A conversation, and perhaps a bit more than a gentle nudge, with a patient last week got me thinking that I should be writing about the wider aspects of Optometry that you can experience at Turners Opticians. Our practices offer extended eye exams for those of you who would like thorough & in-depth eye care but what else?
For many years we have visited patients in Hospital after accident, injury or ill health. We are asked to help out many patients with wide ranging vision concerns. Common problems include eyelids that have dropped (we fit spring devices, called ptosis props, to the glasses frame to lift their eyelids just by putting on glasses) and significant glasses prescription change relating to illness or injury.
The patients who sometimes struggled the most were those who unfortunately experienced blindness to one side, called hemianopia, or who lost an upper or lower quarter of their vision called quadrantanopia. Hemianopia or quadrantanopia are when you become literally blind in an area of your vision after a stroke, brain injury or tumour. As these patients could just not see in an area of their vision, they often found they were knocking drinks over on their blind side, missing people walking up to them and finding difficulty reading. Younger patients who had hemianopia following stroke, have also reported being unable to play games with their children or even continue working.
I remember one request for help from a patient’s relative. They reported that when guiding their parent along a street their parent had been so blissfully unaware of a large hedge on their blind side that they turned and walked their child straight into the hedge!
Following a pilot, we then launched our field expander. It is a simple device which is fitted to the inside of your glasses which then increases your awareness of objects which would otherwise be in your blind area. With these field expanders fitted, patients report greater confidence when walking out and about in shops and busy places, as they are much less likely to bump into people or objects around them. As with any new skill, there is definitely a learning phase! The fact that 8 out of 10 patients continue using their field expander after a year of use is, perhaps, good testament to the benefits they experience.
For extended eye exam appointments or to discuss other services we offer such as field expanders, please call 0117 962 2474 or 0117 965 4434, book via our website, or you are very welcome to pop in to our practices in Henleaze or Fishponds and say Hi!
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Peter Turner is the Lead Optometrist at Turners Opticians in Bristol and also works part time as a
Senior Optometrist at the Bristol Eye Hospital.