Sligo: 071 914 2965

Tubbercurry: 071 918 5540

Ask the Optometrist 


My eyes get blurry when I have been reading for a while. Is that normal?

Well it depends! Your eyes need to focus in order to see things up close. The muscles work to change the shape of the lens to focus on near things. As we get older the lens becomes less flexible and it gets harder to change its shape. Good lighting will help. Eventually you will not be able to see to read and will most likely need an additional power in your glasses in the form of bifocal lenses or varifocal/progressive lenses. If you don’t currently wear glasses for distance one pair of glasses for reading may suffice. If you are under the age of 40 and you have this same problem then it's more likely that you are longsighted or hyperopic.


I have recently noticed that when I read something I have to hold it a bit further away to see clearly, I never had this problem before. What's going on?

This problem is much like the previous persons problem, your eyes are just not able to focus that close and it's probably because you are that bit older than you were  a couple of years ago. It's perfectly normal if you are over 40 and can be easily corrected. If you are under 40 you are most likely hyperopic. The best course of action is an eye exam which is free to most people, the cost being covered on by the dept of social protection or the HSE.

How many floaters are too many?

Floaters are present in normal healthy eyes and usually increase as we get older. Mostly we are not aware of them and can only see them against a white background, on a bright day or occasionally when they float into our central vision.
If you get a lot of floaters suddenly then you should see your optometrist right away for an evaluation. If you get a lot of floaters and flashing lights then you should see an optometrist immediately and without delay. If you are in doubt call and ask, again without delay.

Why do I need to have my child’s eyes tested every year when he can see perfectly and no one in my family wears glasses?

Kids grow and so do their eyes. When a kid goes through a growth spurt it is likely that their eyes will have changed significantly too. In fact we have seen large changes in kids’ prescriptions in the space of three months. 0-7 yrs is the critical time for the development of the eyes and it is also a critical time for learning. If a child does not see well they will not learn well. While a child’s family history is a factor it is not the only thing and often kids fall behind at school because of an undetected eye problem. Kids do have a vision screening at school but that often does not happen until after the critical age of 7.
It is recommended to have your kids eyes tested at 6mths old, 2 years and yearly after that. Your optometrist will notify you if they need to be seen more regularly.

What are the best drops to use for dry eye?

There are lots of causes of dry eye and drops usually just treat the symptoms and not the cause. In some cases drops are the last resort or temporary treatment. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will prescribe the best drops for you but often the root cause can be treated. Dry eye is a blanket term that describes the symptoms of many problems, such as incomplete blinking, meibomian gland dysfunction, sjogren’s syndrome, demodex infection and rheumatoid arthritis. Contact lens wearers are more liely to develop dry eye especially if they overwear their lenses, use ill fitting lenses or unsuitable solutions.

Why have my eyes started burning when I put on eye make-up? I have tried different brands including hypoallergenic but my eyes still burn.

This is a little trickly without having a look at your eyes but it could very well be related to the previous question. You could have Eye surface disease or Dry eye. Dry eye is quickly becoming one of the biggest issues in eyecare, mainly because of how we are using technology. When your eyes are not properly lubricated and protected with tears it can lead to all sorts of problems not least of which is stinging when you use make-up, sunscreen or moisturiser. Go in for your eye exam including a dry eye accessment, there are treatments that may reduce or remove this problem as well as making your eyes more comfortable over all. As mentioned above dry eye can also be an indication of systemic problems such as arthritis.


Send your questions to: Rhona(at)


Sligo: +353 (0)71 914 2965
Tubbercurry: +353 (0)71 918 5540

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