Glaucoma can be caused by too much pressure in the eye. Because there is usually no pain and the condition gets worse gradually, you probably won’t realise you have glaucoma until it is well developed. By this time permanent damage to your vision may have occurred. Glaucoma is potentially serious as it can cause tunnel vision and eventual blindness if left untreated.
Glaucoma mainly affects people over the age of 40. You are also more at risk if you have a close relative who has glaucoma, if you are of Afro-Caribbean origin, or if you suffer from diabetes.
Fortunately, glaucoma can be detected – even in its initial stages – by an eye examination at our practice. The disease can usually be treated successfully by special eye drops, although sometimes laser surgery may be required. Providing it is treated sufficiently early, glaucoma itself will not normally stop you from enjoying good eyesight.
A cataract is not a disease, but simply a clouding of the lens inside your eye. This is mainly the result of the ageing process, with cataracts occuring in more than half the population over 65.
The symptoms of cataracts are deteriorating sight, sometimes blurred or double vision, and a yellowish tinge to everything you see.
Cataracts normally develop slowly and are not painful, but in about 10% of cases your vision will be badly affected.
A simple operation can usually solve the problem before it gets to that stage. This removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a plastic one which enables you to see clearly once again. Many people with early cataracts, however, find their vision is acceptable and so don’t need an operation.
The macula is part of the eye that enables you to see straight ahead and perform detailed visual work, such as reading. Sometimes the macula stops working properly and this usually occurs as you get older.
In fact macular degeneration is the most common cause of poor sight in those aged over 60. Although it is not painful and does not cause complete blindness, it does black out your central field of vision. This can make it very difficult for you to carry out many everyday activities.
Macular degeneration can develop either quite quickly or gradually. The warning signs are blurred or distorted central vision, sometimes with a blank patch in the middle of your field of vision. Some forms of this disease can be treated by laser, but only in the early stages of their development.
Q. I normally wear glasses but would like to use contact lenses for sport and evenings out. Do they have to be worn every day?
A. The latest daily disposable contact lenses can be worn as little or as often as you like. Each time you use them you have a fresh pair. One in three contact lenses fitted in the UK is now a daily disposable lens.
Q. Is it OK to change my brand of contact lens solution?
A. It’s unwise to change the brand of solution you use without checking with us first. Different brands contain different ingredients and may not be compatible with your eyes or with your lenses.
Q. I’d like to try contact lenses but have been told I have astigmatism. What kind of contact lenses would be suitable for me?
A. Astigmatism is a very common condition where the shape of the eye is irregular. Both soft and gas-permeable contact lenses are available to correct astigmatism and can be specially made to suit your prescription.
Q. I’ve worn soft lenses for many years but I’m now in my mid-40’s and having trouble with reading. Are bifocal contact lenses lenses available?
A. There’s no need to give up contact lens wear when you need bifocals. Bifocal and varifocal contact lenses are available to provide clear vision at distance and for reading. Alternatively, you can wear reading glasses over your contact lenses just for close work.
The Dos and Don’ts of Contact Lens Wear
Here are some useful tips on contact lens wear and care to help you get the best out of your contact lenses.
Ask yourself these three questions, each time you wear your lenses: