Below are a list of eye conditions which will direct you to the relevant websites who provide explanations and information on the condition and any treatment. If you have any other eye condition that you would like to seek help with from one of our opticians please feel free to fill out our 'Contact Us' form.
Dry eye is caused by decreased tear production presenting symptoms such as burning, dryness and a sandy or gritty eye irritation that gets worse as the day progresses. Pain, redness and pressure behind the eye may also occur. If left untreated, dry eyes can cause abrasions to the surface of the eyes which can be extremely damaging whilst causing much discomfort. Dry eyes are generally more common with increasing age and with diabetic people however it has a high prevalence in all groups of people. Most treatments include the use of eye drops to rehydrate the eyes. For more information from the RNIB click here.
Blepharitis is caused by chronic inflammation of the eyelid giving symptoms including redness of the eyelids, flaking of the skin on the lids, red eye, reduced vision or a gritty sensation in the eye. It can be caused by a bacterial infection and can often come about after the patient has suffered from dry eye. It can develop at any age but is more common in people over the age of 50. A daily eye cleaning routine may help to control the symptoms.
Meibomian glands are located at the rim of the eyelids and secrete a substance which protects the eye from drying out. Dysfunctional meibomian glands often cause dry eyes which may also cause blepharitis as the dry eye can develop infection. Inflammation of the meibomian glands causes the gland obstruction due to thick secretions. Treatments include warm compressions (to liquefy thick secretions on the glands), lid scrubs, antibiotics or other ointments.
Conjunctivitis is a common condition amongst all groups of people, involving the inflammation of the conjunctiva largely due to an allergic reaction or an infection. Sufferers of conjunctivitis often suffer from redness, irritation and watering as well as itchiness. Most commonly, conjunctivitis will resolve itself in under a week and in most cases antibiotics are not required although they can be prescribed. Cold compresses may also be advised to relieve symptoms of soreness.
Trichiasis is caused by abnormally positioned eyelashes that grow backwards towards the eye and touching the front of the eye which can most commonly occur due to infection or inflammation. Treatment can involve the removal or destruction of affected eyelashes to resolve the symptoms. In severe cases the front of the eye can become scarred, leading to vision loss.
Cataracts are a clouding that occur in the lens of the eye which cause a problem with vision since cataracts give a varying degree of opacity thus obstructing the passage of light into the eye and can potentially cause blinding if left untreated. Cataracts most often occur in the elderly and as populations are aging, they have become more common. The contrast between colours is often lost and so contours, shadows and colour vision becomes less vivid. The main treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it using an artificial lens.
Corneal dystrophy is a group of disorders characterised by a non-inflammatory, inherited opacity of the cornea, located on the front part of the eye in both eyes. They are relatively rare conditions and most tend to occur in the first few decades of life and are generally genetic and so if one person in a family is found to suffer from a corneal dystrophy, all other family members should also be examined. Degenerations of the cornea are tissue changes that cause deterioration and may impair their function which may come about due to specific diseases or just aging. Degenerations are rarely genetic; unlike dystrophies however they have strong links with other diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Ectasias are a bulging of the cornea also called iatrogenic keratoconus or secondary keratoconus and are caused by a biomechanical weakening or destabilisation of the cornea due to excessive removal of tissue and disruption to corneal structure.
Anterior Uveitis occurs when the iris and/or the ciliary body become inflamed in the eye. Symptoms include redness of the eye as well as pain, avoidance of bright life or blurred vision. There are two main types of iritis, acute and chronic. Acute iritis is a type of iritis that can heal independently within a few weeks. If treatment is required, eye drops can be given causing the acute iritis to improve quickly. Chronic iritis can exist for months or years before recovery occurs. Chronic iritis does not respond to treatment as well as acute iritis does and can be accompanied by a higher risk of serious visual impairment. Anterior Uveitis can be caused by physical trauma injury to the eye as well as many other disorders as well as generalised infections.
Floaters are deposits of various size, shape, consistency, refractive index, and motility within the eye's vitreous humour, the thick fluid or gel that fills the eye which is normally transparent. They may be of embryonic origin or acquired due to degenerative changes of the vitreous humour or retina. The perception of floaters is known as myodesopsia. Floaters are visible because of the shadows they cast on the retina. They may appear as spots, threads, or fragments of cobwebs, which float slowly before the sufferer's eyes. Since these objects exist within the eye itself, they are not optical illusions but they generally follow the rapid motions of the eye, while drifting slowly within the fluid. Floaters are caused by any damage to the eye that causes material to enter the vitreous humour and so has many causes. Generally, there is no treatment for floaters although for severe cases, surgical processes may be administered.
With time, the liquefied vitreous body of the eye loses support and its framework contracts causing posterior vitreous detachment and the vitreous body is released from the sensory retina. During this detachment, the shrinking vitreous can mechanically stimulate the retina, causing the patient to see random flashes across the visual field, sometimes referred to as 'flashers'. Part of the retina might be torn off by the departing vitreous body, in a process known as retinal detachment. This will often leak blood into the vitreous, which is seen by the patient as a sudden appearance of numerous small dots, moving across the whole field of vision. Retinal detachment requires immediate medical attention, as it can easily cause blindness. Therefore, if you experience flashes of light, a sudden dramatic increase in the number of floaters or a slight feeling of heaviness in the eye, urgent medical attention may be required.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative condition of the central retina (Macula). It is the one of the most common cause of vision loss in those 50 or older. AMD is caused by hardening of the arteries that nourish the retina. The diminishing supply of oxygen and nutrients causes the central vision loss. Macular degeneration may be caused by a number of factors. Genetics, age, nutrition, smoking and sunlight exposure may play a role. Symptoms may include central vision loss, gradual loss of vision or sudden loss of vision. Difficulty in reading or performing tasks that require the ability to see detail and distorted vision such as straight lines looking wavy or bent may also be a common symptom.