So, if you are one of the unlucky people who suffer from the ‘not to be underestimated’ symptoms of this allergic reaction what can you do about it?
Hay fever can present itself in many ways. It can range from a little sniffle to a facial pain and a loss of your sense of smell. For our patients, it is the annual battle of how it affects their vision so this year, we thought we would try and get ahead of the game and give you some well tested solutions to the itchy and runny eye problem and give you some ideas of how you can control it.
It’s true that wearing sunglasses really is a great way to prevent your eyes from really kicking off at the first sign of a plant in full bloom! Wraparound sunglasses can act as a barrier to prevent the sticky pollen or spores from entering your eyes. Of course this won’t save you from the lovely bunch of flowers your kind friend sent you to say thank you!
Pollen is generally released at the beginning of the day between 8–10 am and early evening between 5-7 pm. This is because that is when the air is warming up and cooling down
If you suffer from hay fever you may want to think carefully about your holiday destination. It is usually best to avoid damp humid tropical climates as they are a haven for mites, mould and pollen. A trip to the seaside often offers suffers the best reprieve, being located around bays and having mild temperatures mean they are low on allergens and pollen.
If you usually wash your hair in the morning you could try changing the routine so that you wash it at night. Pollen is sticky and loves to attach itself to your hair. When you lie down and rest your head on the pillow you are also allowing pollen to rub off and into your eyes as you sleep at night. Many of us wake up with sore itcky eyes in the morning and this is one reason why. Worse than that – next day you go and put your head on the same pillow and repeat the exercise until it is bed linen washing day; so much easier to wash your hair than the bed every day!
Your furry friends love nothing better than to be outside enduring a good walk on the grass, weaving in and out of flower beds and then rolling on your carpet, jumping on your laps or begging for a stroke. They are the perfect carriers of pollen into your home and whilst you love them, you do have to think about what you can do to minimise the risk of increasing your allergic reactions. So, consider a HPEA high–efficiency particulate air filter to trap the allergens before they reach your eyes. Some vacuum cleaners also have these filters fitted.
Imagine just how much sticky pollen love shoes! Give them a good wipe and keep them on a matt out of your main living room to keep problems at bay.
There are quite a few products available to help you control the symptoms if you start feeling the effects.
This is the product that many reach for when their symptoms arrive and they effectively block the action of the chemical histamine which causes the irritation. It can also be taken as a preventative but as with every drug they do have side effects and you should check the package instructions carefully. The main side effect is often drowsiness and you can find more information about these drugs here:
2. Nasal decongestants
These can be useful if you get a blacked nose due to inflammations- they help reduce the swelling of blood vessels in the nose.
3. Lubricating eye drops.
As we have mentioned previously, pollen is sticky and when it is swept into our eyes we create tears to flush them out. Ironically this action also reduces the quality of our tears meaning that they still feel dry and sore; it’s a vicious circle.
Ocular lubricants such as Hyabak preservative free drops ; its formulation reduces redness and provides natural relief for a mild eye irritation and can also be used by contact lens wearers who suffer from hay fever.
4. Protect your nose
Smearing allergy gels or balms inside your nostrils can help as a barrier. Apply it before leaving home and regularly during the day if you blow your nose or sneeze.
5. Gentle cosmetics
Make up has a habit of dissolving and making you look a lot worse as it adds to the irritation of itchy eyes. Using hypo-allergenic cosmetics can help to reduce extra irritation and the panda eye look!
It’s worth mentioning that if eyes are particularly bad we specialise in prescribing anti- allergy eye drops which can work wonders to relieve symptoms.
Hay fever is a tough challenge for many and we hope these tips will help you cope with the sudden expected onslaught; I can feel my eyes itching just thinking about this!
The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) have recently published a report (called DEWS II) of the results of the efforts of 150 clinical and basic science research experts from around the world at an event in London. The clinicians utilised an evidence-based approach and a process of open communication, dialogue and transparency to increase our understanding of DED. This process required more than 2 years to complete.
Earlam and Christophers own Sarah Farrant, the UK’s Ambassador for TFOS, and acknowledged Dry Eye Disease specialist, presented the report findings to 70 attendees at the first of a series of roadshows at the London event.
Sarah spoke on ‘What does DEWS II mean for me in my practice?’ helping other practitioners to understand:
For more information on the TFOS DEWS 11 report visit: http://www.tfosdewsreport.org/
Do you have Dry, Scratchy, Red or Irritated eyes?
We are holding an Open Day on 6th June from 3-7 pm where you can come and meet with our experts, receive a free mini Tear Clinic consultation, a goodie bag which includes free samples and enjoy a canape and a glass of bubbles!
We hope to see you there!
The team at Earlam and Christopher
We are proud to be an independent local optician, and according to the experts at consumer body Which?, our pride is well-founded. In a comprehensive survey of UK opticians, independents topped the table with an average customer score of 87 per cent – significantly outperforming every national chain of opticians.
The Which? survey investigated seven key categories, including store environments and the thoroughness of eye tests. Local independents were the only opticians to achieve five stars in customer service, product quality and after sales. While independent opticians received a five-star rating for their store environment and customer service, some of the national chains were awarded just two stars.
There was little distinction between high-street chain opticians and retailer spin-off brands, whereas independent opticians achieved top ratings in five of the seven categories Which? assessed. The independents’ industry-leading 87 per cent customer score was calculated according to satisfaction levels during each respondent’s most recent visit.
This survey of almost 8,500 Which? members bears a striking resemblance to a similar report in 2014. The previous survey also concluded that local independent practices led the way for quality and service, recording similarly large rating gaps between independents and high street chains. It seems the benefits of using independent opticians remain as compelling as ever…
“Independent practices lead the way for quality and service”
Our noses and cheeks have different proportions to our faces when we’re little, and playgrounds are unforgiving environments in terms of wear and tear. Fortunately, we have plenty of experience taking those all-important measurements and matching our younger patients to suitable spectacles…
A comfortable fit is the most important aspect of choosing a child’s glasses, frames that pinch the nose or fall off all the time will likely end up getting ‘lost’ somewhere!
Eyes should be central within the lenses (both horizontally and vertically), while nose pads and arms should fit snugly without pinching. We can recommend frames that will complement the lenses required for your child’s prescription strength, and we can adjust frames to ensure an optimal fit. Slimmed-down lenses are good for reducing the visual impact of glasses, allowing a wider choice of frame designs.
Another vital attribute for children’s glasses is durability, so choose hardwearing frames that can cope with impacts and drops. Many modern frames have spring hinges, which allow the arms to bend outwards slightly without snapping; dedicated sports glasses can also withstand the worst impacts and stresses of physical exercise. Modern lenses are very durable, but anti-scratch coatings will keep them in pristine condition (and providing optimal vision correction) for even longer.
For more information or to book an eye test for your child click here.
I’ve worked with computers for many years now but just lately my eyes seem to get irritated more easily and feel at their worst by the end of the week. Is this linked to computer use or something else, and can I do anything to alleviate this?
Sarah Farrant, Optometrist and Dry Eye Specialist, is here to help.
Dry eyes are often a natural part of getting older, but they can also be exacerbated by lots of different things, like using computers. In fact, bad habits when using computers are some of the most common reasons for irritable, dry eyes.
Failing to take regular breaks from screens and using a computer for more than six hours a day means dry eye is a common problem. It’s caused by concentration and not blinking as often as we should. We develop dry spots on the surface of our eyes and suffer reflex tearing – watery tears that simply run off our eyes and do nothing to hydrate them.
Try following the 20:20:20 rule while you’re using the computer; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can also try preservative-free hydrating eye drops, such as the Hycosan range from Boots.
We now also supply special contact lenses for people who spend a lot of time at the computer screen – introducing Biofinity Energys Contact Lenses!
You could be mistaken for thinking that Optometrists of Taunton and Langport, Earlam & Christopher were just another high street optician; but you would be wrong.
This family business is home to some of the leading national experts in eye care.
Both Edward and Sarah Farrant are passionate about eye care and preventative treatment.
They have spent many extra hours undertaking additional qualifications and gaining experience in their chosen specialisms.
Sarah now sits on the National College of Optometrists and is Chair of the Somerset Local Optical committee. Edward also holds clinics in Bristol Eye Clinic, Musgrove Park Hospital and Weston General. He also runs the only myopia (short-sighted) treatment clinic in the area, working actively to prevent short-sight in children. Between them they manage some of the most uncomfortable and potentially debilitating eye conditions, which if left untreated can cause serious repercussions.
Earlam and Christopher have state of the art clinics with up-to date technology at their disposal to ensure that your eye sight could not be in better hands.
They have invested to meet their passion and mission statement of being a family run practice which offers a complete dispensing service alongside comprehensive eye tests, checking every aspect of eye care to ensure your vision is as good as it can get
“As a family run business, we love working locally within our own community with families living in the area. There is so much more to eye care now than just an annual eye test and a pair of glasses. We can prevent problems; treat serious conditions which would once have led to blindness and spot signs of other health problems in time to do something.
“Many people still don’t know that there are ways to prevent their child’s eyesight from deteriorating if caught quickly enough. It still amazes me when I hear new patients tell me they have been told there is no treatment for their dry or watery eyes or that they haven’t been told what preventative precaution’s they can take to avoid macular degeneration. And these are just a couple of the things we routinely do,” explains Sarah.
The company has invested heavily to ensure that they have the best possible equipment that will identify future health issues using an OCT (Optical Coherence Topography) scanner.
Edward tells us why this is so important:
“OCT, is a technique that uses the very latest in technology and allows us to see beneath the surface of your eye. We are the first practice in the entire South West to have invested in the latest 3D Triton Optical Coherence Topography (OCT) for our Taunton practice. We are now very pleased to also welcome OCT technology in our Langport practice.
“OCT takes 3D cross sectional scans of the retina in the back of your eyes. This allows us to instantly gain a very accurate record of your current eye health. With this baseline we can look for changes over time and diagnose a large number of common conditions, often years in advance, as well as giving an invaluable record of your eye health.
“It is completely painless, quick and allows us to detect a wide range of common and not so common eye conditions.
”We are not your average optician and we like to think we give far from average service. All our staff are very highly trained and proud of the fact that they can go the extra mile for our patients. It’s a small thing, but we even give free cleaning solutions to our patients to keep their spectacle glasses smear-free, and they can just pop in for more when they run out!”
To experience Earlam & Christopher’s unique care and speak to highly qualified opticians about your vision, please contact….
Well done to the whole team for working so hard to be the best in the area!
We are very excited to announce that despite strong competition from many local businesses, we are finalists in the Taunton Deane Business Awards 2016. The awards aim to recognise the best businesses in Taunton. The results will be announced in mid June. We all have our fingers crossed!