Technology and products shaping our profession . . .
EyeZen Start - lenses for the digital age
With the introduction of computers and smart phones, over the last three decades, how we use our eyes has changed dramatically. We spend far more time looking at and focused on devices that are close up and this places additional strain on our eyes. Our eyes have not adapted or evolved to this new normal yet, so many people are increasingly suffering the effects of accumulated eye strain. EyeZen Start lenses are designed to relieve the strain using unique lens technology that considers 2 reference points, for far away distant objects and close up. The whole lens surface is optimised according to object distance and gaze direction, bringing correction throughout the lens and reducing distortions and aberrations. The manufacturer, Essilor, calls this technology DualOptim and we will be very interested to see how well it performs.
Digital Slip Lamps
The use of slit-lamps has been a common feature in eye examinations for many years. These biomicroscopes allow your Optometrist to view each eye in finite detail. Until recently, there was no way of recording what was seen, which made comparing current to previous views nearly impossible. Enter the digital slip-lamp; a more powerful biomicroscope with built in digital image capture. Now we can photographically record new eye problems and closely monitor progressive eye conditions such as Neo-vascularization (new blood vessels at the margins of the cornea) or Pterygium (A growth on the outer layer of the eye that can damage the cornea). With its 8.3 megapixel digital camera and integration into our patient record software, all manner of eyelid, corneal and internal ocular imaging can be saved and compared to at subsequent visits. In the last few months we have invested in a number of these new digital slit-lamps; further enhancing the level of clinical service available at NHK Opticians.
Transitions XtraActive Polarized Lenses
For those of a certain generation, you’ll remember the old Reactolite lenses; the first commercially available light-reactive lens. In those days they were made of glass but by the early 1990’s, we began to see resin light-reactive lenses appear. Although the performance of these lenses has improved dramatically since then, partly down to the research done by companies like Transitions, light-reactive or photochromic lenses, as we like to call them, have changed very little. Traditionally the molecules on the surface of the lens change when exposed to UV light sources, like the sun. About a decade ago we saw the first extra active lenses appear. These also react to normal ambient light and have helped solve an age-old issue with traditional lenses not working so well when driving, due to the filtering in modern car windscreens. In 2022, Transitions Optical launched a new revolutionary version of their highly successful “Xtra Active” lens, this time with a polarizing filter that increases as the lens darkens. We’ve tried them and they really are as good as they sound. We currently offer them as single vision or Varilux branded varifocal lenses.
Optical CT Scans
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), or Optical CT Scan as we like to call it, is a non-invasive imaging technology; using light waves to image a cross-section of the retinal and nerve fibre layers at the back of your eye. Until more recently, this type of technology was the preserve of Ophthalmology departs in hospitals, but it has now become more widely available. Before OCT imaging, your Optometrist could only see a two-dimensional view of your retina and yet, many eye conditions and ocular diseases occur within the retina with little or now sign until it’s too late. OCT allows us to see three-dimensionally and in great detail. There are distinct advantages for patients at risk of developing glaucoma and with the ability to measure nerve fibre layer thickness, we can now monitor for the early indications of macula disease and refer for early treatment. OCT imaging also allows us to diagnose otherwise difficult to see conditions like: diabetic macula odema, retinal detachment, sub-retinal fluid and epithelial detachment. Being able to accurately diagnose such conditions means our referrals are more accurate and treatment can be started sooner. We are currently investing in OCT technology and expect all our practices to be offering an enhanced eye examination, including Optical CT Scan, by early 2023.
MiyoSmart Myopia Control Spectacle Lenses
It is estimated up to 5 billion people could be effected by short-sightedness (Myopia) by 2050. The most rapid increase is being seen in children, especially in those with a short-sighted parent. If left untreated, myopia can lead to lasting vision problems. Until recently, the only options available that your Optometrist could recommend for helping slow the progression of myopia were contact lenses or Orthokeratology (EyeDream OrthoK); an effective myopia control therapy that we continue to offer now. Enter MiyoSmart, a myopia control spectacle lens from vision pioneers Hoya. This lens is based on Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segment (D.I.M.S.) technology; a ring shaped treatment zone at the center of the lens designed to slow down myopia progression. Extensive clinical trials have shown this to be an effective treatment and it is an ideal alternative for children unwilling to try contact lenses or Eyedream OrthoK. All our Qualified Dispensing Opticians are certified to supply and fit MiyoSmart spectacle lenses.
Contact Lens Technology
Water Gradient Contact Lenses
For quite some time soft contact lens materials have remained very similar. You would either be wearing hydrogel or silicon hydrogel and although different manufacturers offered slightly different fitting parameters, there was not a great deal between them. Enter the Water Gradient contact lens, a lens with increased water content near the outer lens surface that provides a cushion of moisture and SmarTears technology that releases phosphatidylcholine, an ingredient that helps stabilize the lipid layer of your tear film. This new lens technology, marketed as Total 1 Dailies, has proven in practice to be effective for sensitive wearers and those wanting longer wear times during the day. Currently available in daily single vision and daily multifocal options, we expect to see a monthly version by early 2023.