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Eye Diseases

We detect and manage a wide range of eye conditions, which include the following:

Cataract

Our eyes each contain a crystalline lens designed to focus light to create a sharp image for us to see.   Over time, the lens of our eye can become cloudy, preventing light rays from passing clearly through the lens. 

This cloudiness may cause difficulty seeing fine detail at first; and if severe it can cause general blurry vision.  When the lens becomes cloudy enough to affect our eyesight significantly, it is classified as a cataract.

Aging is the major cause of cataracts; followed by trauma, steroidal medications, systemic diseases such as diabetes, and accumulated sun exposure. Occasionally babies are born with cataracts.

Early cataracts may only require regular monitoring in addition to appropriate correction with glasses or contact lenses. Special anti-glare lens coatings may be added to your glasses to reduce UV exposure that may contribute to cataract progression.

For significant cataracts, we can provide a referral to an ophthalmologist to consider cataract surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve; which transmits signals from our eyes to the brain.  The disease is related to the pressure inside the eye, known as the intraocular pressure.  When the pressure is higher than the optic nerve can tolerate, damage occurs and it can lead to blind spots and vision loss.

Glaucoma can occur slowly and without symptoms.  Adult patients who present for their first eye exam complaining of tunnel vision may already have advanced glaucoma, when it is too late to reverse any damage to peripheral vision.

Early detection by regular eye examinations is key to preventing damage due to glaucoma; and treatment typically involves the use of glaucoma eye drops which lower the intraocular pressure.

Diabetic Eye Problems

Diabetes can attack small to medium blood vessels around the body, including those found inside the eyes.  Diabetic patients are often encouraged to undertake annual eye checks with retinal photography, to assess any damage to blood vessels inside the eyes.

This damage may lead to the leakage of blood and fluid inside the eyes; which can lead to vision loss and be related to damage elsewhere in the body.

Floaters & Flashes

Flashes and floaters are symptoms that may be related to a range of eye conditions from the benign to the severe.  Benign conditions that cause floaters and flashes may include normal vitreous floaters and posterior vitreous detachments.

Severe conditions may include uveitis and retinal detachments.  The most important action when you notice flashes and floaters is to book in for an urgent eye examination.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is a serious condition that may cause irreversible vision loss unless treated quickly.  Symptoms may include new flashes and new floaters, as well as a curtain coming across the field of vision. 
 
The condition involves the light sensing layer of our eyes (the retina) pulling away from the back of the eye, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
 
If we suspect the presence of a retinal detachment, we will provide an urgent referral to an ophthalmologist for treatment.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a progressive loss of central vision due to damage to the macula.  Although the exact cause is unknown, factors such as age, smoking, and family history play a role.

Routine internal eye examination and retinal photography allows us to detect risk factors and signs of macular degeneration.  Depending on its type and severity, we may advise about the use of evidence-based health supplements to slow the progression of the disease, or provide a referral to an ophthalmologist for further management. 

Patients with macular degeneration may require stronger reading glasses than usual, as well as the use of specialized magnifiers and lighting aids.  We may provide a referral to local agencies such as Vision Australia for advice, support and equipment to help manage the disease.

Amblyopia / Lazy Eye

Amblyopia or lazy eye can occur from a young age due to poor focusing or poor muscle control in one or both eyes.  If left untreated it can cause long-term loss of vision.

One form of amblyopia can occur due to a turned eye; if you suspect your child has an eye turn it is advisable to book in for a comprehensive eye check at any age.  Sometimes this may be due a wide bridge of the nose in young infants causing the illusion of an inward eye turn.  But other times it may signal an underlying muscle imbalance issue. 

Another form of amblyopia can occur due to a high uncorrected prescription in one or both eyes, causing poor focusing of that eye.  Techniques such as retinoscopy allow us to pick up the presence of amblyopia even before a child can verbally respond, and often we can prevent long-term damage by prescribing an appropriate set of glasses.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a disease of the external part of the eye.  It can cause symptoms of dryness, stinging, burning sensation, as well as unstable vision.  Despite its name, it can also cause symptoms of watery eyes.

A comprehensive eye examination allows us to pick up the type and severity of dry eye syndrome, and we can advise you on the best form of management for your particular circumstances.

Treatments may include the use of evidence based fish oil supplements, lubricating eye drops, antibacterial eyelid wipes, and warm compresses.  We may advise on the use of specialized eye drops containing healing agents such as sodium hyaluronate, and no preservatives.

Eye Infections / Inflammations

A comprehensive eye examination allows us to detect and diagnose specific eye infections and eye inflammations.  Because the management for each condition may be very specific, it is best to present for an eye examination or seek medical advice before the use of any over-the-counter eye drops. 

For severe conditions we will refer to an ophthalmologist for further management.

Eye Allergies

Eye allergies may be associated with excessive eye rubbing, which can sometimes cause damage to the eyes.  Many over-the-counter eye drops for relief of itchy eyes contain chemicals that constrict the blood vessels of the eyes for fast symptomatic relief, but fail to fix the underlying problem. Often in the fine print of these eye drops there will be a warning not to use them beyond 1 month.  In general it is best to avoid long-term use of eye drops with ingredients ending with “-zoline”.

A comprehensive eye check allows us to advise you on the best form of eye drops to use for safe, long-term management of eye allergies.  These may include a combination of antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer ingredients.

Pterygium

Accumulated sun exposure can cause damage to a specific external part of the eye due to the curvature of the eyes.  This can lead to the appearance of sore, red nodules in the front of the eyes known as pterygium. 

If left untreated, pterygium can grow across the front surface of the eye and block the passage of light, leading to vision loss.  Advanced pterygium will require surgical removal to prevent permanent visual damage.

We can spot early sun-related changes to the front of the eye. These are known as pingueculae and when we see them, we can advise you on ways to minimize UV damage in the long-term to prevent the development of pterygium.  This may include the addition of UV-blocking filters on existing glasses; or the recommendation of appropriate sunglasses to wear.