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Protecting Your Eyes Against UV Rays

It is well known that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can damage our skin but did you know that it can also damage our eyes? Yes, even on a cloudy day, UV radiation is all around us and there is the potential for that damage to occur.


Exposure to high doses of UV light over short periods can cause a very painful condition called photokeratitis. This is an inflammation of the cornea on the front surface of the eye. Essentially it is ‘sunburn of the eyes’, but thankfully the effects of photokeratitis are short-term. However, we may not be aware of the long-term effects of UV radiation because they are painless and develop gradually over a lifetime’s exposure to UV radiation. On the outer areas of the eyes, possible complications include skin cancers of the eyelid and discoloured swellings on the whites of your eyes known as pinguecula and pterygium. Within your eyes, UV damage may increase your risk of sight threatening conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

The good news is that you can shield your eyes from this damage. As well as sunglasses, you can opt for clear prescription spectacle lenses with UV protection. Essilor Crizal UV lenses offer your eyes protection against damaging UV light from both the front and back surfaces of the lens. They provide the wearer with a SPF (sun protection factor) of 25, meaning that they are 25 times better protected against UV than without lenses.

For further information about Crizal UV lenses please feel free to contact us on 028 66322524 or visit us in store.

Benefits of an Anti-Reflective Coating by Optometrist Helen Ferguson

Anti-reflective coatings are one of the most important choices you can make when choosing your lenses. They reduce the amount glare or reflections that you normally experience with standard untreated lenses.

crizal forte at mcBride and McCreesh Opticians Enniskillen

With fewer reflections more light passes through the lens to your eyes producing crisper, clearer vision.

The anti-reflective coating that we recommend, Crizal Forte UV, provides additional benefits as outlined below.

Safer Night-Time Driving
The anti-reflective coating on Crizal Forte UV lenses means that the glare from oncoming headlights is significantly reduced when driving at night.

Reduces Eye Strain When Using Computers
Crizal Forte UV lenses are designed to reduce glare from computer screens, preventing the eyes from becoming tired and fatigued.

Protects Your Eyes from the Sun
Crizal lenses offer 25 times more protection from harmful UV rays than a standard lens. UV rays not only increase the risk of developing cataracts, they also cause premature ageing of the skin around your eyes.Crizal Anti Reflection Lenses at McBride and McCreesh Opticians

Scratch Resistant
Crizal Forte UV lenses offer a new anti-scratch finish – fewer scratches means clearer vision.

Easier to Clean
Crizal Forte UV lenses are designed to repel oil and dirt resulting in less fingerprints and smudges.

Water Repellent
Crizal lenses have a unique water-repellent surface, preventing them from misting up and collecting water. Instead water forms into small droplets and slides off the lens quickly and easily.

We are now offering new and existing patients a special offer of a complimentary second pair of spectacle lenses with every purchase of Crizal. It’s a great opportunity to get two new pairs of glasses at a greatly reduced price.

For expert advice combined with a great offer, call McBride and McCreesh Opticians today to book an appointment on 028 66 322524.

Eye Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

You may find it hard to believe that fat is essential to your health, but it’s true. Without fat, our bodies can’t function properly. And without the proper kinds of fats in our diet, our eye health also may suffer.

Fatty acids are the “building blocks” of fat. These important nutrients are critical for the normal production and functioning of cells, muscles, nerves and organs. Fatty acids also are required for the production of hormone-like compounds that help regulate blood pressure, heart rate and blood clotting. Some fatty acids — called essential fatty acids (EFAs) — are necessary to our diet, because our body can’t produce them. To stay healthy, we must obtain these fatty acids from our food.

Two types of EFAs are omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, may benefit eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicoapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Adult Eye Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Several studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Essential fatty acids also may help proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye, decreasing the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.

Omega 3 McBride and McCreesh Opticians

Image: Scope Ophthalmics Ltd

In a large European study published in 2008, participants who ate oily fish (an excellent source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids) at least once per week had half the risk of developing neovascular (“wet”) macular degeneration, compared with those who ate fish less than once per week.

Also, a 2009 National Eye Institute (NEI) study that used data obtained from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found participants who reported the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet were 30 percent less likely than their peers to develop macular degeneration during a 12-year period.

Omega-3 fatty acids also have been found to reduce the risk of dry eyes. In a study of more than 32,000 women between the ages of 45 and 84, those with the highest ratio of (potentially harmful) omega-6 fatty acids to beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in their diet (15-to-1) had a significantly greater risk of dry eye syndrome, compared with the women with the lowest ratio (less than 4-to-1). The study also found that the women who ate at least two servings of tuna per week had significantly less risk of dry eye than women who ate one or fewer servings per week.

Omega-3 Foods

While both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important to health, the balance of these two types of EFAs in our diet is extremely important. Most experts believe the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in a healthy diet should be 4-to-1 or lower. Many eye specialists recommend a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of eye problems.

Omega 3 Omega 6 McBride and McCreesh Opticians Enniskillen

Image: Scope Ophthalmics Ltd

Unfortunately, the typical Irish diet, characterized by significant amounts of meat and processed foods, tends to contain 10 to 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance of omega-6 (“bad”) fatty acids to omega-3 (“good”) fatty acids appears to be a contributing cause of a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.

One of the best steps you can take to improve your diet is to eat more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fewer that are high in omega-6 fatty acids.

The best food sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, which are high in both DHA and EPA. Examples include sardines, herring, salmon and tuna. Wild-caught varieties usually are better than “farmed” fish, which typically are subject to higher levels of pollutants and chemicals.

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of two servings of cold-water fish weekly to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and many eye doctors likewise recommend a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of eye problems.

If you aren’t a fish lover, another way to make sure your diet contains enough omega-3s it to take fish oil supplements. These are available in capsule and liquid form, and many varieties feature a “non-fishy” taste.

Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables. However, your body cannot process the ALA omega-3 fatty acids from these vegetarian sources as easily as the DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

To reduce your intake of omega-6s, avoid fried and highly processed foods. Many cooking oils, including sunflower oil and corn oil, are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. High cooking temperatures also create harmful trans-fatty acids, or “trans-fats.”

Trans fats interfere with the body’s absorption of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and may contribute to a number of serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and immune system disorders.

Currently, there is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for omega-3 fatty acids. But, according to the American Heart Association, research suggests daily intakes of DHA and EPA (combined) ranging from 500 milligrams (0.5 gram) to 1.8 grams (either from fish or fish oil supplements) significantly reduces cardiac risks. For ALA, daily intakes of 1.5 to 3 grams (g) seem to be beneficial.

Omega-3 Supplements Relieve Dry Eye Symptoms Among Computer Users, Study Finds

February 2015 — Taking daily omega-3 fatty acid supplements could help relieve your dry eyes associated with computer use, according to a study. The study participants were 456 computer users in India who complained of dry eyes and who used a computer for more than three hours a day for at least one year.

Subjects in one group (220) were given two capsules of omega-3 fatty acids, each containing 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA, to supplement their daily diet; subjects in the other group (236) were given two capsules of a placebo containing olive oil for daily use. Each group took the daily supplements for three months.

At the end of the three-month trial, a survey of the participants revealed dry eye symptoms diminished after dietary intervention with omega-3 fatty acids, and use of the omega-3 supplements also reduced abnormal tear evaporation. The omega-3 supplements also increased the density of conjunctival goblet cells on the surface of the eye. These cells secrete substances that lubricate the eye during blinks, stabilize the tear film and reduce dryness.

The study authors concluded that orally administered omega-3 fatty acid supplements can alleviate dry eye symptoms, slow tear evaporation, and improve signs of a healthy eye surface in patients suffering from dry eyes related to computer vision syndrome.

A report of this study was published online this month by the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. — G.H.

The factual content of this article is from literature originally written by Mr Gary Heiting (Ophthalmogist in US and senior editor of AllAboutVision.com.)

Omega Eye Capsules Now Available at McBride and McCreesh Opticians

Omega Eye McBride and McCreesh Opticians

Scope Ophthalmics Ltd

Omega Eye,  by Scope Ophthalmics, is in a natural triglyceride form which means it is very pure and a very high proportion is absorbed by the body compared to many other, cheaper products on the market. It also contains a therapeutic dose of the beneficial components EPA and DHA unlike 99% of the other Omega supplements on the market. It has no side effects and is just like eating a piece of fish but without the harmful toxins!

Omega Eye capsules provides 2.6 grams of omega-3 per daily dose. 84% of this omega-3 is in EPA and DHA form, and subsequently can offer the patient the correct amount of omega-3 in the right form in four capsules per day, therefore offering a therapeutic dose (four capsules).

With most other omega-3 supplements you cannot reach therapeutic levels from their recommended daily dosing as the levels of omega-3 in the form of EPA and DHA are not high enough.

For more information on Omega Eye or any of our eye care products or accessories, please call McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66 32254.

Nanowafers Could Mean the End for Eye Drops

Many people with eye conditions such as glaucoma or even conjunctivitis are treated with eye drop or eye ointments, sometimes the condition may require both. Despite their widespread use, many have trouble with their administration. For example putting drops in to one’s own eye unaided, can be quite challenging. Sometimes eye drops miss the eye or fail to go in properly and the drops are quickly flushed out from the eye by blinking or due to tears. Given these well know weaknesses users are generally advised to increase the dosage to ensure that they receive adequate medication. However, this also increases the chances of side effects such as blurring or inflammation.

Recently as an alternative, a team of scientists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas have developed the nanowafer. A nanowafer is a:


Source: ACS, 2015

“clear and disc-shaped like a contact lens, but is only about one-tenth the size. The pharmaceutical payload, e.g. an antibiotic is contained within an array of nanoreservoirs embedded throughout the non-toxic polymer. Users would apply it to the surface of their eye just once a day, and then leave it to gradually dissolve on its own releasing medication throughout the day – repeated blinking would not displace it” (UCL Institute of Biomedical Engineering, 2015).

Lab tests carried out as part of the study revealed that nanowafers were approximately twice as effective at healing wounds in the eye, when compared to the same medication delivered by eye drops. However research is still in the very early stages and scientists are a long way off from developing a commercial product.

The research headed by Dr. Ghanashyam Acharya, has been published in the American Chemical Society Nano Journal.

Click here to read more.

iPad App Treatment for ‘Lazy’ Eye Offering Year Long Benefits -Dr Brendan McCreesh Gives His View  

Traditional treatment for amblyopia or ‘lazy’ eye as it is often referred to, involves wearing an eye patch over the strong eye to force the weak eye to work harder.  This method has proven effective for children, but new research has revealed that this may not be the ideal approach as the condition often reoccurs when the patch is removed.

According to Eileen Birch, a senior scientist at the Retina Foundation in Dallas, amblyopia treatment should encourage both eyes to work together.  As part of the new study;

“researchers continued to follow children who were treated for amblyopia in an earlier study using an experimental game on an iPad.  The game required the children to stack falling blocks while wearing glasses with lenses that were different colours.  By playing with the colour and contrast settings for the game, researchers were able to require each eye to work toward stacking the blocks.  Additionally, they were able to require the children’s eyes to work together.  After a few weeks, the researchers found children who used the game had improved visual acuity, which is how much detail they’re able to see.  Another research team also found improvements in visual acuity among adults.

During the first study, the researchers found that the children’s improved vision remained stable for three months after they finished treatment. The new study, reported in JAMA Ophthalmology, found the improvement lasted for an entire year.  Researchers also found the improvement in vision among kids who used the game did not differ between children who used an eye patch in an attempt to make the benefits last and those who did not” (Fox News, 2015).

New iPad App Treatment for Lazy Eye amblyopia McBride and McCreesh OpticiansAs yet, the app is not commercially available as trials are continuing on the games effectiveness on a much larger group of children.  Dr Brendan McCreesh believes this is a very exciting development for the potential treatment of amblyopia. Parents whose children have been ‘patched’ in the past know how difficult it is to motivate their child to wear the patch. Also when the child’s better seeing eye is covered it makes everyday tasks such as reading and writing difficult because they are being forced to use their weaker eye only.

Remember early detection is key in preventing problems, and at McBride and McCreesh Opticians, we recognise that high quality eye care and proper advice will help children with vision problems achieve their full potential.  We stock a wide range of FREE frames for children, and a sight test for your child is also free, so why not have one?

To arrange an appointment please call McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66 322524 or book online by clicking here and let us take care of your child’s vision. 

Make Great Savings on the Cost of Your Contact Lenses at McBride and McCreesh Opticians

acuvue cap

Now only £30 for 30 pairs at McBride & McCreesh Opticians

McBride and McCreesh Opticians are constantly striving to offer our patients exceptional value in contact lenses.  We are proud to announce that at the time of writing this article, we are competing on price with the leading high street chain of opticians, for Johnson and Johnson Acuvue Moist daily disposable contact lenses!  Take a look for yourself!

Furthermore, by availing of our Lenscare payment options, wearers can reduce the cost of their contact lenses even further, as Lenscare includes free contact lens check-ups and free replacement contact lenses should a contact lens be lost or torn.*  All for a single, straightforward monthly payment by direct debit, so the patient is always in charge, with no hidden extras!

New In Store!

Dailies Total 1 at McBride and McCreesh OpticiansAlcon Dailies Total 1 contact lenses feature a unique water gradient meaning that they are almost 100% water at the outermost surface.  This makes them ideal for those with dry eyes, providing silky smooth comfort from morning to night.  They are also 6 times more breathable, helping to support white healthy looking eyes.  Alcon Dailies Total 1 cost £45 for 30 days.

For more details and to discuss contact lenses as a method for correcting your vision please contact McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66 322524, your local contact lens specialists.

* T&C’s apply, see in store for details.

Safety in the Winter Sun with McBride and McCreesh Opticians

winter-sports-eyewear-skiing-snowboarding-mcbride-and-mccreesh-opticians-enniskillenProtecting your eyes from the winter sun is vital, no matter what your winter sport is. Ultra violet rays reflected off the snow are said to be approximately 100 times higher than normal UV radiation, meaning that your eyes are at risk of damage from the sun whilst you are skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing etc. UV radiation (UVA and UVB) can cause damage to the surface tissues of the eye, cornea and lens causing cataract and corneal problems. Therefore, it is vital to protect your eyes.

Mirror coated lenses are ideal as they reduce the amount of UV light being reflected by the snow, minimising possible damage to the eyes. Mirror coated lenses are beyond the standard absorption rate of a tinted lens, making them an ideal choice for those who are light sensitive, and can be made to suit your prescription if required.

At McBride and McCreesh Opticians, we have a wide variety of winter sports eyewear on display in our practice to suit all tastes and budgets.  We understand that sporting eyewear must fulfil its purpose, be durable, and look good. All winter sporting eyewear at McBride and McCreesh Opticians offer 100% UV protection and comply with all EU legal standards, safeguarding your eyes from the elements mentioned above.

For further information on eyewear for your skiing, snowboarding or mountain climbing activities please contact McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66 322524.

McBride and McCreesh Opticians Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

McBride-and-McCreesh-Opening- Hours-Christmas and New Year

McBride and McCreesh Opticians, Helping You to Manage Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a long-term eye condition that can have a significant impact on your quality of life, affecting your daily activities such as reading, driving and using your computer etc. In recent years, there have been advancements in the treatment available for dry eye syndrome thus reducing pain and discomfort, consequently improving quality of life. Having completed a course in ‘dry eye management’ in 2013, Dr Brendan McCreesh is certified to diagnose and recommend the latest treatment regimes to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye conditions.

What Is Dry Eye?


Image: Scope Ophthalmics, 2014

Normally the eyes are kept moist by the tears that bathe the surface.  The action of blinking spreads these tears across the surface of the eyes.  Tears contain important substances that lubricate the eyes, keeping them free from dust, prevent infection and slow down evaporation of the tears.  Dry eye is one of the most common of all eye conditions.  Although it predominantly affects older people, it can occur at any age.  It is also more common in women.  Dry eye can occur for several reasons – either because you do not make enough tears or because your tears evaporate too quickly.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Stinging, burning or a gritty feeling that something is in your eyes are common symptoms.  Your eyes may look red, feel dry and heavy and become sensitive to bright light. You may also experience blurred vision.  Furthermore, stringy mucus may collect on the lids and symptoms may be worst when you first wake up, but improve as the day goes on, or vice versa.

Symptoms can be triggered by a variety of factors:

1. Being in an air-conditioned, windy or hot environment.
2. Hormonal changes.
3. Long term medical conditions including Sjögren’s Syndrome.
4. Wearing contact lenses.
5. Side effects of certain medications, including HRT or preservatives in eye drops or antihistamines.
6. Activities that make you blink less often, e.g. reading, driving, working at a computer or watching television.
7. Exposure to fumes, dust and cigarette smoke can be particularly aggravating.
8. Age – the risk of dry eye syndrome increases significantly for people over 65.

Can I Still Have Dry Eye If My Eyes Water?

Yes, this is possible.  Occasionally your eyes may be so irritated by dryness that the glands in the eyelids produce more tears to compensate, causing your eyes to water.  Symptoms may persist because of poor quality tears.

Do I Need Any Tests?

Opticians Helen and Brendan can examine your eyes, assessing the amount of tears you produce and checking for any damage to the surface of the eyes.  Furthermore, they can advise you about treatment, and ways of keeping your eyes moist.  Occasionally, in more severe cases patients may be referred to an eye specialist at the hospital.

How Can My Eyes Be Treated?

Eye drops, gels and ointments to lubricate the eyes are the core treatment for dry eye syndrome and are available with or without prescription from McBride and McCreesh Opticians.  Generally, eye drops can be used as often as needed to keep your eyes comfortable.  This may vary from a few times a day to every hour.  If you need to use them very frequently, then try to avoid those containing preservatives, which can irritate your eyes. Ointment and gels tend to give longer-lasting, overnight protection. Special wrap-around spectacles can also be purchased from McBride and McCreesh Opticians to stop the wind drying your eyes. Severe dry eye can be relieved by blocking the tiny channels that drain tears into the nose.  This may help to keep your eyes moist, and can be a permanent or temporary treatment.

How to Help Yourself

1. Follow your treatment plan as directed by your optician.
2. Lower the level of your computer monitor, so that your eyes are looking downwards while you work.  This will slow down evaporation of your tears.
3. Adjust the brightness of your TV, computer, iPad etc.
4. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body well hydrated.
5. Use a humidifier at home or at work, especially where there is air-conditioning.
6. Be aware of situations where you may blink less often, e.g. when reading, watching television and looking at a computer monitor, and try to blink more frequently when concentrating on these tasks.
7. Wear wrap-around spectacles when you are outside to stop the wind drying your eyes.
8. Avoid places where there are fumes, dust or smoke, which can irritate your eyes.
9. Careful bathing of the eyelids can help to improve the quality of your tears, so that they moisturise better and last longer on the surface of the eye.
10. Consider including more Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet or as a supplement.
11. Ensure that your contact lenses feel comfortable when you are wearing them. Consider Johnson and Johnson 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® with LACREON® Technology, which permanently embeds a moisture-rich wetting agent, so wearers experience exceptional comfort throughout the day.

Principal optician Brendan has also devised a lid hygiene treatment method. Click here to read more.

Life without Treatment?

Remember without treatment your dry eye condition will continue, as will the pain and discomfort. As a result, complications such as scaring of the cornea can occur, leading to complications that are more serious. Furthermore, it is important to continue with your recommended treatment regime for the recommended period, as symptoms can return and possibly worsen if stopped too early.

For further information on dry eye management, please contact McBride and McCreesh Opticians on 028 66322524 for individual advice and to arrange an appointment. Alternatively book online here.

Safeguard Your Eye Health with a 3D OCT Scan at McBride and McCreesh Opticians

Dr Brendan McCreesh OCT Scanner McBride and McCreesh opticiansU2 frontman Bono recently revealed that he has had the eye condition glaucoma for the past 20 years. He is not alone, as it affects approximately two in every 100 people over the age of 40. The danger with chronic glaucoma is that it’s a painless condition and people do not realise they have it. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye resulting in a restricted ‘field of vision’. This impairs the person’s ability to drive and navigate stairs for example.

Unfortunately, the damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, so it is important to have regular, thorough eye examinations.  This is particularly relevant for those who are at risk of developing the disease, especially those who have a family member with the condition.  Without treatment, glaucoma may eventually lead to blindness.

Fortunately, there have been major advancements in the technology used to aid the early detection of glaucoma such as Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). Similar to ultrasound, OCT uses light rather than sound waves to provide a 3D view of all the major structures in the eye enabling many eye abnormalities such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, and glaucoma to be detected at a very early stage. The scan is non-invasive, painless, and takes only a few minutes to complete.

McBride and McCreesh Opticians are the first practice in County Fermanagh to offer their patients this pioneering, cutting-edge technology which is usually only found in eye hospitals. McBride and McCreesh Opticians highly recommend that their patients consider utilising this advanced technology to safeguard their eye health. The charge for this service is £35 and is not covered by the NHS, but the health benefits are obvious. Please contact  McBride and McCreesh Opticians today on 028 66 322524 or click here to book your OCT scan appointment.

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