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Eye Conditions

 

Vision is the most important of human senses and as such the eye is a delicate and complex organ. It is essential to look after your eyes and guard against a variety of conditions that can affect your eyesight and your general health.

FLASHES AND FLOATERS

At some point in your life it is likely you will encounter floaters and possibly flashes in your vision.  If this happens you need to be seen by an optometrist promptly to determine whether a retinal tear is present that may lead to a retinal detachment and at worst profound sight loss.  The optometrist will see you on the day as an emergency appointment, they will dilate the pupils with eye-drops in order to view the most peripheral parts of the retina. Because the pupils are widely dilated vision will be very glary and driving is not advised post-dilation.  It is best that a patient attends this appointment with a driver and dark sunglasses. The dilating drops typically last 3-4 hours.

MYOPIA

Myopia, also known as near-sightedness and short-sightedness, is one of the most common conditions of the eye and occurs where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus. It does not affect focus when looking at a close object. Click to READ MORE

GLAUCOMA
Glaucoma is a condition that affects the nerve fibers at the back of the eye.  The nerve fibers that take messages from the photoreceptors to the optic nerve then on towards the brain die and as a result a person loses their visual field.  Peripheral vision typically goes first. It is a painless disease and patients are typically unaware they have it until a significant amount of their visual field of view is gone. If left undetected and treated a person will lose their sight completely.  1% of the population over 40 have the condition, with the likelihood increasing with age.  We recommend a glaucoma screening test as part of a full ocular health review at the very minimum of once every 3 years, and those at increased risk every 1-2 years.  Patients with suspected glaucoma will require further testing in addition to the routine comprehensive examination.

Risk factors which can lead to glaucoma include a history of glaucoma in the family, short-sightedness or a history of elevated intra-ocular pressure with steroid use.

MACULAR DEGENERATION

The macula is the most sensitive tissue at the center of the back of the eye.  It is responsible for your most detailed vision; ie reading, watching TV, concentrating on faces and the road.  Macular degeneration affects 1/7 people over the age of 50 and 1/4 people over the age of 80.  Macular degeneration causes a break-down in the tissue in a way that prevents a clear image to be detected.  In very advanced cases central vision can be totally gone with only peripheral vision remaining.  Patients with macular changes will require further testing in addition to the comprehensive examination including OCT imaging of the macula tissue. Click to READ MORE

CATARACTS

Cataract is the clouding of the eyes natural lens, which lie behind the iris and the pupil.  It is also the most common cause of blindness worldwide.  In the early stages of cataract development vision will be mildly affected, a bit like looking through a foggy window or at an impressionist painting.  Colours may also look a little different between eyes if one eye has a cataract and the other not.  We don’t tend to see advanced cases often in New Zealand but they can cause total blindness.  Cataracts can be removed with surgery. If you have cataracts your optometrist will discuss your options depending on eligibility within the public healthcare system or privately funded.  If you have cataracts your optometrist will need to dilate the pupils in order to obtain an adequate view of the retina behind.

 

RED EYES AND OCULAR MEDICATIONS

Red and quite possibly painful or sore eyes can either occur as a direct result of a particular localised condition or can be a symptom of a wider underlying problem. Either way, if you have Red Eyes you need to see an optometrist promptly to ensure there is no risk of permanent damage and to improve comfort. Causes of red eyes can include allergies, infection, injury, acute glaucoma, iritis and various dry eye conditions.

All of our optometrists are therapeutically qualified, meaning they can prescribe medication to treat a range of ocular conditions.

KERATOCONUS

Keratoconus is a progressive condition, whereby the cornea at the front of the eye (the clear dome shaped window) becomes progressively thinner and more cone shaped causing significant distortion of a person’s vision. Click to READ MORE

 

DIABETES

Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable blindness in the adult population.

Diabetes can cause damage to the Retina (the light sensitive lining of the eye at the back of the eye) this damage is called diabetic retinopathy. Early signs of diabetic retinopathy are often minor and non-sight threatening but do require regular monitoring.  special attention needs to be given to blood sugar levels and treatment of other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.  Click Here to READ MORE

 

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