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Ideal Eyes Blog

How to choose the best sunglasses for skiing holidays

Posted by Andrea Spencer

Are you heading off for some fun on the piste this season? The most common injury suffered whilst skiing is surprisingly, not broken bones, but damage to the eyes caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun. How do you know you are buying the best sunglasses or ski goggles for your protecting your eyes on your skiing trip? 


Can I test out contact lenses before I commit to buying them?

Posted by Andrea Spencer

How does it work if you've never worn contact lenses before and you want to try before you buy? 

All you need to do is call to arrange an appointment for your free initial assessment. If you have an up to date prescription we can start the suitability assessment straight away. If you don't, you will need to have an eye test first. 

From there, it's just a few simple steps to get you into a trial pair of lenses... 


  1. During the initial assessment, your optometrist will assess your suitability for contact lens wear and introduce the options available to you to determine which particular lens would be best for you to try. 

  • General purpose lens - A good all round contact lens, best suited to patients with no specialist requirements. One lens for distance and one for near. 

  • Mono vision - This allows one eye to see in the distance and one at near. 

  • Multi-focal - These allow you to see at near and distance, similarly to varifocal spectacle lenses. 

  • Daily and monthly - Just as it says, lenses can be changed each day as disposable items, or once a month with daily cleaning. 

  • Gas permeable - A small harder lens, suitable for certain types of prescription. 


  1. There will be a general discussion based around the purpose for which you wish to wear your lenses. Are they for social occasions, every day use, computer use or sports for example. 

  1. From here, your optometrist can provide you with a trial pair of contact lenses to wear for around 30 minutes, while you nip off to see how you feel. If your prescription is complex, the Optometrist may need to order special lenses for you to try. This means you will need to return at a later date for the trial. 

  1. Once the Optometrist is happy with the clinical fit of the lenses and your vision, we can arrange follow up appointments for the final lenses to be fitted. 

I've been put off before - What's new? 


The world of contact lens development is ever changing and ever improving. Days were that you could not wear lenses if you need a varifocal, but this is no longer the case. As with the multi-focal lens, you can now consider contact lenses if you have a stigmatism, use computers for lengthy periods or have had previous problems with comfort and irritation. 

The structure of the contact lens is now more flexible, super smooth, softer and boasts extra moist surfaces allowing a far greater percentage of oxygen to reach the eye. 


Not all spectacle lenses are made equal

Posted by Andrea Spencer

We all know that there are different levels of quality when it comes to frames, be they designer or ‘high street'. But not everyone realises this is also true of glasses lenses. Different suppliers make different quality lenses and each supplier also offers a range of standard and superior quality lenses.

The dispensing opticians at Ideal Eyes work closely with you to determine the needs of your vision and your budget considerations. Our main supplier of lenses is Essilor, a leading lens manufacturer that was the first lens manufacturer to offer the UK a 2 year, no quibble guarantee.

We are always pleased to be able to explain the different quality of lenses and also pass on any savings or offers our suppliers give us to continually provide you with the best deals.


The lenses

There are a number of types of lens available for your glasses, including single vision, bifocal and varifocal or progressive lenses. With Essilor, the range is extensive and includes 8 types, depending on your lifestyle, in just the Varifocals, including Varilux Sport and Varilux Computer. This does not mean that when you leave work you need to leave your 'computer' glasses on your desk, change into your 'driving' glasses and then into your 'sport' glasses in order to ensure you have the correct lens at all times. Essilor's Varilux Sport lenses for example are lighter, have higher impact resistance and lower peripheral distortions, making them the best choice if you take part in lots of sport, but might be considered over-engineered if you don't.

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Varilux Sport, by Essilor:

There are three types of single vision lens available from Essilor including Anti-Fatigue; not to help you to stay awake for longer, but in fact leading the way in unprecedented design innovation, reducing visual fatigue symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain.

Ideal Eyes aims to build lasting, trusting relationships with you. We take the time to talk about your needs so we can recommend the best type and a quality of lens to suit your lifestyle. Coupled with the savings we pass on, you are guaranteed the best lenses and prices available.

Please call us at one of our practices for advice, or to make an appointment. If you would prefer, feel free to complete our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Festive eyes - Advice for party peepers

Posted by Andrea Spencer

It's Christmas time, shortly to be followed by New Year and that means late nights, parties, mulled wine, champagne and stress.

All these things can play havoc with the usual bright, sparkly light in your eyes and be the cause of dry, itchy, puffy and red eyes. Although they are still healthy, those peepers certainly need a little reviving.

Smokey atmospheres

One of the main causes for irritated eyes is smoke. If you are suffering, try the old remedy of thinly sliced cucumbers or cold teabags applied to the area, while you lie back and relax for 5 minutes or so. You should feel instantly revived and ready to go. For a long lasting effect though, the best remedy is always a good night's sleep!

Champagne shenanigans and tree troubles

Believe it or not, every year at least half a dozen people are admitted to Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London, with eye injuries sustained from popping corks. If you've never received a cork to eye socket, trust us, it's extremely painful and can cause a lot of damage. Advice on how to avoid this type of accident comes from, Iain Anderson, Chairman of the Eyecare Trust: "Although the effect is less dramatic, you should ALWAYS place a cloth over the cork and gently twist it out of the bottle".

A little less common, but equally painful and just as damaging, Christmas trees can give you a nasty poke in the eye, especially when wrestling to put it up, or bring it down again. Clean, tepid water should be applied to rinse the area and if it's still bothersome after 12 hours, a visit to minor injuries should sort it out. Just don't leave it as an infection could easily set in.

Glamour eyes

The growing trend for wearing coloured contact lenses is fabulous for making an impact at parties. If you want to avoid damaging your eyes and turning beautiful into pitiful, make sure you get them fitted by a qualified optometrist. You will leave the perfect fit and plenty of advice for wearing and caring for your lenses.

False eyelashes may be more readily available and much easier to apply, but always remember to remove them before nodding off to sleep, you don't want blocked glands and infections for the holidays. If you're heading out for a late night, set up a routine for when you return and include a glass of water next to your make up remover - keeping hydrated will keep eyes moistened.

Be prepared

Contact lens wearers should always carry a back-up pair of glasses in case one lens gets lost. At Christmas, with the extra bank holidays, it may take longer to replace them. If one does happen to fall out, don't be tempted to replace it without the proper routine of cleansing and never use tap water. You might need a bigger party bag, but don't get caught short without solutions - you can get travel sized bottles from your optician.

Perfect mince pies, all year round

Most of us tend to overindulge at this time of year, but amongst the extra pastries, cake and chocolates, remember to include fresh veggies, fruit and plenty of water, (grapes are not just a garnish on the cheese board you know)! Balance the diet where you can with low fat alternatives and continue healthy eating for the rest of the year.

The low sun in winter can be as bright and distracting as in summer. Bring out the sunglasses and ensure they the type with maximum ultraviolet protection.

If eye safety equipment is required for your activity when partaking in eye-hazardous work or sport, make sure you wear it, properly; and take periodic comfort breaks from your computer or other close work to relax your eyes and change your focal length.

A happy and healthy Christmas and New Year to all of you from all of us at Ideal Eyes! Have a wonderful festive break. ..

Blinded by the night - 5 tips for improving poor night vision and safer night driving

Posted by Andrea Spencer

Autumn is well and truly under way, the mornings are getting dark and the nights are drawing in. Many people find it difficult to drive at night and more road accidents occur then than during the day. We explain why night vision is a problem for so many of us and offer tips on improving our vision and safety when driving at night.

What are the symptoms of poor night vision?

Common problems include difficulty focusing, blurred vision, dazzle and glare. Low light levels at night cause the pupil of the eye to become larger and this can accentuate any focusing errors – no matter how minor – causing blur. Bright oncoming headlights and reflections around light sources in general can cause distraction and discomfort.

Who is most affected?

From around the age of 45 most of us will need some level of vision correction, so it is important that everyone has their eyes tested every two years.  Eyesight can change without it being immediately obvious and it’s often at this time of year when the drive to or from work becomes a drive in the dark that people notice some deterioration.

So at night it’s more important than ever to wear a pair of spectacles or contact lenses with an up-to-date prescription and it’s sensible to keep a spare pair in your car.

Keep things clean and clear! Here are some practical tips for taking the strain out of night driving:

1.  Windscreens - a dirty windscreen, inside or out can increase halos and reflections around lights and headlamps, so keep them clean and repair any damage promptly (for the sake of general safety as well as your sight).  

2.  Spectacle lenses - the same goes for dirty or scratched spectacle lenses.  Also, reflections from the surface of spectacle lenses can sometimes cause multiple images of lights at night. If you notice these, ask your optometrist about anti-reflective lens coatings.

3.  Wiper blades – replace them if they are worn out or no longer capable of clearing your windscreen effectively.

4.   Headlights – keep the lamp covers clean, especially in the winter these soon get covered in dirt and traffic film, effectively dimming them and regularly  check they are in full working order, to be both safe and legal.

5.  Tinted glass – never wear dark or tinted lenses for night driving. Strongly tinted windscreens are bad too, by law windscreens should not have a tint density of more than 15 per cent.

If in doubt – get checked out!

If you continue having trouble adjusting to glare from headlights and tail lights or seeing road signs, road markings, kerbs and other roadside features, make an appointment to see your optometrist.  It is important to check whether this is because of a specific condition and get advice on treatment options.


4 ways for the contact lens wearer to avoid eye infection

Posted by Andrea Spencer

Infection introduced to the eye and trapped under the contact lens has always been a risk factor for those who choose to wear lenses rather than spectacles.

Treatment for infections such as Acanthamoeba are toxic in themselves and lengthy. It is clear that primary prevention is essential. To follow are the essential things to ensure you include in your routine, as a contact lens wearer in order to reduce the risks as much as possible:

What you can do

  1. Always choose a reputable Ophthalmic Optician, who is trained to take all the necessary steps to ascertain the health of your eyes. The practitioner who dispenses the contact lenses should be available to guide you through the processes, from initial testing to after care.

  2. Ensure you make regular appointments with your Ophthalmic Optician, not just to check if your prescription has changed, but to keep a check on the health of your eye.

  3. Follow the hygiene advice strictly. Do not 'cut corners' in the length of time you wear your lenses for, or in the storage of the lens when you are not wearing them.

  4. At the very first sign of problems, whether you are due for an appointment or not, get in touch with your Optician for advice. You may need to be seen quickly and if treatment is required, the quicker the better.

What Ideal Eyes can do

Join one of our convenient Direct Debit Contact Lens Schemes and let us take care of everything for you. Benefits include:

  • Monthly DD payments from as little as £12.49 for monthly lenses and £24 for dailies.

  • All eye tests and contact lens checkups included.

  • Up to 30% off the ticket price you see on the frame for spectacles.

  • Collect in store or receive them in the post direct to your door.

At Ideal Eyes we provide a full contact lens fitting and aftercare service.

Our principles of care and value extend through to our provision of contact lenses. We emphasise the importance of regular checkups and continued advice to all our contact lens patients. At the same time, we maintain our prices at a level which compete favourably with those you see on the internet.


How contact lenses bought on-line could damage your cornea

Posted by Andrea Spencer

Contact lenses

Modern contact lenses are available to wear either on a daily or monthly basis. Regardless of which option you choose, it is essential that you follow the guide-lines for care and hygiene in order to avoid the risk of infection.

As a seasoned lens wearer,  it may tempting to cut corners with the care of the lens itself and the habits of wearing them. It has been highlighted in recent news articles, however, that taking risks with hygiene routines and where you choose to buy your lenses, can have a hugely detrimental effect on the health of your eyes.

The cornea

The cornea - the clear 'window' that covers the front of the eye, allows normal vision through the refraction of light. Damage to the cornea can occur through many means. It is usually quite resistant to damage through physical means and can be quick to heal as the first layer consists of fast growing, easily regenerated cells. However, if the cornea is affected by infection, it can have disastrous effects on the vision, even risking blindness.

The environment of the eye is the ideal place for bacteria to grow. Moist and warm, once infection is introduced it can be very tricky to bring under control and eradicate.

The damage: Acanthamoeba

Acanthamoeba is a parasitic infection that can get into the eye from un-sterilised water such as swimming pools, soil or poorly produced or out of date contact lens solutions.

The Daily mail recently used the case of 21 year old student, Saira Hussain to illustrate the dangers of buying contact lenses from suppliers on the internet. In the article, Professor John Dart of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London said, " People will want to save money. So a student or a young person may try to cut corners to save money. They will get their eyes tested for lenses in the high street, but then get new supplies of lenses on the net. They will decide to save money by avoiding contact lens checks. But these checks are vital, not just to see if the prescription needs changing, but to check eye health. You are putting a foreign object in your eye, and it is important your eyes are checked to make sure your contact lenses aren’t harming your eyes."

Avoiding the risk

Nowadays, soft contact lenses can be worn either on a daily basis (disposed of at the end of the day), or monthly (worn on subsequent days and cleaned daily before being replaced after a month's use). Since a contact lens is technically a 'foreign object', a qualified ophthalmic optician/optometrist needs to monitor your eyes regularly to ensure your complete safety and peace of mind. Treatment can be toxic, lengthy and not always 100% effective, so prevention is absolutely essential.

Ideal Eyes' principles of care and value extend through to our provision of contact lenses, emphasising the importance of regular checkups and continued advice to all our contact lens patients. If you already wear lenses when you come to see us, we will ensure the lenses and cleaning solutions are the same or equivalent to those you are used to.

If you have any questions you can check our F. A .Q . page or contact us and talk to one of our friendly staff members.


The story of Botley skate park

Posted by Andrea Spencer

Back in 1991 - over 20 years ago now, the skate bowl in Upper Louie Memorial Field was the object of a particularly severe arson attack. ..

Summertown hosts photograph oxford festival

Posted by Andrea Spencer

The Photography Oxford Festival features acclaimed and award winning photographers in free exhibitions across the city. Three weeks of exhibitions, panel discussions, talks and films celebrate the very finest in world photography.  ..

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you. Please call us at one of our practices for advice, or to make an appointment; or if you would prefer, complete our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.