Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs due to damage at the macula region of your eye. The macula is important for the fine detail at the centre of your vision.
There are two types of age related macular degeneration:
Where there is a build-up of deposits behind the macula, slowly reducing vision. There is currently no treatment developed for dry AMD.
Where abnormal blood vessels grow behind the macula and leak fluid, causing a rapid loss vision. This can be treated via drug injection into the eye.
A cataract forms when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy, like frosted glass, causing your vision to be blurred. Cataracts can form at any age, but they are most common in the elderly due to a natural ageing process.
The effective treatment for cataract is surgery, where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a prosthetic lens.
Symptoms of cataract are:
- Blurring of vision
- Dazzling of light
- Fading of colour
Diabetes affects the tiny blood vessels of the eye and if they become blocked or leak, vision can become affected.
40% Type 1 diabetics and 20% type 2 diabetics develop some sort of diabetic retinopathy.
Background Diabetic Retinopathy
- This is the most common type when the name diabetic retinopathy is used.
- It’s most common in those who have had diabetes for some time.
- Maculopathy means your macula may be affected by retinopathy
- Central vision becomes affected and you find it difficult to see detail for example, someone’s face.
- The majority of people who suffer with Maculopathy can be treated by laser.
Symptoms of advanced Retinopathy can include:
- Shapes floating in your field of vision (floaters)
- Blurred vision.
- Sudden vision loss.
Glaucoma is a group of conditions which cause damage to the optic nerve, and reducing your vision. The damage can be caused by raised intraocular pressure or damage to the optic nerve.
The four main types of glaucoma are:
Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG)
Where there is an increase in intraocular pressure causing the edges of your vision to be reduced. This reduction in vision slowly spreads into the centre of your vision. Treatment can begin from eye drops to laser treatment to surgery.
Acute angle closure glaucoma
Where there is a rapid increase in the intraocular causing sudden pain, red eye and damage to vision. Prompt treatment may result in permanent recovery of vision however delayed treatment may cause permanent loss of vision.
Where there is an increase in intraocular pressure as a side effect of other eye conditions, operations or medication. The treatment is aimed to reduce the intraocular pressure as well as treating the cause.
Low tension glaucoma
Where there is damage to the optic nerve even though the intraocular pressure is at normal levels. The treatment is to lower the intraocular pressure below normal.
Dry Eye is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This then leads to the eyes drying out and becoming inflamed and irritated.
- Feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day.
- Red eyes.
- Eyelids that stick together when you wake up.
- Temporary blurred vision, that usually improves when you blink.
Retinal detachment occurs when the thin lining of the back of your eye called the Retina begins to pull away from the blood vessels that supply it with oxygen and nutrients. Without prompt treatment, it will lead to blindness in the affected eye.
Retinal detachment is often the result of the result of the retina becoming thinner and more brittle with age and pulling away from the underlying blood vessels. It can also be caused by a direct injury to the eye, but this is less common.
- The sudden appearance of floaters – dark spots that float in your field of vision.
- Sudden short flashes of light in one eye.
- Blurred or distorted vision.
Most detached retinas can be successfully reattached with surgery. There are a number of different types of surgery available, depending on the individual.
People with night blindness experience poor vision at night or in dimly lit environments. Although the term ‘night blindness’ implies that you cannot see at night, this is not the case. You may just have more difficulty seeing and/or driving in darkness.
There are a number of eye conditions that can cause night blindness including –
- Nearsightedness: blurred vision when looking at faraway objects.
- Cataracts: a clouding of the eye’s lens.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa: When dark pigments collect in your retina, creating tunnel vision.
- Usher Syndrome: a genetic condition that affects both hearing and vision.
The only symptom of night blindness is difficulty seeing in the dark.
Tunnel Vision is a visual field defect that involves a loss of peripheral vision. There are many different causes, but some, like Glaucoma, can eventually lead to blindness if left untreated.
Tunnel vision occurs when the peripheral or ‘side’ vision deteriorates, or is lost altogether. The result is that you may only be able to see in a small circle directly in front of your eyes, as if you were looking down a tunnel.
Treatment for tunnel vision depends on the cause. In the case of Glaucoma, early treatment can half the loss of peripheral vision.
Flashes and Floaters
Most people who experience floaters can see feint black or grey areas in their vision. Floaters come in all shapes and sizes, such as dots, specs, clouds and lines. You may only notice them when looking at a plain, light surface such as a blank wall or clear sky. Eye floaters may seem stationary or they may appear to ‘float’ around your field of vision.
Floaters occur naturally as the vitreous gel within your eye thickens or shrinks with age, causing clumps or strands to form. In most cases, floaters are harmless if a little irritating.