75% of all vision loss is actually preventable or treatable
Maintaining good eye health is important, but we often take our eyes for granted. A number of eye conditions have no obvious symptoms until the advanced stages. That is why regular eye tests are important, as around 75% of all vision loss is actually preventable or treatable.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in adults worldwide and by the age of 90, most people will have cataracts to some degree. However, in most cases, they can be successfully treated and vision restored.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the part of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. The lens is contained in a sealed bag or capsule. As old cells die they become trapped within the capsule. Over time, the cells accumulate causing the lens to cloud, making images look blurred or fuzzy.
For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging, although eye injuries, certain medications, and diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism, can also cause cataracts.
Glasses may help to improve vision in the early stages, but surgery is the only effective long-term treatment. This involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Regular eye tests mean that we can make sure you are referred for treatment for your cataracts at the right time.
Diabetes is a condition affecting over 1 million Australians, and many others who are unaware they have the condition and diabetes can greatly impact your eye health.
Diabetics are at higher risk for eye conditions including cataracts and glaucoma, and are also susceptible to damage in the fine blood vessels in the retina, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can cause serious damage to your eyes, including blindness. People who have had diabetes for a long time, who are pregnant or who have high blood pressure, high blood fats or high blood sugars are particularly at risk.
The good news is that with regular monitoring and early detection, the progression of diabetic retinopathy, as well as cataracts and glaucoma, can be slowed and possibly even prevented. It is recommended that diabetics have yearly eye examinations, or more frequently if retinopathy is present.
An eye examination can detect the first signs of diabetes.
Glaucoma is the condition involving irreversible damage of the optic nerve, which links the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often associated with a build-up of pressure in the eye, although the exact causes of glaucoma are not known.
Often, a person is not aware that they have glaucoma until it is too late as there are no noticeable symptoms until permanent damage has occurred. To diagnose glaucoma, the optometrist looks at the nerve fibres at the back of the eye, measures the pressure in the eye and sometimes tests the field of vision.
Eye drops can be prescribed to treat and control glaucoma if it is detected early. However, if left untreated, the nerve cells are progressively damaged and objects in different parts of the visual field are lost. In extreme cases, untreated glaucoma leads to tunnel vision or blindness.
People over 40 and with a relative who has suffered from glaucoma are more at risk and should have their eyes checked regularly. An eye examination can reveal early signs of glaucoma and early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss.
Keratoconus is a condition whereby the cornea, which is normally round, bulges into a cone like shape. This affects the way light enters the eye and causes distorted vision. The causes are unknown, however, if your vision changes at all, you should see your optometrist so we can run the appropriate tests.
Macular degeneration is a serious and permanent eye disease that causes loss of eyesight in the centre of your field of vision. It is caused by damage to the nerves in your eye.
The most common type of macular degeneration is called age related macular degeneration (AMD), which usually develops in patients over 55. AMD primarily affects central vision but patients usually do not lose vision completely, even at advanced stages. This disorder can make it difficult to read, drive, work at a computer, and perform other daily activities that require clear central vision.
AMD occurs in two forms, dry and wet.
- DRY – this is the most common kind. It develops slowly and causes gradual vision loss, which may be slight or severe.
- WET – this is the most serious kind. It develops very quickly and happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macular, which leak blood and fluid.
AMD can be detected by looking for changes to your retina during an eye examination, and whilst there is no cure for macular degeneration, treatment is about preventing further loss of eyesight and maintaining independence for as long as possible.Order a free information kit
The Importance of regular eye testing
Having good vision doesn’t necessarily mean that your eyes are completely healthy as many eye conditions present no obvious symptoms. Regular eye examinations are therefore crucial for preventative health care.Book an Appointment