Specsavers Dalkeith warns of eye problems during lockdown
Specsavers Dalkeith Director Damien Noade said: “Fifty percent of vision loss is preventable with early detection 1, however, during the pandemic many people may not have had access to these diagnostic tests. This means not only that their eyesight is at risk, but also potentially other aspects of their health.
“This is because while there are several changes that we can notice in our vision that could be a sign of a larger health problem, there are also some things that can only be detected during a eye test.
“It’s important to make an appointment with your optometrist if you see certain things, like persistent floaters, or notice changes with your eyes like blurry vision or yellowing of the eyes. However, it is also important to maintain your regular eye checks – even if you think there is nothing wrong with your vision – as something could be happening that you are not at all aware of.
“We recommend that you get your eyes checked every two years and since eye exams are free through the NHS in Scotland, there really is no reason to delay.”
Specsavers shared five changes you may notice in your eyes and what they mean, along with the conditions that can be detected during an eye test:
Five signs to watch out for:
“Red spots on the front of your eyes can often be caused by blood vessels broken by something as simple as a cough or sneeze,” Damien said.
“Although in most cases there is no cause for concern, if your eyes stay red for a while it is important to examine them as it could be an indication of high blood pressure.
“High blood pressure can mean you have a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke and it can also cause complications with your vision.”
Damien said, “Floaters are spots in your vision and usually look like black or gray specs or cobwebs that drift when you move your eyes. Most people will experience floaters in their vision at some point in their life, especially as we reach old age, as the gelatinous substance in our eyes becomes more watery.
“If you notice more eye floaters than usual, a sudden appearance of new eye floaters, flashes of light in your eyes, or darkness on any side of your vision, you should examine them immediately as it could mean tear of the retina or an injury to the back of the eye. In some cases, it can also be a symptom of diabetic retinopathy or high cholesterol.
“Some people may notice the appearance of a bluish ring around their iris, especially as they get older,” Damien added.
“This is caused by deposits of cholesterol in the eyes. They are more common in people aged 60 and over and are usually not a cause for concern. However, if these develop in those under the age of 40, there may be a greater risk of developing heart disease. “
“Usually, yellowing of the eyes is caused by jaundice,” Damien said.
“The disease occurs when hemoglobin (the part of the blood that carries oxygen) breaks down into bilirubin, which is not then eliminated from the body. It’s meant to pass from the liver to the bile ducts, but if that doesn’t happen, yellowing of the skin – and eyes – can occur and could mean there’s a problem with the liver, gallbladder, or the pancreas.
“Blurry vision can be caused by many things and it is essential that you check it. Diabetes increases the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy where high blood sugar levels damage tiny blood vessels in the eye that sense light, which can lead to blurred vision.
“The sudden onset of blurred vision could also be a sign of stroke, especially if combined with some of the other key signs such as slurred speech and falling face. fuzzy could also indicate other eye conditions such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration.
Five problems your optometrist can spot:
“Glaucoma is often asymptomatic because it develops so gradually. That’s why it’s often called the silent thief of sight, ”Damien said.
“It is one of the leading causes of blindness, however, if identified early on, it can be managed successfully. Regular eye exams are essential to detect it – and are so important for those most at risk for the disease due to their advanced age or family history.
“At Specsavers, we use advanced diagnostic equipment called OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) to examine the eye in more detail and be able to detect any damage to the optic nerve typical of glaucoma.”
“In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms, so an eye test can detect it before you do,” Damien said.
“Because the disease affects the small blood vessels in the eye, damaging the retina, your optometrist may look for characteristic early changes, such as tiny leaks from these damaged vessels. “
“During an eye exam, your optometrist can detect signs of high blood pressure by looking at the blood vessels in the eye to see if they have narrowed or started to leak. Patients with high blood pressure can develop a condition called hypertensive retinopathy in which the walls of the blood vessels thicken, narrow, and restrict blood flow. In some cases, the retina also becomes swollen and blood vessels may leak.
“In addition to causing inflammation of the joints, certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause inflammation of the eyes,” Damien said.
“This inflammation usually leads to dry eyes, but it can sometimes cause more serious conditions like inflammation of the iris.”
“Although an eye test can look for any eye cancer such as melanoma, sometimes it will reveal signs of possible brain tumors,” Damien said.
“Swelling of the optic nerves may be visible on an eye exam and can sometimes indicate the presence of a brain tumor.”
For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, visit www.specsavers.co.uk.