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Ophthalmology Patient Information | LivingCare Medical Services

Ophthalmology

At LivingCare we have a specialist team of consultant ophthalmologists and nurses who can help diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment to suit your needs.

You can be referred to LivingCare’s Ophthalmology service if you suffer with any of the following conditions:

Glaucoma is a condition which can affect sight, usually due to build up of pressure within the eye.

Glaucoma often affects both eyes, usually to varying degrees. One eye may develop glaucoma quicker than the other.

The eyeball contains a fluid called aqueous humour which is constantly produced by the eye, with any excess drained though tubes.

Glaucoma develops when the fluid cannot drain properly and pressure builds up, known as the intraocular pressure.

This can damage the optic nerve (which connects the eye to the brain) and the nerve fibres from the retina (the light-sensitive nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye).

LivingCare have an OCT machine for patients who suffer with Glaucoma.

Watering eyes occur if too many tears are produced or if they cannot drain away properly.

The problem can affect anyone, but it's most common in young babies and people older than 60. It can cause blurred vision, sore eyelids and sticky eyes.

Glands in the eyelids (Meibomian glands) normally secrete an oily substance that slows the evaporation of tears between blinks.

When these glands don't function properly, known as Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), it can result in dry patches on your eyes. These become sore, and extra tears are produced as a reflex. This is the most likely cause of watering eyes.

Other problems that can cause extra tears to be produced include:

  • the lower eyelid sagging away from the eye (ectropion) – this makes it difficult for tears to reach the drainage ducts
  • eyelids that roll inwards (entropion)
  • inflammation of the edges of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • blocked or narrowed tear ducts
  • eye irritation (for example, from chemical fumes or grit)
  • an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis
  • an allergy

Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don't make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly.

This leads to the eyes drying out and becoming red, swollen and irritated.

Dry eye syndrome is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or simply "dry eyes".

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome are mild for most people, although more severe cases can be painful and lead to complications.

Symptoms usually affect both eyes and often include:

  • feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day
  • burning and red eyes
  • eyelids that stick together when you wake up
  • temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink

Some people may also have episodes of watering eyes, which can occur if the eye tries to relieve the irritation by producing more tears.

Blepharitis is a common condition where the edges of the eyelids (eyelid margins) become red and swollen (inflamed).

Blepharitis can develop at any age, and symptoms can include:

  • itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
  • crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • a burning, gritty sensation in your eyes
  • increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • swollen eyelid margins
  • finding contact lenses uncomfortable to wear
  • abnormal eyelash growth or loss of eyelashes in severe cases

In most cases both eyes are affected, but one eye can be more affected than the other. The symptoms tend to be worse in the morning.

Floaters are small shapes that some people see floating in their field of vision.

They can be different shapes and sizes and may look like:

  • tiny black dots  
  • small, shadowy dots  
  • larger cloud-like spots
  • long, narrow strands

You may have many small floaters in your field of vision or just one or two larger ones. Most floaters are small and quickly move out of your field of vision.

Floaters are often most noticeable when you're looking at a light-coloured background, such as a white wall or clear sky.

 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a painless eye condition that causes you to lose central vision, usually in both eyes.

Central vision is what you see when you focus straight ahead. In AMD, this vision becomes increasingly blurred, which means:

  • reading becomes difficult
  • colours appear less vibrant
  • people's faces are difficult to recognise

This sight loss usually happens gradually over time, although it can sometimes be rapid.

AMD doesn't affect your peripheral vision (side vision), which means it will not cause complete blindness.  

Dry AMD develops when the cells of the macula become damaged by a build-up of deposits called drusen. With dry AMD, the deterioration of vision can be very slow. You won't go completely blind, as your peripheral (side) vision shouldn't be affected.

Help is available to make tasks such as reading and writing easier. Getting practical help may improve your quality of life and make it easier for you to carry out your daily activities. Staff can provide useful advice and practical support to help minimise the effect dry AMD has on your life.