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.