Astigmatism and contact lenses

A relatively common eye condition, astigmatism can be treated using specific lenses.  Though the name might sound severe, astigmatism is still fairly minor.  However, if you’re unsure about what it is, this guide should help.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens isn’t a perfectly curved shape, and leads to both blurred and distorted vision  (It’s quite common in people who wear glasses).   It typically occurs alongside other ‘refractive errors’ such as:

Short-sightedness (known as myopia) and Long-sightedness (hypermetropia).

Is it dangerous?

Astigmatism isn’t a lethal condition, but if it isn’t treated it can cause discomfort for the sufferer through headaches, eye strain and fatigue, particularly after working on tasks such as reading or using a computer for long periods of time.

What causes astigmatism?

Astigmatism is the result of an irregular-shaped cornea (the transparent layer of tissue on the front of the eye).  In normal cases, the cornea is spherical – a bit like the surface of a football – but astigmatism causes an irregular curve (more like a rugby ball).

The result of this is that light rays entering the eye aren’t focused perfectly, resulting in a blurred image.

Typically, astigmatism is present at birth.  On some occasions, though, it can develop after an eye injury or as a result of complication during eye surgery.  It can also be the result of keratoconus and keratoglobus, eye conditions that can distort the cornea, causing it to bulge.

Types of astigmatism

There are two main types of astigmatism – regular and irregular:

  • Regular astigmatism is where the cornea curves more towards one direction than the other – this condition can usually be corrected using glasses or contact lenses.
  • Irregular astigmatism is where the curvature of the cornea isn’t even across the eye; usually meaning the curve is in a single direction.  Irregular astigmatism is typically more common when eye injuries occur and the cornea is scarred.  This can also be corrected with contact lenses but not with glasses.

Get it checked

It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly in order to have astigmatism diagnosed – on some occasions it can go undiagnosed for years, resulting in a greatly reduced ability to read and concentrate.

How to treat astigmatism

Often, astigmatism symptoms are so mild that they don’t even need to be treated, but if they do require treatment, there are a few different options:

Corrective lenses

These corrective lenses compensate for the irregular shape of the cornea so that any incoming light passing through the lens is properly focused onto the retina (the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye).

There are a number of effective models for sale via Eyesbright’s prescription contact lens partner, and you can find them here.

Laser eye surgery is another option, but it’s usually considered somewhat drastic for what’s still a relatively mild condition. Note: Eye surgery is not available on the NHS.




The very best cheap coloured contact lenses

Whilst we stock a wide range of products at Eyesbright, we know that for many people, it’s important to budget.  Because of this, we’ve put together this handy guide on some of the best value lenses in our current catalogue.  Some are permanently available at great prices, others are currently on sale – so grab a pair before we run out of them!

Pictures and Patterns

Black Cross  

These are pretty unique, and if you love to rock the gothic look it’s hard not to recommend them.  The Black Cross lenses are about as heavy metal as it’s possible for lenses to be, and will seriously look the part in any dark ensemble.  All hail!


If you dig the vampire-slaying, Wesley Snipes portrayed bad-ass, we’d definitely recommend these lenses.  A combination of razor sharped black shapes on a pure white-background, they’re definitely ideal for catching the eye of a vamp or two whilst out on the town.  Swords not included.

Natural colours

Beautiful blues

Natural whilst still being eye-catching, these stylish blues are ideal if you want to emphasise the lightness of your own eyes.  They won’t go over really dark eyes, but if you’ve got naturally lighter ones and want to transform them, the blues are perfect.

Grey Lenses

Planning to take your darker eyes and give them a little more spark?  These grey lenses are built to look the part in any situation, from an awesome club night to a Halloween party.  They’re also just as effective with light eyes!

Block colours

Black Out

Available at a great price of £10.99, these Black Out lenses are ideal for those situations where looking anything but human will do!  Whether you’re rocking a Halloween ghost costume or are trying to nail the look from your favourite cosplay character, give the Black Outs a go.

White Out

Do you really want to grab the attention of everyone in the room?  The chances are you’ll be able to do so very quickly with these White Out lenses: whatever costume you’re trying on - hell, even if you don’t have a costume! – these lenses will really put all eyes on you.

At the Movies

Hellraiser – Pinhead

He’s got a face full of steel, and a whole lot of personal issues.  He’s Pinhead, and he’s here for the misery.  If you’ve got a costume all ready to go and want the ideal final touch at a great price, we’d definitely recommend these Pinhead lenses.

Twilight: the Wolfpack

In the mood for a full moon and a lot of hairy, hungry sort-of-people? Then you’ll definitely want to give these Wolf Pack lenses a go.  If you’re a huge Twilight fan and want to try something different from the typical Edward Cullen costume, give these Wolfy ones a go!



Game of Thrones Survey: Brace yourself; Rumours are coming *MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

With the news that the latest series of Game of Thrones will start on 14th April (12th for U.S), rumours are already flying all over the web. What’s more, the great man himself has said that the series will differ from the books.

Or, in his own words:

‘Everybody better be on their toes. [Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] are even bloodier than I am.’

What does this mean for lovers of the series?  It means that HAVE MERCY WHY ISN’T IT THE 12TH OF APRIL ALREADY I CAN’T WAIT…erm, sorry; too much coffee.

So what’s really going to happen? Well, we don’t know.  However, we’ve had a look at some of the theories doing the rounds, and these are definitely our favourites…

(None are confirmed, but some come from the books.  As a result, consider these potential SPOILERS!):

Sansa gets hitched

Possibly the most disturbing theory is that newly-goth Sansa will end up marrying Ramsay Bolton.  Yes, the one that chopped off Theon’s manhood before eating a sausage in front of him.  Because, y’know, being around Littlefinger just isn’t creepy enough.

Jamie and Cersei aren’t Lannisters

Yes, fans are starting to question the birth of the gorgeous twosome, following hints that the Mad King took some liberties with Tywin’s wife. (You’d have to be mad to try that). Targaryens have always been a fan of the whole incest thing, so this would sort of make sense. In a horrible, horrible way.

(Of course, there’s always the possibility that Tyrion is the non-Lannister, which would explain why Tywin was always such an arse to the poor guy.  Until Tyrion straight up murdered him, right in the toilet).

The Mountain returns

Even in the book this isn’t confirmed, but there are rumours that everyone’s favourite eye-gouging, skull-crushing loony will return with a new suit of armour, a new name and presumably the same anger issues. Can someone please, please just kill him properly?

Varys is a merman

Just YES.  There has been the odd rumour in the books that ‘merlings’ do exist, and Varys definitely looks a bit reptilian. This theory seems almost entirely based on Varys’ reply when Tyrion threatened to throw him in the sea: ‘You might be disappointed in the results’.  First person to make a compilation video and set it to ‘Part of that world’ from The Little Mermaid wins the internet.

Jon Snow ain’t a Stark – well, not Ned’s anyway

The standout rumour regarding the dishy wall guardian is definitely that Snow isn’t actually Ned Stark’s bastard child, but instead the child of Prince Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyanna Stark.  As well as making dear old no-head Ned seem like less of a cheating swine, this would give Jon a solid claim to the Iron Throne.

What do you think will happen?

In tribute to what’s definitely the most addictive show in the world (especially since Walter White’s last hoorah), we’ve put together this survey on just what the real GoT fans think is going to happen to the parade of characters who’ll no doubt find themselves in peril over the next ten weeks.  We’d love to have your expertise on some of the following questions:

Who's going to snuff it?

Who'll reign on the Iron Throne at the end (if anyone)?

Who's your favourite character (well, favourite still alive character?)

As well as a number of others.  To take part, visit the survey here:

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Celebrities who wear colour contact lenses

You might think that contact lenses are solely limited to actors or those in a movie video, but that’s not the case: they can actually look great when worn casually, too.  Don’t believe us? That’s fine, ask these celebrities, all of whom have rocked the colour contacts whilst out on the town:

Kim Kardashian

Go big or go home.  The divine Mrs Kanye is well known for wearing lenses to alter her day to day appearance.  Kim has often been seen wearing seashell-like grey blue lenses that are a long way from her natural warm brown.  It goes without saying that against the darker hue of Kim’s skin, the contrast is stunning.

Paris Hilton

Next on the list of celebs is the blonde haired, blue-eyed Ms Hilton.  Who’s not actually blue eyed at all!  Paris’ eyes are, like Kim’s, a shade of brown.  However, she almost permanently wears lenses to achieve that piercing sky look that goes so well with her brightly bleached hair.  If you’re a fan of this look then there are few better examples of it than Paris.

Britney Spears

The once upon a time Queen of Pop is definitely a colour lenses fan: there are photos across the web that show her wearing everything from sharp green to warm browns, as well as sky blue and even heterochromia iridum (different colours in both eyes)!  She’s worn some of the looks for videos, and others whilst just out and about, so it’s clear that Britney loves nothing more than revamping her image, eyes first!

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay’s natural beauty has been transformed a fair few times through the use of lenses.  Her eyes are actually green, but on a number of occasions she’s worn light blue lenses – particularly when rocking darker hair.  The combination of dark hair and light blue eyes is a stunning one (as any fan of Zooey Deschanel will be able to tell you).

Angelina Jolie

Widely praised as one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina Jolie has nonetheless been seen wearing lenses in a number of photoshoots, and seems to particularly favour delicate greens. Angelina has also worn lenses for certain movie roles, such as in ‘Salt’, where her eyes were turned to a dark shade of brown.  Speaking of using contact lenses for roles…

Movie star lenses!

As well as the above casual wearers, many celebs make use of lenses in order to change their appearance for particular roles.  These are some of the most memorable:

Robert Pattinson

The man known to some as R-Patz used contacts to alter his appearance and become Twilight’s Edward Cullen.  His natural blues were transformed into a stylish golden brown more befitting a supernatural figure who’s lived for hundreds of years.

Orlando Bloom

They’ve taken the Hobbits to Isengard!  Whilst filming his part as Legolas in Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings adaption, Orlando made use of some striking blue lenses to compliment his long blonde wig.  In the real world, Orlando has a charming brown hair, brown eyes thing going on, so the LOTR look was quite a transformation.

Wesley Snipes

Back in his 80s and 90s heyday, Mr Snipes was known for rocking the lenses.  The most famous example definitely came in 1993s Demolition Man, when he went full on Prince, adding some purple to his eyes for his movie-stealing turn as the villainous Simon Phoenix.

Doug Bradley

One of the most famous users of coloured contact lenses in the movie world, Mr Bradley has been wearing the red-and-blacks in his portrayal of Pinhead – the fetish-mad lead Cenobite from the Hellraiser series – for over two decades.  Don’t open that weird looking box!



The Complete Guide to Dressing like Legolas 

Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? Well, of course you are: who isn’t?  Peter Jackson’s now six-film monster series has been a huge endeavour; one which has widely been considered a major success.  As well as being a killer in the awards ceremonies, LOTR has also been a boom for fancy dress parties: there are enough characters for everybody to go as one!  Our favourite is probably the elf that the ladies love (nothing to do with him being played by Orlando Bloom, we’re sure): Legolas.

How to nail the Legolas Costume

First things first, you’ll need to find a tunic.  This not being the Viking era, there aren’t a lot of tunics around anymore.  The best option is usually take some form of green, knee-length coat and cut the collar (if there is one) off and cut the sides to create that ‘V’ shape. Voila! An instant tunic!

From there, you’ll need to create the ‘waistcoat’ that Legolas wears over his tunic.  This is definitely the fiddly part of the costume.  The best way to do this is to simply cut out brown fabric to the shape of the waistcoat and stitch it directly onto the tunic.  If you’re not a fan of sewing, try to get a friend who is to help you out!

There are patterns stitched into the waistcoat: it’s very much up to you whether you want to include them or not.  It’s not like you aren’t going to be recognised without it, but it does lend a little bit of extra realism to the outfit.  If you do want to get the effect without spending weeks stitching, then a silver sharpie will do the job.

The sweeping cloak

As with any cloak, all you really need is a large length of greeny-brown material that you can then fix around your neck.  Almost any fabric shop (and a lot of the leading department stores) will be able to supply you with the perfect material.  Then it’s just a case of using some kind of fastener to join it at the collar.

The accessories

There are two main accessories to the Legolas costume.  Probably the most important is the green, elven leaf brooch that Legolas wears: this will give a real authenticity to your outfit. If you’ve got seven or so quid spare, you can actually get these on Ebay.  Alternatively, simply raid the charity shops and get any brooch that’s bright green and close to a leafy shape!

The other main accessory is the ‘bracers’ – that is, the leather that wraps around Legolas’ forearms.  Anyone with a bit of money to spend can visit a custom leather shop, but assuming you don’t have tonnes of cash to spend, then the best option is probably plastic ones from an actual fancy dress shop.

Hair - Without those long waving blond locks, Legolas wouldn’t truly be Legolas.  Really, the only option (unless that happens to be what your normal hair is!) is to pick up a wig.  These sorts of wigs are available from a wide range of different destinations, and at different price points.  Without the wig, you’re just a random elf so this is the one area where not spending money isn’t really an option!

Ears - Like all of the elves, Legolas has the whole pointed ear thing going on.  No expensive make-up needed: get onto Ebay and you’ll be able to find elf ears for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

Eyes - Well, it wasn’t like we were going to forget this, was it?  In the movies, Orlando Bloom used lenses to create those beautiful blues: we’d recommend either the Vivid Blue or the standard Blue, both of which will have everyone swooning in your wake.

Get a good belt - A decent brown leather belt really helps to tie the outfit together.  We’re not even really sure why, but trust us: it works! 

Armed and dangerous

Legolas is known for being a skilled bowman, making his weapons a key part of the outfit.  In order to whip up a decent looking quiver, all you’ll need is some cheap brown fabric and something like a cardboard poster tube (feel free to cut it down if you’re a bit shorter!).  Hot glue will be more than enough to stick the fabric to the tube.  You can then use another brown leather belt (a longer one) to act as the strap: again, hot glue should be enough to keep everything in place.

Arrows?  Four words, friends: pencil erasers and wooden dowels.  Virtually any stationary shop sells those point pencil erasers: paint over them with some cheap silver paint and fix them onto the end of the dowels: instant arrows!  For the end of the arrows, a couple of smaller feathers on the end of the dowel should be sufficient.

The Bow?  There’s virtually no point making a bow: every toy shop will have a few.  If you want to ‘age’ them a bit, you can always use the same fabric that you used for the quiver to go around the grip area.