/Paul Gifford
Paul Gifford

About Paul Gifford

Gerry & Johnson Optometrist and Contact Lens Designer trying to solve world vision problems, in between running marathons and keeping Kate well fed, and kids teched up!

‘Test Experts’ for our Ashes team

Optometry’s professional governing body (AHPRA) prevents us from claiming to be more expert than another optometrist, however it seems from Specsavers’ recent television advertising that it is OK to infer expertise by using a play on words, such is the case with the current Ashes Test cricket series where their undoubtedly clever ads describe Specsavers as the ‘Test Experts’.

In response to a recently published blog, though, we can’t fail to realise the potential for them to have used their ‘Test expertise’ against the home side, as Specsavers is after a fully owned English company!

The blog in question describes how Aussie batsman Shaun Marsh was fitted with soft contact lenses as part of Specsavers sponsorship deal, with Shaun describing how this had improved his vision. This seemed to work well in Adelaide, where Shaun hit over a century. But when it came to his recent performance in Perth, he only scored 28, while brother Mitchell scored 181, which by our calculations is a whopping 646% difference. Surely genetic similarity should ensure a closer result, so maybe it was the wind at Perth that led to his contact lenses drying out and blurring his vision?

Now we don’t have access to Shaun’s optical records, but the description in the blog would suggest he suffers a mild degree of short sightedness, and while contact lenses are a great solution, we wonder instead whether he would do better with orthokeratology (OK) lenses, which are worn overnight so that vision is corrected during all waking hours. The huge advantage of OK is that no lenses are needed during the day for clear vision, so there’s no potential for irritation or lens displacement while at the crease.

We are a 100% Australian owned and operated practice, and although across the other side of the country in beautiful Brisbane (unlike the official eyecare sponsor – who are they ‘Root’-ing for?), it is in our fellow countrymen’s interest to provide the best solution to our team. So Shaun – we call out, on behalf of all Aussies, and to help you keep up with your brother, come in and see us or any other independent, Aussie-owned optometrist ‘Test Experts’ while England are in town to check out your suitability for OK contact lenses!

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:00+00:00 18th December 2017|Contact Lenses, In the news, Just for fun|2 Comments

Paul’s experience adapting to progressive glasses

I started working in optometry practice as a 16 year old edging lenses to fit frames, and found myself needing glasses a year later. My first pair of glasses were standard single vision glass photochromic that darkened in the sun, which looking back over nearly thirty years reveals how far lens designs have developed. The same type of sun darkening lenses are available in lighter and safer plastic with far more options available to make the lenses thinner, scratch resistant, and anti-reflective.

Continued technological development, however, is most noticeable when considering progressive lenses that provide correction for distance and near in the same pair of glasses, without the visible line that is seen with bifocal lenses. Thirty years ago I had enough focussing power in my eyes to not need near correction. Going on to qualify as an optometrist I always knew this wouldn’t last, and true to form, when I reached the grand age of 44 my arms started to become too short!

Having been involved in and around optometry practice for my entire working life, and listened to various patient complaints about adapting to progressive lenses, the inevitability for needing progressive glasses for myself was something I dreaded. The arrival of this least anticipated day was announced by Katie who having unpacked the order was excited to see what my new glasses looked like, so I put them on to oblige, fully expecting to whip them off immediately to revert back to my trusty single vision glasses. But wait, I thought, I can actually see with these! What’s all the fuss about!

My next first person lesson in progressive lenses was delivered two years later when I required stronger reading power at the bottom of the lenses. Now I could notice the blur when I moved my head around, that I had heard countless patients tell me about. My previous ‘first’ progressives were pretty mild in strength, and I know from my optics training that higher near add powers bring with them bigger distortions. But I had also been trained to advise patients that given a few days of adaption the distortions will largely disappear. Now I was experiencing this for myself I failed to see how this would work!

True to form my vision did settle down and over a period of 3-4 days I found things less distorted and now a few weeks on fail to notice the distortions at all, and only notice blur when I look into the distance through the near vision part at the bottom of the lens (when lifting my chin right up), which is supposed to happen. My new lenses were designed to give me a wider field of intermediate distance vision to help me see my two computer screens without moving my head too much, which they do so I’m glad I stuck with it for a few days to let them settle in.

Progressive lenses – the main points:

  • The latest evolution of progressive lens design means that lenses are custom made for the individual to suit their viewing requirements.
    • Previous to this designs were developed for specific tasks so the most appropriate design was selected based on the user’s requirements.
    • Go back some more and it was a choice between hard (wide field of view but heavy distortions) or soft (narrow field of view but milder distortions) designs.
  • The older types of progressive lenses are still available and often sold with the same description as the newer designs but at reduced prices – as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
  • Newer designs can be tailored towards the tasks you do most. In my case this is for computer use where I need a wide intermediate corridor to take in my two screens, but for others this might be biased towards closework or distance vision for driving.
  • As I found first hand, progressive lenses can feel really odd to start with, particularly as the near addition power increases, but in most cases people adapt within a few days.
    • But, this should only take a few days and if they still feel odd after three to four days you should return to your optometrist for advice.
By | 2018-06-28T07:03:01+00:00 7th October 2015|Glasses|0 Comments

G20 summit eyewear

The world leaders are arriving in sunny Brisbane for G20 summit meetings across the river from our George Street optometry practice. As this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be so close to arguably the best practice in the world, is there any reason for them not to take a break from G20 meetings and GJO their eyes? For a bit of fun, and in no particular order, we thought we would take a look at the leaders that represent the majority of the world and give them an eye makeover.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkey). Maui Jim sunglasses for their superior glare reduction and comfortable, secure fit.
Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott (Australia). Hmmmm, all those reflections from his lenses suggests these could be ready made glasses from the service station! But perhaps Tony has started a rimless trend… read on for further evidence.
Stephen Harper (Canada). Slightly larger frame would style up this look.
Park Geun-hye
Park Geun-hye (South Korea). Transitions lenses would help with these people with their evident glare issues, whether they are indoors or outdoors.
François Hollande
François Hollande (France). Another style opportunity – presumably rimless are popular amongst leaders in an effort to hide that they are wearing glasses? More evidence below…
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia). Further evidence of rimless frame trending.
Herman Van Rompuy
Herman Van Rompuy (European Union). Clearly he’s quite short sighted (we can tell because of the shadow on the left side of his glasses), so would benefit from thinner lenses that we would prescribe. And is that another rimless frame?
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel (Germany). Likes to make a statement, but also appears to like disposability, however these specs are hiding her face so we think she would benefit from disposable soft contact lenses.
Dilma Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff (Brazil). It definitely appears that uniform agreement on spectacle frame styling is part of G20 discussions.
Shinzō Abe
Shinzō Abe (Japan). Something that looks good, is aerodynamic and won’t fall off during those sharp turns. We’d recommend Zeal, Adidas or Nike sport sunglasses for this particular activity
Cristina Kirchner
Cristina Kirchner (Argentina). Perhaps here we have an inspired contact lens wearer who loves the unimpeded field of view of not wearing spectacles!
David Cameron
David Cameron (United Kingdom). With such fervent gesturing accompanying his words, we think he needs an optimally weighted spectacle frame to ensure that they stay put as the point is made. David, staying at the beautiful Treasury Hotel you are the closest to us, so wander across the road any time!
Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma (South Africa). Very happy man so needs jolly frames with some colour.
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin (Russia). We can’t help here.
Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi (Italy). Contact lens wear for cycling could be ideal for him, or specialised Bolle sport sunglasses with prescription inserts to navigate those frenetic Italian roads.
Barack Obama
Barack Obama (USA). Does Obama need Transitions lenses so he can wear them when outdoors as well as indoors without needing to change glasses? Perhaps this is the least of his worries!
Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (India). He’s also got the memo about G20 spectacle frame trends. Wouldn’t you love to see him try some stylish tortoiseshell acetate frames to contrast with his silvery features?
Enrique Peña Nieto
Enrique Peña Nieto (Mexico). Well now, Kate and Paul know about running, and can tell Enrique that there’s nothing quite as comfortable as daily disposable contact lenses when flying like the wind, to ensure you don’t trip over fences and crowds along your way. They are also available with inbuilt UV protection!
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia). Everyone needs a spare pair of glasses to avoid getting stuck in a blurry bind, and he’s clearly wisened to this – two pairs for Susilo!
Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping (China). He’s too happy to have a vision problem!

G20 summit leaders, we welcome you all to Brisbane, our amazing city. It’s a shame you will be working, but we hope you get some free time to take in your beautiful surroundings, dip your toes in South Bank Lagoon, and savour the best of world cuisine. Enrique, Kate and I will be running on Saturday morning with the Brisbane Buddies Running Group – we head out from the Ship Inn at 5:30 so join us and we will give you a personal tour!

You have made us proud to visit, so we only ask that you do the same in return and bring in some great decisions to make our world a better place to live!

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:02+00:00 14th November 2014|Just for fun|0 Comments