By having regular sight tests we can not only detect ocular conditions but also signs of systemic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Cataract is a natural aging process of the lens in the eye. We are born with a lens in each eye which is located behind the pupil. The lenses grow throughout our lives. As the lens grows none of the older layers are shed resulting in the lens becoming cloudy and thicker. This clouding is how cataracts develop. Cataracts can alter your prescription and may take many years to develop to a stage where an operation is needed. This operation removes the old cloudy lens and replaces it with a new clear lens. This operation is only carried out when the cataract matures to the correct level and vision can no longer be improved adequately by glasses.
Glaucoma is a condition that is linked with raised pressure in the eye which causes changes at the optic nerve and results in loss of the peripheral vision. There are two main types of glaucoma. Acute glaucoma where the pressure rises very quickly and can affect vision instantly. This can be very painful and needs immediate treatment by an eye doctor. The second, more common type is more progressive in nature and can develop slowly over a number of years. When picked up in its early stages it has more chance of being successfully managed and peripheral vision is preserved as possible. Glaucoma can be treated by eye drops or a combination of eye drops and eye operations. If detected early it can be successfully controlled.
The macula is the part of the back of the eye which is responsible for central vision. Over time, wear and tear at the macula can reduce visual clarity and causes things to look distorted. There are 2 types of macula degeneration: wet & dry.
The dry type is by far the most common type. Whilst vision cannot be corrected to give you vision you may have had, using the most up to date prescription along with magnifiers and correct lighting will help you make the most of your vision. We can refer you to the Lanarkshire Low Vision Service to give you further help with tasks at home or outside. Eye vitamins, sunglasses and photo-chromatic lenses in spectacles all help to reduce the harmful effects of UV light which can damage the eyes further.
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to process sugar. Longstanding diabetes or poorly controlled diabetes can cause changes to the back and front of the eye. Changes at the back of the eye is called diabetic retinopathy and is the leading cause of preventable sight impairment in the working population. The duration, poor diabetic control, if you are pregnant or have other conditions associated with diabetes such as kidney problems or high blood pressure can increase the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can be detected in practice. If detected early enough referral to an eye doctor for treatment can stabilise the condition. Diabetics are at higher risk to glaucoma, dry eye and earlier onset of cataracts. All diabetics should have annual diabetic retinal screening. An annual eye exam is also important as we check for ocular conditions over and above retinopathy.
Dry eye is a very common condition & can cause irritation, grittiness & itchiness to the front of the eyes. It can cause blurred vision, pain behind the eyes or watery eyes. Some common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can be linked to dry eyes. Dry eye can be easily managed with the correct treatment and we will be able to suggest the right treatment for you. This may involve the use of artificial tears or supplements. The eyelids are also responsible for the production of one of the layers of the tears as well as well as spreading the tears across the eyes smoothly. Sometimes the eyelids can be a cause of dry eye and for this we stock the Eyebag which is currently one of the most affective methods of treating blocked eyelid glands as well as lid hygiene care.
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(For more information on your eye test and what your prescription means.)