Tag Archives: cataract

Trips and falls blog header

Unfortunately, trips and falls can be a common occurrence for the elderly population – in fact, falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for over-65s in the UK, with one in three experiencing a fall every year.

The likelihood of impaired vision increases significantly with age, meaning that older people are more likely to experience trips and falls, even with carers present. 

The way we see is fundamental to coordinating our balance and stability and how we move around. 

Negotiating obstacles or stairs becomes much more challenging when vision is impaired, impacting how safely residents can move around unaided.

Regular sight testing can play a crucial part in preventing falls by detecting and appropriately treating visual impairment instances. 

In contrast, regular visits from an optometrist can provide both patient and carers with helpful advice.

We’ve highlighted just a few ways that regular sight testing can help residents remain steady on their feet and feel confident travelling safely around their home environment.

Discovering and understanding conditions

Suppose a patient is experiencing trips and falls more often than usual or appears unsteady on their feet. In that case, they may be experiencing a sight loss condition. 

Only a sight test with an optometrist can distinguish what the case might be. Several common eye health issues can affect sight and directly contribute to falls.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) creates a gap in the central vision, while glaucoma blurs the peripheral vision, creating a ‘tunnel vision’ effect and blocking obstacles from view. 

Cataracts create overall blurry vision, making it hard to identify where hazards might be, while a case of diabetic retinopathy can cause multiple gaps or black spots in the vision. 

A rarer condition that can also affect mobility is Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which can distort how rooms can look and make it difficult for a resident to move around confidently and safely.

Any one of these common conditions could affect how a patient sees the world and how they move around, so a regular eye test can help monitor conditions and understand what possible issues a patient might be experiencing.

Helping carers adapt their care

A regular sight test can uncover these common conditions, but that’s not all. 

Armed with the knowledge of the issues that a patient might be experiencing, carers can easily understand their patient’s needs and adapt their care routines to suit.

Perhaps a patient needs more assistance travelling around the home, or help with basic tasks such as bathing or dressing, to lower the risk of falling. 

If their central vision is affected, they may struggle with specific tasks, while damage to their peripheral vision may make specific tasks more hazardous, like moving unaided around the home or taking the stairs.

Regular sight tests and advice from optometrists can ensure that carers can provide the right care and support for each individual patient, limiting their risks and helping them to feel confident.

Prescribing appropriate spectacles

A regular sight test detects underlying conditions, monitors existing conditions, and assesses the patient’s changing needs. 

Having an up-to-date prescription and wearing the right glasses is crucial in lowering the chance of experiencing a fall.

Sight tests will determine the quality of the patient’s vision and assess any changes, allowing the optometrist to prescribe suitable spectacles, even if that means separate spectacles for different tasks. 

The optometrist can provide advice and guidance on which pair should be worn for which activities and include this information on the patient’s Visioncall Lifestyle Passport for easy reference whenever a carer or manager needs it. 

This will allow the care team to ensure that residents are wearing the right glasses and have the correct prescription, lowering their probability of tripping or falling and helping them feel safer and more independent every day.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

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

 

Four reasons to have a sight test

Regular sight tests are an essential part of our healthcare regimes. 

Adults are recommended to have a sight test at least once every two years, and over-65s or those with existing eye conditions are advised to have at least one sight test per year.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions have meant that for many, sight tests are now well overdue – some people by as much as two years. 

So, eye tests must become part of our regular healthcare regimes again as we head further back into normality.

Currently, Visioncall is prioritising essential and emergency care for patients, but if you are concerned about your eyesight or that of a relative or resident, please don’t hesitate to contact us to provide consultation and care as quickly as possible.

We’ve highlighted four reasons why you should book a sight test.

1: To prevent sight loss

Did you know that over half of sight loss cases are preventable?

Issues such as glaucoma and cataracts can be caught and treated early with regular sight tests. In contrast, more serious issues such as diabetic retinopathy must be kept under regular observation to limit the impact they can have on your sight. 

A regular sight test can monitor conditions like these and enable treatment before they become too advanced, preserving more of your sight.

2: To improve your quality of life and maintain your independence

Having regular sight tests can undoubtedly improve your quality of life, particularly if your vision is beginning to diminish. 

Regular check-ups can ensure that any developing conditions are treated appropriately and ensure that you have the correct prescription and are wearing the right glasses. 

This means that you can continue to enjoy doing all of the activities you love, whether that’s reading, watching the television, playing games or gardening.

Losing the quality of your sight is, unfortunately, a common occurrence as we age, but regular sight tests can help to limit the impact of any visual deterioration. 

Regular sight tests can maintain your independence and help you enjoy the moments that make life special, as well as being able to complete those day-to-day tasks that we all take for granted, like choosing your clothes, bathing, eating your favourite meal and moving around your home.

3: To keep you safe and prevent falls

Falls are common in the care home environment, and often, they can be due to poor vision. 

Visual impairments such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can reduce the quality of your sight, cause gaps or spots in the vision or even distort your surroundings, increasing the risks of falls and injuries. 

Regular sight tests can keep a watch on these conditions and ensure that your sight is as good as it can be, keeping you safe in your surroundings.

4: To monitor other serious issues

You may think that a sight test only serves to check your vision’s clarity and quality, but it can do so much more than that. 

A professional sight test can also uncover some other eye health concerns and severe health conditions which can largely impact your lifestyle.

Severe conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer can all be uncovered during a routine eye exam, so it’s crucial that you make time to book in for a test regularly – it could save your life.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

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

 

Nine eye health signs blog image

We’re all taking more responsibility for our health than ever before, but for many, you may also be doing this for your elderly relatives. 

While most of us know the signs to look out for with many health conditions, we understand that you might not be so familiar with eye health conditions.

While regular check-ups are being disrupted like everything else at the moment, we want to help you take care of your vision and eye health, and that of those around you who might be at higher risk of issues developing. 

These are the signs to look out for, to know when additional or urgent care may be needed.

1 – No longer enjoying their hobbies

Have they started showing less interest in activities they usually enjoy, such as reading, knitting, or watching television or do they seem to be struggling with them? 

It might be that their prescription is no longer suitable, so it’s worth checking that they can still see the things they enjoy.

2 – Showing less interest in food

If your relative seems less interested in eating, or if they regularly only eat half of their plate of food, this may be a sign that sight loss is partially clouding their vision.

3 – Increased anxiety or reluctance to socialise

If they’re usually the life and soul, or love going out for a walk, and now no longer seem keen, it may be that their vision isn’t as clear as it used to be. 

Similarly, unexplained bumps and bruises may signify that they’re struggling to see clearly and may be afraid of trips and falls.

4 – Dust and dirt on the walls

Does your relative see dust and dirt on the walls or dark marks in the sky? If you can’t see them, this may be a sign that they’re experiencing floaters. 

Floaters are generally harmless, but if they persist, can be a sign of an underlying health condition and may need to be checked out.

5 – Changes in vision

Complaining that things look blurred or misty, or that their glasses are dirty (even when they’re not) may be a sign of cataracts developing. 

Similarly, feeling that lights are too bright or that colours look faded can also indicate possible cataracts.

6 – Seeing rainbows

Glaucoma is a condition that develops gradually and is often only picked up during an eye test, but symptoms include seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights or reporting blurred vision.

7 – Sudden changes or extreme symptoms

In some cases, glaucoma can come on suddenly and required urgent treatment. 

If your loved one is experiencing nausea, vomiting, a headache, red eyes or eye tenderness, you should request urgent treatment at A&E or call 111.

8 – Hallucinations and altered vision

Macular degeneration is another condition to be aware of, with symptoms including blurred vision; seeing black spots in the centre of their vision; seeing straight lines as wavy; objects appearing smaller or duller than they used to, or even experiencing hallucinations.

9 – Extreme changes in vision

If your loved one reports a ‘curtain’ or shadow moving across their vision, or if they complain of double vision, light sensitivity, distorted vision or red and painful eyes, it’s recommended to call 111 or visit A&E for urgent treatment.

If you’re concerned about a friend, relative or patient’s vision or eye health, get in touch to make an appointment.

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

Jeans Story Blog

At Visioncall, we believe that looking after our eyes is incredibly important. We’re proud to be able to make a difference to our patients’ lives every day. 

But occasionally, a story comes to us that shows us all over again the impact that our work has, not only on the patient themselves, but their families, or carers that are with them around the clock.

One such story is Jean, an 85-year-old resident at Cherry Lodge care home in Birmingham, who underwent lifechanging cataract surgery in 2019. 

We spoke to Jean’s carer, Lauren, who experienced first-hand the difference that Visioncall made to Jean’s life and made her, in Lauren’s words, “a whole new woman.”

When Jean arrived at Cherry Lodge, she was almost entirely blind and required 24-hour one-to-one support.

The impact of reduced vision

“When Jean first came here, she couldn’t see at all,” explains Lauren. 

“She couldn’t see shadows; she couldn’t see if you placed your hand in front of her face – she just couldn’t see a thing. She was very timid and withdrawn.”

It was particularly sad for Jean to lose her sight, as she’d been an avid reader. “Jean used to meet her sister in Birmingham city centre every Thursday, and that they’d go to the library together,” says Lauren. 

“But that all stopped when her sister died. Jean sometimes says that she thinks her eyesight went downhill because she read too much.”

After she arrived at Cherry Lodge, Jean was diagnosed with dementia, which made things more complicated: “Jean would insist that she could see,” explains Lauren. 

“When her dementia was at its worst, she would say things like ‘I’m not blind – I don’t know what you’re talking about, I can see everything’. She was in complete denial.”

Carers were concerned, so they asked Visioncall to visit Jean and make a professional diagnosis. 

Person-centred eye care

Vic Khurana, Visioncall’s lead optometrist, diagnosed Jean with bilateral cataracts and inflamed eyelids and referred her to her GP and a specialist eye hospital in Birmingham. 

Within a week, Jean had an appointment for cataract surgery.

“The surgery was amazing,” says Lauren. “I was allowed to be in the operating room with Jean. When it was done, Jean looked at me, straight in my eyes, and asked how I was! She could see me straight away.”

The changes didn’t stop there. “Coming home with her that day, she didn’t hold my hand – she walked into the building on her own. This was only one eye that had been treated at this stage, and she’d never seen the building before, she didn’t know where her room was, but she walked straight in.

“She began using the bathroom on her own and eating her food by herself – we didn’t need to help her with anything. She got her independence back that day, and it was lifechanging – for Jean, of course, but also for the staff.”

See better, live better

Lauren is adamant that it was Cherry Lodge’s partnership with Visioncall that turned Jean’s life around, saying: “I think if Jean had been here at Cherry Lodge sooner, her eyesight and her independence would never have been so badly affected because Visioncall would have been there to help her before it got to that stage. 

Visioncall is brilliant; they understand the needs of a care home, the needs of residents, and the needs of people with demand. It’s such a good service.”

These days, Jean is very much enjoying her new lease of life, with a return to reading her favourite books, and a newfound love of television and socialising with her fellow residents.

“I honestly think that this experience will be something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lauren says. 

“I’ve never seen such a turnaround on somebody before, how something so small can make such a difference. It helped Jean so much; it has changed her whole life.”

If you’re concerned about a friend, relative or patient’s vision or eye health, get in touch to make an appointment.

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

Hidden Impact Eye Test Blog

Did you know that missing an eye test can come with a whole raft of potential risks?

You might not think it, but optical care is a crucial part of maintaining top-to-toe health, providing a window into other potential problems at play. 

A regular sight test and eye health check-up is something we should all try to undergo, no matter our age or vision levels.

Over-65s are particularly at risk of developing eye health conditions. 

It’s estimated that more than 50% of over-65s live with some kind of sight loss. 

However, optometrists and opticians fear that number could be rapidly rising after the global Coronavirus pandemic has limited the ability of many to visit their optician for routine eye exams.

Many high street opticians closed their doors and over-65s were particularly hard-hit, with many shielding. 

More than five million eye tests were missed in 2020 due to the restrictions. The continuation of these into 2021 means that the actual number may be even higher.

Be aware of your vision

For those aged 65 and over, regular check-ups are an essential part of maintaining personal independence and quality of life and acting as a way of managing underlying health concerns – such as diabetes, strokes, and cancers.

Vishal Khurana, our lead optometrist, says: “The main risk in delaying routine eye check-ups is the undiagnosed worsening of some conditions. 

“The most common are the ‘Big 4’: glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and macular degeneration. And of course, there’s the risk of physical injury, with falls becoming 50% more likely when vision is impaired.”

Alongside the physical health issues, there is also the concern that sight loss may make it more likely for older people to experience anxiety and depression symptoms. 

It’s estimated that even slightly reduced vision can make you three times more likely to experience depression.

Maintain your eye health checks

So, what can you be doing to lower your risk of vision or eye health problems? 

The first step is to book a check-up as soon as you can with your optician, or with Visioncall if you’re in a care home setting, and try to keep these as regular as possible. Your optician will advise on how frequent these need to be.

Vic says: “Early intervention is key to prevent any irreversible progression and sight loss. 

“Some conditions worsen gradually, and the patient doesn’t appreciate the true deterioration until it’s pointed out to them. 

“Some people sadly accept changes in their sight as something that’s ‘normal with age’, when often, something can be done to improve their visual quality of life. 

“The more we see our patients, even in passing, the more we can prevent this from happening.”

And in the meantime, follow our top ten tips for eyesight care to help maintain your eye health and vision between appointments.  

If you have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist.

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

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.

cataracts, cloudy vision, unclear vision

We’re answering that all-important question “what is a cataract?” as part of our ‘in focus’ series.

Our ‘in focus’ series covers glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Did you know that an estimated 30% of people aged 65+ have a visually impairing cataract in one or both eyes?

What is a cataract?

A cataract is an eye condition where the lens in our eyes becomes cloudy and affects how light enters the eye.

This condition forms inside the eye, rather than over it. It’s a common misconception that a cataract forms over or outside the eye.

A cataract can develop in either one or both of your eyes as part of the natural ageing of the eye.

As cataracts develop gradually, it means that any changes to your vision may not always be noticeable.

That’s why it’s important to attend your regular sight test to help diagnose or monitor the condition.

How can cataracts affect vision?

Cataracts can affect your vision and cause sight loss as the condition progresses.

As the condition causes cloudy, blurry or even misty vision, it can be difficult to see detail in the world around us.

It may become harder to carry out daily activities such as driving or even recognising faces.

The condition may also cause fading of colours, difficulty seeing in dim lit conditions and finding bright lights dazzling.

However, in a lot of cases vision can benefit from simply prescribing and wearing the correct glasses.

If you currently wear glasses, it may often seem like your glasses are dirty even when they’re clean.

Can the eye condition be treated?

If your cataract is severe and restricts your daily life, your optician may refer you for cataract surgery to treat the condition.

There’s no need to worry because the operation is a quick and routine procedure.

In fact, the surgery is usually offered as an outpatient appointment.

After surgeons remove the cloudy lens, they will insert a plastic or silicone lens.

The artificial lens is designed to not need replacing for the rest of your life.

Of course, with any surgery there are risks. However, cataract surgery is one of the most common operations in the UK and is highly successful.

Whether you wear glasses to ease your symptoms or need surgery, it’s possible to see better and live better with cataracts.

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.