FURTHUR INFORMATION ABOUT SOME EYE CONDITIONS
Here we describe some basic information about some of the common general ophthalmic conditions we manage at Lumivision. This list is not exhaustive and we do see patients with numerous other eye related issues.
We see patients with any of these conditions by booking a General Ophthalmology consultation
DRY EYES/ BLEPHARITIS
Blepharitis is a medical condition relating to the inflammation of eyelids and eyelashes. It is characterized by white flaky skin near the eyelashes. Blepharitis usually causes redness of the eyes and itching and irritation of the eyelids. The disease has been categorized into two types. Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids near the eyelashes. The causes are scalp dandruff and infection by the Staphylococcus bacteria. Posterior blepharitis affects the back of the eyelids, the part that makes contact with the eyes. This is caused by the oil glands present in this region.
There is generally no cure for blepharitis, but it can be controlled by maintaining regular eyelid hygiene. Application of a damp warm cloth on the eyes helps unblock the Meibomian glands and this should be followed by firm massage of the eyelids. Antibiotic drops or ointments are prescribed in severe cases. Blepharitis affects people of all ages, however, seborrheic blepharitis and Meibomian gland dysfunction typically affect older individuals
Dry Eye Disease is largely under diagnosed condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. It’s generally not sight threatening but if left untreated, the symptoms – itching, discomfort and irritation – become worse and can increase the risk of infection and other visual problems. It is important for patients with this condition to take special care of their eyes in order to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. The diagnosis of Dry Eye is often missed because allergy, eyestrain and fatigue have similar symptoms. Your Ophthalmologist will determine if you have dry eyes, and provide a customized treatment tailored specifically for you. It is important that Dry Eye is managed correctly in order to prevent possible associated infections and/or visual disturbances that can occur if left untreated.
AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Macular Degeneration, usually called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD), is a type of vision loss that affects detailed central vision. It is one of the most common causes of poor vision in people over 60. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The dry type accounts for almost 90% of cases, involves mild vision loss due to a thinning of the macula, and progresses slowly. The wet type on the other hand is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing behind the retina and leaking blood or fluid that distorts the vision. Wet AMD causes vision loss that is faster and more noticeable, and although it often only starts in one eye there a risk that it will happen in both. Dry AMD can become wet over time, so sudden vision changes should always be checked by a Retinal Specialist.
Currently, the main target for wet AMD treatment is aimed at reducing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a major stimulus for blood vessel growth. Lucentis (ranibizumab), Avastin (bevacizumab) and Eyelea (aflibercept) are all anti-VEGF therapies injected into the eye that are able to prevent new blood vessels growth in the macula.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.
Glaucoma affects about two per cent of people over the age of 40 in the UK. Although any vision which has been lost to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular use of the treatments, the vast majority of patients retain useful sight for life.
What causes glaucoma?
The damage to the optic nerve in glaucoma is usually associated with excessive pressure within the eye. A certain level of pressure is needed for the eye to keep its shape and to work properly, but if the eye pressure gets too high, it squeezes the optic nerve and kills some of the nerve fibres, which leads to sight loss. The first areas to be affected are the off-centre parts of the vision. If the glaucoma is left untreated, the damage can progress to tunnel vision and eventual loss of central vision, although blindness is rare.
One of the most significant risk factors for glaucoma is family history, so if you have any family members who have lost their sight or have been diagnosed with glaucoma, we would recommend regular screening checks both for peace of mind and in the unfortunate event that you do develop glaucoma it will be best to pick it up early.
At Lumivision we can provide some simple investigations to help screen for glaucoma and a thorough clinical examination by a Consultant Ophthalmologist who will have experienced all the varieties and complexities of diagnosing glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that affects the retina and its blood vessels in people with diabetes. In the early stages, patients don’t know they have a problem; in the worst cases, this disease can blind patients.
In some cases, fluid leakage in the central area of the retina can cause distorted or blurred vision in the early stages, and central vision loss if it progresses to end stage. In other cases, new blood vessel growth in any part of the retina can scar and shrink, leading to retinal detachment causing blindness.
TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. Diabetics are encouraged to take their prescribed medication as directed by their physician, exercise regularly, watch their diet, and have regular eye examinations in order to help prevent diabetic retinopathy. All UK residents who have diabetes over the age of 12 should have annual diabetic retinal screening.