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Eye Health

Myopia

Hyperopia

Presbyopia

Cataract

Glaucoma

Age related Macular Degeneration

Diabetic Eye Disease

Retinal Detachment

Dry Eyes

Blepharitis

Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Myopia (short-sightedness)

myopia

Myopia

Myopia, or short-sightedness, means that you can see things close up but have  issues seeing distant objects clearly. Myopia is often a result of the eye being a little too long, meaning that light focuses in front of the retina, as opposed to directly on it.

Short-sightedness is a fairly common condition, effecting approximately one third of the UK population. It typically starts in children of primary school age and the eye sight can gradually deteriorate until the eye has stopped growing. Although Myopia is less common in very young children it can still occur.

Research indicates that is more probable that you will become short sighted if; you are of east-Asian origin,  you spend less time outdoors, or your parents also suffer from myopia.

Myopia in children younger than nine years old may increase the risk that they develop a high level of myopia. Individuals with a high level of myopia have a slightly increased risk of suffering from conditions such as retinal detachments, glaucoma and myopic retinal degeneration.

Myopia is easy to correct through the use of contact lenses or glasses.

Hyperopia (long-sightedness)

Hyperopia

Hyperopia, or long-sightedness, means that you struggle to see things close up clearly, for example when looking at a screen up close or reading text from a book, however, more distant objects can be perfectly visible. Hyperopia is frequently a result of the eye being slightly too short, meaning that light is focused behind the retina, rather than directly on it.

Hyperopia can affect anybody, of any age. When it occurs in children you may notice one eye turning inwards, in the direction of their nose,  as a result of them trying to focus on close objects and is called a squint. If you do notice a squint in your child then you should definitely consider seeking professional help, specifically from an optometrist, as this can lead to a lazy eye.

Hyperopia is easy to correct through use of contact lenses or glasses.

Hyperopia (long-sightedness)

Presbyopia

Presbyopia

Presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs naturally as we age, it is caused by the lens in the eye losing it’s elasticity.

The first sign are is typically an inability to focus when reading, for example, the text in a newspaper or on your phone screen – especially in low light. Additionally you may find that your eyesight is slower to adjust when looking at something close by,  after just having looked at something further away, and vise versa.

Presbyopia will inevitably happen to everybody, with it often becoming noticeable at around 40 years of age. It’s also important to note that it is not restricted to those who have previously experienced poor eyesight, as someone with near perfect vision may experience the aforementioned symptoms as they approach middle age.

Presbyopia can be managed by using either glasses or contact lenses. If you need both distance and reading glasses, then you can use bifocal or varifocal lenses in a single pair of glasses – by moving your eyes you can easily look through the different parts of a varifocal spectacle lens.

Although this effect is harder to achieve when using contact lenses as they move with the eye ball, however, it is possible and works well for some people but it’s fairly subjective.

Cataract

Cataract

Cataracts can occur as we get older (65+), developing as a result of the lens within your eye becoming less transparent. The lens normally deteriorates gradually over time. Although some cases are mild and may not affect the eye sight significantly, if your sight is severely impaired then it is possible to ‘repair’ the cataract by replacing your natural lens with an artificial lens. This procedure is very common and has a very high success rate, it can be performed under a local anesthetic.

Younger people can also experience cataracts if they have previously had an injury to the eye, or as a result of other medical conditions (diabetes for example) or after taking certain medication, including steroids. A very small proportion of babies are born with a cataract but this is pretty rare.

Cataracts may be the cause if you notice that your vision becomes less clear, or if you find that you are dazzled by car headlights or street lamps. You may also notice that colours look bland, or you may find it hard to adjust your eyes when moving from shade to more illuminated areas.

cataract

Glaucoma

glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when the optic nerve is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. There are two common types and they can occur in just one eye or in both eyes. If left untreated, Glaucoma can result in sight loss.

Chronic glaucoma, develops slowly over time and is the most common type. There are several forms of this disease with the most common being ‘primary open angle glaucoma’. Early stage chronic glaucoma does not present any symptoms and so it is, therefore, important to have regular eye examinations, especially if you fall into the higher risk groups listed below. As the disease develops there will be blurring around the outside of your vision.
If chronic glaucoma is suspected, it can be confirmed by a specialist (an ophthalmologist), further tests may be required. Although there is not a cure, effective treatment will manage the condition using eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eye.

Chronic Glaucoma can occur in anybody, however, the risk that you suffer is increased if you fall into any of the following groups; over 40, very short-sighted, African or Caribbean origin, closely related to someone with chronic glaucoma, have raised pressure in your eye (ocular hypertension), are diabetic, or have high blood pressure.

Acute glaucoma, occurs more quickly than the chronic form and results in a rapid build up of pressure inside the eye. The increased pressure is not always constant, fluctuations can result in short bursts of pain or discomfort accompanied by blurred vision. These symptoms can often occur as the pupils get bigger, therefore, could be noticeable at night or in dark rooms. Other symptoms to look out for include; an intermittent ache in the eye, nausea, red eyes, or seeing coloured rings around white lights, it may also seem as though you are looking through a haze or mist.
If you experience these symptoms and they persist it is vital to reduce the pressure in the eye and to ease the pain – you should seek medical assistance immediately. After the eye pressure is reduced, using eye drops and an intravenous injection, laser treatment or surgery will be necessary in order to bypass the blockage in the eye’s drainage system.
If the symptoms subside it is still possible that your vision could be damaged and so it is best to have an eye examination as soon as you can.

The risk of developing acute glaucoma increases in these groups; over 40, women, East/South Asian origin, a family history of glaucoma and those who are long-sighted.

Age related Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is most commonly noticed when people reach their 50s or 60s.  The condition, which affects your middle vision, is fairly common and if left untreated can get gradually worse over a long period of time (a condition known as dry AMD), or can deteriorate quite rapidly, over just a few weeks (known as wet AMD).

Although the cause of this disease is unknown, it is thought to be linked to weight, high blood pressure and smoking. Having a family history of AMD may also increase your chances of suffering from the condition.

As well as blurred areas in your middle vision, AMD symptoms include; hallucinations, seeing colours less bright than normal, objects appearing smaller than they should, or straight lines appearing wavy.

AMD can be spotted by your optometrist even before you start to experience any symptoms.

Unfortunately, Dry AMD has no treatment, however, it is possible to live with the condition and reduce the effect it may have through vision aids.  Wet AMD can be treated through regular injections and, sometimes through light treatment known as “photodynamic therapy”.

macular-degeneration

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic-Retinopathy

Diabetic Eye Disease

People with diabetes can develop poor vision or even blindness across long periods of time.  Conditions linked to diabetes include; diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.

Diabetic Retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease,  is when the blood vessels near your retina (at the back of the eye) weaken and/or leak into the retina.  If this condition continues untreated the affected blood vessels may potentially close, causing new ones to grow on the surface of the retina which leads to a deterioration in your eyesight.

Approximately one third of diabetics over the age of 40 will display some signs of diabetic retinopathy.  Therefore, it is essential to have regular checks and to look after your eye health thoroughly, by monitoring/regulating your blood glucose levels and cholesterol, and by managing your blood pressure.  Your optometrist will often see signs of eye disease before you experience any noteworthy symptoms but when they do occur they may include; blurred vision, spots (also known as floaters), light flashes, or poor colour vision, frequently changing vision.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment, also known as ‘a detached retina’ occurs when the retina comes loose.  The retina is a thin layer at the back of your eye, which is light sensitive.  The retina passes messages to your brain through use of your optic nerve. Without immediate treatment, a detached retina can cause permanent sight complications/problems.

Retinal Detachment is most often caused when the jelly inside your eye changes, something that may be experienced as you age. This is known as ‘posterior vitreous detachment’, or PVD, a change which currently cannot be prevented.  You may also hear the term retinal tear, which  is when the retina has just started to come away.

If either scenario is spotted by your optometrist you will be promptly referred to hospital for surgery, after which the majority of people’s vision returns to it’s regular state.

retinal detachment

Dry Eyes

Dry Eyes

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes is very commonly experienced and usually not problematic. It is identifiable by itchy, sore, gritty, red, or blurry eyes. You may also have dry eyes if your eyes are sensitive to light or more watery than normal. If you’re over the age of 50, wear contact lenses, smoke or drink alcohol, take certain medicines such as some antidepressants or blood pressure drugs, or have a condition such as blepharitis, Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus, you may be significantly more likely to experience dry eyes. Looking at computer screens for a long time without a break, spending time in air conditioned or heated environments, being in windy, cold, dry, or dusty environment may all be at-least partly responsible for dry eyes.

Solutions may implement yourself include: keeping your eyes clean, taking breaks to rest your eyes when using computer screens, ensuring that your computer screen is at eye level so you do not strain your eyes, resting your eyes by getting plenty of sleep, using a humidifier to prevent the air from getting dry, and, if you wear contact lenses, taking them out and wear glasses instead to allow your eyes to rest. Quitting smoking and drinking, and avoiding spending long periods of time in smoky, dry or dusty places, or rooms that are air conditioned or heated, may all help alleviate the condition.

It is important to see an optician if, after trying home treatments for a few weeks, you continue to have dry eyes, or if your eyelids change shape in any way. An urgent appointment is needed if you experience changes to your vision, for example a loss of vision.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is caused by a type of bacteria that lives on the skin, or a skin condition such as atopic dermatitis, and is usually harmless, however it may lead to other additional conditions, for instance dry eyes, cysts and conjunctivitis. If you have blepharitis you might have sore or itchy eyelids, a gritty feeling in the eyes, red eyes or eyelids, flakes or crusts around the roots of the eyelashes, or experience your eyelids sticking together when you wake up in the morning.

Blepharitis can usually be treated and prevented easily by washing your eyelids every day. It is best not to wear contact lenses or eye makeup while you have symptoms in order to prevent further irritation.

blephartis

Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Dyslexia

Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that often makes it more difficult for people to read, write and spell. It is very common, in fact it is estimated that up to 10% of people in the UK experience some degree of dyslexia. Signs of dyslexia include: reading and writing very slowly, confusing the order of letters in words, writing letters the wrong way round (e.g: writing “d” instead of “b”), poor and or inconsistent spelling, understanding information when told verbally but having trouble with information when it’s written down, difficulty in carrying out a sequence of directions, and difficulty with planning or organisational tasks.

Dyslexia cannot be cured or treated, however there are many methods that can be used to manage dyslexia such as speech recognition software and computers which that make it easier to read and write. Children with dyslexia or reading difficulties can receive support from their school through one to one sessions or lessons in small groups and phonics where they have the opportunity to receive more direct support.

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