Flashing Spots & Floaters
The majority of the eye is taken up by a jelly like substance called the vitreous. When there are particles present in this part of the eye people may experience something known as floating spots. These are also known as little floaters and can affect vision. They also distract the patient from being able to concentrate on focusing on objects they wish to look at.
As one gets older, these floating spots become more pronounced and, in some cases, can appear to the person as having spider-like appearance. If you notice that the floaters are getting more noticeable you should book an appointment with your local Optometrist immediately.
Another condition some people may experience is flashing or flashes of light. Sometimes migraine can be the cause of this; but if you are seeing flashes accompanied by floaters it could easily be down to a slight tear in the retina area at the back of your eye – if this happens to you, you should contact your optometrist as soon as you can. Loss of vision and long term damage could be experienced if this combination of conditions is ignored. In severe cases, detachment of the retina can happen. If one suffers a hit to the eye area, a retinal detachment can also occur so a full eye examination would be advised.
The part of the eye that deals with detailed vision is located at the back of the eye and forms the centre part of your eye – this area of the eye is known as the macula. As with every other part of the body, eventually the macula deteriorates and wears out, this condition is commonly known as Age Related Macular Degeneration. Interestingly, side (peripheral) vision tends to remain the same regardless of whether the patient suffers from macular degeneration but central vision does suffer if one is afflicted with this well known condition.
The initial signs of macular degeneration are:
- Objects and items you focus on become distorted and appear to change shape
- A line or object that is straight is now viewed as being bent or obscured in nature
If you suffer from this eye ailment simple things you take for granted like reading and driving will pose some difficulty than they normally would.
Unfortunately, treatment is limited for suffers with this eye condition but there are ways for people to deal with their ailment – special types of glasses can be acquired and magnifying glasses can also aid the patient when deterioration of the macula has occurred. There are a number of proven treatments for people who have the most severe type of ARMD (wet ARMD) such as Intravitreal Injections. Also food supplements are available that replace the essential carotenoids at the back of the eye to help maintain eye health into our later years. These would be advised to those who have a family history of Macular Degeneration. If you think that you could be experiencing symptoms of ARMD visit your Optometrist as acting early can prevent further damage to your eyesight.
Glaucoma – Symptoms & Treatment
This well known condition is caused by the fluid levels within the eye, and can damage the optic nerve. Elevated blood pressure is a common side effect when one experiences Glaucoma and periphery vision can also be affected. Patients in the early stages will tend not to notice these signs as they start off very subtle. The commonest form of glaucoma is usually symptom free until there has been a permanent loss of vision. So early detection by screening is vital.
Your local optician can run a number of tests to detect signs of this eye disease in its infancy, these may include:
- A visual field test
- An eye pressure (intraocular) examination
- Ophthalmoscopy (a test where your optometrist shines a light into your eyes to detect any abnormalities) and Fundus photography (your optometrist can photograph the back of your eyes so any changes at follow up examinations can be picked up)
If your optician suspects that you may be developing glaucoma, they will notify your doctor and refer you to an eye specialist (Ophthalmologist) for further investigation and treatment.
Although the symptoms cannot be reversed, glaucoma can be somewhat controlled by using eye drops or treated using laser surgery. The risk of glaucoma increases with age, but may occur earlier if there is a family history of the disease. It is also more common in people of African or African-Caribbean origin.