Eye Examination

A regular eye test is an important part of your eye healthcare program.  Normally you should be examined every two years, or more frequently if advised by an Optometrist.  During the formative years, it is advisable for children to have an exam once a year.  This is free for children under 16 or under 18 and in full time education.

NHS Sight tests are also free for everyone aged 60 or over.  Sight tests are vitally important because they are more than just a test to see whether you need glasses.  They can detect a number of conditions at an early stage, when they can still be effectively treated.

Eye Health

Eye examinations don’t just let your optician know which is the right prescription for your glasses or contact lenses, they can help provide early detection of serious but treatable problems. Almost 100,000 new cases of blindness per year would have been preventable or curable had they been detected and treated earlier. Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, have no symptoms in the early stages but can be easily detected during an eye examination. What’s more an eye examination can detect early signs and symptoms of serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other health conditions.
Glaucoma is a condition caused by too much pressure inside the eye. Because there is no pain and the condition worsens very slowly you probably won’t realise that you have glaucoma until it is well developed. Glaucoma can cause tunnel vision and, ultimately, 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 with glaucoma, if you are of Afro-Caribbean origin or if you suffer from diabetes. Glaucoma can be detected in its very early stages and can usually be treated by special eye drops although sometimes laser surgery may be required. Caught early, glaucoma will not normally stop you from enjoying good eyesight. 
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of blindness in the UK. Retinopathy means damage to the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish the retina, the tissues in the back of the eye that deal with light. 
A cataract is not a disease but simply the clouding over of the lens inside your eye. This is mainly the result of the ageing process, with cataracts affecting over half of the population over 65. Cataracts usually develop slowly and are completely painless. A simple operation under local anaesthetic will normally solve the problem before it gets too bad. In the operation the cloudy lens is removed and a new clear plastic lens is put in to replace it. 
The macula is the very central part of the retina which is used to see things in detail. Sometimes the macula stops working properly and this usually occurs as you get older. There are two types of Macula Degeneration, wet and dry. It is important to assess which type is present as there is treatment available for the wet type, if it is detected early. Our routine examination includes this assessment. However the vast majority of cases are of the dry type for which there is currently no treatment.

Retinal Photography

Digital retinal photography allows Mr Mathews to take a high resolution picture of the back of the eye.  The photographs can then be displayed and analysed on the computer screen and stored digitally for future reference.  While this is fascinating to see this image displayed within seconds, the back of the eye also provides an important insight into the health of the eye in addition to one's general health, so this procedure can be very reassuring.