Most people at some point in their lives will experience dry eyes. The result is that the eyes can feel tired, sore and gritty. Vision often varies and in some circumstances the eyes actually water a lot to try to regain some comfort. There can be a number of causes for this, some are temporary but many are permanent and need life-long treatment. We have a range of wipes and solutions that can ease dry eyes.
Unfortunately our tear quality deteriorates with age. This is due to a permanent change in the quality of the components that make up our tear film. This can be helped by artificial tears and lubricants. It can be extremely frustrating for the sufferer as everybody’s tear film varies slightly, this means that even with the help of drops and ointments, the tears will not return to their previous quality.
Blocked tear glands
This can happen at any time and prevents the normal tear fluid being secreted to the surface of the eye. It is caused by little waxy blockages on top of the glands. A hot compress which is a cotton wool pad soaked in hot water, is used to unblock the glands.
Flaky lid margins(Blepharitis)
This is when the lid margins become flaky and crusty; these flakes can fall into the eyes and disrupt the normal tear film. In addition it can lead to infections and also block the tear glands. It is common for your Optometrist to see the two conditions together. Again this can be a normal age change although those with certain skin conditions (Eczema, acne rosacea etc) can be prone to this as well. This is treated by either using special wipes every morning and evening or making up your own solution with a teaspoon of Johnsons baby shampoo into a mug of boiled cooled water.
Medication – the most common side effect of any medicine is to affect the tears.
Arthritis is linked to drier eyes.
Computer use – those who use computers for long periods tend to not blink as often and as a result they are not replacing their tears as often as they should be.
Diet – it is advised to drink as much water as you can if you have dry eyes, recent research also suggests that omega 3 oils found in fish can help improve the quality of the tear film
There are many remedies available to suit each individual case. Why not pop in and see what we can do for you.
What is the Macular?
The macular is the sensitive area within the central retina at the back of the eye. It is important for detailed vision such as small print and seeing faces.
In some people, as they get older, this area loses its ability to function properly. There is currently no treatment for the majority of cases. Consequently, in macular degeneration, there is a loss in the detailed central vision.
Current research is still learning a lot about the progression of macular degeneration. In some it may stabilize at an insignificant stage, and in others it may progress to make vision difficult to use. Macular degeneration never affects the side vision.
Risk factors of Macular Degeneration
Other than age there are a number of risk factors that can increase the risk of developing macular degeneration
Diets lacking in leafy green vegetables
In order to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, we recommend a healthy diet (with a good supply of leafy green vegetables), wear UV protection and avoid smoking.
There are supplements available containing the antioxidants which help protect against these changes. These supplements are not suitable for everyone, in particular smokers must not take them. It is advised to check with your GP before you start using any supplements.
Why annual eye examinations are important.
If you have diabetes this does not necessarily mean that your sight will be affected, but there is a higher risk.
If your diabetes is well controlled then you are less likely to have problems, or they may be less serious. However, if there are complications that affect the eyes then this may result in loss of sight.
Most sight loss due to diabetes can be prevented, but it is vital that it is diagnosed early. This can only be detected by a detailed examination of the eye.
Therefore, regular, annual eye examinations are extremely important, as you may not realise that there is anything wrong with your eyes until it is too late.
What is diabetes?
Estimates suggest that nearly one person in twenty-five in the UK is affected by diabetes mellitus, a condition which means that, due to a lack of insulin, the body cannot cope normally with sugar and other carbohydrates in the diet.
Diabetes can start in childhood, but more often begins in later life. It can cause complications which affect different parts of the body, the eye being one of them.
There are two different types of diabetes mellitus:
Type 1 diabetes, which can also be referred to as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). This type of diabetes commonly occurs before the age of 30 and is the result of the body producing little or no insulin.
Type 1 is controlled by insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes, which can also be referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). This type of diabetes commonly occurs after the age of 40. In this type of diabetes the body does produce some insulin, although the amount is either not sufficient or the body is not able to make proper use of it.
Type 2 diabetes is generally controlled by diet or tablets, although some people in this group will use insulin injections.
Glaucoma is the name used to describe a number of conditions in which damage occurs to nerve fibres within the eye. These nerve fibres are responsible for providing us with our vision. For the commonest type of glaucoma there are no symptoms in the early stages.
Your Optometrist at Drage and Tozer will always check for signs of glaucoma, this may include additional tests depending on the considered individual risk to each person. These additional tests may include checking the pressure of your eyes with a small puff of air and assessing your peripheral vision using a visual field screener.
It is important to bear in mind that all of these checks together with your family history are all pieces of a jigsaw in deciding whether you are at risk of glaucoma. The result of each test in taken into account. If your Optometrist advises you that they would like to repeat one of the checks or see you on a more frequent basis, do not be alarmed. A single ‘unusual’ result on it’s own does not mean you have glaucoma.
Many people who are at risk of glaucoma never go on to develop it.
Early detection of glaucoma is essential in its treatment, because of this if your Optometrist finds an ‘unusual’ result on more than one occasion they may choose to refer you to a specialist for their opinion.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us on 01787 310090
A cataract is a hazy area within the normal transparent lens of the eye.
Although cataracts can occur at any age, they are generally part of the normal aging of the eye. Approximately 50% of people over 60 have this condition. It is therefore important not to be alarmed if you are told you have cataracts.
Common symptoms of Cataracts are
Blurry, foggy or misty vision.
Changes in how you see colours
Changes in your spectacle prescription
Increased difficulty with driving at night
Glare in bright light
Decisions about your cataracts.
The effect a cataract has upon your vision will vary according to a number of factors such as
The position of the hazy area within the lens
The size of the hazy area
Your level of vision before the cataract was there
The rate at which your cataract is changing (if at all)
These factors contribute to the decision the Optometrist makes about your cataracts.
Changing your spectacle prescription.
It may be the only affect the cataract has (particularly during the early stages) iIs to cause a change in your spectacle, and that with the new prescription you see reasonably well.
Monitoring the Cataract.
We may decide that all we need do is monitor how the cataract is affecting your vision. Some cataracts do develop quickly, while others remain the same for much longer periods of time. In some cases we may recommend that we see you more frequently than we have done in the past.
Referring you to an eye specialist
If the cataracts are causing a significant problem to your vision and/or way of life, we may feel it appropriate to recommend referral to an eye specialist. The specialist will assess the cataract with a view to removing it in order to improve your standard of vision.
The surgery to remove a cataract is now relatively quick and simple and does not normally require an overnight stay in hospital.
Schools pack -Eye Information Pack
This pack contains charts, suggested activities and worksheets.