Regular Eye Examinations are important for everyone, as some serious eye conditions do not have any visible warning symptoms. It’s especially important to have regular check ups if there is a history of eye conditions in your family.


MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD):

image illustrating effects of macular degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration otherwise known as AMD, affects the macular which is needed for sharp, central vision and allows a person to see fine detail.

The condition gradually destroys this part of the eye which is needed to see objects clearly. AMD can run in families and those with a parent or grandparent that has it have a higher chance of having the condition at some stage.

  • AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK with almost 1.5 million people estimated to have the early form of AMD in 2010.
  • AMD occurs in both wet and dry form.
  • 400,000 people are estimated to have the wet form, and another 193,000 people estimated to have the dry form.
  • In 2010, it was estimated that 132,000 people were partially sighted, and 90,000 people were blind due to both types of AMD.

Prevention – Changes to your diet and lifestyle can help protect you from AMD. Supplements such as I-Caps to help maintain macular health are available in practice.  We strongly recommend regular OCT 3D scans if you are concerned about AMD.


CATARACT

image illustrating effects of cataract

A Cataract forms when the lens of the eye becomes gradually more opaque, letting less and less light in.The lens is situated behind the coloured iris. Cataracts can affect either one or both of the eyes.

The main thing you would notice if you had a cataract is a reduction in the general quality of your sight. Cataracts can also cause colours to look different and may make you more shortsighted. They are usually due to increasing age but can sometimes be caused by medications, other eye conditions or trauma to the eye.

Many patients develop Cataracts, but not all of them require treatment. If treatment is required then you will need a short operation.This is done through a very small hole in the eye and the lens is replaced with a plastic implant.

Unless your vision has become inadequate you will only be referred to an ophthalmologist if we are concerned about other eye problems.


GLAUCOMA

image illustrating the effects of glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve which carries the images we see from our eyes to our brain. If left untreated glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness.

Glaucoma can take many years to be noticed as there are no obvious symptoms, but if it remains undetected patients may eventually find that they start to lose their side vision, like looking through a receding tunnel. If left untreated it would eventually lead to complete loss of vision.

Due to age, injury, or a number of other reasons, the eye’s drainage canals can sometimes become clogged up, stopping the internal fluid from moving from one area to another. This can lead to an increase in the eye’s pressure which can damage the optic nerve.

Because there are usually no early symptoms it is important to have regular checks using the advanced procedures available at Osmond I. Drake, such as OCT Scanning. This is particularly important for the over 60s or if there is a family history of the condition because although Glaucoma cannot be cured, with early diagnosis it can be controlled using medication and surgery to prevent serious loss of vision.


DRY EYE SYNDROME

Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition which results in dry or sore eyes, irritation, discomfort and visual disturbance for sufferers.

Our eyes are always covered by a thin layer of liquid, known as the tear film, which helps to preserve the protective layer and prevents the formation of turbulences which can cause tissue damage.

Conventional Dry Eye Syndrome

Around 1 in 13 people in their fifties experience dry eye syndrome and up to a third of people age 65 or older may have dry eye syndrome. Hormones help to stimulate the function of our tear film and the in-balance in hormones experienced by women during menopause may explain why women are more susceptible to dry eye at this time.

Environmental Dry Eye

This is different from conventional dry eye in that it is not caused by ageing or hormonal changes, but rather by external environmental factors, which causes tears to evaporate. If you are exposed to excessive computer use (which may cut down blinking rates), air conditioning, central heating, air travel, smoking, wind, sun, water sports, and activities such as cycling you could be at risk.

Tears are good for you

The tear film has three basic layers, each playing a distinctive role in maintaining eye health and clear sight.

  1. Oil (lipid) layer: The outermost layer of the tear film. It is a dense and oily layer that seals moisture to the eye, allowing for the free flow of the eyelid over the eye, and smoothes out the surface.
  2. Watery (aqueous) layer: The middle layer of the tear film. It is made up of the water and nutrients responsible for moisturising, nourishing, and protection the eyes from infections.
  3. Mucus (mucin) layer: The inner layer of the tear film. It allows tears to spread evenly over the surface of the eye, as well as ‘stick’ to the surface of the eye.

Watch out for the symptoms

Dry eye syndrome is not normally a serious condition but it can cause complications such as conjunctivitis or corneal scarring. Contact us if you experience very red or painful eyes, extreme sensitivity to light, or deterioration in your vision.

At Osmond Drake we can provide Dry Eye sufferers with their own, personal Dry Eye Management Plan