A cataract is a progressive cloudiness that develops inside the lens of the eye. As it develops eyesight becomes more and more blurry, colours lose their brightness and driving at night can become problematic.
Patients often complain of difficulties with recognising faces due to glare, as well as trouble driving at night with headlights appearing ‘star-like’ or glary, difficulty with following a golf ball due to glare or even colours no longer appearing as bright.
Flashes and Floaters
What are flashes and floaters?
The retina is a thin layer of light sensing tissue that lines the inside of the eye – it is like the film in a camera, and allows you to see. Within the eye, the vitreous is a clear gel that fills the central part of the eyeball. It is in contact with the surface of the retina.
During development, the vitreous carries blood vessels that supply the anterior parts of the eye. Once these structures develop their own blood supply, the vessels in the vitreous disappear and it becomes clear. Retention of clarity is a primary function of the vitreous after birth, and it has no role in the maintenance of retinal attachment or eye pressure or shape.
The vitreous undergoes degenerative changes with age, and will eventually separate from the retina (‘posterior vitreous detachment’).
Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball. If left untreated, it may cause loss of vision, even blindness. Glaucoma generally affects both eyes, although one may have more severe symptoms than the other.
Macular degeneration comprises a group of degenerative diseases of the retina that cause progressive, painless loss of central vision, affecting the ability to see fine detail, drive, read and even recognise faces.
Macular degeneration usually affects people over the age of 50 and becomes more common with increasing age. About 1 in every 10 Australians over the age of 50 have MD and up to 30% of people more than 80 are affected.
A retinal detachment occurs when the retina comes away from its normal position at the back of the eye.
Retinal detachment is a reasonably common, and treatable, cause of visual loss that affects almost 1% of the population. It must be considered when there is the sudden onset of flashes, floaters, a shadow in the peripheral field of vision, or visual loss.
Blepharitis is a common, chronic and annoying problem for many patients, who experience long term, intermittent irritation,
and discharge with crusting from their eyelids.
While rosacea is often associated with this disorder, the management for most patients will revolve around the patient looking after his or her own lid problems by simple physical means with occasional ophthalmological review.
One of the main problems in blepharitis is that the lid secretions are more viscous than normal, and drainage from the tarsal glands in the lids is diminished or poor.
The aim, therefore, is to improve drainage from these glands in the upper and lower lids.
If you require assistance with treating your condition please contact us to arrange an appointment. 9411-7767
Diplopia – Double Vision
Double vision is always a concern until it has been shown that it is benign and may have a naturally resolving course. Patients experiencing new diplopia vision should be seen within 24 hours. If they have associated neurological symptoms such as headache, they should be seen within the hour.
Diplopia can be divided into monocular (one-eyed) Diplopia, such as occurs with cataracts, or disorders of the macula or cornea. Binocular diplopia, where the two eyes are misaligned either horizontally or vertically, means that the patient sees two objects while just looking at one.
Visual Failure and Visual Fields
Visual failure is what Ophthalmology is mostly about. It can be related to the eyes or to the brain.
If the vision loss is related to the eyes, then this can reflect the presents of cataracts, corneal disease such as keratoconus (conical cornea), progressive macular degeneration, blocked retinal arteries or veins, or sometimes glaucoma.
If it is related to the brain, lesions in the anterior visual pathway can cause visual failure. These may be orbital tumours or inflammation, optic nerve lesions, or the tumours involving the chiasm including pituitary tumours or nearby tumours such as meningiomas or lymphomas.
A pterygium is a pink, fleshy tissue which grows over the conjunctiva and edge of the cornea. The major reasons for undertaking pterygium surgery include:
Persistent irritation or redness, Reduced or threatened vision, Increasing size
Surgery involves not only excising the growth, but also transplanting a piece conjunctival tissue (loose tissue covering the eye) to cover the site where the pterygium has been removed. This conjunctival transplant helps to improve recovery, but more importantly it will reduce the chance of recurrence.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes changes involve many parts of the body, including the eye. The most important effect of diabetes on the eye is on blood vessels in the retina, which is known as “diabetic retinopathy”. Diabetic retinopathy is the most important cause of blindness in working age Australians.
Regular eye checks are vital and should start as soon as diabetes is diagnosed.