Eye Care 

Click on a subject below and you can read about it 
Your eyes and your health 
Cataracts 
Diabetes 
Squints 
Glaucoma 
Age Related Macular Degeneration 
Blepharitis 
Retinal Detachment 
Children's Eyecare 
Retinitis Pigmentosa 
Retinal Photography 
Open your eyes to some of the mysteries inside... 

Your eyes and your health! 

There is so much more to a sight test than finding out if you need glasses. An eye examination by a qualified optometrist (ophthalmic optician) is also a vital health check which everyone should have regularly. 
 
An eye test can detect the presence of hidden eye diseases such as glaucoma and age related macula degeneration as well as general health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. Many of these eyesight related conditions develop slowly, you may not notice any symptoms initially. The sooner a problem is detected or monitored by an eye examination, the greater the chances of it being treated successfully. 
 
Your eyes really are the window of your health so click on any of the titlea below to open your eyes to the some of the mysteries inside! 
 

Cataracts 

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye. This is mainly the result of the eyes ageing process and more than half of the population over the age of 65 have cataracts to some extent. 
 
But you shouldn't worry about having cataracts as you get older. They usually develop slowly and are not painful. Many people with cataracts find their vision is acceptable and will not require treatment. 
 
If you develop a cataract, you will eventually experience deteriorating eyesight, sometimes blurred or double vision, and a yellowish tinge to everything you see. A lot can be done to help this by changing your spectacle lenses, sometimes tinted lenses are a help. 
 
Only in the minority of cases will cataracts seriously affect your vision and then a simple operation can usually solve the problem. This replaces the cloudy lens with a plastic one which enables you to see clearly again almost instantly. 
 
Cataracts are one of several conditions that can affect your eyes as you get older. 
It is important to have regular eye examinations at intervals specified by your Optometrist. If you are aged 60 or over, you are entitled to free eye examinations under the NHS. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 
Frequently asked questions about cataract removal:- 
 
Is the operation performed under general anaesthetic? 
No, in the majority of cases a local anaesthetic is used and is very convenient and successful. 
 
Will I still need to wear glasses after the cataract operation? 
This depends on many circumstances and your prescription prior to the operation. Wherever possible, the operation will be performed to provide you with as near normal vision as possible bearing this in mind. In all probably, you will still need reading glasses at least. 
 
Can the cataracts grow again? 
No, but sometimes a mild complication of the operation is a clouding over of some of the tissue that is left behind to help support the new plastic lens. This is easily and quickly corrected with a laser as an outpatient appointment. 
 
Remember to keep up your regular eye examinations even after your cataracts have been removed to ensure early detection of the possible complications mentioned above.. 
 

Diabetes 

Possibly 1 person in 25 in the UK is affected by Diabetes Mellitus which can start in childhood but more commonly begins in later life. It causes complications throughout the body , including the eyes. 
 
Most sight loss due to Diabetes can be prevented with early diagnosis. 
 
Although not everyone with Diabetes will have eye related problems, a Diabetic is at greater risk. Good control of the Diabetes along with any associated blood pressure, and cholesterol abnormalities, will all help reduce the possibility of eye related complications. 
 
These early changes to the eyes can only be detected with detailed examination of the eye and therefore regular annual examinations are extremely important. 
 
Remember, you may not realise anything is wrong with your eyes until it is too late. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 
Frequently asked questions about Diabetes and the eyes:- 
 
If you have Diabetes during pregnancy, will it still be there after the baby is born? 
Usually the Diabetes goes soon after birth. However, the mother will be at greater risk of developing Diabetes in later life. 
 
What changes occur in the eyes due to Diabetes? 
These vary from tiny changes and leakages in the blood vessels in the eyes to large haemorrhages and possibly retinal detachment. 
 
What treatments are available? 
Limitation of the damage with good control of the Diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol is essential. Early detection of minute changes with regular examination allows for prompt treatment which is commonly by laser. 
 
For more information try the following links;- 
 

Squints 

Squint is a condition where the eyes are not straight all the time and the muscles moving the eyes are not balanced correctly. Usually one eye appears straight while the other is turned in (convergent squint) or out (divergent squint). 
 
What causes a squint? 
There are several types of squint, and the cause is not always known. Usually however, it is either apparent soon after birth- a congenital squint- or may develop later and be associated with long sightedness (hypermetropia). Whatever the cause, a squint may lead to a lazy eye (Amblyopia). 
 
What is Amblyopia? 
Visual development occurs during the first seven years of life. If the eye and the brain do not receive a clear focused image the development will be impaired and the vision will be reduced- a so called lazy eye or amblyopia results. So amblyopia is caused by:- 
 
A squint 
A large difference in the spectacle correction required by each eye 
The need for strong glasses 
 
Does a squint matter? 
Some minor squints do not cause any problems but many squints will result in a lazy eye or amblyopia if left untreated. Also, a large squint may not be attractive cosmetically. 
 
How is a child tested for a squint? 
The optometrist, orthoptist or ophthalmologist will test:- 
 
The child's vision 
 
The straightness and movements of the eye 
 
The need for glasses. 
 
Why are drops required to test for glasses? 
The drops prevent the child from focusing during the test and allow more exacting examination of the inside of the eye. This is usual, standard practice in the examination of children and it is nothing to worry about. The drops take up to 40 minutes to work and last up to 24hours. 
 
What treatments are available for squints? 
There are 3 main forms or treatment and any or all of them may be necessary at some stage. 
 
Glasses 
Spectacles are prescribed in order to produce a clear image on the retina at the back of the eye or to help in the control to keep the eyes straight. 
 
Patching 
If there is any amblyopia, the good eye is patched in order to encourage the weaker or a lazy eye to be used. 
 
Surgery 
If a squint persists despite these treatments an operation to reposition the relevant muscles attached to the eye may be necessary. For this operation a general anaesthetic is necessary but the child may be able to go home the same day or at the latest the next day. A course of eyedrops will be prescribed and close follow up will be required initially. It is probable that if glasses were required before the operation, they will be need to be worn post operatively, at least to begin with. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 

Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged by a weakness in the optic nerve or a combination of both. 
 
Sometimes the damage is caused by a higher than normal pressure. Sometimes the pressure is normal but damage occurs because there is a weakness in the optic nerve. In most cases both factors can be involved to a certain extent. If the optic nerve is under too much pressure, it can be injured. The damage done depends on how high the pressure is and how long it has been raised. 
 
There are several different types of Glaucoma all of which have differing symptoms ranging from nothing at all to an attack of severe pain. The modes of onset vary considerably and the treatments available are also quite numerous. 
 
The important thing is to have regular eyesight examinations which includes detailed checks for glaucoma. Remember, an eye examination can detect the presence of hidden eye disease. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 
Frequently asked questions about Glaucoma and the eyes:- 
 
Is glaucoma hereditary? 
Yes, chronic glaucoma is on average 6 times more common in near blood relations of someone with chronic glaucoma. But there are many sporadic cases. 
 
What happens if chronic glaucoma is not treated? 
Eventually you may only see the centre of what you are looking at, making it difficult to get about, despite the sight being clear in the middle. Later even this sight may be lost. 
 
At what age is glaucoma most likely to start? Is race a factor? 
Acute glaucoma tends to occur more in middle aged women. It is prevalent in the peoples of South East Asia and in Eskimos than elsewhere. Chronic glaucoma affects mainly older people and the incidence increases with age, or even earlier if there is a family history of the disease. It is more common in those of African extraction, in whom it tends to start younger and be less responsive to treatment. Early detection and careful monitoring are particularly important in this racial group. 
 

Age Related Macular Degeneration 

The macular is a very small area at the very centre of the retina at the back of the eye. 
Sometimes the delicate cells of the macula become damaged and stop working, and there are many different conditions which can cause this. If it occurs in later life, it is called age related macula degeneration. Unfortunately we do not yet know why this happens. 
 
Broadly speaking there are two types of macular degeneration, usually referred to as wet and dry. This describes what the condition looks like to the optometrist or Ophthalmologist and not how the eye feels. Only about 10% of all people with macular degeneration have the wet type (all others are affected by the dry type). 
 
Macular degeneration results in a build up of fluid beneath the retina. This causes bleeding and scarring which leads to sight loss. It can progress rapidly, normally within a few months, and sometimes responds to laser treatment in the early stages. 
 
Dry macular degeneration usually develops slowly, often over years, and there is as yet no treatment. Many people find that the visual cells simply cease to function, like the colours fading in an old photograph. 
 
Macular degeneration usually involves both eyes, although one may be affected long before the other. This can make the condition difficult to notice at first because the sight in the good eye is compensating for the loss of sight in the affected eye. 
 
You cannot wear out your sight so do not be afraid to continue to use your eyes as normal. 
 
The Good News 
Macular degeneration is not painful, and almost never leads to total blindness. It is the most common cause of poor sight in people over 60 but rarely leads to complete sight loss because only the central vision is affected. Macular degeneration never affects vision at the outer edges of the eye leaving people with enough side vision to manage many everyday tasks. 
 
There are many sources of help and advice available for people with age related macula degeneration both nationally and locally from societies like the RNIB to local charities who publish local news in large print or on audio tapes. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 

Blepharitis 

Blepharitis is a very common inflammation of the eyelid margins the exact origin of which is unclear. 
 
There is a close relationship between the eyelids and the front surface of the eye so chronic blepharitis may also cause secondary changes in the conjunctiva and the cornea and many patients have unstable tear films . The symptoms apart from being annoying may also interfere with contact lens wear and aggravate people with dry eyes. 
 
The two main types of chronic blepharitis are: 
 
Anterior, and Posterior. 
 
The symptoms of the various types are similar and many are caused by secondary tear instability. The most common symptoms are burning, foreign body sensation, mild photophobia and lid crusting, which are frequently worse in the mornings and characterised by remissions and exacerbations. 
 
Anterior Blepharitis is further divided into staphycoccal and seborrhoeic anterior blepharitis. 
 
Staphylococcal anterior blepharitis is caused by chronic infection of the bases of the eyelashes which results in the formation of tiny interfollicular abcesses. It is frequently seen in patients with atopic eczema and is more common in females. It tends to affect younger patients the seborrhoeic blepharitis and may start in childhood. Loss of the lashes or white lashes can be a complication in long standing cases. 
Treatment:- lid hygiene is the main treatment. It is aimed at removing the crusts and toxic products by scrubbing the lids margins twice daily with either a commercially available lid scrub or a cotton bud dipped in baby shampoo or a solution of bicarbonate of soda. 
Further treatments can involve antibiotic ointments, possibly weak topical steroids and artificial tears. . 
 
Seborrhoeic blepharitis is a disorder of the glands of Zeis and Moll and frequently associated with seborrhoeic dermatitis. The lid margins look waxy with a dandruff like appearance of the skin giving rise to yellow greasy scales on the lid margins. The lashes are greasy and stuck together. 
Treatment:- is mainly with lid hygiene using bicarbonate of soda as a degreasing agent with artificial tears if necessary. 
 
Lid care preparations and artificial tears are available for sale in the practice along with a leaflet with further advice. 
 
Posterior Blepharitis is caused by dysfunction of the meibomian glands on the eyelids and often occurs with seborrhoeic blepharitis. There are variations from reduced secretion to gland stagnation. 
 
The glands openings show caps of oil and the expressed gland secretions look cloudy. 
Treatment:- very similar to those for anterior blepharitis with warm compresses to open and express the meibomian glands. More complicated cases could require further topical medications. 
 
Don't forget a routine eye examination with detect early changes in the eyes so that prompt treatment can begin. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 

Retinal Detachment 

The retina is a fine sheet of nerve tissue lining the inside of your eye. Light entering the eye is focused on the retina by the lens. The retina produces a picture which is sent along the optic nerve to the brain where it is interpreted. The retina is similar to the film in your camera which produces pictures. 
 
The retina is usually attached to the inner surface of the eye. If there is a hole or tear in the retina then fluid can get underneath it. This weakens the attachment so that the retina becomes detached, like wallpaper peeling of a damp wall. 
 
Detachment of the retina is more frequent in middle aged, short sighted people. However, it is quite uncommon and only about one person in ten thousand is affected. It is rare in young adults. 
 
The most common symptom is a shadow spreading across the vision in one eye. You may also experience bright flashes of light and/ or showers of dark spots called floaters. These symptoms are never painful. 
 
Many people experience flashes or floaters and these are not necessarily a cause for alarm. However, if they are getting severe and seem to be getting worse and you are losing vision, you should then seek medical advice. Prompt treatment often minimises the damage to your eye. 
 
If you get help early, it may be necessary to have a laser or freezing treatment. This is usually performed under local anaesthetic. Often, however, an operation may be needed to repair the hole in the retina. This is usually done under a general anaesthetic and can be repaired in a single operation in 90% of cases although you may need a day or two in hospital. 
 
Frequently asked questions about Retinal detachments in the eyes:- 
 
Can retinal detachment be prevented? 
Possibly! If your family has a history of retinal detachment and your Optometrist has noticed a weakness in your retina then preventative laser or freezing treatment may be needed. In most cases however, it is not possible to take preventative action. 
 
Am I likely to get a retinal detachment in the other eye? 
If you have had a retinal detachment in one eye, you are at increased risk of developing one in the other eye but there is only about a one in ten chance of this happening. 
 
Could a recent bump to the head cause a retinal detachment? 
It is possible a blow to the head, or a recent traumatic incident, such as a bungee jump could result in a retinal detachment. Usually, straining your eyes, bending or heavy lifting is unlikely to result in a retinal detachment. 
 
If in doubt, consult us as soon as possible for further advice, early intervention is essential in the case of retinal detachment. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 

Children's Eyecare 

Recent research shows that one in 5 school children have an undetected eye problem. As a result many cannot see well enough to reach their full academic potential. They will also find it hard to enjoy everyday childhood activities. 
 
Children should have their first eye examination before starting school. It doesn't matter if they are too young to talk or read a letter chart as our practice can detect visual problems at an early age. 
 
Eye tests are free under the NHS for all children under the age of 16 and you will receive a contribution towards the cost of their glasses . 
 
Children need to change their glasses more often than adults. Not only do they grow out of their spectacles, but their vision changes more quickly, so it is important that their eyes are tested at least once a year - or immediately if you think something is wrong. Typical warning signs of problems are excessive blinking, squinting, peering closely at books or TV, and poor performance at school. In some cases children with learning difficulties can be helped with coloured filters, special lenses or exercises. 
 
If spectacles are required, we have a large range of fashionable and practical styles which are especially designed for children's faces. Many have soft nose pads for extra comfort and spring hinges to reduce the chance of breakage. The choice of colours these days is incredible and the waiting siblings will enjoy amusing themselves in the children's corner and learning the secrets of the talking Dolphin! 
 
So children, which of these arrows is the longest? 
 
Find the answer to this and any other questions by booking an eye examination for your child now by phoning us on 
023 9258 3751. 
 

Retinitis Pigmentosa 

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary eye disorders which affect the retina which is the light sensitive tissue lining at the back of the eye. 
 
It is now known that there are many different inherited defects causing RP and in all these conditions the ability of the retina to respond to light is affected. The problem can be in many parts of the retina such as the rod or cone cells, or in the connections between the cells of the retina. 
 
The most common symptom of RP is difficulty in seeing in poor light, for example outdoors at dusk, or in a dimly lit room. Secondly the visual field is reduced so that vision is lost from the sides, or from above and below resulting possibly in tunnel vision and indicates that the rod cells, and some of the outer cone cells, have been affected first. 
 
The loss of vision may be caused by the RP itself or by associated changes in the macula and cataract development. 25% of patients maintain good visual acuity and are able to read throughout their working life albeit with a very small, 2-3 degree central field. Under the age of 20 years only a few patients will have poor distance vision of 6/60 or worse. However, by the age of 50 years an appreciable number will be affected to that degree. It is unusual for people with RP to become totally blind as most retain some useful vision well into old age. 
 
Contact us now on 023 9258 3751 to arrange your next appointment! 
 

Retinal Photography 

We are now pleased to announce that we are now able to offer Retinal Photography to our patients. 
 
Monintoring changes to the retina is one of the most important aspects of Optometric healthcare. 
 
A high-resolution photograph allows us to carefully study the condition of the eye and also build up a digital history of any retinal changes. 
 
We will be offering this enhanced diagnostic service to our Private and National Health Service patients for a small additional fee. 
 
Please mention to our receptionist when arranging your eye examination appointment if you would like to benefit from retinal photography.