Posts by Julie Breen

Winter worries – solved!

Julie Breen

As the dark nights draw in and thoughts turn to cosy jumpers, leaves falling and pumpkin-spiced everything, we’re here with our latest Facebook Live video, featuring a random background extra, and some top tips to help everyone ensure they are being eye-safe in autumn and winter.

First up – do you suffer from headaches going to the cinema? Of course, it could be down to the special effects or increasingly complicated plots, but for the most part those headaches are down to the severe contrast between the light of the screen and the dark of the theatre. The same can apply to TV screens and tablets in the darker nights as the difference between the room and the big-screen TVs can increase what is commonly known as ‘contrast glare’ and is a leading contributor to bad heads.

Luckily the solution is fairly easy, simply ensure the room is lit up (don’t worry we’re not talking our testing room levels of light!) The closer you can get the light in the room to resemble the brightness of the TV the less you run the risk of headaches happening.

Of course, if headaches are happening on a regular basis it is always worth getting checked with a medical professional.

Noticed your eyes are generally worse in winter? There’s nothing to worry about, in fact it’s simply your eyes reacting to the natural light changes and could be an indication that you require some form of reading glasses. If this sounds a bit like you feel free to pop in-store and we’ll help you get to the bottom of it.

Finally, we also talked driving in the dark, anti-reflection treatments and the best sunglasses for ski-ing and why they matter come winter!

As you can see another jam-packed video. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover in future, please feel free to drop us a line or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or now YouTube – thanks as always to all our viewers and we always look forward to seeing you, just look for the black and orange store 😊


Creepy contact lenses!

Julie Breen

If you’re anything like our team here at IntelliSight you’ll love any excuse to dress-up, especially Halloween!

Scary make-up, witches’ hats and, increasingly, fake contact lenses that can give any costume an extra oomph. The problem is, while these contacts may be fun for a few hours at a party, they can cause problems that can last a lifetime.

Unless purchased from a registered optometrist the chances are your contact lenses will be uncomfortable, as they’re not allowing oxygen to flow to your eye, could be full of germs – a massive 26% house bacteria – and any contact lens professional worth their salt will not provide you with any solutions or aids for such contacts as they will then assume legal responsibility.

The good news is we can still help you look creepy!

IntelliSight, or almost all registered opticians, can obtain cosmetic contact lenses that are safe, bacteria-free and we will help you to handle and care for them, leaving you safe to enjoy a spooky but safe Halloween.

Cosmetic contact lenses, and the damage they can cause, was just one of the topics covered in our last live cast – broadcast simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook! Also included, if you want a creepy tale to tell at your Halloween story why not also check out the true story of the 27 lenses at the start of the cast….

Those who prefer Instagram or missed on the live stream can still catch it at the following link:

And don’t forget to visit us at Facebook or Twitter for a live broadcast on Friday at 1.30pm to find out all about looking after your eyes in autumn and winter!


Tomatoes over carrots and itchy eye solutions – Top tips from ‘National Eye Health Week’

Julie Breen

As anyone who follows us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!) will know, last week was National Eye Health Week, bringing with it a fab week full of updates, games and information all aimed at helping people keep their eyes in tip top shape!

In case you missed out on any, please check out our quick catch-up guide to help keep your eyes happy and healthy!

Monday – Importance of eye tests

You may think sight tests are simply a pre-cursor to glasses and contact lenses but they serve a much bigger purpose. Eye tests can detect a wide range of common eye conditions; from high blood pressure to raised cholesterol to diabetes and stroke risks.

On average, most people will need their eyes checking every two years but in some cases we may need you to come in more frequently, particularly if you are diabetic, over 70 or have a family history of glaucoma.

The good news is you may also qualify for a free eye test! To find out more download or give us a call on 01642 450 982.

Tuesday – Eye care for all ages

From keeping children’s eyes healthy with regular checks and plenty of fresh air (guidelines recommend at least an hour outside a day) to check-ups for the over-60s to help maintain healthy eyes.

Check out more information from the two following leaflets:

Wednesday – Glaucoma

Leading on nicely from eye care for all ages was a theme related to one of the most common eye complaints for over-60s. Glaucoma is a condition that affects peripheral vision, increasing pressure inside the eye and on the optical nerve.

Although it can strike at any age, it is most common in the over-70s and can lead to sight loss if left untreated. Early warning symptoms can be mild so it is very important to get regular check-ups. Find out more at

Thursday – Being screen smart

From office life to smart phones and tablets, many of us are spending large portions of our day sat in front of a screen. Whilst screen time might be a necessary part of life, it is important to recognise the toll all this time can take on your eye health.

Itchy, sore eyes, blurring, headaches and trouble accurately perceiving colours are all issues that can be caused by not taking regular breaks. To be ‘screen smart’ try following the 20-20-20 rule – look away from your screen every 20 minutes, for at least 20 seconds, at an object 20 feet away!

Find out more at  or pop instore and ask out team about eye drops that may help for those days when screen-sitting is inevitable!

Friday – UV Protection

With summer over it’s time to put away the sunnies and forget about UV protection for another 6 months yes? Well…Not exactly!

Whilst it may feel weaker and be less frequent, autumnal sun can expose you to just as much danger of cataracts and AMD as any day summer can throw at you, if not more, thanks for the trajectory of the rays when the sun is down low.

To check if you need to be UV aware simply take the shadow test! If your shadow is shorter than you, you need to take steps to protect yourself – hats, glasses and, of course, UV protective lenses! Find out more at and check out our in-store sale for 40% off sunglasses suitable for anything Autumn can throw at you.

Saturday – Nutrition and the eye

Aha – remember our sneaky live Friday Facebook video on this topic? If you missed it, including the infamous carrot toss, check it out here!

While we hate to burst the bubbles about eating carrots to see in the dark (although they are very healthy, it’s a myth) there are a number of yummy foods that can aid eye health; they include oranges, oily fish, any leafy greens such as spinach or kale, eggs and tomatoes – which are even better when tinned or turned to puree due to the increase in lycopene!

To find out more download or call in and ask one of our team today!

Sunday – Smoking and sight loss

It is estimated that 1 in 7 adults in the UK still smoke, with each of them breathing in over 4,000 chemicals that can damage blood vessels, interfere with tear production and affect your cornea’s health.

Smoking can also make you four times more likely to suffer Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and put you at risk of developing cataracts, thyroid eye disease and colour vision defects…In other words, smoking and eyes go together as well as fish and mint ice-cream!

Find out more by downloading this leaflet and for help quitting visit  


Talking National Eye Health Week on Zetland FM

Julie Breen

Listen to our very own radio star, Julie Breen, talking all things eye-health on Zetland FM with the wonderful Julie Donaldson.

We discussed what's involved in an eye test, how often you should be getting checked and all about National Eye Health Week!

Follow the link below (we're about 12 minutes in but we thoroughly recommend the whole show!)


Buying Glasses Online - A Users Guide

Julie Breen

Clothes, fridge freezers, even new cars – you can now shop online for almost everything, including glasses. However, when it comes to purchasing eyewear, from bespoke designer frames to children’s glasses, it can leave a lot of people nervous. In our latest post we look at some of the most common queries around buying glasses online and how IntelliSight can help.

What’s the biggest difference between buying online and buying in-store?

There are, of course, some key differences between buying online and in-store; From finding styles that suit you to having glasses resized to fit to ensuring they arrive safely through the post. We aim to make the process as smooth as possible, from our handy filters to narrow down the perfect pair and our refund policy. Our experts are always available via phone, email and social media and any glasses purchased online can be brought in-store to be fitted and adjusted as needed.

How do I know if the style will suit me?

As anyone who sports spectacles knows, they can have a dramatic impact on the way you look and it’s important to get the right frame. There are countless sites online offering style advice for different face shapes and once you know the style that suits you can use our style filter to find the frames that fit.

You’ll also have a huge choice of different colours, patterns and even materials(!) to choose from in IntelliSight’s bespoke frames selections; From Christian Lacroix cat-eye frames to frames made of wood or leather, frames on springs with instant snapback and, of course, our sporty Julbo range.

What if I change my mind?

All of glasses on the IntelliSight website can be returned and refunded within 14 days, and with free delivery on order over £50 you are free to play around with different options.

I have a very specific prescription from another opticians, can I still order via IntelliSight?

Of course! The IntelliSight website features a number of unique designer frames and brands that can’t be found at big high-street chains (including our new Dennis Taylor range!) so customers will often visit us who have prescriptions from elsewhere (although we do eye-tests too 😉 )

All we ask to complete such an order is that you have a written prescription that has been given to you by a suitably qualified optometrist within the last 24 months, within the expiry period of the prescription, or within the last 12 months if you are aged 70+.

In exceptional circumstances, we may need to arrange a free face-to-face consultation with you or request you post a copy of your written prescription. To ensure the glasses are suitable we may also ask you to obtain a pupillary distance measurement, although we do have assumed values as part of our online service.

I don’t have a prescription but I love some of the styles online – can I order them still?

The trend for wearing glasses minus prescription lenses shows no signs of slowing down and, with such funky styles available, we don’t blame you for wanting to try them out. Whether you’re keen on a new look, completing a cosplay costume or heading to a fancy dress event and want the edge on your look - all of our frames are available with clear glass, giving you all of the style with none of the hassle.

Be sure to check out our huge range of sunglasses too, all available in non-prescription options too!

So there you have it, hopefully we’ve answered your questions about purchasing glasses online, take a look at our online range or, if you’d like to know more get in contact with our team today!   


Isn't it time you tried varifocal glasses?

Julie Breen

In my Teesside practice I hear a lot about varifocals. I hear a great deal about what varifocals are like from those who don't wear them. And if I wasn't a varifocalglasses wearermyself I'd definitely be reluctant to try them out if I went by the horror stories that are out there.

The truth, thankfully, is a lot less horrific and a lot more useful than the urban myths would have us believe.

What are varifocals? 

They're basically your distance glasses prescription (if you need one) in the top of the lens and your reading glasses prescription in the bottom of the lens. And in between the focus moves gradually from top to bottom, distance to reading. So in practical everyday use, the top half is clear for watching TV and the focus gradually comes in so that halfway down the lens you can see a PC screen and the bottom of the lens is for book reading distance. Pretty simple. Pretty useful.

Keep losing your glasses?

If you wear reading glasses, think about how much time you waste in the day looking for them. You're in the kitchen and you need to read some cooking instructions and your reading glasses are upstairs in the bedroom so you have to go and get them....or you snuggle up for the evening in bed to read your book and you've left your darned glasses by the chair in the living room....or you spend an hour looking for them because you just need to see and they were on your head all the time!!!!!

Now imagine how much easier things would be and how much time you would save if you were able to see long distance, close and in between all the time. Varifocals can make that happen.

Varifocals provide totally seamless, comfortable vision

Varifocals have changed a great deal in the past ten years or so; the horror stories no longer apply. They are now easier to wear than they have ever been with digital technology controlling the power at every precise point on the lens.

They give the vast majority of people totally seamless, comfortable vision. You just basically put them on and see! It just becomes another thing you don't have to worry about. And I don't know about you, but I have tons of other things on my mind, and not having to worry and waste time looking for glasses is amazing. 

See for yourself

At IntelliSight Opticians, we are SO confident about how easy varifocals are to wear that we give a 'no quibble, no fuss' 30 day guarantee. If you try them and you aren't happy with them we'll refund your money. Simple as that.

So what are you waiting for – contact us now to arrange a consultation with one of our varifocals glasses specialists. 

About Us

As a leading Teesside opticians, IntelliSight always strives for that alternative perspective. 

With over 40 years of combined optical experience in the team, we are passionate about providing a first-class customer service - a willingness to go that extra mile. Not because the business expects it, and the service is delivered begrudgingly; but because there is a genuine empathy with every single person that comes through the door, an empathy that really shows. 

Varifocals are just one of a wide range of products and services we offer. For a free no obligation consultation, please call 01642 450982 now or email


Eye Health : Smoking and Diet

Julie Breen

It's a New Year, February seems that everyone is still trying to stop smoking, eat more healthily, lose weight......sometimes all 3 at the same time!

As we're all being bombarded by messages about the health risks of smoking and being overweight, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and tell you about the importance of not smoking and a good healthy diet in maintaining the health of your eyes and continuing to see clearly. 

And  it's Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness month....the biggest cause of acquired blindness in the UK (linked to smoking and poor diet); a very appropriate time to deliver this message. 

It seems that the public health message about the role of smoking in increasing the risks of cancer,  stroke and heart disease are everywhere. But a frightening statistic that's not often discussed is that if you are a smoker you are twice as likely to go blind compared to a non smoker!

Also a healthy diet is very important to maintain eye health. 

It's all down to free radicals and anti oxidants. Free radicals are the bad guys and anti oxidants get rid of them. We all have a certain amount of free radicals in our bodies, but smoking ( more precicely the products of combustion in smoke) pushes their number WAY up.  And a diet rich in anti oxidants neutralises the bad guys and stops them damaging our tissues. Unfortunately, a smoker would never be able to eat enough healthy stuff to combat the chemicals in smoke that are harmful. So if you are a smoker and you want to protect your eyes, quitting is the best solution, I'l be talking more about this in Eye Health Week in September and Stoptober. 

The damage caused by free radicals is particularly dramatic in the lens of the eye causing cataract and at the macula in the eye where we have our detailed, colour vision. This latter effect causes Age- related Macular Degeneration ( AMD) to be worse and  progress faster than it would otherwise be. As it's name suggests, it's strongly linked to age, but smoking makes it much worse in many cases. 

Two pieces of research (AREDS and AREDS2) have shown that, when someone doesn't smoke and has moderate AMD, taking a specific combination of vitamins and supplements can help reduce the progression of the disease. 

The two products available in the UK with this formulation are EyeBar and  Viteyes 2; both are available at IntelliSight Opticians. 

There isn't any harm in taking other supplements if you have AMD, or taking supplements 'just in case' if you have a strong family history of AMD, but the science only supports the taking of the AREDS formulation, and only those with moderate AMD were shown to get any benefit. 

Of course, a healthy diet is also extremely important. A diet full of green veggies; broccoli, curly kale, spring cabbage.......  is great. For eyes specifically, opticians recommend at least one helping of fresh spinach per week; it's high in Lutein (very good for the macula). We also recommend tomatoes as a compound called Lycopene found in them is also very good for eye health. Very oddly though, the more tomatoes are processed, the more concentrated the lycopene becomes, so tinned ones are better for you then fresh ones, puree is better than tinned ones. Sounds like an Italian diet to me!

In summary, if we all needed another extremely good reason to give up smoking and maintain a healthy diet, then preserving our sight has got to be it. 

If you are a smoker, then stopping is the only way to reduce your risk of losing your sight.

Eat a diet brimming with green veggies, tomatoes and all sorts of fresh fruit and other veg. 

Take vitamin supplements if you like, but only those non smokers with moderate AMD are shown scientifically to benefit.

And if you're at all worried about your eyes, please don't hesitate to get in touch. 



Blue Light.

Julie Breen
When we're talking about any colour of light, we need to keep in mind that all colours of light are natural and present in the spectrum of light that we're constantly exposed to from the sun. But just as there are certain aspects of sunlight in the invisible spectrum that we need to protect our eyes from (ultraviolet and infrared), there are also some colours (wavelengths) of light in the visible spectrum, in our familiar rainbow of colours, that have harmful as well as useful effects. Blue/violet light is one of these.

Blue /violet light does some amazing things. It helps to regulate our sleep patterns and consequently our natural body rhythms. It sounds really weird doesn't it? But international travellers have known this in practice for years. There is most of this type of light in the morning sunlight, and those that travel have found that if they want to latch onto local time it's best to go out in the morning light, or if they want to stay in the rhythms at home they avoid going outside till it's afternoon. Alternatively they can take melatonin, because that's the chemical that the blue/violet light suppresses in the brain. 

Unfortunately this light is also one that causes a feeling of tiredness and fatigue. It's usually in small amounts in sunlight, but all our computer devices...laptop, desktop, tablets and smartphones produces a spectrum that contains lots of this blue/violet light. So, another way that working on computers can make your eyes feel tired. 

And then we come to the effects that being exposed to too much blue/violet light can have on our sleep means that our sleep can be disrupted or even that we can't sleep after spending too long on a computer device. 

That can be surfing around FaceyB on your laptop, working long hours on your PC to get an assignment finished, doing homework on your tablet or playing a game on your smartphone on the bus....anytime we are overexposed to this light can lead to tiredness and /or sleep disruption. 

Let's face it! Who hasn't found it difficult to go to sleep after a long stint on the computer even though you're really tired, or had difficulties getting the kids to sleep after playing on a tablet even though you know they'e pooped?

Cutting out this blue/violet is quite simple for someone who wears glasses, a special treatment can be put onto the lenses, but what about all those people who don't need glasses?

Introducing  BLUEBERRY glasses  (go to our advice page 'What is blue light?' to download the leaflet). Lots of funky colours and styles (also not so funky if that's what you prefer), a fantastic lens that filters out all that light that makes us tired and affects our sleep, and non prescription so anyone can wear them. The kids can wear them at school and at home. You can wear them at the office. They can be worn anytime.

At Intellisight Opticians we have a large range of styles, colours and sizes. something for everyone really.

When we buy laptop, tablets and smartphones, we're always concerned about protecting them with special screen films and cases...but what about protecting our eyes? Perhaps we should all be wearing BLUEBERRY glasses?


Driving Safety: Winter Sun

Julie Breen

When most of us think of sunglasses, we immediately think of hot sunny days, with the sun high in the sky and a lovely big pair of cool looking shades. Who doesn't like a nice pair of sunglasses?!

We wear them for fashion, but, hopefully, mostly for the protection we get from the sun. The tint reduces the light levels, usually by about 85%, so that we are visually more comfortable in the full glare of the sun. There is also an ultraviolet (UV) block on the lenses to protect us from the harmful effects of the UV light from the sun. We know that sunlight can cause cataracts, it can damage the retina at the back of the eye, it can damage the cornea at the surface of the eye; all sorts of undesirable effects that the UV block can stop. 

In winter though- particularly for drivers- the low sun and weather conditions can make things tricky at best, and at times downright dangerous. 

Just such a situation happened to me last year. I was driving to Scarborough from Middlesbrough in November and I needed to be there for work at 9am. It was a lovely clear morning, but there had been rain overnight and the roads were all wet. So at around the time the sun eventually rose, I was travelling across the North Yorkshire Moors, due east, looking right at the sun. It was.....scarily dangerous. The sun extremely bright and straight in my eyes, and then a reflection of liquid sun coming off the road which was absolutely blinding. 

In this situation, normal sunglasses would have been an improvement, but not by much, as reducing the light by 85% would still have meant a huge amount of light, both directly from the sun and reflected off the road, still causing a really dangerous situation. 

But I don't have normal sunglasses; my sunglasses are polarised.  What that means for driving is that the lenses, as well as being dark like you'd expect sunglasses to be, also eliminate reflected light. So all that 'liquid sunlight' reflecting off the road suddenly disappears, as well as the direct light from the sun being reduced by the tint and UV block. My really dangerous situation was now pretty OK, but by the look on the faces of the other drivers on the road that morning, they weren't anywhere near as comfortable as I was.

Personally, I wouldn't have any other type of lens for driving in the sun. And I'd always recommend polarising lenses to anyone who want's to drive in their sunglasses. 

At IntelliSight Opticians we offer a 20% driver's discount for anyone who wants to purchase polarising lenses for sunglasses. 

Pop in and see the large range of frames specifically designed to take sunglass lenses, or alternatively, have one of our regular frames and have the polarised lenses put in.


Autumn has arrived, why can't I see to read?

Julie Breen

Autumn! It's a funny old time of year. Cold mornings, crispy leaves, conkers and at the opticians, a rash of people of a 'certain age' who come to see us looking rather bewildered that doing something as simple as reading the paper is now really difficult if not impossible. 

So if you are amongst that group this autumn, take heart that everything is normal. It's irritating not being able to see thing up close all of a sudden, but it's entirely normal.

I suspect you're wondering what's gone wrong all of a sudden. 

It's all got to do with the LENS in your eye. This sits just behind your PUPIL and is the bit of your eye that provides a lots of the focussing power. It's also capable of varying it's power so you can see far away to do something like see to drive, and focus more strongly to be able to read things up close like a book, newspaper, iPad, that kind of thing. 

It's made of the same tissue as your skin and it behaves like skin ( only it's see through!), so it continues to grow all the time. Now your skin grows, and the top layer sheds and becomes dust, but your LENS is in your eye, within another membrane too, and can't go it just grows thicker and thicker....and eventually (around the age of 40 or so) it gets SO thick that it's not springy enough to keep changing shape to focus on near objects any more, and THAT'S when people notice their reading vision starts to become blurred and difficult. Headaches are often a symptom too as the muscles that can usually change the shape of the LENS really easily start to strain and even then can't force the lens to change shape enough.

This becomes a particular problem in autumn because there's SO much less sunlight around as the nights draw in, and relying on indoor lighting as opposed to having sunlight to read by, means that the actual light levels are reduced a thousandfold. 

Sorting this problem out is quite simple with spectacles. We make up the missing power either with reading glasses, varifocal lenses, office lenses....we have quite a choice. Reading glasses are just one power so are only set for one distance; varifocals are a blended lens with a distance correction in the top of the lens, and the power gradually increases down the lens till the reading power is at the bottom; office lenses are set for PC distance at the top and lenses down to reading at the bottom. 

If your reading vision has suddenly become an issue, or reading has started to give you headaches, or if you know someone experiencing these problems. make an appointment with us today, and let us help to make reading a pleasure again.

At IntelliSight Opticians we recognise that the best quality varifocal lenses offer the best solution for the problem of not being able to see to read up close any more. So this autumn we have THE BEST FOR LESS, our best quality varifocal has £50 off.