UV Protection

Most people take precautions in the sun to protect their skin but many may not realise how harmful UV radiation is to the eyes. There are 3 types of UV radiation, we are mainly concerned with UV-A and UV-B as UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer. The other problem is exposure to UV radiation in environments where we do not expect it such as sunbed use or strong ground reflection from snow, water and sand.

Short bursts of high intensity UV ration can cause acute anterior eye problems, welders will complain of “arc eye” after suffering a flash. This results in acute photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis which is essentially sunburn to the very sensitive tissues of the eyes and lids. Symptoms of intense pain, redness and inflammation follow after a few hours. But it’s not just welders that are at risk of acute problems, snowblindess is an extreme form of photokeratitis, t sometimes occurs in skiers and climbers who experience extreme UV levels due to high altitude conditions and very strong ground reflection – fresh snow can reflect up to 80 per cent of incident UV radiation.

For the rest of us, chronic UV exposure is more of a problem. Complications such as pterigium, cataract and age related macular degeneration are all linked to prolonged UV exposure. Furthermore, melanoma is the most common malignant tumour of the eyeball itself and the lids are a very common location for basal cell carcinomas.

It’s not clear how much UV exposure will cause damage, so when you spend time outside wear a quality pair of sun glasses and a wide brimmed hat.

Good quality sunglasses should:

  • block out 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • screen out 75% to 90% of visible light;
  • have lenses that are perfectly matched in colour and free of distortion and imperfection;
  • have lenses that are grey for proper colour recognition.

Finally, don’t forget protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults.

At Jones & Murphy we have a wide range of high quality sunglasses from well known names that will not only give you the UV protection you need but also give you that great look for the summer! Why no pop in and try a few on.



Sources: American Optometric Association, World Health Organisation, RNIB

A clear vision for every child

It is estimated that 1 million children will return to school this year with an undiagnosed vision problem.  Poor eyesight can have a significant effect on children’s ability to learn and on their behaviour – yet often goes unrecognised by teachers, parents and by the children themselves.  Children may not be aware of or may not be able to explain their vision difficulties and a parent or teacher may not notice any problems.

The sooner that vision problems are detected – the better the outcome.  Many childhood eye conditions, such as lazy eye and squint, can be treated if they are picked up early – as the eye and visual system are actively developing during the school years.  If vision problems are identified and treated, it can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.

Sight Tests are free for all children under the age of 16.  Parents can take their children along to a local optometrist or optician for a free NHS Sight Test. Optometrists and opticians in the community are qualified to examine the eyes of all children, paid for by the NHS. Help towards the cost of glasses is also available on the NHS for all children.  Toddlers and young children do not need to be able to read, as an eye examination can be carried out using pictures.

The UK is a long way behind the rest of Europe in the number of children who have regular eye examinations and the proportion of children who wear vision correction.  In France, it’s part of the summer back to school routine to book children in for an eye exam.   In the US state of Kentucky, it is law that every child must have a comprehensive eye examination before they are allowed to start school.

Many parents still assume that their child will have their vision checked at school, regardless of whether this actually happens or not.  Vision screening provision is patchy – many areas do not provide it.  Even where vision screening is provided in school, there are many conditions which, although they may cause significant problems to a child and their ability to learn, will not be picked up at a screening.  Screenings are designed to pick up amblyopia; what about moderate refractive error, binocular vision anomalies and the overall health of the eyes?

A proper sight test is free for all children under the age of 16 – why not book an appointment for your children today?


Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers a characteristic form of damage at the back of the eye that is often associated with a raised level of intraocular pressure.  It can cause irreversible vision loss if left untreated.  Fortunately glaucoma is easily treated with eye drops  if diagnosed early but despite this it is still one of the biggest causes of blindness in the developed World.

Your eye needs a certain amount of pressure to keep the eyeball in shape so that it works properly.  However, if the optic nerve comes under too much pressure then it can be damaged.  The amount of damage there is depends to a certain extent on how high the pressure is and how long it lasts, and whether there is a poor blood supply or other weakness of the optic nerve.  A really high eye pressure can damage the optic nerve immediately.  A lower level of pressure can cause damage more slowly, and then you would gradually lose your sight if it is not treated.  Having said that, there is an increasing number of patients that have glaucoma but do not have high pressures at all.  These patients possibly have a pre-disposition to sustaining damage to the optic nerve at pressures usually considered to be normal.  It is not entirely clear why this happens, possibly genetic or possibly related to poor blood circulation at the back of the eye.

The damage may be caused by raised eye pressure or you may have an eye pressure within normal limits but the damage occurs because there is a weakness in the optic nerve.  In most cases, high pressure and weakness in the optic nerve are both involved to a varying extent (Eye pressure is not connected to your blood pressure).  However, there are a significant number of people who have raised intraocular pressure but do not have glaucoma. The normal range of eye pressure is up to 21mmHg.  If your eye pressure is above 22mmHg, you will generally be told that you have ocular hypertension.  This is not the same as having glaucoma.

A diagnosis of glaucoma means that the pressure in the eye has caused some damage to the optic nerve but a diagnosis of ocular hypertension may mean your pressure is higher than normal but there isn’t any damage to your optic nerve.  Only a minority (about 10%) of people with ocular hypertension will go one to develop glaucoma, unfortunately there is currently no way of telling who will develop glaucoma and who won’t.

The optic nerve damage causes patchy loss of vision that varies in severity from patient to patient.  Most patients with glaucoma are not aware of problems with their vision.   This is because the damage that occurs with glaucoma has a slow time course and the central vision (for reading and recognising people) is only affected when glaucoma has advanced to a late stage.

Without treatment, the loss of vision in glaucoma is permanent, but with early treatment, the damage to vision can be minimised.

Even when central vision is still good, glaucoma may affect the vision needed for driving and getting about (for instance, seeing steps).  Blindness from glaucoma is rare.  If blindness does occur, it is usually because the glaucoma is already advanced when it is first diagnosed, because the eye pressure has not responded well to treatment or because patients have not taken their drops regularly.

Risk factors other than high eye pressures include increasing age, being short sighted, having a first degree family member with glaucoma (particularly siblings) and being diabetic.

If you are concerned about glaucoma or have been identified as being at risk we can provide a NICE compliant  diagnostic examination performed by Dr Adrian Jones that will provide you with an diagnosis and treatment if required.

Alternatively, if you already have been diagnosed with glaucoma and no longer want to have the inconvenience of attending the hospital for your follow up visits, we are able to provide NICE compliant follow up at a time that is convenient to you.

We comply fully with the recently published guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on diagnosing, treatment and monitoring of patients with glaucoma or whose at risk of developing the disease.

For more in depth information about glaucoma visit the International Glaucoma Association website.