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.
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.
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.
We are part of the Cheshire diabetic retinal screening programme.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Often astigmatism occurs together with either long- or short-sightedness and spectacles or contact lenses can be used to make the focus clear.
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.