Summer is coming

Call in and see our latest collection of Sunglasses. We have a wide selection of prescription and non prescription ranges to choose from. We can also check your latest sunnies to make sure they are giving you the correct protection!  The Tom Ford collection are on there way!

It’s our birthday – we’ve been looking after the eyes of South Croydon for 34 years

Here at Heather Bailey Optometrists we’re going to be celebrating our 34rd birthday in February.

On 20th February, it will 34 years since our owner Heather Bailey came to work at the practice as a pre-registration optician in 1976. The former owner, Mr Gordon, sold the practice to her in 1983 and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.

When Heather took over, the practice was quite small and adjoined to a chemist. When the chemist went up for sale in 1999 however, Heather jumped at the chance to purchase it to provide more space for her ever-growing patient base.

The expansion allowed our practice to transform into a bigger, more efficient optical practice. Before this, most of our frames were stored behind the scenes, but with the new found space, we could show off all our full collection of beautiful frames in all its glory.

Heather didn’t stop there. Just a couple of years ago, along with her partner Linda, Heather decided to improve disabled access to our practice by replacing the entire front of our shop and moving the doorway. She also invested in our revolutionary OCT machine and increased our opening hours to include Saturday mornings and afternoons.

While we’re excited to celebrate 34 successful years in business, we have a couple of people we’d like to thank for getting us here. Firstly, to Chris and Karina who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to helping us over the past 22 years. And finally, you! Our loyal patients are what makes our practice the friendly, family-orientated practice it is today, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

We hope to see you all again soon.

Routine eye test at opticians reveals Sanderstead man’s brain tumour

A FORMER police pursuit driver who went into the opticians for a routine eye test was told he had a rare tumour the size of a golf ball in his brain.

Robert Parsons’ eyesight started to deteriorate last year, leading to “dreadful” double vision which left him unable to drive.

But after several eye tests at other opticians who failed to spot the cause, one eagle-eyed expert at Heather Bailey Opticians, in Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead, noticed it might be a tumour and referred him to see a specialist.

Mr Parsons, from Purley, had the brain tumour removed in June and said he was “hugely grateful” to the opticians for spotting it.

“If it had been left much longer I would be blind. I’m very much indebted to them,” said the 71-year-old.

The problems with his sight had come on “suddenly” while driving on a trip to Devon a couple of years ago.

“It was getting really bad. When my wife was driving I was seeing double double-decker buses coming the other way. It was awful, I just had to shut my eyes,” he explained

“Before I retired I was in the police service as an advanced driver engaged in pursuits, so the fact that it left me unable to drive at all was quite restricting for me.”

Specialist doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital in Croydon confirmed the cause of the problems, with Mr Parsons’ vision was a benign pituitary gland tumour pressing on his optic nerve.

“It was frightening to be told ‘you have a brain tumour’ but then you just have to go with the experts that tell you this or that can be done,” said Mr Parsons.

His double vision and eyesight problems were fixed almost overnight by the keyhole surgery.

He added: “As soon as the surgery was done my vision was better, it was absolutely wonderful.

“I’ve since gone back to Heather Bailey to sort out a pair of glasses though.”

Karina Hay, who carried out Mr Parsons’ eye test in January, said she had only ever seen one other patient with a brain tumour in 36 years since she qualified as an optician.

“He showed classic signs that he might have a tumour, so I referred him to the doctors,” she said.

“It’s certainly quite unusual. It’s not exactly what you would expect when you go in for an eye test. I don’t think that sort of tumour is actually life-threatening unless they’re malignant, but they can make one very unwell and even leave you blind.

“The longer it’s there pressing on the optic nerve and causing damage, the less well one might recover.”

She added it was important for people to have regular eye tests.

“People so often say ‘I didn’t need new glasses so I didn’t want to come for a checkup’. A proper check can pick up these things.”

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Don’t be shy about dry eye

Do you find that your eyes feel drier in winter than at any other time of year? Or that your eyes are producing more tears than usual, but that they still feel blurry, irritated or gritty?

If so, you could be suffering from a condition called ‘dry eye’. Dry eye syndrome is exactly what it says – when your eyes become overly dry and uncomfortable.

Did you know that normal, healthy eyes blink an average of 22 times a minute? It’s a completely natural mechanism, designed to keep your eyes refreshed and healthy. The problem in winter is that we tend to turn the heating up and spend more time staring at a screen, whether that’s watching tv or surfing the net. Both activities have a negative effect on your eyes, because centrally heated air is very dry and staring at a screen means you blink less than usual.

Dry eye can make your eyes very uncomfortable, but it’s relatively easy to treat. Possible treatments include eye drops or ointment, a heat compress, massage or blink exercises. If dry eye is affecting you this winter, don’t be shy – come and ask us for some friendly advice.

Get shady this winter

Do you automatically assume that now summer’s over, you no longer need your specs? Are your sunglasses languishing in a drawer somewhere, waiting for the warmer months?

Most people believe that wearing shades is a summer activity, like making sandcastles or paddling in the sea. It’s easy to think your eyes aren’t at risk when the sun is weaker, as it is in the winter. The problem is that your eyes are always vulnerable to UV light, which is present all year round. UV light is a danger to your eyes whatever the season, weather or temperature.

Exposure to high levels of UV radiation causes major eye problems, like cataracts, or even cancer. Even temporary UV damage is very painful, feeling a bit like sunburn on your eyes. UV radiation can’t be seen or felt, but it still hurts your eyes – and not just when the sun is low for driving. So if you’re tempted to put on your shades, do so!

It’s especially important if you’re heading for snow or water this winter, as UV light and reflections can be intensified in the mountains or by the lake or sea. In fact, did you know that UV radiation goes up 3% for every 400 metres of altitude – even on an overcast day?

If you need advice about prescription sunglasses or how to fit your current eyewear under ski goggles, for example, pop in to see us. We’re only too happy to help you keep your peepers protected this winter.

Spectacular eyewear for children

Does your child hate the thought of wearing glasses? Does he or she forget to take them to school – or lose them somewhere at home? Perhaps your teenager is afraid that other children will tease them or that they will look unattractive in specs?

We understand these common fears, especially if your child or teen is wearing glasses for the first time. That’s why we have a range of funky and fashionable eyewear choices specifically for children and teens. Choose from exciting designer ranges Disney, No Fear, Ted Baker and Bench. These frames add a style statement to whatever your child is doing – and make them want to wear their specs!

And remember, wearing glasses is now in fashion. Just think of global phenomenon Harry Potter or, in the real world, teen star Elle Fanning, who is set to become the face of fashion brand Miu Miu in Spring 2014.

(Although, if your child would prefer something a little simpler, we also have great unbranded options, that they will love – because we know that for some children and teens, sometimes you make a statement by not making a statement.)

Of course, you can take it for granted that we will ensure your child’s specs will be ultra-comfortable and exactly right for their vision needs.