Latest treatments available to combat sight loss
- Credit: Archant
One in 30 adults in the UK lives with sight loss, and these figures are set to rise. Consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Mr Morris, explains the latest treatments available
Retinal detachment can happen to anyone, and we, at the eye unit, often see people when the vitreous ‘gel’, which is in the back of their eye, begins to liquefy. This vitreous may then ‘unstick’, which will occasionally lead to a break or tear in the retina. These breaks can be treated if caught early, but sometimes they result in a retinal detachment and loss of vision.
If you suspect you have a retinal detachment, the symptoms to look out for include a flurry of ‘floaters’ in the vision and transient ‘flashes’. One in 10 people who experience these symptoms will have a retinal tear. Retinal detachment develops as fluid passes through the tear and accumulates in the space behind the retina. While this is painless, it may result in serious loss of vision, which, to the patient, is rather like looking at a curtain closing over a period of hours or days.
Retinal surgery is the most common procedure that I perform, and the one that needs to be done with the most urgency. It is done through microscopic incisions in the white of the eye.
I also see plenty of people with cataract. Cataracts are due to natural changes in the lens of the eye, similar to the way that freckles develop in the skin over the years. The lens loses elasticity and becomes less clear. This condition commonly affects people from around 65 but can arise at any age.
It is not really known what brings cataract on, some believe UV light can have an impact, others think it is linked with the effects of ageing. Some people can be born with it, others may inherit it, and some may develop cataracts as a result of injury, disease or medication.
Typically, cataract surgery can take 15 minutes to perform, and requires a small incision in the cornea. Recovery is quite quick and, in most cases, patients can undertake basic day-to-day activities within a day or two of the operation.
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Another condition that we regularly come across is diabetes. Diabetes can cause a range of problems in the eye; the most common being leakage from blood vessels in the retina. This may lead to fluid build up in the retina and blurring of vision. Dorset has a diabetic eye-screening programme so that people with diabetes can have their eyes monitored at regular intervals. Severe loss of vision can be prevented if problems are detected, and treated early.
Looking at a patient’s eyes can reveal medical conditions elsewhere in the body, high blood pressure and neurological problems to name just two. Healthy eating, exercise and avoiding smoking are a few things that can be done to help look after your eyes. It’s also really important to have regular eye tests and check-ups.
About Mr Morris
Mr Morris has 24 years of ophthalmic experience and specialises in vitreoretinal surgery and has been a part of the Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital team since May 2002. He studied medicine in London, and also has fellowships from Cambridge and Vancouver. Those interested in a confidential consultation with Mr Morris are invited to call the hospital’s friendly customer team on 01202 702830.
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