is known as ‘the secret thief of sight’ because it advances slowly without any initial symptoms. The disease arises when the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain becomes damaged, often because of a build-up of fluid in the front of the eye. It can lead to loss of vision if not diagnosed and treated early enough. Most common in older people, glaucoma is usually picked up by a routine eye test.
To prevent the condition from worsening your eye specialist will usually recommend eye drops. Laser treatment may be the next option to open up the blocked drainage tubes or reduce production of fluid in the eye. Surgery can be carried out as a last option, to improve the drainage of fluid.
Cataracts are the biggest cause of reversible blindness in the world with sufferers experiencing clouding in a normally clear eye lens. When vision starts to become very impaired, limiting the ability to read or drive, for example, it’s probably time to consider surgery. This involves replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial one. It’s generally a safe and effective procedure and one the eye consultants at BMI The Priory carry out routinely.
Macular degeneration (also known as age-related macular degeneration) is an eye disease that involves the small central portion of the retina, or macula, degrading. The macula provides the sharp central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail e.g. people’s faces. Most people have what’s known as ‘dry’ form macular degeneration and is often experienced as worsening vision which may be blurry or involve dark patches.
Age-related macular degeneration is often detected at a routine eye test as tiny yellow spots under the retina. To slow the onset of macular degeneration medicines can help, while laser therapy using high energy laser light may be offered as a next form of treatment.
Macular holes are small breaks in the macula in the centre of the retina and can present as blurring and distorted central vision. If left untreated most central vision could be lost and the retina may detach. The first symptoms of a macular hole include blurring, floaters or a slight distortion in straight-ahead vision. Treatment for macular holes is done via an operation which is called a vitrectomy.
Epiretinal membrane (ERM) is a condition where a sheet of naturally occurring cells develop on or above the surface of the central part of the retina in the area known as the macula. If they shrink this can wrinkle the retina and cause distortion and blurring of vision. Surgery may be required if vision is affected. Your ophthalmologist will be able to decide whether this is the right treatment for you.
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