Your Optometrist is the first port of call for all eye related health issues
Regular eye examinations are NHS funded and at no cost to eligible patients in Scotland. It is important to have this carried out at regular intervals as you may not recognise small changes in your vision that might lead to sight loss. Most sight loss is preventable, treatable or controllable if caught at an early stage.
The most common eye conditions that can be detected by your Optometrist:”
Dry eye is a chronic condition which often affects both eyes. It occurs when your tears do not provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. The symptoms may include stinging, burning or foreign body sensation and eye redness. There are a number of factors that contribute to dry eye including the following: advancing age, medications, autoimmune disorders and hormonal changes. People experiencing dry eye symptoms should consult their local Optometrist.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye which may lead to a decrease in vision. This change often occurs in both eyes but may not develop at the same rate. Although usually age-related there are a number of other causes. Smoking and exposure to sunlight have been linked to formation of cataracts as well as certain medical conditions and/or medications. Cataracts are usually only treated if visual symptoms are significant with surgery being the only effective treatment. Symptoms of a cataract may include: blurry vision, increased sensitivity to glare and difficulty with vision at night. If you feel you are suffering from any of these symptoms or are concerned you may have cataracts please contact an eye professional.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve is damaged. This is usually, but not always, caused by raised pressure within the eye. The damage can occur slowly and peripheral can gradually deteriorate; you may not know that you have glaucoma until a lot of damage has been done and this may progress to blindness. People with a family history of glaucoma are more likely to suffer from the disease. Fortunately treatment is available to help stop the progression, with good results if detected at an early stage.
Macular degeneration occurs when the area at the back of the eye that is used for seeing fine detail breaks down. There are 2 main types of degeneration, wet and dry. Common symptoms of macular problems include reduced vision and noticing that straight lines appear to be wavy, you may not notice this if only one eye is affected as the other eye will compensate. There are treatments for certain types of macular degeneration, and it is advised to maintain a diet high in antioxidants.
Floaters look like small dark strands that appear to float in front of your eyes. They are extremely common and more likely if you are short-sighted. They are normally nothing to be concerned about, but always check with your Optometrist. Your brain will normally adapt to ignore them, but they are more apparent if you look at a bright background such as the clear sky or snow.
Flashes of light are often seen as you get older. This is caused by vitreous traction, when the ‘jelly’ inside the eye shrinks as you get older and can pull on the retina.
It is important to get checked if you suddenly see a lot of floaters and/or flashes as this could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment.
You can use See Ability’s Find an Optometrist Database to find Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians in your area who have made their eye test services more accessible to those with learning disabilities.