Eye Health Information



Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Usually found in older adults which results in the loss of central vision due to damage of the central retina (the macular). It comes in two forms, dry and wet, and is a major cause of blindness in the elderly. Dry AMD is slower in progression and visual loss is mild, yet regular examinations will help reduce the transition to wet AMD. The wet form is more severe and can result in the detachment of the retina. Our optometrist can spot early signs of this happening and will advise accordingly.

Astigmatism – An optical defect where vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to focus on a point or object into a sharp focused image on the retina. It occurs when the cornea (lens of the eye) is not spherical (almost rugby ball shaped). Light images focus on two separate points on the retina causing the distortion. This can be corrected with a glasses or contact lens prescription.

Cataracts – A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye and is more common in those aged 65 and over, 95% of over 70’s have cataracts. It reduces the light entering the eye, blurs the vision and makes the image appear misty. Most cataracts can be repaired via a simple local anaesthetic corrective operation.

Conjunctivitis – This is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids causing discomfort. Conjunctivitis can be brought upon by bacteria, viral or from another source and is very contagious. It can be treated with over the counter antibiotics from the chemist or at The Opticians at Marchmont.

Diabetes – Affects about 1 in 50 people in the UK and is caused by the body not being able to cope normally with sugar and other carbohydrates in the diet. Diabetes is the biggest cause of sight change and can lead to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy affecting the retina where blood vessels break and interfere with vision. Regular eye examinations can detect early signs of this condition.

Dry Eye – This is caused by the eyes not producing enough tears or poor tear components leading to a gritty irritable watery feeling. Dry eye can be treated with artificial tears and can be prescribed at The Opticians at Marchmont or at your pharmacist.

Floaters – The vitreous fluid, jelly inside the eye, can deteriorate and can look like spots in your vision. If there is a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light, you should consult the optometrist immediately for advice.

Glaucoma – This affects the narrowing of vision caused by increased pressure inside the eye and can lead to optic nerve damage, loss of visual field and often blindness if not diagnosed and treated. A family history of glaucoma will result in more frequent examinations to allow any onset of the disease to be detected early. It affects 1 in 50 over the age of 40, however, a visual fields screening and digital retina photographs help to detect this in examinations. The most common treatment for glaucoma is eye drops administered at the hospital after consultation with the optometrist.

Hypermetropia – This means long-sightedness where the image of something nearby is formed behind the retina but you can see images at distance. This can lead to headaches and blurred vision but is corrected by prescription glasses or contact lenses. It is caused by the eye being too short in terms of shorter from front to back than is normal.

Myopia – This means short-sightedness where the image of something in the distance is formed before the retina but you are able to see images that are close up. Myopia is corrected by prescription glasses or contact lenses. It is caused by the eye being too long in terms of longer from front to back than is normal.

Presbyopia – This describes the condition where the eye, through age, loses the ability to focus on near objects. This is a perfectly natural condition which affects everyone but is not easily noticed as the effects are gradual. It is caused by the muscles weakening around the eye. You may notice that reading is becoming a strain on your eyes. This is corrected by prescription glasses, contact lenses or for those who already have a correction, then the step to bifocals or varifocals is also advisable.