness’, is an acute eye condition caused by overexposure to UV rays reflected off the snow and ice. Essentially, photokeratitis is the result of a sunburnt eye. It is a painful short term vision loss which rights itself in a day or two. Wearing UV sunglasses will protect you from this eye disease.

Stay sun smart in winter and always wear your sunglasses with UV protection when you are out and about.

If you have any questions about UV protection for the eyes, contact your local Eyecare Plus Optometrist.