hallcroft opticians - Eye Conditions
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Eye Conditions

There are many eye conditions that can be diagnosed and treated by visiting an Optometrist, varying in severity; if you are concerned about any of the conditions below, please contact us.
Amblyopia The medical term for poor vision in one, or sometimes both eyes; it means the brain is 'favouring' one eye over another. Amblyopia can be treated when diagnosed young, with a temporary eye patch or glasses - the Junior Ocular Health Examination includes all necessary tests for Amblyopia. 

Astigmatism The cornea of your eye is normally round, like a football; when astigmatism is diagnosed, it means your cornea has warped into a rugby ball shape; glasses and contact lenses can be used to correct sight. 

Blepharitis A non-contagious eye condition that occurs when the glands near the eyelashes become blocked or infected; diagnosis and treatment can be recommended at an Ocular Health Examination.
 It usually causes burning, itching and irritation of the lids. In severe cases, it may also cause styes, irritation and inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) and conjunctiva (conjunctivitis). Some patients have no symptoms at all. It is usually a chronic problem that if prone, can flare up on and off throughout life and can cause permanent loss of lashes if not kept under control. We stock the following specialist lid cleaning solutions: Blephasol, Lidcare and Supranettes. We also stock 'The Eyebag' which  is a hot compress designed for lid problems and is simply heated in a microwave or warm oven. Sometimes artificial tears can also help alleviate discomfort

Cataracts Cataracts usually occur in those aged 65+, acting as a cloud over the lens of your eye, making vision blurred or dim; a small operation is usually recommended to correct the condition. 

Colour Vision Deficiency Colour vision deficiency, commonly referred to as 'colour blindness' is an inherited condition, where certain colours are seen differently. Although currently untreatable, colour vision deficiency can be managed; recommendations can be provided at a Junior Ocular Health Examination. 

Conjunctivitis There are three types of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the thin layer that lines the inner eyelid; infectious, allergic and chemical. Common symptoms include red, watery eyes, watery or pus-like discharge; treatment can be recommended and provided by booking an appointment. 

Cornea The Cornea is the curved, transparent front cover of the eye, which protects the iris and lens. 

Diabetes Diabetes affects about one in fifty people in the UK, affecting the body's ability to cope with sugar and other carbohydrates. It can affect the eyes in many ways, usually affecting the blood vessels in the eye; regular Ocular Health Examinations can help diagnose diabetes as well as preventing sight loss. 
Diabetic Retinopathy People with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, but the disease's affect on the retina is the main threat to vision. Most patients develop diabetic changes in the retina after approximately 20 years. The effect of diabetes on the eye is called diabetic retinopathy. Over time, diabetes affects the circulatory system of the retina. The earliest phase of the disease is known as background diabetic retinopathy. In this phase, the arteries in the retina become weakened and leak, forming small, dot-like hemorrhages. These leaking vessels often lead to swelling or edema in the retina and decreased vision. The next stage is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In this stage, circulation problems cause areas of the retina to become oxygen-deprived or ischemic. New, fragile, vessels develop as the circulatory system attempts to maintain adequate oxygen levels within the retina. This is called neovascularization. Unfortunately, these delicate vessels hemorrhage easily.

Double-Vision Having double-vision, also referred to as diplopia, can have two possible causes; the eye's optical system may have a defect, such as cataracts, or there may be a squint; both treatable to remove the diplopia. 

Dry Eye Syndrome is very common. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes. One of the most common reasons for dryness is simply the normal aging process. As we grow older, our bodies produce less oil - 60% less at age 65 than at age 18. This is more pronounced in women, who tend to have drier skin than men. The oil deficiency also affects the tear film. Without as much oil to seal the watery layer, the tear film evaporates much faster, leaving dry areas on the cornea. Many other factors, such as hot, dry or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke also cause dry eyes. Many people also find their eyes become irritated when reading or working on a computer. Stopping periodically to rest and blink keeps the eyes more comfortable. Contact lens wearers may also suffer from dryness because the contacts absorb the tear film, causing proteins to form on the surface of the lens. Certain medications, thyroid conditions, vitamin A deficiency, and diseases such as Parkinson's and Sjogren's can also cause dryness. Women frequently experience problems with dry eyes as they enter menopause because of hormonal change. Ask us about our Dry Eye Clinic.

Ectropion is a sagging lower eyelid that leaves the eye exposed and dry. It is caused by a lack of tone of the delicate muscles that hold the lid taut against the eye. Excessive tearing is common with ectropion, but wiping the tears away only causes the lid to sag more. Ectropion is most common among people over the age of 60.

Entropion: An eyelid that turns inward, is a problem that typically affects the lower lid. It usually stems from a muscle spasm; however, it can also be caused by scarring from trauma or inflammation from certain diseases that involve the eyelids. When the eyelid turns inward, the lashes rub against the eye, resulting in irritation, scratchiness, tearing and redness. Surgery is often required to correct the problem. 

Episcleritis: an inflammatory condition of the connective tissue between the conjunctiva and sclera known as the episclera. The eye's red appearance makes it look similar to conjunctivitis, or pink eye, but there is no discharge or tearing. It usually has no apparent cause; however, it is sometimes associated with systemic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease. Rosacea, herpes simplex, gout, tuberculosis, and other diseases are also occasionally underlying causes. Women are typically affected by episcleritis more frequently than men. It characteristically occurs in people who are in their 30's and 40's and is often a recurrent problem. 

Floaters and/or Flashes: If you suddenly notice floaters or flashes in your vision you should have your eyes checked the same day. Usually the advice would be to attend your local eye casualty or A&E for urgent attention. The space between the crystalline lens and the retina is filled with a clear, gel-like substance called vitreous. With age, the vitreous thins and may separate from the back of the eye. This is called posterior vitreous detachment, a very common, usually harmless condition. As the vitreous pulls free from the retina, it is often accompanied by light flashes or floaters. Floaters are caused by tiny bits of vitreous gel or cells that cast shadows on the retina. Flashes occur when the vitreous tugs on the sensitive retina tissue. There are other more serious causes of flashes and floaters, however. Retinal tears, retinal detachment, infection, inflammation, hemorrhage, or an injury such as a blow to the head may also cause floaters and flashes. (Have you ever seen stars after bumping your head?) Occasionally, flashes of light are caused by neurological problems such as a migraine headache. When related to a headache, the flashes of light are seen in both eyes and usually last 20-30 minutes before the headache starts. 
Farsightedness Seeing objects at a distance clearly, but having trouble focusing well on objects close up, is known as being farsighted, longsighted and by the terms hypermetropia and hyperopia. See Hyperopia below.

Fuchs Dystrophy Fuchs dystrophy occurs when the protective outer cells of the eye slowly deteriorate; as more of these 'endothelial' cells are lost over the years, the cornea becomes less able to clear water, causing it to swell and to distort vision; there are various treatments that can be recommended by your optometrist.

Glaucoma Glaucoma refers to an eye condition where the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye, normally due to raised intraocular eye pressure (IOP), a weakness in the nerve or malformation or malfunction of the eye's drainage structures.  
Left untreated, an elevated IOP causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve and retinal fibers resulting in a progressive, permanent loss of vision. However, early detection and treatment can slow, or even halt the progression of the disease. The eye constantly produces aqueous, the clear fluid that fills the anterior chamber (the space between the cornea and iris). The aqueous filters out of the anterior chamber through a complex drainage system. The delicate balance between the production and drainage of aqueous determines the eye's intraocular pressure (IOP). Most people's IOPs fall between 8 and 21. However, some eyes can tolerate higher pressures than others. That's why it may be normal for one person to have a higher pressure than another.Glaucoma can go unnoticed unless detected by an optometrist, but can cause lasting vision damage if left untreated; it is most common amongst the over-40s, so the test is included as standard in an Ocular Health Examination.For more information click on the following link http://www.glaucoma-association.com/index.html

Hyperopia The medical term for farsightedness; sufferers are referred to as Hyperopes. 
Vision is clear for distant objects and blurry for those close in. People with hyperopia need to make a greater effort than normal to focus. With hyperopia the effort needed to focus may cause the eyes to turn in resulting in crossed eyes and sometimes a "lazy eye" may develop. A child with hyperopia might get more tired when reading or writing or may suffer headaches when copying from the blackboard. They may experience blurry vision at times, more often when doing close work. With age, the focusing mechanism of the eye becomes less flexible requiring reading glasses earlier than is normal in middle age.

Iritis Iritis is inflammation of the coloured portion of the eye, the iris; it can cause pain, light sensitivity and sight loss; treatment is directed at finding and removing the cause of the inflammation. 

Keratitis Keratitis is an inflammation or infection of the cornea, the centre of the eye that surrounds the pupil; there can be many causes, such as the herpes simplex virus, foreign objects in the eye, Vitamin A deficiency or allergies. Treatment involves an eye examination for diagnosis and eye medication.
Keratoconus is a degenerative disease of the cornea that causes it to gradually thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. This shape prevents light from focusing precisely on the macula. As the disease progresses, the cone becomes more pronounced, causing vision to become blurred and distorted. Because of the cornea's irregular shape, patients with keratoconus are usually very short sighted and have a high degree of astigmatism that is not correctable with glasses. 
Longsightedness see Hyperopia below.

Macular Degeneration The macula is a delicate part of the eye at the centre of the retina, where incoming rays of light are focused into the colour image you see. Sometimes the cells of the macula cells become damaged and stop functioning, usually related to age; in the early stages this appears as blurry or distorted vision; treatments depend on the severity of the deterioration but can include laser treatment.  

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: When the eyelid glands and the eyes and eyelids are all working normally, then you are not aware of your eyes on an hour by hour basis. When the normal function of the eyes is disturbed, then symptoms arise which cause you to be aware of your eyes on a daily, hourly or even minute by minute basis. When your eyes are constantly uncomfortable it is very difficult to concentrate on anything else.
The meibomian glands need to be functioning normally for maximum eye comfort. When the eyelid gland secretions become viscous, they cause plugging of the gland orifices and these plugs of solidified meibomian gland secretion prevent the normal sebaceous oily secretion from oozing out onto the free eyelid margins and prevent the lubricating action on the eye surface.
The meibomian glands run vertically in the eyelids, both upper and lower eyelids, and there are about 25-30 gland openings (orifices) on the edges of both upper and lower eyelids.
Meibomian gland dysfunction results in several symptoms. The main symptom is awareness of the eyes. This tends to occur with grittiness and a mild feeling of small bits of sand in the eyes. This is known as "foreign body sensation". Sometimes there are feelings of burning and soreness of the eyelid edges. Medically these glands are known as compound sebaceous glands and in the normal eyelid, they produce a secretion which lubricates the free edge of both upper and lower eyelids. The sebaceous meibomian gland secretion refreshes the eye surface with each blink, creating an optically perfect surface which is important for clear vision. This is known as the pre-corneal tear film and is a complex arrangement of three layers of different substances. Sitting on the front of the eye is a mucinous layer with a watery tear film layer on the surface of the mucin and then with the meibomian gland secretions as a sort of oily layer on the front of the water.
We stock 'The Eyebag' which  is a hot compress designed for lid problems and is simply heated in a microwave or warm oven.

Myopia is the technical term for shortsightedness. Vision is clear for near objects and blurry for distant ones. Myopia can occur at any age but often begins during the teenage years, or in the early twenties. When it occurs at a very young age, visual development is not usually hindered as the child can do close tasks happily and much of their interest is in objects nearby. It is often not until school blackboards need to be read that blurred distance vision becomes a problem. Once a driving licence is sought significant myopia must be corrected. Spectacles, contact lenses or refractive surgery may correct myopia.

Nystagmus Nystagmus is an involuntary movement of the eyes, usually diagnosed in early childhood, which can make clear sight difficult. Although nystagmus is currently incurable, there are many treatments that can help sufferers see clearly, such as glasses, therapy, or surgery in very severe cases. 
Optic Nerve The term for millions of optical nerve fibers that connect the eyes to the brain. 

Photophobia Photophobia is also known as light sensitivity, where bright lights can cause headaches or deep squints in bright lights. If the condition is causing problems, speak to your optometrist or dispensing optician about treatments. 

Pinguecula (pin gwe' cue la) is a benign, yellowish growth that forms on the conjunctiva. They usually grow near the cornea on the nasal side. Pingueculae are thought to be caused by ultraviolet light and are most common among people who spend a great deal of time outdoors. This growth does not affect vision, but may cause irritation if it becomes elevated. In rare cases, the pinguecula may gradually extend over the cornea, forming a pterygium.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) Occurring in 75% of people over 65 as the jelly-like substance inside the eye changes, PVD can cause 'floating' spots or lights in their vision.The space between the crystalline lens and the retina is filled with a clear, gel-like substance called vitreous. With age, the vitreous thins and may separate from the back of the eye. This is called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), a very common, usually harmless condition that the majority of people will not even realise has occurred. However some people notice flashes and / or floaters and this should always be attended to urgently because very occasionally a retinal detachment can follow a posterior vitreous detachment but this is only likely to occur in the first few weeks following the initial symptoms.
Presbyopia Presbyopia is the natural loss of flexibility in the lens of your eye, meaning focusing is more difficult; regular Ocular Health Examinations can help you compensate through changing the prescription of your glasses or contact lenses, to maintain clear and comfortable vision.

Ptosis Ptosis (pronounced toe-sis) is the medical term for dropping eyelids that can block vision; surgery is often recommended, depending on the diagnosis at your Ocular Health Examination.
Pterygium is a raised, wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva. It is most common among those who live in tropical climates or spend a lot of time in the sun. Symptoms may include irritation, redness, and tearing. Pterygia are nourished by tiny capillaries that supply blood to the tissue. For some, the growth remains dormant; however, in other cases it grows over the central cornea and affects the vision. As the pterygium develops, it may alter the shape of the cornea, causing astigmatism. If the pterygium invades the central cornea, it is removed surgically. Since pterygia are most commonly caused by sun exposure, protecting the eyes from sun, dust and wind is recommended. Instilling artificial tears liberally is also helpful to decrease irritation. In some cases, steroid drops are prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Retinal Detachment The retina, the fine sheet of nerve tissue inside of your eye, is attached to the inner surface of the eye; if there is a tear or hole, then fluid can get underneath and cause 'retinal detachment', causing a shadow or dark spots in your vision. It is usually treated with minor surgery; the sooner the diagnosis, the better.
 Because it can cause devastating damage to the vision if left untreated, retinal detachment is considered an ocular emergency that requires immediate medical attention and surgery. It is a problem that occurs most frequently in the middle-aged and elderly. There are three types of retinal detachments. The most common type occurs when there is a break in the sensory layer of the retina, and fluid seeps underneath, causing the layers of the retina to separate. Those who are very short sighted, have undergone eye surgery, or have experienced a serious eye injury are at greater risk for this type of detachment. Short sighted people are more susceptible because their eyes are longer than average from front to back, causing the retina to be thinner and more fragile. The second most common type occurs when strands of vitreous or scar tissue create traction on the retina, pulling it loose. Patients with diabetes are more likely to experience this type. The third type happens when fluid collects underneath the layers of the retina, causing it to separate from the back wall of the eye. This type usually occurs in conjunction with another disease affecting the eye that causes swelling or bleeding.

Shortsightedness see myopia 

Squint A squint, medically referred to as strabismus, occurs because of an incorrect balance of the muscles that control the eye; approximately 5-8% of children are affected by a squint or squint-related condition. Treatment can include eye drops, spectacles or the use of an eye patch. For more information click on the following link 
Subconjunctival Haemorrhage occurs when a small blood vessel under the conjunctiva breaks and bleeds. It may occur spontaneously or from coughing, heavy lifting, or vomiting. In some cases, it may develop following eye surgery or trauma. Subconjunctival hemorrhage tends to be more common among those with diabetes and hypertension. While it may look frightening, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is essentially harmless. The blood becomes trapped underneath the clear conjunctival tissue, much like a bruise. The blood is visible because it shows through the thin, clear conjunctiva. The blood naturally absorbs within one to three weeks and no treatment is required.
Styes A stye develops when a gland at the edge of the eyelid becomes bacterial infected. Resembling a pimple, a sty can grow on the inside or outside of the eyelid. Styes are not harmful to vision and they can occur at any age. A stye initially brings pain, redness, tenderness and swelling in the area before a small pimple appears. Sometimes just the immediate area is swollen, other times the entire eyelid swells. Most styes heal within a few days. Applying a hot compresses for 10 - 15 minutes three or four times a day over the course of several days will help relieve the pain and bring the stye to a head. The stye ruptures, drains and heals. Never burst a stye; allow it to rupture on its own. Styes formed inside the eyelid are more serious and may need to be treated by your optometrist.
Thyroid Eye Disease Most common in sufferers of 'Graves' disease', thyroid eye disease can cause the eye to be 'pushed out' and can cause dry eyes, light/wind sensitivity and double vision. Working with your GP, careful checks can be carried out to prevent 

 When any part of the uvea - three parts of the eye including the iris - become inflamed, Uveitis is diagnosed; treatment can vary depending on the seriousness of the condition