Eye Conditions and Symptoms

Eye conditions and symptoms and how they affect you can be found here on this page. How much do you know about the various eye conditions and symptoms associated with short or long sightedness for example?

●  Myopia (also known as short sightedness)
A very common eye condition. Objects in the distance appear more blurred, while closer objects are clearer. This is because either the power of the eye is too strong, or that the eye itself is too long. Either way the image of the object you see is formed before it reaches the retina, and so is blurred. Myopia is easily corrected with spectacles or contact lenses.

●  Hyperopia (also known as long sightedness)
A common eye condition. Objects in the distance appear clearer, while closer objects are blurred. This is because either the eye is not powerful enough, or the eye itself is too short. Either way the image of the object you see is formed after the retina, and so is blurred. Hyperopic people can increase the power of their eyes by accommodating and making the image clear, although this becomes more difficult as you get older or if you do a lot of concentrated work. Hyperopia is easily corrected with spectacles or contact lenses.

●  Astigmatism
A very common eye condition which can occur in conjunction with myopia, hyperopia, or on its own. Astigmatism occurs when the front of the eye (cornea) is not perfectly spherical (often described as ‘rugby ball shaped’). It causes the image of the object you see to be focussed at two different points, and so is blurred. Astigmatism is easily corrected using spectacles or contact lenses.

●  Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a condition where the eye gradually loses its ability to see objects up close. It is something which happens to everybody from around the age of 40 years old and gradually continues from then on. The main reason why this occurs is the lens in the eye becomes less supple and harder to change shape, and so making close objects blurred. As the changes happen so gradually, often the effects are not noticed immediately. Over time you may find reading more difficult unless you hold a book further from you, or you may find yourself getting headaches. Presbyopia is easily corrected using reading, varifocal, or bifocal spectacles. Contact lenses are now also available.

●  Cataracts
Cataract is a term used to describe the gradual aging of the lens in the eye. When we are born the lens is perfectly clear and supple. As we age, the lens becomes more opaque and less supple. This has the effect of us needing more light in order to see as we get older, and objects generally appearing a little hazier. Sometimes the lens can become so opaque that it affects the vision, and causes problems such as glare (especially at night). If this occurs, a short surgical procedure to replace the opaque natural lens with a clear artificial lens can be performed. Vision is usually improved immediately.

●  Dry Eye
Dry eye is a condition where either the eye does not produce enough tears, or that the tears do not lubricate the eyes well enough. This makes the eyes feel uncomfortable, gritty, and sometimes makes the white of the eyes appear very red. Dry eye can affect anyone at any time, although it is more common as you get older. Confusingly one common symptom is the eyes watering excessively, especially in windy weather. Often, any symptoms can be relieved by using artificial tears to lubricate the eyes better, although long term dry eye may need further investigation to rule out any general health problems.

●  Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to properly regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Symptoms can be very mild and so can be very difficult to spot. Long term poor control of Diabetes can affect the eyes by causing changes to the blood vessels of the retina. The blood vessels become more prone to bleeding, causing possible risks to the sight of the eye. Generally speaking, the earlier any Diabetic changes are noticed in the eyes, the better the outcome usually is after any treatment if needed. People with Diabetes are also more prone to cataract and macular changes, causing a reduction in vision. Because of this, Diabetic patients are advised to have regular eye examinations.

●  Glaucoma
Glaucoma is the name for a group of diseases which causes progressive gradual degeneration to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is caused by a number of factors. These can include high internal pressure of the eye, poor blood flow to the eye, and genetic factors. Glaucoma affects your peripheral vision, and often goes unnoticed by the patient. Very rarely Glaucoma can affect people very suddenly, making them feel sick and causing pain to the eyes. These cases require immediate urgent assessment. Those patients with glaucoma, or those with family members who have glaucoma, are advised to have regular eye examinations.

●  Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration (or AMD) affects the area of the retina that deals with the most detailed vision. It affects people generally over the age of 65, and causes deterioration in central vision. There are two main types; dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is far more common, progresses slowly, and affects the vision more mildly. Wet macular degeneration is far less common, but has far more drastic changes, sometimes causing total loss of central vision in extreme cases. Treatment is varied, depending on the type, although much research has been put into dietary supplements such as Macushield.

●  Floaters
Inside your eye is a watery jelly-like fluid called the Vitreous. Tiny specks in the vitreous swirl around as you move your eyes. They are more noticeable on bright days or when looking at light coloured objects, for example a page of a book. Most people notice floaters in their vision at some point in their lives. Myopic people often notice them more, and they are more common with age. Most of the time these floaters are perfectly normal. If you should suddenly notice a large increase in floaters, or if you start to notice any flashes of light, or even a shadow across your vision, you should have this assessed as soon as possible as this may indicate a more serious problem such as a retinal detachment.

To make an appointment or to talk about your eye care needs, please call us on 0121 430 5538 or pop along to meet us at 1024 Alcester Road South, Maypole, Birmingham B14 5NG (opposite Aldi).