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Eye Condition Information

Eyesite Eyecare Centres accept patients with a range of eye conditions for professional diagnosis and treatment. Our optometrists are experienced eye health providers of the NHS Eyecare Services and Private Services. This page provides additional information on common eye conditions.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye is caused by decreased tear production presenting symptoms such as:

  • Dryness
  • Sandy or gritty eye irritation
  • Pain and stinging
  • Red Eyes
  • Pressure behind the eye

If left untreated, dry eyes can cause abrasions to the surface of the eyes which can be extremely uncomfortable and potentially damaging. Dry eyes are generally more common in older people and can be associated with some illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Thorough investigation by our optometrists can identify the cause and direct you to the most appropriate treatment.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a condition where the edges of the eyelids become inflamed (red and swollen). Other symptoms include:

  • Redness of the eyelids,
  • Flaking of the skin on the lids,
  • Red eye
  • Reduced vision
  • 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.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a common condition amongst all groups of people, involving the inflammation of the conjunctiva (covering of the front of the eye and lines inside the eyelids) 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

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 so it is advised to have this looked at.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding that occur in the lens of the eye which can cause blurred or misty vision. The lens is the transparent structure that sits just behind your pupil (the black dot in the centre of your eye). It allows light to get to the back of your eye (retina). In some people, cataracts develop in the lens as they get older, stopping some of the light from reaching the back of the eye. Over time, the cataracts become worse and start affecting vision. Many people with cataracts will eventually need surgery to remove and replace the affected lens.

Corneal Dystrophies, Degenerations and Ectasias

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. Therefore, 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 and thinning of the cornea caused by a weakening or destabilization of the cornea due to excessive removal of tissue and disruption to corneal structure.

Anterior Uveitis

Anterior Uveitis is inflammation (swelling) of the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea or uveal tract. The uvea is made up of the iris (the coloured part of the eye), the ciliary body (the ring of muscle behind the iris), and the choroid (the layer of tissue that supports the retina). Symptoms include redness of the eye as well as pain, avoidance of bright life or blurred vision. Anterior Uveitis can be caused by physical trauma injury to the eye as well as many other disorders as well as generalised infections.

Vitreal Opacities (Floaters)

Floaters are small shapes that some people see floating in their field of vision. They may appear as spots, threads, or fragments of cobwebs, which float slowly before the sufferer’s eyes. Floaters can occur as your eyes change with age. In most cases, they don’t cause significant problems and don’t require treatment. In rare cases, floaters may be a sign of a retinal tear or retinal detachment (where the retina starts to pull away from the blood vessels that supply it with oxygen and nutrients).

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the thin lining at the back of your eye called the retina begins to pull away from the blood vessels that supply it with oxygen and nutrients. Without prompt treatment, it will lead to blindness in the affected eye. Most people will experience warning signs that indicate their retina is at risk of detaching before they lose their sight. These include:

  • the sudden appearance of floaters – black dots, specks or streaks that float across your field of vision (usually only one eye is affected)
  • a cobweb effect of lots of little floaters – others report a single large black floater that looks like a housefly
  • sudden short flashes of light in the affected eye lasting no more than a second
  • blurring or distortion of your vision
  • feeling of heaviness in the eye

Without treatment, sight in the affected eye will start to deteriorate. Most people describe this as a shadow or “black curtain” spreading across their vision. Most detached retinas can be successfully reattached with surgery. There are a number of different types of surgery available, depending on the individual. Retinal detachment requires immediate medical attention, as it can easily cause blindness. Therefore, if you experience the above symptoms seek urgent medical attention.

Macular Degeneration

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 people aged 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.