Regardless of age you should have an eye examination every one to two years. At our opticians, our skilled team carry out non-invasive eye examinations that detect a range of problems. It’s important to detect issues before they become major problems. In that regard, our specialists carry our eye tests on children under the age of two.
An eye examination is a great way to diagnose a range of conditions. Offering advice and guidance, our team help you with a range of conditions. Here is a sample of conditions that our team can offer advice and guidance with:
This refers to the reduced ability to focus on near objects. Usually occurring in those aged 40 or over, it is the result of less flexibility in the lens of the eye. It’s normally an age related process. The usual solution is a pair of reading glasses, varifocals, or contact lenses.
An increase in pressure within the eye may damage the optic nerve. This is known as glaucoma. The optic nerve is like an electrical cable containing about 1.2 million wires. Glaucoma damages the nerve fibres, causing blind spots on the retina to develop. It can be hereditary. Currently the NHS™ pays for a regular eye examination for anyone who is more than 40 years of age, or has a parent, brother, sister, or child who has had, or is suffering from glaucoma.
The macula is a small area at the centre of the retina. It is responsible for what we see straight in front of us, allowing us to see fine detail for activities such as reading and writing. It is also responsible for colour. Macular Degeneration occurs as we age, and causes the macula to wear out. Peripheral vision is mostly unaffected. However, the concentrated central vision deteriorates gradually. An initial sign of macular degeneration is when straight lines appear bent, or when symmetrical objects appear misshapen. Eventually a ‘black hole’ develops in the centre of the vision causing difficulty with everyday tasks. In most cases treatment is limited. High power magnifiers or specially tinted lenses are often used to try and combat the condition. The RNIB have more information on this condition.
The front surface of your eye is covered by a thin film called the ‘tear film’. This covers the cornea, iris and the sclera (the white part of the eye). Its function is to maintain a smooth surface, reduce friction when blinking, and protect the eye from infections. The tear film is very sensitive and any slight change in its consistency can cause irritation. These changes are brought about by factors such as allergies, air conditioning, illness, and some medications. Dry eyes are common with older patients and those that wear contact lenses. The condition is often easily corrected using artificial tear drops. A change in the type of contact lens that you use may also be advised.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea of the eye is not perfectly spherical. It happens in long or short sighted eyes, and objects may look out of focus by different amounts. For example, the letter X will look distorted at different points. Glasses and contact lenses correct astigmatism, as different powers within the lens are arranged to correct the error in vision.
As we get older, the lens within the eye changes. This is normal. In most people the vision becomes less clear, as not enough light is able to get through to the retina. This loss of clarity is due to opaque areas which may affect everyday life depending on how dense they are. Cataracts is caused by a number of reasons, including injury, ultraviolet exposure, and some medicines. They are mostly age related. By the age of 70, most people will have developed them to a certain extent. Surgery is an option, in which the cataracts are removed and replaced with a plastic lens. This usually requires patients to attend hospital for half a day. Success rates are high, and surgery greatly enhances post-operative vision.
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to use and store sugar properly. High levels of sugar or glucose in the blood damage the delicate blood vessels in the retina. This condition is referred to as diabetic retinopathy. Approximately one quarter of all diabetics have some degree of retinopathy. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy increases with the duration of diabetes. More than 90% of diabetics will develop retinopathy at some point during their lives.
Everyone’s eyes contain a jelly-like fluid called the vitreous humour. Floaters are particles suspended within the vitreous humour and they are commonly more noticeable with age, appearing like flies or spiders in your line of site. If you notice the sudden appearance of a large number of floaters, you should make an appointment to see one of our optometrists as soon as possible.