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Have a question?



When should a child have his/her first eye examination?

Always before they start school and ideally even younger. Good vision is vital for general development, and often, even though your child may be seeing well and not having any symptoms, a problem with one eye only or a muscle problem can cause difficulties with learning. Small babies with suspected vision problems will usually be referred to the hospital, children from 3 years old can have their eyes tested at the practice.



Why have I been told that I have dry eyes when they are watering all the time?

Dry eye is a complex issue. Somewhat simplified:

Tears naturally stop the eyes from drying out as well as protecting them from infection. If the tears are too watery to moisturize the eyes, you get dry eyes and lots of watering! The tears need to have the right balance of components. If this balance isn’t correct the eye reacts by producing watery tears which creates the watering eyes. Artificial tears try to break this cycle and retain a healthy balance of tear components. Many things can cause tear problems including age, hormonal changes, and prolonged computer use.

Is a cataract a film across the eye?

No. A cataract forms within the eye, and is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye, behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye). It usually occurs later in life, but head injuries, medications and general diseases mean that cataracts can be seen in younger people too. While still having the inherent risks of surgery, cataract surgery is commonly performed and is usually very successful with the person often needing only reading spectacles afterwards.

I find it difficult to use eye drops. Do you have any advice?

Remember to wash your hands first. Most people find it easiest to look upwards while gently pulling the lower eyelid downwards. Now put the eye drop onto the lower part of the eye. Gently hold the inner corner of your eye for a while to stop the drop running away through the tear ducts. Wait five minutes before putting another drop into the eye. Be careful not the let the tip of the bottle touch the eye or eyelids, and to keep the bottle cap as sterile as possible while you are instilling the drop.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve resulting in a progressive, permanent loss of vision. It is often association with high pressure of the eye (intraocular pressure IOP). Early detection and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and is usually very successful. There are usually no symptoms to indicate that you have glaucoma in the early stages. Regular eye examinations are essential Most people associate the ‘puff of air test’ during the eye examination as the check for glaucoma. This together with peripheral vision testing and 3D OCT is currently the best way of detection glaucoma early.

I have a bleed on the white of my eye. What must I do?

Always make an appointment with your doctor or optometrist to rule out other problems. If you are diagnosed as having a subconjunctival haemorrhage , it is essentially harmless. It often occurs spontaneously after coughing, heavy lifting or vomiting. The blood will clear without treatment over a few weeks. Your vision will be unaffected, and there will be no discharge or watering from the eye.



Do I need to see my GP before I can have an eye examination?

No. All you need to do is make an appointment.

What has my general health got to do with my eyes?

“Everything”. Many health problems can cause visual problems. For example:

  • rheumatoid arthritis – dry eyes
  • diabetes – fluctuating vision
  • migraine – visual disturbances
  • head injuries – double/blurred vision
  • sinusitis – pain around the eyes
  • menopause – tear problems leading to dry eye/blurry vision
  • high blood pressure – leaky blood vessels

What is the difference between 20/20 vision and 6/6 vision?

There is no difference. Both of these indicate excellent distance vision. 20/20 is the imperial version measured in feet, and 6/6 is the metric equivalent measured in metres.

Eye Exam video



Can I have prescription sunglasses?

Yes. Ask to see our Bolle, Face A Face, Woow and Zeal ranges, among others.

My specs have broken. Can you fix them?

Some repairs can be done on site, but it may be necessary to order a part or send the frame away to be repaired. We recommend that you have a second pair of specs in case you cannot drive or read without them.

I like the idea of varifocals, but I’ve heard that some people have trouble adjusting to them. What happens if I do too?

Varifocal spectacle lenses have improved vastly in recent years. We are able to design specific lenses to meet your individual requirements. Our qualified dispensing opticians will be able to advise you. This means that it is rare for anyone to have difficulties wearing varifocal lenses. However, if you are still having trouble after trying your lenses and having your specs adjusted, please contact us. We will do everything we can to help you get specs that are suitable to your requirements and that you can wear comfortably.


My spectacle lenses are scratched. Can you polish out the scratches?

Unfortunately not. Lenses are made up to your prescription, and the shape, curve and thickness of your lenses are what makes this prescription. By polishing the lenses, the prescription would change.

Pupillary distance/Can I have my PD measurement?

The PD (distance between the pupils) is not part of the prescription and is not given routinely at the end of an eye examination. It is always in your best interests to be accurately measured for PD when consideration of the frame, lens design, spectacle use and prescription can be taken into account at the same time. Although you are fully entitled to have your prescription made up into spectacles elsewhere, we believe that the prescribing and dispensing of spectacles are closely linked, and we would ask that you speak to your Marian Carton optometrist and dispensing optician regarding any queries you have in this regard.

Lens Fitting video




I am seeing black spots. What are floaters? (Including retinal detachment)

Often, people who have healthy eyes see floaters. They appear as spots, lines or cobweb effects, usually when you look at a plain surface such as a white wall or a clear blue sky. They often appear when the clear jelly in the main part of your eye gets older.


What are flashes?

Sometimes the jelly in the main part of your eye shrinks a little and tugs on the retina (the light-sensitive layer) at the back of your eye. This can cause flashes of light at the edge of your vision. These differ from the disturbance of vision that can occur with migraine.


When should I be concerned?

If you suddenly notice a shower of new floaters, or floaters along with flashes or a dark shadow or “curtain” in your vision, then you should seek advice urgently. These symptoms can mean that the retina is tearing. Go to an Accident and Emergency Department if necessary.


What will happen if the retina tears?

The retina is at the back of your eye. It receives the images and sends them to the brain. This is one of the things that enable you to see. If the retina tears, it may come away from the back wall of the eye. This is called retinal detachment . It can result in partial or complete loss of vision.


How is retinal detachment treated?

A tear may be treated by using a laser. If treated quickly, you may have a better chance of full recovery. However, if your retina has become detached, you will need surgery. The operation may restore most of your vision but may come too late for a full recovery.


Look out for:

  • flashes or floaters getting worse
  • a black shadow in your vision
  • a sudden cloud of spots
  • a curtain or veil over your vision
  • any sudden loss of vision.

Go to an Accident and Emergency Department without delay if you notice any of these symptoms.




From March 2017 if you are self-employed you are now entitled to a Free Eye Examination funded by your PRSI.

The Treatment Benefit Scheme is also available to insured workers and retired people who have the required number of PRSI contributions. If you qualify for the Treatment Benefit Scheme, you are entitled to a Free eye examination every two years.

There's no need to wait weeks for your PRSI approval. At Marian Carton Opticians, we can get your PRSI approval in hours, all we need is your PPS number. Just quote your number when making the appointment. Your spouse, if dependent; may also be able to claim under your PRSI record, so bring them along and see if they are eligible for a free examination too.


If you are a Medical Card holder, you are entitled to a free eye examination and free spectacles from a selected range. Alternatively, you can put your entitlement towards any other offer, and just pay the difference.

To claim your Medical Card benefit you must first apply to your Health Board. Ask our staff for an application form, and we will gladly help with completion and post it for you. Once you have received your authorization from the Health Board, just give us a call to request an appointment.



If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, then contact us by clicking here.



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