Eye Conditions

Age Related Macular Degeneration

This is a condition where the normal aging process at the macula, the area of most central vision in the eye, is accelerated and central vision deteriorates as a result. It can occur on one eye or both. 1 in 10 people over the age of 50 will develop AMD. If you smoke your risk is 5 times higher again. It is important to know if you are at risk of developing this disease; check for family history, over-exposure to UV light and health problems.

Cataracts

The lens inside our eyes allows us to focus on objects. As we age, this intraocular lens loses its clarity and becomes more opaque. This eventually becomes denser and develops into what is called a cataract. In the early stages of development, cataracts will contribute to glare and reduced contrast sensitivity. As the cataracts progress they eventually cause significant vision loss. Cataracts are removed through surgical procedure. When removed, providing there are no other eye diseases present, visual outcome is very good.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The number of diabetics with type 2 diabetes, the type of diabetes which comes on with age, is increasing dramatically around the world. One of the most common side effects of diabetes is an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. Because of the increase in sugar in the blood, the blood vessels on the retina at the back of the eye swell and leak and this eventually leads to haemorrhages and damage to the delicate tissues at the back of the eye. However, with regular monitoring of blood sugars, good diet and good control this damage can be minimised and even reversed. When damage does occur, your optometrist through regular checkups can note any changes and refer you on for specialised treatment to prevent this damage worsening and prevent sight loss. Many optometrists now have special cameras to photograph the retina and record what they see each time you visit with them. They are trained to identify the various problems associated with diabetes and know how to advise you best.

People with diabetes are also more prone to developing other problems with their eyes such as glaucoma and cataracts. Again, every eye examination you have will be checking for these diseases also.

Glaucoma

This refers to a group of diseases which affect the pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is known as the thief of sight as it has no symptoms and affects our visual field from the periphery (outside) to the centre. Glaucoma will affect your peripheral vision, your contrast sensitivity and your colour perception. Your risk of developing glaucoma increases with each decade over the age of 50 but once caught early, treatment can prevent the disease progressing and accompanying vision loss. By the time you yourself notice you have a problem with your vision due to Glaucoma you have already lost 40% of your vision.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal tear or detachment is where part of the Retina or the nerve layer lining the inside of the eye comes away and vision is lost as a result. It can start as a barely perceptible small area of vision loss in your field of vision, but if not caught and treated immediately, it will tear away and total vision loss can result.