Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve, preventing the flow of information from the eye to the brain resulting in permanent vision loss. It primarily affects people over the age of 40. People with Glaucoma may be unaware of any problems until vision loss has become severe, which is why regular eye examinations and Glaucoma testing before the age of 40 are essential.
Early detection and treatment are essential in saving a patient’s vision. While there is no cure for Glaucoma, treatments are available to slow down any further damage. Depending on how far the glaucoma has progressed, a range of treatments are available including:
Eye drops (most common form of treatment)
Laser treatment (often used in conjunction with eye drops)
Surgery to create a new channel in the eye allowing proper drainage of fluid
Macular Degeneration is a disease that affects the macula, the central part of the retina located at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for our central vision and allows us to read, recognise faces, drive and see colours clearly. When the macula is impaired, people experience blurriness or dark spots in their central vision forcing them to rely on peripheral vision to identify objects by shape.
The cause of Macular Degeneration is not clear however risk factors include UV exposure, aging and lifestyle factors such as smoking and poor diet. As with Glaucoma, early detection is key to slowing the progression of the disease as vision loss caused by Macular Degeneration is irreversible. Regular eye examinations are therefore vital.
Cataracts are a cloudiness that forms in the lens of the eye, causing poor vision as the cloudiness interferes with light entering the eye. Most cataracts are age related, which means the chances of developing them later in life are higher. If left untreated cataracts can cause blindness. People with cataracts may experience difficulty reading, recognizing faces and watching television.
For many people, cataracts won’t require surgery. Cataracts may become a nuisance but often they develop to a certain level and then stabilize. If they begin to interfere with everyday activities, the cataract affected lens can be surgically removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens.
People with diabetes are more at risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, and most significantly, Diabetic Retinopathy. This occurs when diabetes causes damage to the fine blood vessels in the retina. If left undetected and untreated, Diabetic Retinopathy can cause serious eye damage including blurred vision and even blindness.
At present there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, but early detection and optimal management can prevent up to 98% of vision loss. The good news is that while the risk of developing retinopathy is present, maintaining your blood sugar levels within the recommended range, adopting a healthy lifestyle and having your eyes tested regularly can reduce your risk by up to 58%.
Be sure to have your eyes tested at least every 2 years.
Floaters are a build-up of protein cells, seen as tadpole-like substances floating around in front of your eyes. They will not be seen when looking at dark surfaces such as dark carpets or walls as they are only seen if there is sufficient contrast.
Floaters moving continuously in one direction are usually harmless; however floaters that are motionless can be indicators of an eye problem or disease and should be further investigated.