It’s easy to overlook eye health until problems occur that may be difficult to treat. Regular check-ups at our London Eye Clinic will put your mind at rest.
Like other aspects of our bodies, our sight is something many of us take for granted until problems develop and it may be too late to correct them. An early diagnosis allows Eye Consultants to develop an effective treatment plan so that an issue doesn’t worsen and sight can be saved. Therefore, eye check-ups should be a part of everyone’s overall healthcare routine.
Here in the UK, around 2 million people are blind or suffer from a severe degree of vision loss, and there’s little that can be done in terms of treatment to restore their sight. It’s devastating to receive a diagnosis that your sight is failing and you have to prepare yourself for a life without vision. Sight loss can lead to isolation and depression, as you may struggle to work or attend social gatherings and may be reliant on family members and close friends to help you in your daily life.
Unfortunately, eye problems are predicted to get worse — with nearly 1 million more people affected in the UK by 2030 — given soaring levels of obesity and other lifestyle-related factors that can contribute to vision loss and blindness. This makes it all the more important that you regularly attend somewhere like a London eye clinic and benefit from private eye care if it’s not available on the NHS or the waiting list is too long.
What common problems affect the eyes?
Everyone — from the very young to the elderly and all those in between — is at risk from eye problems that can make ordinary tasks like reading, writing and watching TV difficult. The common problem of blurred vision, where the eyes can’t focus on an object properly, affects people of all ages and is known as a refractive error. Corrective measures such as prescription glasses are the usual solution to near- and far-sightedness, but you could also opt for contact lenses or laser surgery to fix the focus problems.
As people get older and reach their middle years and beyond, they typically begin to have issues with their sight, whereas beforehand, they might have never had a problem or worn glasses. Gradually, words in books or newspapers become blurred and hard to make out. It’s time for a check-up at a private eye hospital — or elsewhere — to see if you have age-related macular degeneration and might need glasses or surgery.
Another major issue with eye health is cataracts. Age is certainly a cause of this clouding of the lens that makes it hard to see, although other factors, such as injuries, genetic disorders and diabetes, can also lead to cataracts forming. Eye Consultants will examine those affected and see if surgery is warranted or if they can get by without it. But as cataracts almost always get worse, having the lens removed and replaced is eventually the solution required to restore sight.
One of the main causes of vision loss and blindness, especially in the elderly, is glaucoma. This is where there’s a build-up of pressure in the eye and it then affects the optic nerve, which transmits images from the eye to the brain. The exact causes of the pressure are not yet known — genetics are believed to be a factor, as glaucoma often runs in families, as is diabetes. As the optic nerve deteriorates, people experience patchy vision that gradually gets worse. There’s no cure for glaucoma, and you’ll need ongoing treatment, which is why a preventative measure like a regular check-up with Eye Consultants is vital.
You may also have heard of conjunctivitis as a condition that affects the eyes. It’s usually caused by an infection, by both bacteria and viruses, and leads to inflammation of the membrane — or clear tissue — around the eye. It can also arise because of allergies like hay fever and various products in the household that may irritate this region of the eye, such as shampoo. If it’s mild, conjunctivitis will go away after a few days, and no treatment other than eye drops is required. Eye Consultants might prescribe antibiotic eye drops in more severe cases, and if you have the infectious type, you can pass it on, so avoid touching your eyes.
Another common condition we see here at our London Eye Clinic is blepharitis. There are different types, and they all cause the eyelids to become irritated and inflamed, with the whites of the eyes turning red. People with blepharitis typically rub their eyelids to try and get some relief from the irritation, making the problem worse. Blepharitis is not a serious condition, but treatment — primarily washing the eyes — is required. Otherwise, it can lead to other conditions, including conjunctivitis.
Who is most at risk from eye problems that might need private eye care?
We’ve mentioned some groups of people who are most at risk of developing an eye disease or condition, and those over the age of 60 are in this category. Various ethnic groups are also more likely to have eye problems at some stage in their lives, including people from African and Caribbean backgrounds, due to the prevalence of diabetes in those communities.
Those with family members who suffer from eye problems are also at risk of developing an eye condition themselves due to genetic factors that may be involved. And people with a learning disability are more prone to having issues with their eyes, as the two are related — blurred vision can make it hard to read and learn.
Small children can develop problems with their eyes, but they won’t always say they have trouble seeing. You might notice there’s a problem if your child frequently rubs their eyes and blinks more than normal or if they sit too close to the TV and hold books up close to their eyes.
An ounce of eye care prevention
Many eye problems can be resolved if they’re caught early, so this is certainly a case of a small amount of prevention is much better than a cure — if there is one. Once you start to lose your eyesight, it can be hard, if not impossible, to get it back. It’s recommended that everyone has an eye check-up at least every two years so that Eye Consultants can determine the health of your eyes and your vision.
If you’re unable to get one on the NHS, or if there’s an extremely long waiting list, you can choose to have your check-up at a private eye hospital. You’ll be seen by leading Eye Consultants soon after making your appointment, and you will benefit from the luxurious surroundings and best equipment that’s typical of private eye care.
You’ll be given all the time you need to discuss your vision with your Eye Consultants, and you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that you see the world as you should. And if not, any problems will soon be remedied.
If you are interested in private eye care, you can make an appointment to see an Eye Consultant at our London Eye Clinic now.