"It was the eye doctor who detected the glaucoma and saved my sight"
Having an eye test at least once every two years should be part of everyone’s health care routine. Every year, 12.5 million people who need to, do not have a regular eye test. Many causes of sight loss are preventable if they are caught early. Regular eye tests are the best way to do this.
- Glaucoma: Over 2% of patients over the age of 40 (and even higher in the aged) have glaucoma, and in the UK, 50% do not know they have this potentially irreversible, blinding condition. If treated early Glaucoma can be prevented. If you have a family history your risk could be doubled, and persons with short-sightedness or diabetes are also more at risk. Seeing a specialist will ensure the disease is detected, and prevented, and most patients lead a normal healthy life, with good vision. At LondonOC, we have an extensive range of glaucoma tests to ensure you benefit from the recent medical advances in glaucoma care- Call us for more information.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) AMD is the most common cause of adult blindness in the developed world. The macula is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye, and is responsible for picking up detailed visual information, such as reading words on a page, or sewing. It wears out naturally as we get older, resulting in poorer vision. Blue eyes and obesity increase the risk of macula degeneration and nowadays there are treatments to prevent severe loss, and improve some patients vision. Studies show that antioxidants prevent the retina from damage done by smoking, alcohol and ultraviolet rays. As we age, the body is less efficient at getting rid of oxidants, and this can cause retinal damage. An antioxidant called lutein is hugely beneficial. Lutein is found in broad-leaf leaves such as spinach and kale, and in yellow vegetables such as sweetcorn and yellow peppers. Evidence suggests that a diet rich in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables in general is good for antioxidants.
- Diabetic retinopathy If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it is vital that the back of your eyes is closely looked at at least once a year. Longevity and poor control are the biggest risk factors for diabetic eye disease. Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Cataracts and glaucoma are more common in diabetics but the most serious eye condition associated with diabetes involves the retina and, more specifically, the network of blood vessels within it. The vessels can allow fluid or blood to leak into the retina and damage it. This can result in serious loss of vision. Treatment is available and effective to treat and indeed improve this but prevention is even better as any damage from diabetes may be permanent.
- Cataracts A cataract is a gradual opacity that develops in the lens of the eye. If you’re diabetic, obese, or have a strong family history of early disease, the risk of developing cataracts can be double that of other people . Although cataracts are largely treatable, one in four cases of sight loss in people over the age of 75 is due to cataracts.
- High Blood Pressure (hypertension) Signs of high blood pressure can be detected in the eye and these can cause loss of sight if the blood pressure is not treated effectively.
- Neurological disorders and other medical conditions: The eye is actually a complex branch of the brain and many nerve disorders can be picked up from an eye examination!
- Many medical conditions can leave signs in the eye – complex diseases such as connective tissue disorders, or simple high cholesterol can all be picked up with a painless eye exam.
Being told you have an eye condition can be an anxious time. Feelings of worry and uncertainty about the future can be hard to cope with. Accurate information on your eye condition can help at this difficult time. Please feel free to contact us to answer any questions you may have.
At LondonOC we offer an extensive eye health check by a specialist consultant surgeon (no opticians or trainees). You will have your vision assessed, and eyes examined from front to back, including applanation pressure (more accurate than the air puff test) and funduscopy, to name a few of the tests included at your visit. Each consultation is tailored to your needs and requirements, and the doctor will advise if you need any specialist or further investigations.
Click here for an article containing more information on Glaucoma
Eye health screening:
Getting an eye health screen might not seem necessary if you aren’t displaying any symptoms but with some eye conditions they aren’t noticeable until they are in the much later stages. Poor eye health could be avoided by regular checks by a professional ophthalmologist. Eye health screening that is regular should mean that any concerns can be addressed and anything that the patient might not have yet noticed could be identified. Dealing with eye problems early is sometimes key to loss of sight or a deterioration in eyesight quality.
When it comes to getting eye health screening underway then seeking the expertise of an eye specialist could be important. An ophthalmologist will thoroughly examine the eyes and do a range of tests that may not be automatically be performed by an optician. Regular eye testing doesn’t have to be time consuming either and with a specialist eye health clinic an appointment could be made to your convenience meaning you can book a screening around your work or home life.
We have full knowledge and expertise in house that could help anyone seeking professional care when it comes to their eye health. If you have noticed something not quite right or have concerns based on family history then get in touch.
We now have strong evidence that a good diet reduces your risk of eye diseases such as macula degeneration. Anti-oxidants and Lutien play a part in the health of the retina, and a diets rich in these substances reduces risks of disease!
Obesity is a major contributing factor to sight loss. It is estimated that the 10 million adults and two million children in the UK who are obese are twice as likely to lose their sight. A report published by the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) identified a direct link between obesity and some of the common eye conditions that cause blindness.
Drinking alcohol is not necessarily bad for your eyes. Alcohol destroys antioxidants in the body but the red pigment in red wine is a powerful antioxidant, so there are suggestions that drinking a glass of red wine in the evening won’t do any harm in terms of macular degeneration. If you drink too much, however, the positive effects of the pigment will be outweighed by the negative effects of the alcohol.
While it might seem odd that exercise can help the eyes, it can be important. Research shows that exercise may reduce the risk of sight loss that can occur from high blood pressure, diabetes and the narrowing or hardening of the arteries.
"After ageing, smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing macular degeneration," Research shows that smokers are three to four times more likely to develop AMD compared with non-smokers. As well as AMD, smokers are about three times more likely to develop cataracts, a major sight-threatening condition. Scientists believe that smokers may be more susceptible because metals found in tobacco smoke can gradually build up in the eye. Whatever the reason may be, the risk of developing a cataract increases the longer and more heavily a person smokes.
Aside from these serious, sight-threatening conditions, smokers are also more likely to have problems if they wear contact lenses. Their corneas run a greater risk of getting irritated, which can seriously affect vision if they subsequently become infected. The good news, however, is that all these risks start to drop as soon as you stop smoking, and they decline steadily the longer you don’t smoke.
Other Health Factors
Protecting your eyes from the sun is very important and should not be underestimated. Under no circumstances should you ever look at the sun directly. Doing so could do irreversible damage to your eyesight and even lead to blindness. Sunlight can damage the retina and the lens of the eye, and studies show that people with outdoor jobs are more likely to suffer eye problems. It is a good idea to buy a good quality, dark sunglasses (these needn’t be expensive) carrying the ‘CE’ mark and the British Standard BS EN 1836:1997, which ensures that the sunglasses offer a safe level of ultraviolet protection.
Finding a clinic in London for an eye test could be the best way to get peace of mind about eye health. Having good vision is something that most people take for granted until something appears to be wrong. Having a regular eye test is an important way of detecting early symptoms of eye deterioration or eye disease. Even when an eye test in London reveals there are no issues it is still important to maintain visits to the clinic as it could pick up patterns in eye health that could otherwise be missed with a long gap between appointments.
Regular eye examinations
It is recommended that you visit an eye specialist every two years (or more frequently if advised). This is important because an eye examination can detect potentially blinding eye conditions such as glaucoma, or underlying health problems such as diabetes. The earlier the problem is detected, the faster it can be treated.
It is easy to neglect your eyes because they rarely hurt when there is a problem. But once your eyesight is lost, it may never be restored.