Many eye conditions do not present obvious symptoms until irreparable damage has already occurred. An eye test doesn’t only assess your vision, but more importantly it checks your eyes are healthy. Regular eye tests can help detect many eye conditions in their early stages and hence help preserve and maintain good eye sight.
Glaucoma affects around 1-2% of the UK population and is one of the leading causes of blindness. Detection of glaucoma is vital, if undetected glaucoma can damage the optic nerve leading to vision loss and even blindness. Glaucoma can only be detected through a full eye health check. Many patients are unaware they have the condition.
If you are in a risk group, you should have your eyes checked for glaucoma in your early 30’s.
Patients with increased risk include those who are:
- Short sighted
- Sufferers of migraines
- Users of steroids (e.g. for asthma, eczema, joint disease, eye disease and others)
- Have a family history of glaucoma
If after the eye health check our optometrist suspects the onset of glaucoma, you may be referred to a specialist.
Cataract is clouding of the lens (which is found within the eye) and is a normal part of the ageing process. Cataracts can lead to a significant reduction in vision. Most people with cataracts are otherwise healthy and have no other eye problems. Increased risk of cataracts occurs for many reasons; one of the most common is with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays. A pair of good quality sunglasses is recommended with a U.V filter. Other risk factors include; family history, smoking, alcohol use and diabetes.
Symptoms of cataracts
The following symptoms may occur as a cataract develops:
- Gradual deterioration in your far or near vision.
- Hazy vision.
- Increased sensitivity to light and glare especially night time driving.
- Your glasses even with the correct lenses may become less effective.
What causes cataracts?
Increased risk of cataracts occurs for many reasons; research suggests one of the most common is with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays. A pair of good sunglasses is recommended with an ultraviolet filter.
If you notice any of the above symptoms contact us to have a full eye health check. If after your eye health check our optometrist suspects that you have a cataract, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist.
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in people aged over 60. Your central vision is largely affected causing distortion and inability to see letters properly when reading.
Symptoms of Age-related Macular Degeneration
There are various symptoms of AMD, but usually the most obvious symptoms are; blurred vision, shadows or areas missing in your central vision.
Other symptoms may include, difficulty detecting varying shades of colours particularly telling the difference between dark colours. Slow adjustment to dark conditions after exposure to bright light may also become apparent.
The macula damage leads to loss of central vision, which is the most important part for reading, driving and independent living.
What Causes Age-related Macular Degeneration
The main factors that contribute to the onset of macular degeneration are:
- Family history
At Eastgate Eyes, we have the latest equipment available to assess and detect early changes at the macula.
Diabetic retinopathy is hard to detect and can go unnoticed up until the condition has progressed past treatable options. Consistently high sugar levels in the blood stream can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels at the back of the eye.
What causes diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a result of the effects of high sugar levels in the blood stream. Diabetic Retinopathy is greater in those who have uncontrolled sugar levels, those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also higher in patients that smoke.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Usually there are very few symptoms until diabetes is well developed, so regular eye health checks are very important if you suffer from diabetes.
Treating diabetes with medication aims to prevent any damage to the retina and preserve vision If our optometrist detects diabetic retinopathy, you may be referred to an opthamologist for further testing.
Dry Eye is a condition that can lead to a decrease in tear production or excessive tear evaporation. This condition affects most people at some stage in their life.
Our lifestyle and environment can contribute to dry eye. Using a computer screen reduces our blinking and contributes to dry eyes. Heating and air conditioning will increase the symptoms of dry eyes. Typical symptoms include grittiness, burning and watering eyes.
Some medications may cause a decrease in tear production. At Eastgate Eyes, we will look at ways to manage dry eyes.
Increased use of desktop computers, laptops, iPads, iPods, mobile phones and computer gaming has led to new strains on our eyes. These tasks require our eyes to converge and maintain focus for long periods which exerts extra strain on our muscle and may lead to some difficulty maintaining focus.
You may have difficulty focusing in the distance, driving or even away from the screen. You may even notice doubling, or ghosting on the screen. Other symptoms may include headaches or tired eyes.
Our eyes are not designed to concentrate on screens for long periods of time. Long hours on visual display screen can often lead to focusing problems and symptoms of dry eye. There are many new lenses which are available to help our eyes with such long hours on visual display units.
Most people including children will be using screens for long periods at a time. It is therefore important to have eye health checks every two years to assess the focusing and eye coordination abilities of the eyes to prevent any unnecessary strain.
You can prevent the onset of computer strain syndrome by having regular breaks away from the computer, at least every twenty minutes, for a minute or two with a longer breaks once an hour.
Your computer should be set up so your eyes are at least 40-50cm from the screen.