The eye is a complex part of the body and as a result there are many different conditions that can affect your eye sight and eye health, some you will have been born with and some may develop as you grow older. Conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataract are all more frequent in older people. You are also at an increased risk of certain eye diseases if you have a direct relative with an eye condition or are from African-Caribbean or South Asian origin.

There are ways you can try to keep your eyes healthy such as by 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, protecting your eyes from sunlight, by wearing good quality sunglasses that are CE marked and having your eyes tested at least every 2 years or more frequently if recommended by your optometrist.

The information provided below gives a brief insight into some of the more common eye conditions. We have a range of information leaflets in practice which provide more detail on the causes and treatments of most of these conditions.


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.

Diabetes can cause damage to the back of the eye, the retina. Annual diabetic retinal screening examinations are recommended to detect the early signs of the disease so treatment can be provided sooner rather than later and to prevent sight loss. Control of blood sugar is important to prevent diabetic eye disease. If left uncontrolled it results in leakage of the blood vessels at the back of the eye which can affect the vision and in severe cases retinal detachments and complete loss of vision. With good diabetic control the risk of this occurring is very low. The risk of diabetic eye disease does increase the longer you have been diabetic and is dependent on how well your blood sugars are controlled. With modern treatment techniques and if detected early the risk of developing sight threatening disease is drastically reduced.

We are part of the Cheshire diabetic retinal screening programme.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. There are several different types and causes. Generally it makes your eyelids red and crusty. This makes them them feel sore, burning, stinging, watery and sometimes itchy. There are chronic, long- term and acute forms. Often it is treated by keeping your lids clean using a treatment such as Blephasol or Blephagel. This may need to be used for several months or indefinitely if it recurs.
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
  • Watering
  • 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.

Retinal detachment is where the retina, pulls away from the back of the eye. This can be associated with a retinal tear and may lead to a sudden increase in floaters, with or without flashes. Sometimes you may notice a shadow/ curtain in front of your vision.

You are more at risk if

  • You have recently had eye surgery
  • Moderately shortsighted
  • Had a previous eye injury
  • Have a family history of retinal detachment
  • Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Over 50
  • Have a retinal disease , including diabetes and certain types of peripheral retinal degeneration.

If you experience any of the above symptoms then you must consult your optometrist without delay. Early treatment with prompt referral can save your sight.

There are many causes of a red eye including infection, inflammation, allergy, broken blood vessels and trauma. If you have had a red eye for more than a day and it is associated with pain or any reduction in vision you must seek urgent advise from your optometrist. We have the equipment to examine your eyes closely under magnification with a microscope and provide you with the appropriate advice as to the best treatment.
Shortsightedness is also called myopia. This is when distant objects appear blurred and near objects remain clear because the eyeball is too long. The light coming in to the eye needs to be focused on the back of the eye (the retina) for you to see clearly.In myopia the light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina.

It can be corrected with spectacles or contact lenses. It often starts during puberty and gradually becomes worse until the eye is fully grown. If you notice your child squinting (squeezing their eyes closed to see) or complaining of blurred TV or being unable to see the board at school then they may well be shortsighted and you should arrange an appointment to see the optometrist. Although it often runs in families, just because you have good eyesight does not always mean your child will, so regular eye examinations are always important.

Long-sightedness (hyperopia) is when the eyeball is too short and the light focuses behind the retina . This means that you have to focus more than you ought to, particularly on things that are close up, although it can result in blurred vision when looking in the distance and near.

Long-sightedness can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Uncorrected it can lead to headaches and eye strain. It increases with age and can be inherited. Adults lose their ability to focus close to with age and develop longsightedness, this is called presbyopia.

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.