Tag Archives: ‘in focus’ series

In Focus: What Is Refractive Error?

As we expand our ‘in focus’ series, we’re answering the question “what is refractive error?”.

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

Did you know that uncorrected refractive error is responsible for 39% of the 2 million people living with sight loss in the UK?

What is refractive error?

Refractive error is the name for a number of eye disorders that are the result of irregular eye shapes.

When light enters your eyes, the shape of your eye may prevent the light from focussing on your retina correctly.

So, the information that your brain receives may lack clarity, or your brain may work harder to correct the image.

As a result, you may experience some symptoms.

Types of refractive error

There are four types of refractive error:

⚫️ Myopia, or nearsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects far away.

⚫️ Hyperopia, or shortsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects close-up.

⚫️ Astigmatism can distort your eyesight for objects both far and near.

⚫️ Presbyopia can make it difficult to read or see detail. However, presbyopia develops with age and usually affects people over 40.

Symptoms of uncorrected refractive error

There are several symptoms of the condition, and you may experience some or all symptoms, or none at all.

⚫️ Blurry vision may make it difficult to see objects both near or far (or both).

⚫️ You may experience headaches as your eyes are working harder to focus and adjust.

⚫️ Your eyes may feel tired or strained as a result of trying so hard to focus.

⚫️ You may squint your eyes as your eyes are working hard to focus.

You may not necessarily realise that you are experiencing these symptoms at the time.

However, as some of the symptoms can indicate other eye conditions or general health conditions, you mustn’t self-diagnose.

You should attend your regular sight test to monitor these symptoms or treat any refractive error.

Do you know how often you should have a sight test?

Treating the condition

The treatment to manage refractive error includes wearing glasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery.

However, uncorrected refractive error (i.e. wearing the wrong glasses or an old prescription) means vision will remain poor.

That’s why it’s vital to wear your glasses or contact lenses if you need them!

As a result, you can help to avoid bumps and falls, ensure you can see the world around you clearly and prevent feelings of isolation.

You can keep your prescription up-to-date by attending your regular sight test and updating your glasses as advised by your optician.

If you have any concerns, you should speak to your optician.

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

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 type of diabetic eye disease.

The condition is the result of 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 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.

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.

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 cataractage-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

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.