Common Eye Problems
This is where one eye turns and does not work properly with the other. Eye movements are controlled by muscles that work in pairs so if one muscle is weak, a squint can occur. A squinting eye may not develop properly leading to a ‘lazy' eye. An operation, sometimes followed by exercises, can remedy the squint. Early diagnosis is important as eyes are fully developed by the age of eight.
This is when the retina becomes detached from the back of the eye, often causing sudden loss of vision. Other signs of a detached retina can be flashing lights and floaters. It is a serious condition, needing immediate referral to casualty.
In diabetes, changes to the retina's appearance can occur. By monitoring any changes, your optician can assess the disease's progress and how effectively it is being controlled.
A cataract clouds the eye's normally transparent lens, blurring vision. Symptoms include haziness around lights and poorer vision in bright sunlight. Almost all people over 65 will have cataracts, but only a small number will have poor vision as a result and need surgery.
This can be caused by bacteria, a virus or allergen such as dust, light or heat. Symptoms include redness of the eye, swollen lids and itchy, gritty or stinging eyes. These symptoms can be very infectious, particularly if caused by bacteria or a virus. Treatment is usually in the form of drops or ointment which can be purchased from the pharmacy, although this depends on the cause of the infection.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can cause changes to the blood vessels throughout the body and may be more obviously seen in the blood vessels of the retina.
This is caused by a progressive rise in the pressure of fluid in the eye that damages the optic nerve, so messages are no longer sent to the brain. It can lead to tunnel vision and blindness if not treated at an early stage.
Colour vision defects
Around 8% of boys and 1% of girls have colour defective vision. An affected person will often have difficulty identifying differences between colours. It cannot be ‘cured' and may alter the choice of career; therefore it is important for children to have their colour vision tested.
This is caused when an eyelash follicle is infected. Most styes will get better on their own, but applying warm compresses can speed up healing.
Nutritional supplements that have been linked to maintaining good eye health are available in many fruits, vegetables and foods however if you need an additional vitamin & mineral boost please visit your local pharmacy and ask your pharmacist, for advice.
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More info: Allergy Screening Service