Issue 4, October 2009

Welcome to the Summer Edition of See Your World!


Hello again and warm summer-filled greetings from your eye care team, Vision Optometrists. Whilst the health and fitness centres are packed with us working off our "winter coats", have we considered our eye care for this summer?

This edition highlights the dangers of UV radiation and the eye, as well as measures that can be introduced to promote healthy eyes and healthy sight. The Transitions Optics™ team, the definitive variable tint product, have partnered us in this edition; do look out for their promotional offer and prize giveaway.

This informative edition will have something of value for all. 


UV Radition's Impact on the Human Eye   afrikaans

By Marlene Jacobs and Werner No√ęth


Did you know that UV can damage your eyes? 

Light entering the eye penetrates through different levels the same way it penetrates your skin. Two different types of light enter the eye, namely UV light and Visible light. Fortunately we have the cornea and the crystalline lens to reduce the amount of UV rays entering our eyes, minimizing the amount of UV reaching the retina.

Some structures around the eye, like lids, lashes, eye brows etc, also provide some form of protection against UV. When visible light penetrates the eye, it falls on the retina and stimulates photoreceptors in order to produce an image. Visible light (not UV radiation) causes pupil constriction, eyelid closure and squinting can reduce penetration of the sun’s rays on a sunny day. On cloudy days, visible light is minimized but the exposure to harmful UV rays is still high.

Visible light increases the risk of macular degeneration and UV light increases the development of cataracts. Many people forget that the greater the exposure to UV radiation, the greater damage caused over a sustained period of time. But UV light isn’t all bad; we certainly need it for Vitamin D production. Vitamin D helps in strengthening bones, protects us against diseases, helps to increase calcium and phosphorus absorption from food, and enhances blood circulation.

3 Types of UV Rays Exist:


UVA – Penetrates into deeper skin layers where connective tissue and blood vessels are affected. The crystalline lens absorbs UVA to help protect the retina. With pigment accumulation in the lens, age and a lifetime of UV exposure cataracts are very likely to develop. Fortunately cataracts can be removed and vision restored with an artificial lens. After surgery this form of surgery, UVA light can penetrate the eye with greater ease and therefore post-op UV protection is essential.

UVB – Causes sunburn and 'snow blindness' from reflection of water and snow, increasing likelihood of cancer. Light reflection off snow, water and sand increases the amount of UVB penetrating the eye. The cornea protects the eye against UVB but the conjunctiva stays exposed. UVB radiation can lead to the development of pterygiums and penqueculas; these are little white elevated tissue growths on the conjunctiva. They are not sight threatening, but can become uncomfortable, red and unsightly when exposed to the elements. In severe cases they may lead to corneal problems and result in distorted vision. Surgical removal is possible.

UVC – is filtered by the ozone layer and has the highest energy UV rays, they are the most harmful to your eyes.

How can you protect your eyes from the sun?

Spectacles with UV-coatings, sunglasses, large brimmed hats and visors are some measures you can employ to protect you from the dangers of UV. Clear prescription spectacles (without a UV coat) do provide some form of protection but not protecting the full 100% and you remain at risk.

Read the full article online


Sunglasses and Medical Aids?


Almost daily, dispensers and optometrists at Vision Optometry practices are asked about claiming for sunglasses through one’s medical aid. This topic has for many years, been shrouded with uncertainty and tainted by allegations of fraud - and in some instances resulted in prosecution of the eye care practitioner and the medical aid member.

Most healthcare funders are very skeptical about the dispensing of tinted lenses, due to the unfortunate abuse and misuse recorded in the past. How often have we heard of the practitioner simply "putting a pair of off the shelf sunglasses through as spectacles" and initiating a claim? This is fraud and the perpetrators are liable for prosecution.

The intention of this article is to remove all the grey areas, possible pitfalls and to present the do’s and don’ts to ensure your claim receives the support it deserves.

Claims are broken down into itemized line items, from your consultation through to each and every technical component of the eyewear dispensed. As in the case of the medical funder Discovery Health**, the claim for corrective eye wear, is paid from your medical savings account. The value of the re-imbursement level changes annually and is more often than not escalated by a factor influenced by the inflation rate.

The Discovery Health Medical Scheme excludes cover for sunglasses specifically. Members can, however, obtain specific tints on prescription lenses for which you are entitled to claim. The scheme covers this as part of your day-to-day benefits and cover will depend on the plan type and benefits available.

Cover on frames is limited to prescription spectacle frames only and not generic sunglass frames.

*This views and sentiments expressed in this article are supported by Discovery Health.
**Vision Optometrists claim from one healthcare funder, namely, Discovery Health.


Internal Vision News


Birthdays in October and November: Faazila 14 Oct; Lyton 25 Oct; Tamia 11 Nov.

Werner and Susan's daughter is recovering well after dislocating her hip when she had a bad fall in September. She came out of the hospital just in time for her 3rd birthday on the 22nd of September and is being extremely brave. Her hip-brace should be coming off soon and she cannot wait to be up and about again.

Roenel (from our Zambezi branch) started her part-time diploma in Optical Dispensing through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in August. She will complete her diploma in 2012 and her qualification will bring more skill and knowledge to the Zambezi team. Good luck, Roenel.

• Our team participated in a performance-based incentive program over the past six months and Faazila Hercules (Cresta branch) came out tops and won a trip for two to Zanzibar. Faazila and her husband Shadley enjoyed a wonderful relax and spoil on the tropical island.

WIN a Trip for 2 to Any Club Med in the World! 


All you need to do is go into Vision Optometrists outlets, complete the Club Med competition form by answering the questionnaire and stand a chance to win a trip for 2 to any Club Med anywhere in the world!

Ask in store for more details.

Promotion runs until 30 November 2009. Terms and conditions apply.

In association with Carl Zeiss Vision.



Interesting facts about UV   


• Not all sunglasses give 100% protection against all the UV rays.
• One should wear sunglasses even in the shade as surfaces do reflect UV rays which will still enter your eyes.
• It is advised that you continue to wear sunglasses when overcast, as UV exposure is often very high in those conditions.
• Even when wearing contact lenses that block UV, you will still require sunglasses as the contact lens only protects the area it covers and not the conjunctiva or skin around the eyes.
• Sunglasses aren’t just for people with light colored eyes, but for everyone
• Large brim hats and visors can reduce up to 50% of UV and visible light.
• Transitions or photochromatic lenses are not advised when skiing downhill as dangerous ice patches might appear invisible.
• Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Did you know?


• Every 5 seconds of every day someone goes needlessly blind
• Approximately 314 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness
• Of these, 45 million people are blind and 269 million have low vision
• 145 million people's low vision is due to uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism).
In most cases, normal vision could be restored with eyeglasses
• Yet 80% of blindness is avoidable - i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable, and includes conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Please visit our website and view our eye disease simulators to view these two conditions, both of which have significant links to uncontrolled exposure to UV radiation.
• Vision Optometrists conduct free eye examinations on all needy, aged and indigent patients on a Tuesday. Strictly by appointment only and conditions and terms apply.


Transitions Optical Tips


The eyes are just as vulnerable if not more vulnerable to UV rays as the skin, yet eighty-five percent of South African's don't think that damage to the eyes is one of the most harmful effects of extended exposure to the sun. This and other startling results were revealed in the recent Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund survey, conducted by world-renowned research company Ipsos.

Transitions Optical conducted this research – into important topics such as nutrition, UV exposure, eye fatigue and glare – with the aim of gleaning a greater understanding of South Africans’ eye habits. “We suspected the need to raise the awareness of healthy sight amongst the South African public.

The research results confirm that there is indeed an alarming lack of knowledge and correct behaviour regarding eye health in the country,” states Richard Pearson, Country Manager, Transitions Optical South Africa.

Young Eyes

Well into their teenage years, kids' eyes are the most in danger of being damaged by harmful UV rays; the effects of which are usually only detected later on in life. 48% of respondents surveyed – whose children don’t wear corrective glasses or contact lenses – said that their children have never had their eyes checked!

A worrying figure as parents should be taking their children for an eye check at least once a year. Early detection can help rectify or prevent eye conditions from worsening or causing permanent, irreversible damage. 

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Tel. +27 11 476 3202 / 3
Fax. +27 11 476 5719
Shop U64, Cresta Shopping Mall
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