Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2013’

Acanthamoeba Keratitis.

Halloween Again

It is Halloween again – maybe it is time to hire that special costume from the fancy dress shop. If they can sell you contact lenses to finish off your costume, unless you can supply a prescription for that exact type of lens (and even if you can, unless their sale is personally supervised by a registered Optometrist or Doctor) THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW!

There is a hire shop in Navan that flouts the law by claiming that the contact lenses are governed by the E.U. cosmetics law, which is incorrect – there is no such cosmetics law governing contact lenses – they are either misinformed, or they are lying – either way they are not allowed to supply contact lenses.

They are breaking a law which was implemented because it is dangerous to wear contact lenses which are incorrectly fitted to your eyes and because they did not teach you how to care for the lenses and how to safely apply them and remove them from your eyes.

Remember that after a few drinks, it may be more difficult to get those lenses out that you initially expected, you should not sleep in them, and you should not overwear them, particularly on your first wear.

A little lad playing with a laser pointer.

Halloween Dangers

Laser CherubMy family and I went to the Virginia Pumpkin Festival on Sunday afternoon, all the kids enjoyed the parade and the fireworks afterwards. It was good early evening family fun.

I was less happy about being opposite a couple of little “cherubs”, perhaps no more than 10 years old, at least 2 of which had laser pointers, and were indiscriminately pointing them at the performers, each other, and everyone else around. I personally got a blinding eyeful not long after we chose our spot. The lasers they were playing with were the red version at least, which are less damaging to eyes than the green and blue ones available. I am unaware of any permanent harm to myself, but were they not across two barriers and a parade…..

We swiftly moved to another spot, but parents – someone is going to get seriously damaged. Do not buy your child a laser pointer – they are for presentations only, not for Halloween.

What’s done is done, but a quick mention – Halloween isn’t over yet.

BTI E1382799234766

International Brain Tumour Awareness Week

BTINext week (Sunday 27th October – Saturday 2nd November 2013) is International Brain Tumour Awareness Week, a subject that is unfortunately never far from our minds here. Brain Tumours are fortunately rare, but according to BTI there are approximately 500 new diagnoses of primary brain tumour every year. (I assume that is in Ireland).

BTI have a fundraising 10K run and 5K walk arranged for Sunday 3rd November in Phoenix park.

More details of the event can be found on the BTI website.

We received another notification about this from the Association of Optometrists, who included these links about a couple of cases where brain tumours happened to be initially detected/suspected during an eye examination.

Woman diagnosed with a brain tumour following a routine eye test (Daily Mail Online).

Girl aged 10 diagnosed with brain tumour (Daily Mail Online).

We had one similar to this about 2 years ago in Bailieborough, but fortunately, although the young girl did require urgent brain surgery, she was found not to have a tumour.

We will not be running, but will be walking, hope to see you there!

Happy Halloween

Bank Holiday Weekend

Happy Halloween


As always, being a bank holiday, our practices will be closed on Saturday 26th as well as the Monday Bank Holiday.

Hope you have a good weekend!



A child wearing a patch

Squints, turns and lazy eyes.

I had a young boy in for an eye exam today, booked in because he had failed his school vision screening. When his mother booked the appointment, I got the impression that she thought that his eyes were fine, except for the fact that he has a squint, “but he has always had a squint.”

Any optometrist’s immediate thought would be that a squint would be an obvious fail on a school screening, as squints are not normal. Some squints might not be easily detected at a screening- sometimes squints can be very difficult to detect without experience, but what is detected is the lazy eye which usually results from the squint- if a child learns that they can see better with one eye than both together (as two misaligned eyes cause double vision, and confusion- an inability to tell which object is in the straight ahead position), eventually the brain might habitually ignore one eye, and it will become “lazy”.

A squint is not the only possible cause of a lazy eye – if there is a significant difference between the sharpness of the eyes, again the brain might ignore the blurred eye. This is less common than a squint as the cause of a weakness, but often there is no way the parents could possibly suspect that there might be an issue.

Lazy eyes need to be detected as young as possible (ideally they should be prevented)- even if the bad eye cannot be improved to the same standard as its fellow, any improvement which can be gained (usually quite quickly – as a young child) may prevent months or years of difficulty as an adult, who may be unable to work or drive if the good eye was damaged by accident or disease. Lazy eye treatment may also remove restrictions which might be imposed in certain career choices, such as those requiring Class 2 driving licences, and many of the forces.

I had reason to contact Meath County clinic about this young chap, and was informed that there was an approximate waiting list of at least 12, probably more like 18 months before he could be seen –  this is unacceptable, as a problem like this will be much more difficult to fix by an age of seven. He will be 6 to 6 1/2 when he is eventually seen. There is no point in screening the vision of school children if there is no sensible referral pathway available for those who fail.

This post is just to mention to parents that even if you THINK you see your child’s eye turning (perhaps it may be more obvious when they are tired) or you suspect one eye is poorer than the other, you should get this checked out as soon as possible – it is not normal, it will not go away on it’s own, and it will almost always result in a poor eye if nothing is done to intervene. Children rarely complain about visual difficulty – they have no reference to know that having a poor eye is not normal.

Parents – it is up you you!

Local eyecare for all the family