Eye and vision problems can affect people of all ages, and while some eye problems are minor and may not last long, others are much more serious and can lead to a permanent loss of vision. At Abernethy Owens, we strive to deliver high quality and comprehensive eye care in Perth. Our team of professional Optometrists examine, diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions, helping our patients retain their vision. Read on to learn more about common eye diseases that affect the Australian population.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the name given to the damage to the central portion of retina, which is known as the macula. This central area of the retina of the eye controls our sharpest vision, helping us to read, view objects in detail, recognize colours and faces and get a detailed image of an object. There are two main types of Macular Degeneration – ‘dry AMD’ and ‘wet AMD’:
- Dry AMD is diagnosed when yellowish spots begin to accumulate in and around the macula, leading to gradual deterioration of vision resulting in significant vision loss.
- Wet AMD is where abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid causing permanent damage to the retinal cells in the macula and creates a central blind spot in the visual field.
There are no definite signs and symptoms throughout the early stages of AMD other than a gradual or sudden change in the quality of vision, followed by appearance of straight lines as distorted. Optometrists often detect early signs of macular degeneration before symptoms occur so a regular, routine eye examination is vital in early detection. Currently, there is no cure for AMD, however there are treatments available to slow the progression.
The most common cause of visual impairment around the world, Cataracts are whitish or cloudy patches that develop in the lens of the eye and lead to blurred or clouded vision. They can develop in one or both eyes and interrupt the flow of light through the lens. As the cataracts grow in size or severity, vision gradually gets worse, as less light is able to penetrate the lens.
The formation of cataracts is generally a slow process, with little or no pain or other symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms may include blurred, clouded or dim vision or seeing ‘halos’ around lights. Throughout the early stages of Cataracts, stronger prescription glasses and brighter reading lights may help. Surgery is one of the most popular and most effective treatments and involves removal of the affected lens, which is replaced with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed today.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the optic nerve.
If left untreated, Glaucoma can result in permanent blindness in just a few years. Early on, Glaucoma doesn’t usually have any symptoms so many people with the condition don’t even know they have it. Regular, thorough eye examinations are an important tool in detecting Glaucoma early on, before the damage becomes too severe. Your Optometrist will perform a number of tests to detect Glaucoma and refer you to an Ophthalmologist for further investigation or treatment of required. There is no cure, but early treatment such as eye drops, medication, traditional surgery and laser surgery or a combination of these can often slow the damage and protect your vision.
Dry Eye Syndrome
A common condition amongst many Australian adults, Dry Eye Syndrome is when the eyes don’t produce enough tears or enough of the oily substance (meibum) that helps prevent tears from evaporating. This causes the eyes to dry out resulting in pain, redness and blurry vision.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- A burning, scratchy or stinging sensation in eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Mucus production in or around the eyes
- Eye fatigue
There are a number of different treatment options available for dry eye syndrome depending upon the reason behind the condition. Some most commonly used treatment options include over-the-counter artificial tears, gels and ointments, hot compress and lid massage, prescription eye drops, dietary advice or Omega-3 supplements, LipiFlow thermal pulsation or IPL treatments[mlh1] .
Refraction occurs when light passes through the cornea and the lens. Errors may occur as a result of the length of the eyeball, changes in the shape of the cornea or natural aging of the lens. The four most common refractive errors are:
- Myopia (nearsightedness) - difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly
- Hyperopia (farsightedness) - difficulty in seeing close objects clearly
- Astigmatism - distorted vision resulting from an irregularly curved cornea
- Presbyopia – difficulty in reading or seeing at arm's length and is predominately caused due to ageing
While refractive errors cannot be prevented, they can be diagnosed by a routine eye test and treated with corrective glasses, contact lenses or, in some cases, refractive surgery.
It’s never too late to start taking care of your eye health, whether you have no symptoms at all, your vision is slowly changing or you are faced with sudden eye pain or change/loss of vision. Regular eye examinations by an experienced Optometrist are the best way to ensure you maintain the best vision possible. If you are looking for a Perth Optometrist to look after your eyes, book an appointment with the team at Abernethy Owens today.