We’re celebrating TEN YEARS in business!

Sarah Gibson and her staff
Left to right: Anita (Dispensing Optician), Catherine (Receptionist),
Sarah (owner and Optometrist), Helen (Practice Manager)

As a local independent business, we’re delighted to be celebrating ten years in business this June. To mark the occasion, we have decided to raise funds to sponsor a Guide Dog puppy. As eye care specialists, we thought it only right to support a charity that does such fantastic work for blind and partially sighted people.

We’ll be raising the money by donating one pound for every enhanced NHS Sight Test and private eye examination we perform over the next 12 months. To kick off the fundraising, we’re also selling raffle tickets for an anniversary prize draw taking place on the 11th June.

The celebrations will officially begin at 4.30pm on Tuesday 3rd June when we will be holding a party for patients and their friends, right here in the practice.

Patient Christine Dean has kindly agreed to bring along her retired Guide Dog Darsy and current Guide Dog Jodie. As Darsy is also ten years old this year, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate guest of honour!

We will be selling tickets for £1 each during the party for the charity raffle. All the prizes have been generously donated by our suppliers and local businesses and include a hamper from the Lemon Tree Deli, comedy night tickets at The Nogg Inn and some fantastic frames and lenses. We’re also offering all visitors the chance to take advantage of special Eyeplan prices on all frames and lenses, including sunglasses, during the party. Existing Eyeplan members can look forward to an additional 10% discount over and above their usual special prices, plus a special Eyeplan prize draw.

We hope you can join us for some drinks and nibbles on 3rd June 2014. We’re incredibly proud to still be going strong after ten years and we’d love to take the opportunity to say thank you in person.

Our Catherine's running the Yeovil Half Marathon!

On March 30th 2014 Catherine Pinkawa, an Optical Assistant at Sarah Gibson Optometrist, will be running the Yeovil Half Marathon in aid of Children with Cancer.

Catherine chose this charity after her young cousin beat leukaemia in 2008. Catherine said that watching Bradley brave intense chemotherapy and finally beat this dreadful disease has inspired her to run the 13.1 miles.

If you would like to sponsor Catherine in her endeavours please come in to Sarah Gibson Optometrist or visit her Virgin Giving Money page.

We WON the Blackmore Vale's Innovative Business of the Year 2012 award!

Thank you to everyone who has donated their unwanted spectacles. They were all collected by the Lions Club recently and I was informed on Tuesday that together we collected 750 pairs of old spectacles.

The Lions Club also visited the other businesses which accept spectacles for recycling and on the April 15th counted a total of 4,300! All of these have been examined, cleaned and pairs suitable for wear have sent out to those in need.

We are still happy to collect your old spectacles so when you are next in Wincanton why not drop them into us?

Experience Maui Jim

Sarah Gibson Optometrist is now a proud supplier of Maui Jim® Prescription Sunglasses.

Maui Jim sunglasses provide spectacular quality of vision by using sophisticated lens technology. Maui Jim sunglasses eliminate the interference of glare in all its forms so that you experience the ultimate visual comfort.

Without the threat of glare, contrast is sharpened, depth perception is deepened and colour quality is enhanced - the essential elements of vision are therefore at their best.

Experience the quality of vision you deserve with Maui Jim sunglasses.

Glaucoma - "The Sneak Thief Of Sight."

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide.

"One of many reasons to have regular eye examinations."

Why the strange nick-name?

Glaucoma can be referred to as 'the sneak thief of sight' because in many cases it doesn't show symptoms to the sufferer immediately. This means that you could have this particular disease and not even be aware of it progressing. If left untreated, Glaucoma can cause devastating sight loss and once this damage has occurred it is irreversible.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease in the eye that affects how visual information is carried along the Optic Nerve to the brain. There are many types of Glaucoma which affect various parts of your vision.

  • Low Tension Glaucoma – This occurs when the peripheral vision is damaged though the pressure is within the normal limits.
  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma – This is the most common variation of Glaucoma and only causes noticeable symptoms when it's fairly advanced.
  • Closed Angle Glaucoma – This is a rapid painful rise in pressure in the eye. Most people who develop this tend to go to casualty.
  • Sub Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma – This is difficult to diagnose as the symptoms and signs are not always present.

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

In order to detect Glaucoma you need to attend routine eye examinations and under-go a couple of tests. These tests are performed by our professional Optometrist, Sarah Gibson.

To measure the pressure in your eye Optometrists, such as Sarah Gibson use an instrument called a tonometer. There are TWO methods of tonometry. This measures the pressure in your eyes which is important when diagnosing Glaucoma.

  • Non-Contact Tonometers – Commonly known as the "puff test". The "puff test" is the method most high street opticians use.
  • Contact Tonometers – This method generally requires the optometrist to put anaesthetics drops into your eye before the pressure can be measured. At Sarah Gibson Optometrist we use this method to test the pressure because the “puff test” can be quite unpleasant. Contact tonometry is also considered to be more accurate.

Sarah will then take a fundus photograph of your eye. This is a digital photograph that allows Sarah to see the back of your eye clearly and perform a more thorough examination. Below are examples of what your eye can look like to Sarah.

Fundus Photograph Demonstration

This picture demonstrates what the back of an eye may look like if you suffer with Glaucoma This picture shows what a healthy eye is likely to look like

We keep a record of all your fundus photographs. This means Sarah can detect any subtle change/deterioration because she has a photographic history of your eye's health and she can compare each image.

Sarah will also measure your peripheral (the area of vision which lets you see objects out of “the corner of your eye”) vision. Sarah tests this by using a field screener analyzer. This too is a painless procedure and only takes a few minutes.

During this test you will be asked to look at a central target whilst small lights are flashed around it. When you think you've spotted a flashing light you need to press the buzzer. This tracks when you saw the light and whether any of them went unnoticed. Sarah can use these results to conclude whether there are any problems with your peripheral vision.

All of these tests are optional but recommended. By having these tests Sarah can perform a more thorough eye examination and monitor the health of your eyes and your vision to the highest standard.

Who is more likely to develop Glaucoma?

The risk of Glaucoma increases with age or if you take a high prescription of some medication. Also, if you have a close relative who suffers from Glaucoma then you are considered to have an increased risk of developing the disease yourself. This is why Sarah will ask you questions about medication and about your family history.

Is it true people who have Glaucoma or a relative with the disease get free eye tests?

In a way, yes. If you have Glaucoma then the NHS will pay for you to have an eye examination every 12 months. Also, if you are over the age of 40 and have a direct relative (parent/sibling/child) with Glaucoma then you are also eligible for an annual NHS sight test.

Currently, the NHS only fund Optometrist's for basic sight tests. Unfortunately, this means that there is a small fee for the fundus photograph. However, the pressure check and filed check are performed free of charge.

Silhouettes of Wincanton

Here, at Sarah Gibson Optometrist we believe in supplying impeccable standard. One way we can offer this to you is by supplying Silhouette rimless eyewear which we consider to be one of the best rimless spectacles available.

These wonderful minimalistic frames have incomparable quality and attention to detail. They are specifically designed to be lightweight so that you hardly notice you are wearing spectacles.

Silhouettes In Space

This reputable standard of Silhouettes has even led them to be astronaut's favourites. In space you need durability – there is no option for product failure and Silhouettes could guarantee this. Silhouettes are made without screws, minimising the possibility of spectacles coming apart, which in an astronauts case could be a life or death situation.

"If a screw comes out of the frames, it can be life and death because it can float into the breathing apparatus. And, of course, the astronaut can't be worrying about his vision with all of these distractions."

So what else is appealing about the Silhouette rimless spectacles?

There is a wide variety of lens shapes available which means we can provide you with the most practical shape for your lifestyle as well as the most flattering design for your appearance.

In the practice we have several ranges for you to try. We supply Titan Edge which have the ultimate temple design with brushed matt surfaces. These are ideal for people who consider their spectacles to be an accessory as well as a necessity. Of course, these frames maintain their simplicity.

"Simplicity requires particularly vast creativity. Titan Edge is the best proof of this."

We also stock the Titan Must collection. This is the more popular range which have flexible arms in warm colours both suitable for men and women. Flexible, is by no means the definition of indestructible but they are extremely strong despite their appearance. Like the Titan Edge collection we can offer a choice of lens shapes to suit individual tastes.

The Colorama Collection is the newest addition to our Silhouette stock. These frames maintain their durability and undeniable comfort. However, Silhouette have added more flavour to this range by including a dash of colour to the frames. The Colorama design has hinges which can be a good thing! We've found through customer feedback that some people enjoy having hinges on their spectacles as they feel more secure than the Silhouette Must Collection. By selling these three collections we hope to meet the expectations of our cutomers and provide something for everyone's taste.

Silhouette News

The sad fact is that fewer practices over the UK will be stocking Silhouette Rimless spectacles due to new protocols being enforced by the supplier. However, due to their popularity throughout the South West we endeavor to supply them long into the future. If you are interested in trying the Silhouettes feel free to pop into the practice where a member of staff will gladly show you the collections.

Acute Community Eye-Care Service (ACES)

Do you have a NEW eye problem?

Sarah Gibson Optometrist is here to help!

The 'Acute Community Eye-Care Service' is the new scheme launched by the Somerset Primary Care Trust and it aims to help people registered with a Somerset GP.

Symptoms covered by ACES appointments:

  1. Sudden or recent reduction in vision in one or both eyes
  2. Red eye(s) or eyelids
  3. Pain or discomfort in the eyes, around the eye area and temples
  4. Recent onset or increase of flashes and/or floaters in one of both eyes
  5. Mild trauma e.g. a scratch to the outer surface of the eye
  6. Recent onset of double vision
  7. Significant recent discharge from or watering of the eye(s)

If you are registered with a Somerset Doctor and experience any of the above symptoms you could be entitled to an ACES appointment, which the NHS will pay for.

How to make an ACES appointment:

There are 3 ways to make an ACES appointment:

  1. You can arrange an appointment with your GP and they will refer you to an Optometrist eligible to practice ACES
  2. Self referral–contact the practice and speak to a member of staff. They will be able to advise what action to take next
  3. Ask for advice from a pharmacy. They should be able to provide you with information on the nearest available ACES practitioner

Important Information:

  • If you experience a new problem with your eyes you should contact us within 7 days
  • If you qualify for an ACES appointment then your symptoms will be considered urgent. This means we will do our best to get you seen within 24 hours
  • You may not be able to drive after your check-up so it is advisable to have someone to collect you
  • An ACES appointment is not a full sight test
  • You can contact the practice by calling: 01963 34333

BELOW ARE SYMPTOMS NOT COVERED BY THE NHS ACES EYE-CARE SERVICE. IF YOU EXPERIENCE THE FOLLOWING, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION FROM A&E

Symptoms Not Covered By ACES:

  1. Sudden loss of vision
  2. Considerable eye pain
  3. Significant trauma e.g. penetrating injury or lacerations to the eye/eyelid
  4. Chemical injuries or burns
  5. Problems arising from eye surgery


Do you like to feel individual?

If you do, you will be pleased to know that we have a brand new collection of spectacle frames that will make you feel unique.

All Ronit Fürst spectacle frames arrive from Israel where they have been hand painted with original and fantastically funky designs.

Ronit Fürst designs come in a range of shapes and colours to suit everyone's style and mood. Currently in the Practice we have frames varying from creative, bold and striking to something a little more calm. We can guarantee you won't have seen frames quite like these before.

Stand out in the crowd with Ronit Fürst.