Common Eye Conditions
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Your eyes are so important. At Laubman & Pank, we want to make sure you have all the information and resources you need to maintain the best possible eye health.
During a consultation with our optometrists you will experience a tailored range of quick and effective techniques to ensure your eye health and vision is at its best.
Here’s a guide to some common eye diseases and how we can help.
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases all characterised by increasing damage to the image-carrying nerve fibres leaving the eye. This damage is irreversible and begins with unnoticed loss of peripheral vision. Often, but not always, this is related to an increased pressure of the fluid filling the eye. Other risk factors include:
- A family history of glaucoma
- Age – much more common in those over 40
The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. It is referred to as the sneak-thief of sight because it has no obvious symptoms until it is quite advanced. It’s a great idea to be checked for it once you’re over the age of 40. A simple review with your optometrist once a year will help you monitor any changes.
On the other hand, acute-angle closure glaucoma has clear symptoms and is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
- intermittent blurry or foggy vision, particularly in low light
- seeing coloured rings around lights
- sudden vision disturbances
- redness in the eye
- severe eye pain
- nausea or vomiting
Prescription eye drops or medication are the best way to reduce intraocular pressure and limit any further loss of vision. More advanced glaucoma treatments include surgery to reduce eye pressure or laser procedures to increase fluid movement in the eye.
In many cases, vision loss can be stopped or even slowed – especially if it’s caught early with regular consultations and monitoring if required. More advanced cases may result in ongoing treatment and full vision may not be restored.
Macular degeneration occurs when the central area of the retina, the macula, is damaged and vision becomes distorted and darkened.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Loss of detail in central vision, leaving peripheral vision largely unaffected, is the most common early sign of age-related macular degeneration.
- Distortion of vision
- Dark blotches, blocking the central field of vision
- Dimmed colour vision
Macular Degeneration Treatment
There is no absolute cure for macular degeneration. However, there are several ways to slow the loss of vision, including:
- Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections to prevent abnormal blood vessels
- Laser surgery to remove abnormal blood vessels within the retina
- Photodynamic therapy to help decrease the rate of vision loss
Regular eye check-ups are an excellent way to monitor your vision and ensure that any vision loss is not leading to wet macular degeneration, which can lead to the most severe and permanent vision loss.
Cataracts are a “clouding” of the clear lens in the eye. They are one of the leading causes of vision impairment in Australia.
The fact is that most of us will notice the signs of cataracts by the time we are 80.
- Blurry vision
- Glare sensitivity
- Distortion or double vision
- Fading of colour vision
When it’s caught early through eye exams, vision loss from cataracts can be assisted with new glasses, magnification, better lighting, or other visuals aids.
Surgery is the primary treatment for cataracts. This involves the removal of the damaged lens and the insertion of an artificial (intraocular) one. This procedure has high success rates for restoring vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak, block, and are damaged as a result of having diabetes. It can cause blindness and is in fact the leading cause in Australia for 40 to 60 year olds.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
In the early stages, no symptoms may occur. Sometimes, a consultation with an Optometrist can be the first way of detecting diabetes. In extreme cases, abnormal blood vessels and fibrous tissue can lead to retinal detachment and severe vision loss.
Symptoms, if the disease advances, may include:
- Blurry central vision
- Distorted vision
- Glare sensitivity
- Poor night vision
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Crucially, good management of diabetes along with blood pressure and cholesterol levels is the best prevention of diabetic retinopathy. Our optometrists will work closely with your GP and other health practitioners to help you manage this.
Should your diabetic retinopathy become a higher risk, laser and surgical procedures can drastically slow the progression of this eye disease, and decrease the risk of vision loss considerably.
Despite the wide range of effective treatments, diabetic retinopathy continues to grow as a leading cause of vision loss. That’s why regular eye examinations are a crucial part of maintaining your vision.
Dry eyes occur when your eyes aren’t lubricated enough, the chemical composition of your tears is not balanced or you don’t produce enough tears. It can lead to uncomfortable sensations such as scratchy, itchy or tired eyes. You may also experience burning or red eyes and blurred vision. Strangely enough, dry eyes may sometimes be watery too.