Tel: 019 1456 1552

Your sight is precious, so at McGuinness Opticians we take your eye care very seriously.


At J.McGuinness Opticians we offer longer appointment times than frequently found at other opticians. This gives our highly trained optometrists time to listen to our patients ensuring that any questions are answered and individual requirements are addressed.


Our patients frequently comment on just how thorough the eye test has been.


Most of our new patients have been recommended to come to us by either friends and family or GP’s and Hospital eye departments. This is due to the quality of service we deliver to patients and other health care professionals and is testament to the professionalism & friendliness of our close knit team.

  • Age related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

    The macula is an area at the back of your eye that you use for seeing fine detail such as reading a book. The condition affects your ability to do certain tasks such as reading, watching TV and recognising faces but does not affect your ability to walk around as your side vision is not affected.


    One of the most common symptoms of macular degeneration is noticing that straight lines appear wavy.


    Around 1 in 10 people aged 65 or older show signs of Macular degeneration.


    Risk factors for developing macular degeneration are:

    • Age

    • Smoking

    • Family history of ARMD

    • Obesity

    • Having blue eyes

    • Exposure to UV light


    There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing ARMD.


    It is believed that a diet rich in oily fish and fruit and vegetables ( particularly spinach, broccoli & kale) may reduce your risk of developing ARMD. We recommend that you wear UV-absorbing glasses when you are going to be outside for long periods.


    If you have any concerns or questions about macular degeneration, or if you have already been diagnosed with the condition and are concerned it may be worsening or developing in your other eye, then please book an appointment to come and see us.


    Our experienced optometrists have vast experience of macular disease, and our Advanced Digital Eye Examination can detect early signs of the disease and monitor changes in the condition.


    Macular degeneration as seen with our fundus camera

  • Cataracts

    Cataract is a common condition which occurs when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy or misty. It is usually a gradual process that happens as we get older and is easily treatable with surgery.


    Although age is the main cause of cataract, smoking and exposure to sunlight have been linked to the condition.


    Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the UK and the procedure usually lasts 30-40 minutes. The procedure is usually carried out using a local anaesthetic and involves replacing the cloudy natural lens with a new clear plastic one.


    It may take a few weeks for your eyes to settle & heal after the procedure and you will probably find that your glasses need changing. At this stage you will need to see your optometrist for an eye examination to check the prescription & monitor the health of your eyes. At J.McGuinness Opticians all our optometrists have worked within cataract surgery departments and have an advanced understanding of cataract surgery.


    Cataract as seen with our anterior digital slit lamp imaging

  • Diabetes

    Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the blood vessels at the back of the eye. It is more commonly found in patients who have had diabetes for a long time and if left undiagnosed & untreated, it can cause blindness.


    However most sight loss in diabetes is preventable, therefore, early detection of any changes to the blood vessels on the retina is vital. Patients diagnosed with diabetes should attend the annual NHS diabetic screening service to ensure that these vascular changes are picked up on at the earliest opportunity.


    Patients should also attend their local optometrist usually once a year as diabetic patients are also more at risk of developing the following conditions:


    • Cataract

    • Glaucoma

    • Dry eye

    • Blurred vision


    Therefore we strongly recommend that Diabetic patients opt for our Advanced Digital Eye Examination for complete reassurance. Remember the NHS screening is only to look for signs of diabetic eye disease, it does not screen for other eye diseases.


    Diabetic retinopathy as seen with our fundus camera


    You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by:

    • Controlling your blood sugar levels, blood pressure & cholesterol levels

    • Taking your diabetic medication as prescribed

    • Attending your screening appointments

    • Seek prompt medical advice if you notice any changes in your vision

    • Maintaing a healthy weight, exercising regularly and stop smoking

  • Dry Eye & Blepharitis

    Dry eye is a common condition that may be caused because your eyes do not produce enough tears, or because the tears that you have evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly across the front of your eye. It may also be as a result of inflammation of the eye lids & lashes, known as Blepharitis.


    Dry Eye appointments at J.McGuinness opticians

    In our Dry Eye clinic patients have dedicated appointments so that our optometrists can adequately assess the nature of the condition and have time to go through treatment regimens & options with our patients.


    At J.McGuinness Opticians we can look in more detail than previously possible with our Advanced Eye Examination to assess the eyelids & lashes, tear film, tear duct, and tear producing glands.


    Anterior eye imaging also helps to monitor how treatment for dryness is working and is invaluable in helping our optometrists communicate to patients what is going on and how we can resolve it.


    Our principal Optometrist Mr Ciaran McClements has vast experience managing dry eye conditions having previously worked as a refractive laser optometrist. One of the most common side effects of laser eye surgery is dryness and Ciaran has worked closely with surgeons for 7 years managing these conditions.


    Damaged corneal cells due to dryness as seen with our anterior digital slit lamp.


    Blepharitis as seen with our anterior digital slit lamp


    What are the common causes?

    • Eye discomfort and soreness

    • Dryness and / or grittiness

    • Blurred vision

    • Tired Eyes

    • A sharp stabbing sensation in the eye

    • Watery eyes – this is usually a reflex action to dryness


    What are the symptoms of Dry Eye?

    • Age

    • Hormone changes

    • Blepharitis and rosacea

    • Systemic conditions such as arthritis

    • Environmental factors

    • Computer / Mobile Phone use

    • Contact lenses

    • Laser eye surgery

    • Medications


    What treatment is available?

    Various treatments are available and the type of recommended treatment will depend on the underlying reason for the dryness.


    Treatments may include:

    Eye drops – We have a range of options from drops, gels & ointments depending on the severity of dry eye.


    Lid hygiene -In many cases of blepharitis it is vital to maintain good eyelid hygiene, by cleaning the lids and lashes with specific lid cleaning products such as Blephaclean.


    Hot Compresses – Often the tear secreting glands on the eyelids become blocked and prevent the tear film from functioning properly. Therefore treatment with cooled boiled water & cotton wool pads or with an Eyebag & eyelid massage can be effective in relieving symptoms.




  • Flashes & Floaters

    Floaters can appear as black spots or something that looks like a hair or pieces of a cobweb. Floaters are very common and normally harmless. They may appear to float or move about in front of your vision. If you have had these for years your eye and your brain may learn to ignore them.


    Sometimes the number of floaters increases as you get older. Occasionally a sudden increase in floaters or a shower of tiny ones can be a sign of retinal detachment.


    Flashes of light can be due to movement of the vitreous gel inside the eye. As you get older the vitreous gel becomes more liquid and collapses, pulling on the retina. These flashes tend to be at the extreme corners of your vision, come & go, and don’t obscure any part of your vision. The flashes don’t last for a defined length of time. Flashes can also occur if you are hit in the eye or have a knock to the head.

    These are different to the shimmering or zig-zag lines that may be part of a migraine. These are often on only one side of your vision and expand to the outside of your vision with a sort of jagged pattern. This will often obscure at least part of your vision and the shimmers typically go away after 10-20 minutes, followed by a headache. Occasionally some people may get migraine shimmers but may not get any headache.


    Very occasionally, flashes or an increase in floaters can be a sign of a retinal detachment, which needs treating as soon as possible.


    If you have any new symptoms of flashes or floaters you should contact us immediately for advice. In some instances, depending on the severity and onset of the symptoms, we may recommend going directly to the local eye casualty hospital department rather than booking in for an eye test.


    When should I seek advice on flashes or floaters?

    You should seek advice immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

    • A sudden increase in floaters, particularly if you also notice flashing lights

    • A new, large, floater

    • A change in floaters or flashing lights after you have had a direct blow to your eye

    • A shadow spreading across the vision of one of your eyes


    Who is at risk of retinal detachment?

    Some people are more at risk of retinal detachment.

    These are people who:

    • Have had eye surgery, such as a cataract operation or laser surgery after a cataract operation

    • Are moderately short sighted (over -3.00)

    • Have had a previous eye injury

    • Have a family history of retinal detachment

    • Have had a previous retinal detachment in that eye or the other eye

    • Are over the age of 50

    • Have certain retinal diseases such as lattice or other retinal degeneration

    • Have certain systemic diseases such as Marfan syndrome

  • Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is a condition which results in damage to the Optic nerve at the back of the eye. This may be because the pressure inside the eye is higher than normal. In most cases you will not feel the pressure and the damage happens slowly meaning that you may not know you have glaucoma until a lot of damage is done.


    Glaucoma becomes more common with age, however there are several other factors that increase the risk of developing the condition:


    Family history: People are more likely to develop glaucoma if they have a close relative with the condition. It is therefore vital for anyone over 40 with a family history of glaucoma to have regular eye examinations


    Race: People of African, Caribean and Asian origin are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma


    Short-sightedness: People with high levels of short-sightedness are more likely to develop glaucoma


    Diabetes: Those with diabetes have an increased risk of developing the condition


    Ultimately the only way to protect your eyes from glaucoma is to detect signs of the condition early and this can only be done by going to your optometrist for regular eye examinations. At J.McGuinness Opticians all our optometrists are highly experienced in an array of tests that screen for early signs of the disease.


    Our Advanced Digital Eye Examination is particularly useful in glaucoma detection as it allows our optometrists to compare detailed images of the Optic nerve from one year to the next which means we can get patients referred and treated sooner.



    Left: Healthy Optic Nerve

    Right: Glaucomatous Optic Nerve

Opening Times:

Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 5.30pm,

Friday 9.35 - 5.30,

Saturday 9.00am - 4.30pm

019 1456 1552


33 Westoe Road, South Shields NE33 4LS

© J.McGuinness Opticians 2019