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. 


Opticians helping in the Fight against Brain Cancer.

Julie Breen

Yes! Really!  Well, we are in South Tees at any rate.

It's been a bit of an interesting journey to get to this point and I've become involved with some very remarkable people on the way , but in my role as Chair of the Tees Local Optical Committee ( LOC) together with the Macmillan Integration of Cancer Care Project for the South Tees Foundation Trust, we are just about to extend a pilot into Redcar and Cleveland that has been running in Middlesbrough for the past three months. 

It all started with a rather random phone call one miserable wintry afternoon. A lovely lady called Carol, the project co-ordinator I later discovered, wondered if I thought that local opticians would be interested in being part of a project to improve the speed of diagnosis of brain tumours. And I said "Yes, well who wouldn't ". 

And so I was introduced to an amazing and largely unsung group of people who are working to improve cancer outcomes in the South Tees Trust area. A hugely varied and committed board that aims to improve the journey for all sufferers of every kind of cancer and their families.  This board consists of hospital doctors and managers, nurse managers, Macmillan doctors from the community, those that looks after care homes and community services, patients whose lives cancer has touched, and loads of others. They are all working towards improving diagnosis, making treatment in hospital more streamlined, taking treatments out of hospital if possible, looking after the families of cancer sufferers, looking at end of life care and helping the increasing numbers of people who survive cancer but have to cope with the physical and psychological aftermath. All in an patch that includes areas of urban living, rural communities and some parts of severe deprivation. A huge undertaking I'm sure you'll agree, and with the inevitable limited resources, the board has prioritised it's activities.

One of the major concerns in Tees and the wider UK is the stage at which brain tumours, some of which are cancer, are diagnosed and treated. It seems that although the NHS' ' two week rule' has had a significant impact in the earlier diagnosis and treatment of many kinds of cancer, the same can't be said of brain cancer. These malignancies although, and I can't stress this enough, QUITE RARE, are too often diagnosed late when the cancer is severely affecting the sufferer, and the probable outcomes by that time aren't good. 

Some of the reasons for this are that the early symptoms can be quite general and non specific. For instance, a headache of a type that more often than not is associated with fatigue or dehydration or stress, when fatigue and dehydration and stress are all present in a sufferer's life. 

So why are opticians getting involved I bet you're wondering? Well, as I said some of the symptoms of brain tumour can be quite commonplace and general. However some of the SIGNS i.e. what is observed, are very specific and seen only in brain related problems. Two of these signs are easily found by opticians because we have the equipment in practice to find them. 

And that's what the South Tees Opticians Referral Project (STORP) is all about,  getting patients who arrive at their GP with symptoms that are suspicious, or people who come for a sight test with unexplained headache or the like, screened with both a visual field screener and have the backs of their eyes viewed in 3D. And if those results suggest a problem, to get the patient referred direct to neurology at James Cook University Hospital extremely quickly. 

The pilot and pathway has been running in the Middlesbrough area for the past 3 months. Results are rather hard to assess at the moment as I have previously said, brain tumours are thankfully rather rare ( an optician can have a whole career and only detect one or two), but we're confident that the mechanisms are in place to speed the process of detection and referral should it be appropriate. The rollout into Redcar and Cleveland means that more people have access to the service and we're more likely to see someone benefit positively from it.

On a national level, this is the very first collaboration between community opticians and secondary, hospital care to improve patient care, and the Department of Health are taking a keen interest. No pressure then!!

The official briefing for the opticians in Redcar and Cleveland is Tuesday 29th September, and we hope to have things moving very soon after that. 

Personally, it's great to see the skills and equipment that opticians have on every High Street being utilized in this innovative way.  I am working very hard, as are all those involved from the Macmillan Integration of Cancer Care Project, to make both these pilot studies a success as we would all like to see the speed of diagnosis and treatment of this rare but devastating group of conditions speeded up. We all want to see many more people who are diagnosed with brain tumours surviving and recovering.  With Macmillan Cancer Support the fight against cancer is always the top priority. 


National Eye Health Week

Julie Breen

National Eye Health Week is from the 22nd of September to the 28th of September 2015. 

Research undertaken on behalf of the College of Optometrists reveals that 68% of people value their eyesight as their most important sense, yet 36% of people admit to ignoring problems with their eyes for over a month, putting off visiting an optician and a further 13% of people will put it off for years before seeking help, even if they have noticed deterioration of their eyesight. These findings also reveal that 54% of people sometimes struggle to see their television screens and a further 50% find it difficult to read books.

It is recommended that you have your eyes checked every two years by an optometrist, though this can vary depending on your age and if you have a family history of eye conditions. If you have a child who is under 18, they are entitled to a free eye test from the NHS. You are also entitled to free eye care if you are over 60, registered blind or partially sighted, have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma (or a close family member has been diagnosed with glaucoma). People in receipt of benefits such as pension credit, jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit can also receive free eye tests and a voucher to help cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses. 

Despite the NHS providing this service, more than 1 in 10 people have never had their eyes tested and are potentially ignoring eye conditions that could cause deterioration of their vision.
IntelliSight Opticians gladly welcome NHS patients and encourage anybody who has had any problems with their eyesight to drop in and book an eye test with us. We also offer a “2 for 1 for anyone” special, which allows you to get two pairs of glasses for yourself or one for yourself and another for a friend or family member. Our range of spectacles start from as low as £24 and we offer a wide range for men, women and children, including some top designer name brands.

IntelliSight to be opened by Mayor Brenda Forster - September 19th!

Julie Breen

On Saturday the 19th of September, IntelliSight Opticians is going to be officially opened by the mayor of Redcar & Cleveland, Brenda Forster. This Saturday morning will be a fun event for families and children, we will have an impressive bubbles machine and an amazing balloon crafting display, let’s hope they know how to make the Redcar penguins!

We’re opening just in time for National Eye Health Week, which runs from the 22nd of September to the 28th of September 2015. Did you know that over 1 in 10 people have never had an eye test, despite 68% of people surveyed by the College of Optometrists claiming that their eyesight is their most valued sense?

We are inviting members of the local Redcar community to come and see your new local opticians, with a chance to ask any questions about what we do and what we can do for you and your family’s eye care. You will have a chance to take a look around our new shop and register yourself and your family as new patients.

We welcome both private and NHS patients of all ages and offer free eye tests and redeem glasses vouchers provided by the NHS. If you do not qualify for free or discounted eye care through the NHS, we also offer many discounts through our [website], including our popular ‘2 for 1 for anyone’ offer, which allows you to get two pairs of glasses for yourself or one for yourself and one for a friend or family member. Our spectacle range starts as low as £24, and for those of you who prefer contact lenses, we offer a free first month when using the voucher code WEB08.

To find out more about IntelliSight Opticians and the eye care services we provide, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on our social media profiles, Facebook and Twitter #BePartOfTheWaddle

Julie Breen 30 Years

IntelliSight Opticians

My goodness! I can hardly believe it’s been 30 years. But it has!

I was brought up in Redcar, just a stone’s throw away from the beach in Coatham. And I’ve lived and worked in the area ever since. After qualifying I started in Saltburn, and then worked all around the area, whilst also bringing up a family, until I opened the Specsavers in Redcar in 1998.  The many people that came to know me while I was there will remember the friendly, community feel that I strived to bring to the business. And that years of experience in an optician counts for a lot. Since Specsavers and I parted company in 2011, I have worked in all of the major opticians, taking note of the good things that they do, and now I feel is the time to return to Redcar, to the town I know best and where the lovely people know me. So here it is…..IntelliSight Opticians.  A place that reflects the local and the international. The team and I are friendly and caring as well as accurate and experienced.  We want you to be thoroughly satisfied, perhaps a little thrilled, with your experience. 


Parasite was eating her eyeball

Julie Breen

19-year-old contact lens wearer, Jessica Greaney, thought she only had a minor eye infection: her eye was sore and her eyelid kept drooping. "But, by the end of the week, my eye was bulging, and it looked like a huge red golf ball," Greaney said. "It was swollen, and extremely painful, and they admitted me into hospital."

Little did she know that there was a parasite, Acanthamoeba, living inside her eyeball. Left untreated, this parasite can cause blindness. To diagnose the problem, doctors had to scrape away a small sample of her eye tissue with a scalpel.

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