Tag Archives: eye health

diabetic retinopathy

As part of our ‘in focus’ series, we’re going to explore another common eye condition, diabetic retinopathy.

Our ‘in focus’ series includes age-related macular degenerationglaucoma and cataract.

Did you know that diabetic retinopathy can affect anyone who has type 1 or 2 diabetes?

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eye.

It can affect anyone who has diabetes, whether they’re being treated with insulin, tablets or diet only. It’s the most common form of diabetic eye disease.

The condition occurs when blood pressure and blood sugar levels are always high.

This can cause a blockage, leakage or haphazardous growth of small blood vessels in the retina.

Damage to these blood vessels can affect how your retina receives what you see.

How does the condition affect vision?

The damage to the blood vessels in the retina can cause black spots or gaps in your vision.

As the condition progresses, it can become difficult to carry out daily activities and it may even reduce a person’s independence.

However, it’s possible to maintain your vision with good eye care and

If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated it can cause permanent damage to your vision.

Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss as there aren’t any obvious symptoms until the condition advances.

Reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy

You can help reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy whether or not you have diabetes.

We advise making a few lifestyle changes as well as caring for your eyes between your regular sight tests (or diabetic screening).

By taking care of your general health, you can help to control your diabetes or reduce your risk of developing it.

It’s as simple as having a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

You can also further benefit your health by keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.

These lifestyle changes can be beneficial for everyone.

Naturally, by reducing the risk of diabetes, it also decreases the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Diagnosing the condition

If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to attend your diabetic screening as the earlier the condition it caught, the more effective the treatment.

However, it’s important to also continue attending your regular sight test to monitor your eye health and prescription.

If you’re concerned about your vision, make an appointment with your local 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 glaucoma and cataract.

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 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.

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 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.

Daily Eye Care Guide

Daily eye care is essential to try to maintain our eyesight and eye health so we can see better and live better for longer.

What is eye care?

When we think about eye care, we tend to associate it with just a sight test.

However, eye care doesn’t start or end with a sight test.

Eye care involves a number of proactive daily behaviours – in addition to having a regular sight test.

Daily eye care advice

The following daily eye care steps can help you care for your eyes between visits to your optician:

Wear the correct glasses

If you need glasses, remember to wear your correct and most current pair of glasses for the tasks they’re required for.

Wearing the correct glasses can help to prevent eye strain, headaches and vision from deteriorating.

If you’re not sure when you need to wear your glasses, speak to your optician.

Wear sunglasses

Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing close-fit wraparound sunglasses to minimise the sunlight reaching your eyes.

This will help to reduce your long-term risk of developing a cataract as a result of overexposure to UV rays.

A balanced diet

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E can help to support your eye from age-related vision problems like macular degeneration.

Foods that naturally contain these supplements include leafy greens, oily fish, eggs, beans, nuts and citrus fruits.

Reducing the frequency or avoiding harmful habits and junk food can improve your overall health and keep your eyes healthy.

Stop smoking

Smoking damages tissue in the eye through an increase in the number of free radicals which speed up ageing.

In addition, smoking also affects the body’s absorption of necessary minerals and vitamins.

The accelerated ageing and lack of vitamins mean that smoking can double the risk of sight loss, as well as increasing the risk of age-related eye conditions, particularly macular-degeneration and cataract.

For advice and support on quitting smoking, visit the NHS website here.

Regular sight test

While a regular sight test is an essential part of eye care, it’s important to remember that a sight test is not the only step to take to maintain eyesight and eye health.

It’s vital that you attend your regular sight test to monitor your prescription and eye health.

A regular sight test is every two years unless your optician advises otherwise.

Remember to use our eye care advice between your regular sight test!

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

A Closer Look At Glaucoma

We’re taking a closer look at glaucoma and how it can affect vision as part of our ‘in focus’ series.

Our ‘in focus’ series also includes cataract and age-related macular degeneration.

Did you know that glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK?

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition that damages the optic nerve and can cause sight loss.

The optic nerve transmits visual information from your eye to your brain to process.

A regular sight test can detect and diagnose glaucoma, which is why it’s important to attend your regular sight test.

How does glaucoma affect vision?

Glaucoma affects the peripheral field of vision first.

The condition can create a ‘tunnel effect’ in your vision and it can become difficult to read, drive and safely navigate the world around you.

The damage can also lead to an eventual loss of central vision if left untreated, but blindness is rare.

Vision deteriorates slower with the most common type of glaucoma, primary angle open glaucoma.

What causes the condition?

Damage occurs to the optic nerve when there is too much or too little pressure at the back of the eye.

Unfortunately, any damage to vision is irreversible as the optic nerve’s fibres can’t regenerate themselves.

Early detection of the condition allows for monitoring and treatment to help delay progression and prevent further sight loss.

The good news is that lowering eye pressure and using drops can help treat glaucoma.

It’s vital to attend your regular sight test and to take care of your eyes between visits to the optician to help you to see better and live better for longer.

What are the types of glaucoma?

There are 4 main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.

Primary open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly and is the most common type of the condition.

Angle-closure glaucoma is a rare type of glaucoma, occurring slowly (chronic) or rapidly (acute) with pressure painfully building-up in the eye.

Secondary glaucoma is the result of another eye condition like uveitis (inflammation of the eye’s middle layer).

Congenital glaucoma is a rare (sometimes inherited) form of the condition resulting from developmental issues of the eye’s drainage system. This type of glaucoma is typically diagnosed by the age of 1.

Keep an eye out for the symptoms

This closer look at glaucoma highlights the need for a regular sight test to assist early detection of the condition.

There are usually no warning signs for the most common type of glaucoma (primary open-angle), so a regular sight test is a must.

On the other hand, pain and redness of the eyes can indicate a different form of glaucoma.

If you experience these symptoms or have a family history of glaucoma, you should visit your local optician.

Remember, early detection of glaucoma can help delay progression and preserve your sight.

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

While a sight test is fairly routine, it’s important to consider easing anxiety for those who find it a struggle.

Anxiety, stress and frustration can be the result of a fear of eyes (ommetaphobia), communication difficulties or general discomfort.

Many conditions can make people feel socially or emotionally uncomfortable, which can cause them to not provide all of the relevant information.

It’s important that an optometrist has the means to engage with these individuals and help ease their anxiety.

As a sight test contributes to our general health, it’s important that optometrists have the means to engage with all individuals.

So it is essential the optometrist will take the time to communicate with them.

How can Visioncall ease sight test anxiety?

Visioncall optometrists undergo training to understand and respond appropriately based on the individual’s needs.

We train our optometrists to deliver a sight test with dignity, integrity and respect for the individual.

Presenting in a calm, friendly and respectful manner helps ensure the person is comfortable.

When an individual is calm and co-operative, our optometrist is then able to carry out a sight test.

We know that a subjective response isn’t always possible though (i.e. responding to a letter chart).

So our optometrists are trained to use alternative equipment to deliver an objective sight test to non-communicative individuals.

By easing sight test anxiety using this skill set, we can enable a person to have a regular sight test.

However, it’s vital that the individual is co-operative and willing to sit (even briefly) so our optometrist can carry out the sight test.

A regular sight test is important to check for any changes in a person’s prescription and their eye health.

Someone who experiences anxiety, stress and agitation during a sight test still needs their sight and eye health checked.

As Visioncall optometrists make use of both subjective and objective testing, these individuals are able to have a regular sight test.

Visioncall understands that when a person can see better, they can live better.

Additional care needs

A person with expressed additional care needs may not be in a position to clearly communicate their needs or concerns to someone in charge of their care.

It’s important that when we care for those who need additional care, we’re able to communicate with them.

Empathy and patience enable caring professionals to engage and draw a verbal or non-verbal response from a person.

This response is vital to truly understand a person’s needs and preferences.

Avoiding assumptions about a person’s preferences is key to achieving person-centred care.

That’s why Visioncall ensures that all of our optometrists and dispensers are trained extensively.

Easing sight test anxiety is possible simply by communicating and listening to an individual.

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

Maintain Independence With Eye Care

Visioncall can help maintain independence with eye care in a care residence.

Independence is important to all of us, whether we live in a care residence or with our loved ones.

We naturally need to feel in control of our life – make our own important decisions and control our finances etc.

Independence means not being dependent on others (if we have the capacity).

We can experience the feeling of independence through small tasks or responsibilities.

It’s more to do with feeling like you don’t rely on others and less to do with feeling like a burden.

Independence is empowerment.

It can be challenging to maintain independence with eye care for people living within a care environment, but it’s important not to overlook it.

Vision, eye care and independence

There’s a link between vision and independence – and it’s more important than we think.

That’s because we know that when a person can see better, they can live better too.

The benefit of better vision actually goes beyond being able to see the world more clearly.

Better sight can help ease the feelings of isolation and depression that limited mobility can cause.

Enhanced vision through glasses, improved lighting and signage can also reduce the risk of falls.

This can help boost an individual’s confidence in their mobility and encourage engagement with the world around them.

Ultimately, wearing the correct glasses is empowering and helps to maintain independence, especially within a care residence.

Maintaining independence in the home with Visioncall

We provide bespoke eye care planning documents for every person that we assist.

Making use of these person-centred documents can also help to maintain a person’s independence.

For example, our Lifestyle Passport indicates a person’s eye care needs and any eye conditions they may have.

This personalised information is useful in guiding caregiving, and more importantly, care adaptations.

For instance, if someone has lost their central vision due to Macular Degeneration it’s important to tell them who you are as you approach them.

Being aware of surroundings when living with sight loss can help someone to feel independent.

To find out more about how Visioncall can help maintain independence within your home, click here.

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

Better Sight Blog

Helping others to see better and live better is at the heart of everything we do.

We know that better sight can enhance a person’s quality of life and a regular sight test is the starting place to help make this a reality.

We also know that at least half of all sight loss is avoidable, so there’s a real need to help people live richer lives.

For most of us, a quick visit to the local optician is all it takes.

However, it’s not as simple to visit the high street for those who require extra care.

That’s where Visioncall is able to help.

What difference can better sight make?

When a person can see better, they can live better.

Better sight can enable a person to look at photos of their loved ones, watch the TV or simply see their dinner.

It’s the things we take for granted that can help someone with poor vision lead a richer life.

Better sight can enable someone to engage in the world around them, and help an individual to maintain their independence.

Correcting the sight of someone with poor vision can help them to avoid bumps and reduce their risk of falls.

How can Visioncall help your residents?

Our experienced opticians will visit your residence – you can tell it’s us by our uniform and ID cards!

We also request a private space to ensure we maintain a person’s dignity and privacy.

In addition, our person-centred approach helps us select an appropriate testing method and informs a bespoke eye care recommendation.

Engaging appropriately with the individual, we identify a person’s lifestyle and activities that they can’t do anymore due to poor sight.

All of our opticians are dementia-trained to support non-communicative individuals objectively to help them to see better and live better.

If this conversation isn’t possible, our team will speak with the staff in charge of a particular person’s care.

Whether or not a person can communicate doesn’t determine whether or not they can benefit from better vision.

So we use an objective testing method which involves as little distress and probing as possible.

Subjective testing isn’t suitable for everyone, but we can reach the same outcome of better sight using either method.

However, to achieve better sight, it’s important to engage with our eye care solution from start to end.

This is because we work together with our partners to facilitate and support daily eye care, from a sight test to care planning and adaptation.

Stay posted to find out what part you can play to help your residents to see better and live better.

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

Sight loss, image of an eye

When we think about growing old, most of us don’t think about sight loss, which is a natural part of the ageing process.

We tend to associate dementia, arthritis and incontinence with old age, ahead of the loss of vision.

However, sight loss can be just as emotionally and physically distressing as other conditions relating to growing old.

What is sight loss?

Sight loss, or visual impairment, is a reduced ability to see to an extent that can’t be corrected by glasses.

The causes of visual impairment can include reduction of peripheral or central vision, cloudy or blurred vision and dark spots.

These particular symptoms are caused by common eye conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.

What are the effects of sight loss?

Deteriorating vision can be restrictive and present challenges to daily life, including isolation, depression and an increased risk of falls.

Visual impairment can cause an independent person to struggle or feel embarrassed.

It’s natural to find it difficult to come to terms with a sight loss diagnosis as the future can seem scary, confusing or angering.

This is because there’s a correlation between sight loss and independence.

Loss of vision can contribute to a person living their worst nightmare of having to ask for help or rely on others.

So, it’s vital to consider the day-to-day safety of someone living with sight loss to facilitate and encourage their independence.

Adapting a daily routine and room layout are just some examples of how to increase independence and safety.

Visual impairment affects a person’s ability to navigate, recognise and engage with the world around them.

For those of us living without sight loss, this seems minor, but vision loss greatly reduces a person’s quality of life.

Visioncall understands that when a person can see better, they can live better too.

That’s why it’s our mission to help those who are unable to visit the local optician or to ask for help.

Is sight loss avoidable?

RNIB estimate at least 50% of sight loss to be avoidable, which means it’s possible to help prevent these unnecessary effects.

Regular sight tests and daily eye care can make a world of difference later in life.

A sight test can identify and monitor eye conditions, eye health and even some underlying health conditions like diabetes.

Having a regular sight test is the first step in achieving proactive eye care to help delay or prevent visual impairment.

As almost two-thirds of sight loss in older people is caused by uncorrected refractive error and cataract, the vital part of proactive eye care is remembering to wear spectacles.

It’s important to ensure we wear the correct and clean glasses for the tasks we need them for.

Although refractive error and cataract are not necessarily preventable, a sight test and proactive eye care can diagnose and monitor both.

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