Tag Archives: age-related macular degeneration

What You Need To Know About Eye Health

This National Eye Health Week, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about eye health!

It’s important to be aware of different eye conditions, why a regular sight test is essential and your risk factors.

Did you know that if you have any eye health concerns, you should speak with your optician?

Common eye health conditions

As we age, our eyesight and eye health naturally change.

However, there are also other risk factors that affect eye health which we’ll highlight shortly.

When our eye health is poor as a result of these factors, we are more likely to develop an eye condition.

In some cases, poor eye health and eye conditions can cause sight loss.

As a result, this can affect a person’s independence and increase their risk of falls.

That’s why it’s important to know what to keep an eye out for and how to look after your eyes.

So, here’s what you need to know about eye health conditions:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

⚫️ Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of many types of macular disease.

⚫️ AMD causes a blind spot in your central field of vision and usually, it doesn’t affect peripheral vision.

⚫️ Common symptoms of AMD include visual distortions, such as straight lines looking wavy.

⚫️ Over time your vision can worsen and it can affect your ability to do things such as read, drive and recognise faces.

You can find out more about AMD here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

It’s possible to train your eyes to increase the span of vision and use peripheral vision to read.

This is the same technique that speed reading uses. Over time, the eye becomes better at using peripheral vision to see detail.

As a result, it can help a person living with AMD to continue enjoying hobbies and safely navigate their surroundings.

Cataracts

⚫️ A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye, resulting in cloudy, blurry or dim vision.

⚫️ The condition can gradually interfere with your vision and make it difficult to see detail clearly.

⚫️ With time, a cataract can develop and it may require an operation to help restore sight.

⚫️ Better lighting and glasses can initially help improve a person’s level of vision.

You can read more about cataracts here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

As a cataract develops slowly, it can be difficult to spot it – but a sight test can!

Glaucoma

⚫️ Glaucoma can cause ‘tunnel’ vision due to damage to the optic nerve.

⚫️ The condition is usually the result of a build-up of pressure in the eye which damages the optic nerve.

⚫️ The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the lower the chance of irreversible sight loss.

⚫️ Usually, eye drops are used to treat glaucoma, but sometimes an operation is needed.

You can read more about glaucoma here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

Although glaucoma tends to be due to high eye pressure, it’s possible to develop glaucoma even if your eye pressure is within the normal range.

This is known as normal-tension glaucoma.

Diabetic eye disease

⚫️ Diabetic retinopathy is a form of diabetic eye disease and it occurs when blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged.

⚫️ The longer someone has diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels, the higher the chance of developing this eye complication.

⚫️ If left untreated it can cause blurred or reduced vision, which can lead to blindness.

⚫️ If you have diabetes, you should attend your diabetic screening appointment as treatment is available if the condition is caught early.

You can read more about diabetic retinopathy here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

As early detection of diabetic retinopathy can reduce your risk of vision loss by 95%, it’s important to attend your diabetic screening and have a regular sight test.

How are eye conditions diagnosed and monitored?

A sight test can help to identify and monitor any eye health conditions that you may have.

That’s because most symptoms are only visible with professional equipment.

Having a regular sight test can help to identify an eye condition as early as possible.

Depending on the condition, early identification can help to increase the success of treatment.

Although treatment may be unable to cure a condition, it may reduce symptoms and prevent further sight loss.

However, once vision loss occurs, the damage is often irreversible.

So, having a regular sight test is important to help you see better and live better for longer.

Your risk factors of developing an eye condition

While anyone can develop an eye condition, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk.

Age and any family history of eye disease can increase the likelihood of having an eye condition at some point in life.

Additionally, lifestyle is also a considerable risk factor, which includes exercise, diet, smoking and drinking.

You can find out more about your eye health risk using an eye health calculator. However, please remember that this is only an estimate.

If you have any questions or concerns about your eye health, you should speak with your optician.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

age-related macular degeneration, visual distortion, blurry vision

To continue our ‘in focus’ series we turn our attention to age-related macular degeneration.

Our ‘in focus’ series includes glaucomacataract and diabetic retinopathy.

Did you know that age-related macular degeneration doesn’t affect your peripheral vision?

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects a part of the retina called the macula.

While there are different forms of macular conditions, age-related macular degeneration is the most common.

How does AMD affect vision?

Age-related macular degeneration impairs your central vision so you may notice the symptoms when looking straight ahead.

The condition can cause visual distortions, dark spots, gaps or blurry vision.

It’s also common for straight lines to appear wavey – you can use the Amsler Grid to check this.

As the condition progresses it can become difficult to see clearly.

You might notice words missing as you read, straight lines or doorways looking bent or objects in front of you changing shape or colour.

The visual disruptions can make it a struggle to complete daily tasks like eating, watching TV and driving.

The good news is that because AMD only affects central vision, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose all of your sight as peripheral vision usually remains.

Although you can’t recover any sight loss, daily eye care can help to prevent falls and maintain independence within the home.

Signage can also be beneficial to help a person safely navigate their surroundings.

What are the two types of the condition?

Wet and dry are the two types of age-related macular degeneration.

Both of these names reflect what an optometrist can see inside your eye when examining it.

It’s not because your eyes are watery or dry!

Dry AMD develops slowly and gradually affects your vision, whereas wet AMD develops quickly and can damage your vision within a short period.

Neither types of the condition cause pain or alter the appearance of your eye.

That’s why a sight test is important to help diagnose the condition as you may not always notice the symptoms.

Diagnosing age-related macular degeneration

Until recently, most people with AMD were unaware they had it until their sight was affected.

Nowadays, optometrists can use sophisticated eye scanning machines to help diagnose early AMD.

Diagnosing AMD early is important as treatment’s only effective before the condition causes sight loss.

It’s important to remember that your genes may increase your risk of AMD.

That’s why it’s vital to attend your regular sight test to help preserve your vision.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

It's All In Your Family History

Eye conditions become more common as we age and it’s all in your family history!

Your family history of eye health helps you know what to keep an eye out for.

For example, ethnicity is an important part of your family history as it affects your risk of certain eye conditions.

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent are more likely to develop a common eye condition than other groups of our society.

So, it’s worth paying attention to your family’s eye health so you know what to look out for!

It’s also important to attend your regular sight test to increase the chance of early detection of an eye condition.

Usually, the earlier an eye condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to successfully treat or reduce further deterioration.

Who does my family history include?

When your optician asks about your family history of eye health, remember to mention your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

Inheriting our parents’ eyes

Eye colour isn’t the only thing that we inherit from our parents!

We can also inherit a number of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataract and astigmatism.

Knowing your family history is especially important if you’re a parent and your child is having a sight test. Please provide as much information as possible to your child’s optometrist.

Your family history tells an optician which common eye conditions you’re more likely to develop.

A regular sight test monitors symptoms and progression of any eye conditions.

Your optician will tell you when your next sight test is due. This is determined by your risk factors, including your family history.

It’s important to follow your optician’s advice as well as looking after your eyes on a daily basis.

Common eye conditions and ethnicity

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean origin are more likely to develop a common eye condition than people of different origins.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

The Afro-Caribbean population have a greater risk of AMD under the age of 60 compared with the Caucasian population.

On the other hand, those of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop AMD over the age of 60 compared with those of Afro-Caribbean origin.

Cataract

Those from an Asian background are more likely to develop cataract compared with those from an Afro-Caribbean or Caucasian background.

Glaucoma

People of Afro-Caribbean heritage are 4 to 8 times more likely to develop glaucoma than those of Caucasian heritage.

Diabetic retinopathy

People of Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin have a greater risk of diabetic retinopathy compared with people of Caucasian origin.

However, those of Asian heritage are 3 times more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than those of Caucasian heritage.

Refractive error

While a refractive error isn’t an eye condition, it is a common eye disorder.

It occurs when the shape of the eye can’t focus light rays correctly.

People of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop a refractive error than people of Afro-Caribbean origin.

The importance of daily eye care

Looking after your eyes between visits to your optician is crucial.

Daily eye care can help to keep your eyes otherwise healthy, especially if your family history means you have a greater risk of an eye condition.

While healthy eyes may not prevent an eye condition, they may help to delay the onset or progression of an eye condition.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.