Your Eye Health
Without good eyesight it is difficult to take part in most everyday activities, such as reading, driving and watching TV.
Poor vision may also indicate the presence of a potentially serious eye disease, like glaucoma and macular degeneration, or general health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Because eyesight problems often develop slowly, you may not notice any symptoms initially. So it is important to have a regular eye examination. The sooner a potential problem is detected, the greater the chances of it being treated successfully.
If you haven’t had an eye examination within the last two years, we recommend you call us now for an appointment. We will examine your eyes thoroughly and answer any questions or concerns you might have about your vision and ensure the right treatment and eye wear, if needed, is provided for you.
To ensure the best in eye care for your eyes, contact us today on
To understand more about some of the more common eye conditions, take a look below:-
Remember it is important to talk to us if you are worried about the vision of your eyes or experiencing soreness, any pain or discomfort. We will happily discuss any eye health issues and undertake the appropriate eye examination accordingly.
With regular eye check-ups, many problems are caught at the early stages and if caught early are easier to treat and can prevent or minimize any damage to your sight or eye health.
Cataracts form when the lens within our eye becomes cloudy and this in turn affects our vision. This naturally occurs with age but there is an increased risk in certain medical conditions e.g. diabetes or when taking high dose steroids over a prolonged period of time. Eye injuries and infections can also sometimes increase the risk of developing cataract.
There is sometimes the misconception that you have to wait until the cataract is ripe enough to operate on this is in fact not true. Surgery is usually carried out when the cataract is having a significant impact on your vision or your daily life.
Fortunately with modern surgery techniques cataract surgery is a relatively easy short operation, usually carried out by local anaesthetic and resulting in restoration of sight by a replacement lens being inserted into the eye, often resulting in no need for optical correction for distance after the operation.
Glaucoma is the name of a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve becomes damaged. There are several forms of the disease. The more common form is called Primary Open angle Glaucoma. Often the intraocular pressure of the eye is higher than normal but in some cases the pressure can appear normal and Glaucoma still develops. It is a slow progressive disease that does not give any symptoms until it is at an advanced stage. It is painless and results in a loss of peripheral vision that is irreversible. If detected in the early stages then in most cases the disease can be prevented from progressing further with treatment with eye drops.
It is more common with increasing age, if you have a close relative with Glaucoma or are of African origin. Regular eye tests are therefore even more important for this group of people. If you are over 40 years of age and have an immediate family member with glaucoma you are entitled to a free yearly sight test under the NHS.
During an optometric eye examination for Glaucoma the optic nerve will be assessed, the intraocular pressures will be measured and the visual fields will be assessed. All three tests provide information that helps the optometrist decide if you are developing Glaucoma and if there is any concern you will be monitored closely or referred for further examination by an ophthalmologist.
The second most common form is closed angle Glaucoma whereby the intraocular pressure suddenly increases either because the drainage channels within the eye have become blocked or damaged. This provides a sudden onset of a painful red eye, which may be intermittent and may be associated with coloured haloes around lights, an enlarged pupil and foggy, hazy vision, often at night or when reading.
If you do have any of these symptoms then you should call your optometric practice urgently, describing your symptoms or go to an A& E department if the practice is closed so that you can be urgently assessed and treatment started promptly to relieve the pressure.
Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a condition where the central part of the vision is lost, either gradually or suddenly depending on the type of ARMD you have. It usually affects older adults and can result in being registered blind( severely sight impaired) in the most severe cases. Peripheral vision is retained but the central vision that is required for reading and seeing things clearly is lost. Once the vision has been lost it is irreversible. If detected early treatment can slow the progression. Not smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach or taking nutritional supplements such as Preservision Lutein softgels can all help to prevent progression.
The two main types are dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is a slow progressive reduction in central vision with no proven treatments at this time. Wet macular degeneration is much more sudden in onset and often presents with a distortion in the central vision. The usual treatment for this is injections that stabilise the leaking fluid behind the eye and often will prevent any further deterioration of the condition although it is not always successful. The sooner this is detected the better chance there is of a successful treatment and so if you are aware of central distortion in your vision, straight lines appearing wavy or a sudden loss in vision then contact the practice immediately so that we can assess you and if necessary refer you via the rapid access macular referral pathway for urgent treatment. This is usually arranged within the week.
Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or if the tears evaporate too quickly. There are several reasons for this, either the glands that produce the oil (meibomium glands) become blocked or abnormal and this in turn leads to the eyes drying out, becoming inflamed and causing irritation. The irritation can then lead to excess tearing and a watery eye.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome are
- Dry/ sore eyes
- Blurred vision
- Irritation like something in your eye
- Gritty, sandy eyes
- Burning/stinging sensation
- Red eyes
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be affected by your lifestyle and occupation. If you are suffering from any of the above call to make an appointment for a dry eye assessment.
There are numerous products available for the treatment of the various types of dry eyes. See our eyecare products page.
Floaters are often seen as small dark spots or spider/fly like objects that move about in front of your eyes. They are common and in most cases harmless although they can be rather annoying as they move around in front of your vision and cause things to appear blurred. Floaters are more common in shortsighted people as you get older, after eye surgery or any injury involving a jolt/bang to the head.Occasionally some people with floaters experience flashing lights, usually like someone turning a light bulb on very quickly at the side of your peripheral vision, more noticeable at night or in the dark. This occurs when the gel at the back of the eye pulls on the retina. It can be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment and requires urgent attention.
If you notice a floater for the very first time in front of your eyes, a sudden increase in the number of floaters you have, see flashing lights or see a shadow/ curtain in front of your eyes then you must consult your optometrist immediately.
People are not always aware that they suffer from mild colour vision deficiency. We strongly recommend having your eyes tested by your optician at least every 2 years. If you have any concerns at all about your colour perception, make sure you ask for an eye examination that includes a test for colour vision.
There is no treatment for colour blindness. Sufferers generally have to adapt to the condition.
Conjunctivitis – a very common condition – is a redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye (the conjunctiva).
Depending on the cause of the problem, other symptoms can include itchiness and watering of the eyes, and occasionally a sticky coating on the eyelashes.
Conjunctivitis typically has one of these three causes:
- Allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen – “allergic conjunctivitis”
- Bacterial or viral infection – “infective conjunctivitis”
- Contact between your eye and substances that can irritate the conjunctiva (examples include chlorinated water, shampoo, or rubbing from an eyelash) – “irritant conjunctivitis”
Symptoms usually clear up within a week or two, so treatment isn’t generally needed. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to be prescribed antibiotic eye drops to clear up the infection.
Depending on the type and cause of the conjunctivitis, the condition is normally resolved by eliminating contact with the irritant, by maintaining good hygiene, or through the body’s natural defence mechanisms against viruses.
The condition can be infectious. But you don’t usually need to stay off work or school so long as you pay attention to hygiene in order to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
You should not wear contact lenses until the symptoms have disappeared.
Myopia and hypermetropia are more commonly known as short-sightedness and long-sightedness. Both are refractive errors, which mean that the eye can’t focus light onto the retina properly.
Myopia (short sight) is a common eye condition that causes distant objects to appear blurred, while close objects can be seen clearly. It tends to happen in children and young teenagers and often runs in families. If distant objects appear fuzzy or if your child is finding it difficult to see things in the distance, you should make an appointment with an optician. A simple test will be used to help assess the vision.
Hypermetropia (long sight) leads to problems with near vision and the eyes often become tired. It occurs when the eyeball is too short, the cornea is not curved enough, or the lens is not thick enough. It can affect people of any age but it tends to become more noticeable in people aged over 40. The main symptom is a difficulty with near vision, headaches and uncomfortable vision.
Myopia can range from mild, where treatment may not be required, to severe, where a person’s vision is significantly affected. Both conditions can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses, or cured with laser eye surgery.
Presbyopia is the loss of focusing that occurs naturally with age. It is a result of the lens within the eye becoming less flexible and unable to focus quite so close to. It starts usually around the age 40-45 when small print starts to blur and you notice you are having to hold it further away. You may experience headaches and eye strain and need more light to read.
It is correctable with reading spectacles or bifocals or varifocals or even some contact lenses. If you notice any of these symptoms make an appointment to see your optometrist so that they can advise you on the best correction to suit your individual lifestyle and occupation.
Astigmatism is when the your eyeball is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football, light rays are focused on more than one place in the eye, so you don’t have one clear image. This can distort letters and cause blurred vision.
Often astigmatism occurs together with either long- or short-sightedness and spectacles or contact lenses can be used to make the focus clear.
A lazy eye is clinically known as amblyopia. This may be due to one eye being more long or short sighted than the other or they may have a squint( where the eyes are not looking in the same direction). It is important that this is detected before the eyes have finished developing( usually around seven or eight). The sooner the child is treated, the more likely they are to have good vision. You may not realise your child has any problems with their vision and your child may assume that the way they see is normal. Children with learning difficulties are ten times more likely to have problems with their vision, and carers and parents may find it harder to spot difficulties.
The treatment will depend on what is causing the lazy eye:
- If it is simply because the child needs glasses, the optometrist will prescribe these to correct sight problems
- If the child has a squint, this may be fully or partially corrected with glasses. However, some children may need an operation to straighten the eyes, which can take place as early as a few months of age
- If the child has a lazy eye, eye drops or patching the good eye can help to encourage them to use the lazy eye to make is see better
Squint (also known as strabismus) is a condition where the two eyes do not look in the same direction, they are misaligned. The eye may turn in (converge), turn out (diverge) or sometimes turn up or down, preventing the eyes from working properly together. This can be for several reasons, sometimes one or more of the muscles that move the eyes is in the wrong position. The muscles or nerves may not work correctly or there may be eye disease present. A recent onset squint may give double vision so when looking at an object two may be seen instead of one and requires full investigation.
Squint can occur at any age. A baby can be born with a squint or develop one soon after birth. If a child appears to have a squint after they are six weeks old, it is important to get their eyes tested by an optometrist as soon as possible. Many children with squints have poor vision in the affected eye, which can lead to a lazy eye(amblyopia). If treatment is needed, the sooner it is started the better the results.