The lens inside your eye helps focus light at the back of the eye so you can see clearly. When a lens goes cloudy it is called a cataract. There are different types of cataracts which can affect you in different ways.
Some cataracts do not affect your vision. However, if they do, modern surgical techniques mean the cloudy lens can easily be replaced with an artificial one. You can help slow the progression of a cataract by wearing good quality sunglasses to block UV.
We offer both NHS and private cataract referrals. Please contact us for more information.
How might cataracts affect my vision?
Do you have cataracts?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions that, over time, cause damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. Glaucoma is often associated with having high pressure in the eyes and/or loss of peripheral vision.
Glaucoma does not cause any symptoms until the very late stages of the disease. However, by this point the damage is irreversible. This is why it’s vital that you have regular sight tests, particularly after the age of forty, and if you have a blood relative who has the condition.
How might glaucoma affect my vision?
There are a number of eye problems that can affect people with diabetes. These include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular oedema, cataracts and glaucoma. Over time, these conditions can lead to poor vision or even blindness.
If you have diabetes, to protect your vision you must attend your diabetic screening and keep up with your regular eye examinations. Diabetic screening does not check your prescription and does not investigate other potential eye problems you may have. Therefore, you should never replace one appointment with the other.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that typically affects people over the age of 65. There are two types of AMD: dry and wet.
More than 80% of AMD sufferers have the dry form. Dry AMD progresses more slowly than wet and in many patients, particularly in its early stages, does not have a significant impact on their vision. However, once the disease does progress, as there is currently no treatment available, it can harm their central vision.
Wet AMD usually comes on quickly and people will be very aware of changes to their vision. However, as wet AMD can be treated, if the disease is caught early enough the prognosis can be very good.
How might AMD affect my vision?
Have you heard of AMD?
Myopia is when a person can see clearly at short distances but at longer distances their vision is blurred. Depending on the level of myopia, it may need no correction, part-time correction or full-time correction.
Myopia occurs in eyes that are essentially too long. Instead of light rays focusing on the retina, they focus in front of it. This is what makes things that are far away appear blurred.
Myopia can occur at any age. However, it is common in young children and teenagers, especially if they spend long periods of time doing close work e.g. reading or looking at a screen, or if they have a parent who is short-sighted. If you notice your child squinting to see objects in the distance, please make an appointment for them to have a sight test.
How do you know if you’re short sighted?
Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia and is when a person’s near vision is not as good as their distance vision. If the level of hyperopia is quite low, it may not affect your vision.
Hyperopia occurs in eyes that are essentially too short. Instead of light rays focusing on the retina, they focus behind the retina. This is what makes things that are close appear blurred.
Hyperopia tends to increase with age. However, in young children it’s commonly associated with squints or lazy eyes. Therefore, if you suspect your child is long-sighted, it’s very important you have their eyes tested as soon as possible to rule out any need for optical correction and reduce the risk that they’ll develop a lazy eye.
How do you know if you’re long sighted?
When you hear of astigmatism, you may also hear the term rugby ball. This is because the front surface of an astigmatic eye is not perfectly round like a football but has a slightly more elongated shape, which can be likened to a rugby ball. This shape causes light rays to focus irregularly and creates a different type of blur to when someone is short or long-sighted. However, generally patients have either myopia or hyperopia alongside astigmatism.
Low levels of uncorrected astigmatism may not cause any major problems. However, as the astigmatism increases, people may report shadowing, headaches, and difficulty focusing for long periods. They may also find it difficult to change focus between far and near objects.
Astigmatism is not a disease; it’s just another part of your prescription and can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Astigmatism can be genetically linked or occur later in life, particularly after eye surgery or trauma.
What is astigmatism?
Presbyopia is often referred to as age-related long-sightedness as it generally affects people who are over 40. It happens when the focusing lens inside the eye gradually loses its flexibility. This makes it harder to see things close up.
Presbyopia affects everyone at a certain age but not in the same way. If you don’t wear distance glasses or are long-sighted to begin with, when you become presbyopic you will need to wear correction in order to read. However, if you are short-sighted you may be able to read more easily when you remove your glasses.
If you notice either of these symptoms, it’s very important that you visit your optometrist. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what correction you should wear to make sure your eyes are focusing properly and you’re not straining them.
What is Presbyopia?
Flashes are flickers of light in your eyes, often described as lightning or shimmering. They usually occur in the peripheral vision, but can also be seen centrally.
Floaters are blobs that appear to move in front of your eyes, even though they aren’t really there. Some people also describe them as wiggly lines, black dots or cobwebs.
Flashes and floaters are common and are not usually sight-threatening, especially if:
- You have had them for a long time
- They’re not getting any worse
- Your vision is unaffected
However, in some conditions, for example a detached retina, flashes and floaters may be the first symptoms you experience before your vision is affected.
Therefore, if you experience new or sudden onset flashing lights or floaters, especially if you’ve recently suffered a head or eye trauma, you must make an appointment to have a dilated eye examination.
If you have any concerns or questions about what’s normal and what’s not, please call us or pop into the clinic.
What can I see floating in my eye?
What are floaters?
The term lazy eye refers to an eye that has not developed properly during the early years of a child’s life. It is surprisingly common, affecting 1 in 50 children. The condition is often missed as the child’s good eye compensates and so they are unaware they have a problem with their vision.
In some cases a lazy eye is a result of a squint (an inward or outward turn in the eye). This type of lazy eye can be easier to identify, and, if managed quickly and effectively, can have a very good prognosis.
Lazy eyes can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, patching and some alternative therapies, which are usually only used in a hospital setting.
If you’re concerned about your child’s eyes, or there is a history of lazy eye in your family, we recommend that you make an appointment to have their eyes tested. Our optometrists have a wide range of child-friendly testing techniques that will put your child at ease and allow them to assess your child’s vision and eye health quickly and safely.