How can UV rays damage your eyes?

We all know that UV rays can cause damage to your skin, but what about
your eyes? Read on to learn about the effect UV light has on your eyes
and why you should always wear sunglasses for eye protection against UV

How does UV light affect your eyes?

UV light is a form of ultraviolet radiation, and too much exposure can
harm your eyes. There are 2 main types of UV rays that can affect your
eyes. UVA has a long wavelength, which means it can reach the retina at
the back of your eyes and eventually contribute to the development of
serious and irreversible eye conditions. UVB has a short wavelength so
reaches the cornea on the surface of your eyes and is associated with the
development of short term eye conditions.

How does UV light affect your eyes?

UV radiation affects people of all ages – so no matter how old you are, it’s
important to be aware of the dangers and how to protect your eyes and
your family’s eyes. The effects of UV exposure are generally cumulative,
building up over time, so protecting the eyes from a young age is
incredibly important.

Eye conditions caused or worsened by UV rays

Eye conditions caused or worsened by UV rays

Many eye conditions can be caused or worsened by UV exposure, and
some of these can lead to eventual vision loss. Macular degeneration is
the leading cause of sight loss in people over 50 in the UK, affecting your
macula, which is responsible for your central vision. UV exposure
increases your risk of developing this disease.

Prolonged UV exposure can also increase your risk of developing
cataracts, as well as increasing your chances of developing skin cancer
around the eyelids and delicate skin around the eyes.

Photokeratitis is another painful condition that can include temporary
vision loss and is caused by prolonged exposure to UVB rays.

Wear sunglasses for protection against UV rays

Wear sunglasses for protection against UV rays

The easiest way to protect your vision is to wear good quality sunglasses
with full UV protection. Sunglasses are not just for summer, either. UV
rays can cause damage at any time of year, even on overcast days, so if
in doubt, put your shades on.

Now’s a great time to buy new sunglasses, with a huge range of styles
available in our opticians in Whitley Bay. We recommend wraparound
styles for the best coverage, particularly for children, as they stop
sunlight coming in from most angles. We also have a variety of lens tint
options and polarised sunglass lenses to reduce glare from the sun too.

We’re always happy to help, so contact us to find out more about our
sunglasses range and lenses, or if you have any questions about UV
exposure and protection.

How can an 3D OCT eye scan save your vision?

With some eye conditions, symptoms such as blurred vision will let you know something’s wrong. But not all conditions have obvious symptoms – and occasionally, by the time you see the signs, it may be too late to reverse the effects. For many eye diseases, early intervention is crucial to preserve and save your eyesight.

That’s where Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) comes in. This state-of-the-art 3D eye CT scan shows a detailed cross-sectional image of the distinctive layers of the retina at the back of the eye, allowing our optometrists to see every detail in high resolution.

What happens during an OCT scan?

A 3D eye scan may sound a bit scary and invasive, but it’s truly not. When you sit down for your examination, all you’ll have to do is place your head on the OCT’s chinrest and look at the camera. The process only takes a matter of minutes, and you won’t feel a thing. Occasionally your optometrist may administer drops to dilate your pupils, allowing them to the back of your eye with even more clarity.

What does the OCT scan show?

The great thing about an OCT scan is that it can detect problems that traditional retinal photography can’t always see. While standard retinal imaging only shows the surface of the retina, an OCT scan shows all its layers, meaning that your optometrist has a much more detailed picture of what’s going on in your eye.

This means that conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma can be detected and treated much earlier if they are visible in areas which retinal photography wouldn’t show.

How quickly do the results show?

The results are instant, and your optometrist will talk you through them and what they show during your appointment. The images are then stored in your patient record so that over time, with regular testing, we can build a highly accurate picture of your eye health and monitor the progress of any conditions or abnormalities, for your peace of mind.

How to book an OCT eye scan

Here at Robinson Optometrists, we’ve got a 3D OCT scan which you can have when you book a premium OCT eye exam, which takes around 50 minutes in total.

We’re one of only a few opticians in Whitley Bay to offer advanced 3D eye scans. It’s available to all our patients, but we especially recommend it for anyone over the age of 40, as well as patients with existing eye conditions, diabetes, or a family history of eye problems like glaucoma or macular degeneration.

Feel free to call us on 0191 251 6102 for more information about our OCT scan, or book your premium OCT eye test in Whitley Bay online here.

Our best moments of 2021

Our best moments of 2021

It’s been quite the year for all of us with the ongoing pandemic, but there have certainly been some great moments for us. We’re taking a look back at some of our highlights of 2021 and want to share them with you…

Happy birthday to us!

Firstly, we celebrated 30 years in business! From our humble beginnings in 1991, we’ve come a long way and have all our amazing patients and staff to thank for that.

It’s safe to say we had a great time celebrating this milestone achievement!

New team members

We’re pleased to say we’ve had a few additions to our friendly team at our opticians in Monkseaton in the past year!

Megan, our new optical assistant, joined our practice in January. Daisy also started in January as our new student dispensing optician and is now fully qualified – a fantastic achievement!

Both Megan and Daisy have had previous experienced working with opticians, and it’s been wonderful to have them both on board this year.

If you book an eye test at our opticians in the Whitley Bay area, you might see our talented optometrist Hayden Hamilton, who started with us in May. Hayden graduated in 2014 from Glasgow Caledonian University, before specialising as an Independent Prescriber.

Having her join in a part time role means we’ve been able to run 2 clinics for 6.5 days a week – allowing us to see more of you – our valued customers. Hayden is a keen rower and traveller, but most of all loves meeting people, which definitely shows, as she’s been a huge hit with our patients so far. We feel very lucky to have her as part of the Robinson’s team!

Looking for a new pair of glasses? With more than 30 years of experience in optics, Tracy Tweddle, who joined us in May, will definitely be able to help you find the perfect pair.

We also had another optometrist, Andrea Turnbull, join us in November. Andrea is passionate about optometry and brings a wealth of experience to the role. She’s also a real people person – all qualities that make her a real asset to our team.

Not strictly a new team member, but we like to think of her as one (!) – baby Lottie was born in June to Robyn, our assistant manager and dispensing optician, and her husband Simon. She is absolutely gorgeous and a bundle of joy – we can’t wait to see more of her next year!

New myopia control lenses

2021 has been a year of investing in more innovative products for the practice too. One of these is MiYOSMART – special spectacle lenses from one of our lens suppliers, HOYA, which are clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia, aka short-sightedness, in children.

Myopia is a growing epidemic worldwide, with kids in particular starting to develop it at younger ages than previously seen. As it gets worse over the year, it can lead to a host of other potential serious vision problems in adulthood, like glaucoma and retinal detachments.

This is why using myopia management methods like MiYOSMART from an early age has become so important, as it helps you as parents to protect your child’s future vision and eye health.

Fitted and worn just like normal glasses, MiYOSMART lenses are ideal for kids, offering UV protection, impact resistance and anti-glare technology too.

Optix conference

There have been some exciting events too; one was the Optix conference at Celtic Manor, which Nigel, Anth and John had the privilege of attending. They were lucky enough to hear some amazing inspirational speakers, including Sir Chris Hoy MBE and Duncan Slater.

In 2009, Duncan Slater was on patrol in Afghanistan when his vehicle hit an IED. Rather than a life confined to a wheelchair, Duncan chose double amputation. Eight months later he completed a charity cycle ride from Lands End to John O Groats. He has since gone on to ski to the South Pole and complete the toughest race on the planet – Marathon des Sables, in aid of Walking With The Wounded.

Sir Chris Hoy was truly inspiring too – the epitome of dedication and modesty; an exemplary individual who showed us what can be achieved with the correct mindset.

Nigel, Anth and John were proud to have been part of the fundraising dinner, which raised £30k – a figure that was matched by the hosts – Optix Software.

Whitley Bay Girls Sports Club sponsorship

We’re all about supporting our local community, which is why we also sponsored the U12 Lionesses team for a third season. We’re thrilled to see how far they’ve come since they first started 2 years ago – in fact, this year, they were playing in the Premier Division!

They’re always welcome here at our opticians in Monkseaton!

Sea2See frames

On the eyewear front, we’re pleased we’ve just started stocking the brand Sea2See as part of our commitment to becoming an eco-friendlier practice. Sea2See works with fishermen to collect plastic from the sea, before processing it to create beautiful frames. This means you’ll be able to support environmental protection in style! Feel free to visit us and view the collection in the new year.

Thank you to our loyal customers

Lastly, a special thank you to you – our loyal customers who have helped to make 2021 the success it was. Let’s hope 2022 is an even better year!

If you’re looking to book an eye test in the Whitley Bay area for the new year, or need to contact our practice for any other eyecare or eyewear needs, please do get in touch with our friendly team.

30 Years In Business


Can you believe it! Our Optician’s Practice has just had its 30th birthday.

Well it doesn’t seem like it, but it was September 1991 when we opened our doors above a chemist’s shop in Monkseaton. At that time, the team consisted of Nigel, Judith and 3 receptionists each doing 2 days a week. We tested 1 day a week, undertaking locum work elsewhere to support the new project.

The practice has moved twice, and worked from a portable cabin during renovations. This was all within 200 yards, but feels like a million miles in where we have travelled.

We are so grateful to our fantastic, loyal patients, who have supported us every step of the way. Of course we are also indebted to our wonderful team whose hard work and dedication has landed us the title of National Independent Practice of the Year on no fewer than 3 occasions, an achievement of which we are hugely proud.

The change in technology has been mind-blowing. It seems no time at all since we were
using little trial frames to add the lenses to our patients test routine. Now the integrated
system is cross linked to a record card and lenses changed at the click of a mouse.
Who would have thought that we would be performing our own CT scans of the eye within a practice environment? Our OCT tests are now undertaken on an almost routine basis.

Disposable lenses that we throw away on a daily basis? (This packaging is now recycled by the way). We used to see so many red and painful infected eyes, through people not looking after their contact lenses. They are now an altogether safer option than they were.

Lens technology has come on leaps and bounds! Modern varifocals are so easy to adapt to, yet we probably all remember seeing folks walking like they were on the moon, when first wearing some of the older designs.

One thing that hasn’t changed, is our commitment to providing you with the very best in eye-care and eyewear, in a warm friendly environment.

As we have said, “We couldn’t have done it without you”, so thank you! As part of the celebrations we will be running a weekly prize draw.

Anyone who buys a designer frame, or boutique frame will have the chance of getting the frame free of charge. Watch this space, and our Facebook page for details.

We look forward to the next 30 years!

Optician Awards – Independent Practice of the Year 2020

We are delighted to announce that we have once again been pronounced Independent Practice of the Year.

We cannot tell you how much this means to us in what has been a challenging year. Thank you so much to every member of our wonderful team, and to the amazing support of the public which makes this all possible.

We will continue to strive for clinical excellence, stand out fashion and 5* customer service, ensuring that we are deserving of this prestigious award that has been bestowed upon us.

Thank you!

COVID 19 – November 2020 Update

We will be remaining open

Following guidance from Public Health England, we are pleased to advise that, as an essential public service, we will remain open during the November lockdown. However, we are operating on an appointment only basis for all visits, including

  • Eye Examinations
  • Contact Lens Examinations
  • Product Collection
  • Glasses Adjustments
  • Repairs

Online booking is now available, and appointments of all types can be made by calling us on 0191 2516102. Current safety measures will continue to ensure the safety of our customers and our colleagues.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

National Opticians Awards 2020

Robinson Optometrists short listed in two cateogories!

We are delighted to announce that, carrying the flag for Whitley Bay and The North East, we have once again been short-listed as finalists in two categories; Independent Practice of the Year, and Optical Assistant Team of the Year.

We have been informed that the competition has been stiffer than ever this year. Having won The Independent Award on 2 previous occasions and short-listed a further 2, we were amazed to once again be chosen.

This was probably due to a number of contributing factors:

  • We continue to strive to produce the very highest quality in eye-care and eye-wear.
  • We invest in the latest equipment, and very carefully select our team of experts, providing you with a very thorough examination. 2019 saw us take a major role in working with National Educational Body NCFE in developing a new training course for optical assistants. It is hoped that this will be rolled out in 2021.
  • A new piece of Community Art for Monkseaton, commendations from various medical professionals who we work with, and charity work for The Guide Dog Association were probably all paramount in the decision making.

As for the Optical Assistant short-listing- what can we say? We have such a fabulous team who are skilled in both clinical support and fashion advice. Since Nigel and Judith took a more back seat in the running of the Practice, the Team have provided a seamless transition!

One member Lorna, also runs our social media campaign; this has been widely complemented.

We are also very aware that we couldn’t achieve this without the support of our loyal client base ie YOU! We would just like to say a massive thank you to you all! Winners will be announced during a Gala Dinner at The NEC on Saturday April 4th. The full short list can be seen on the Opticians Awards website.

Five of us will make the journey and we hope to give a live Facebook feed from the event. We will publish the results on Social Media and in The News Guardian. Watch this space!

So – a big start to the Year. Obviously we will greatly miss Gary, as we’re sure many of you will, but we have a lot to look forward to.

Gary McMullan

After 10 years of faithful service, we are very sad to announce that our great friend and colleague, Gary, will be returning to be nearer family in The Emerald Isle.

Gary and Therese love Whitley Bay, but since starting a family, are acutely aware that they would like to see the children’s grand-parents being able to enjoy their company.

He worked part time at Robinson’s and part time running the glaucoma service at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough. A very talented optometrist and a gem to work with.

He has asked us to pass on his thanks to all his patients for their loyalty and support. He will be sadly missed, and we’re sure he’ll miss you all too. When one door closes we are great believers that another one opens. We are very fortunate that another of our optometrists, Sophie Worsman, has decided to join us on a full time rather than part time basis.

Like Gary, Sophie has considerable hospital experience (Newcastle RVI), and has proved very popular with her patients at Robinson’s. If Gary has been the optometrist looking after your eyes, we would have no hesitation in recommending Sophie as his replacement. Of course we also have two more excellent optometrists in John and Elaine, should you prefer to book with one of them.

Opening Hours

New Opening Hours from April 6th 2020.

A recurrent request for us is to consider opening hours, and adding an extra late night to accommodate the needs of those who find daytime appointments difficult. We are always looking at ways to make ourselves more available to our clients who work through the week.

We are pleased to announce that, as from the week beginning Monday April 6th, we will be open until 8 pm on 2 nights of the week- Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Many of you will have already visited late on a Thursday night but we’re sure that the Wednesday will be a very useful addition to this. Saturday Afternoons, on the other hand, have become much less sought after, and so we will be closing at 1pm on Saturdays.

We hope that this does not prove to be an inconvenience to anyone.

From April 6th 2020, opening times will be as follows:

Monday     9am-5pm
Tuesday      9am-5pm
Wednesday  9am-8pm
Thursday      9am-8pm
Friday          9am-5pm
Saturday       9am-1pm