Contact Channel Magazine

OPTOMETRY & EYEWEAR with Melissa Hay, Visique Milford

Optometry & eyewear with Melissa Hay, Visique Milford Optometrists

Last month, I had a rather embarrassing moment. I went with my family to a Gary McCormick live comedy show – and you can guess who he pulled out of the crowd. I happened to be sitting in his direct line of sight – you would think I would know better. I felt a little bit sorry for him, as he asked my occupation, to which I said Optometrist. Well, lets be honest, there is nothing humorous about the job I do, so he couldn’t quip at that. But, then he asked about eating Spinach – as his optometrist in Christchurch had said it was good for his eyes. And, it is true – Spinach is a great way to get the vitamins that our retina needs to stay healthy. It contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene which have been proven to aid the prevention of Macular Degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects elderly people, where the central part of their vision becomes damaged. This is a devastating eye disease and affects many older people in New Zealand. So, before you plan your dinner tonight, think about Spinach and whether you can cook it your way to eye health.

How old does my daughter need to be before she can consider contact lenses? - Question sent in by G.Harvey of Milford.

This is always a difficult question, and really depends on your daughter’s eye condition and also her own maturity. Contact lenses are great – they offer you so much flexibility to correct your eyesight. They are great for anyone interested in sports, or those people that feel self conscious about wearing glasses. We often see a huge improvement in the child’s confidence and motivation when we fit them with contact lenses. It is really important that you both understand the risks of contact lenses and the need to look after them carefully. When we fit people in contact lenses it is a process. We need to get the best fit of the contacts, then we spend at least 45 minutes teaching you how to use them. We never let people take the contact lenses until they are proficient at handling them. Then we need to follow their eyes up a few times, just to make sure the contact lenses aren’t doing their eyes any harm.

How often should I have my eyes tested? - Question sent in by D.Hadley of Takapuna.

As a minimum everyone should get their eyes tested every 2 years. We often suggest more frequent visits for children, older adults, contact lens wearers, or those with specific eye diseases. Many people have a family history of an eye disease, which is important to be screened for regularly. For example, glaucoma – it is the silent thief of sight. There are often no symptoms that you can notice and the only way to monitor people for it is a routine eye examination.

What shape should I look for in buying a pair of sunglasses? - Question sent in by J.Shelling of Torbay.

Choosing new sunglasses is always difficult! I know your frustration.
I have a few tips that we use in practice, such as:

  • The top of the frame should be the same contour as your eyebrow line – and usually just below it.
  • The lower edge of the frame shouldn’t sit on your cheeks – a good tip is to smile when you put the frame on, if it rides up, it’s the wrong shape for you.
  • The frame should be in proportion to your face, so not too wide or too narrow.
  • The best sunglass frames have thick sides on them, giving your eyes the best protection.
  • Always look for the UV sticker on the glasses to ensure that it protects your eyes from the damaging UV rays.
  • Make sure the frame feels light and comfortable on your face, so that you will wear it as much as you can outside.
by Melissa Hay