Eye Examinations – Private & NHS
Our opening hours are from 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday and we usually carry out Eye Examinations every day.
It is preferable if you have an appointment – 0116 253 7777 just ring for one – but if you find yourself in town with half an hour to spare, pop in and there may be an available opportunity.
Why get your eyes examined?
It is really important to get your eyes checked on a regular basis. We only get one pair of eyes so it’s vital to look after them.
Your vision changes during your life. The general aging process stiffens the lens at the front of the eyes producing presbyopia – long-sightedness in later life. Cataracts are opacities developing in the lens and may require referral to the GP or direct to the hospital. Stress can also be a factor is altering vision, and we all suffer from that at times during our lives. It is recommended that you have your eyes checked at least every two years, to pick up any changes to your prescription or your general health as soon as it happens.
However, an eye examination doesn’t only check your vision It can spot the early signs of some other conditions, for example, diabetes or high blood pressure. So, even if you think your eyesight hasn’t changed, it’s still a good idea to get your eyes checked every couple of years.
Our two experienced ophthalmic opticians have been at Chapmans for a combined 30 years
Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information from the light sensitive layer in your eye, the retina, to the brain where it is perceived as a picture. Your eye needs a certain amount of pressure to keep the eye in shape so that it can work properly. In some people, the damage is caused by raised eye pressure. Others may have an eye pressure within normal limits but damage occurs because there is a weakness in the optic nerve. In most cases both factors are involved but to a varying extent.
What controls pressure in the eye?
A layer of cells behind the iris produces a watery fluid, called aqueous. The fluid passes through a hole in the centre of the iris (called the pupil) to leave the eye through tiny drainage channels. These are in the angle between the front of the eye (the cornea) and the iris and return the fluid to the blood stream. Normally the fluid produced is balanced by the fluid draining out, but if it cannot escape, or too much is produced, and then your eye pressure will rise.
Why can increased eye pressure be serious?
If the optic nerve comes under too much pressure then it can be injured. How much damage there is will depend on how much pressure there is and how long it has lasted, and whether there is a poor blood supply or other weakness of the optic nerve. A really high pressure will damage the optic nerve immediately. A lower level of pressure can cause damage more slowly, and then you would gradually lose your sight if it were not treated.
Are there four different types of glaucoma?
The most common is chronic glaucoma in which the aqueous fluid can get to the drainage channels (open angle) but they slowly become blocked over many years. The eye pressure rises very slowly and there is no pain to show there is a problem, but the field of vision gradually becomes impaired.
Acute glaucoma is much less. This happens when there is a sudden and more complete blockage to the flow of aqueous fluid to the eye. This is because a narrow `angle’ closes to prevent fluid ever getting to the drainage channels. This can be quite painful and will cause permanent damage to your sight if not treated promptly.
There are two other main types of glaucoma. When a rise in eye pressure is caused by another eye condition this is called secondary glaucoma. There is also a rare but sometimes serious condition in babies called developmental glaucoma, which is caused by a malformation in the eye. This leaflet is about chronic and acute glaucoma.
How common is glaucoma?
In the UK some form of glaucoma affects about 2 in 100 people over the age of 40.
Those people particularly at risk of chronic glaucoma ..
Age : Chronic glaucoma becomes much more common with increasing age. It is uncommon below the age of 40 but affects one per cent of people over this age and five per cent over 65.
Race : If you are of African origin you are more at risk of chronic glaucoma and it may come on somewhat earlier and be more severe. So make sure that you have regular tests.
Family : If you have a close relative who has chronic glaucoma then you should have eye tests at intervals. You should advise other members of your family to do the same. This is especially important if you are aged over 40 when tests should be done every two years.
Short sight : People with a high degree of short sight are more prone to chronic glaucoma.
Diabetes is believed to increase the risk of developing this condition.
Coping with Cataracts
Many people are told that they have a cataracts each year and treatment is now very effective.
Over half of those over 65 have some form of cataracts developing. ??In the UK alone, 250,000 operations are performed each year with great success.
In the early stages, spectacles, contact lenses and stronger lighting may lessen any vision problems caused by cataracts. Later, however, surgery may be needed but it is a quick and relatively pain-free operation.
The causes of MD are not known although research indicates that genetic causes, dietary factors and lifestyle all play a part.
Once sight has been lost a result of MD it cannot be restored, but it is thought that the progress of the disease can be slowed by making lifestyle changes. Research is progressing in this field and exciting results are taking place so it may not be too long before we can report more helpful treatments.
The risk factors for MD are:
- Age – this is the main risk factor.
- Diet and Nutrition – a poor diet high in fats and low in vitamins and excessive alcohol leads to a higher level of oxygen charged molecules, which may damage the macula.
- Sunlight – cell damage to the macula can be caused by sunlight.
- Genetics – AMD has not been proved to be hereditary, although people with a family history of AMD have an increased chance of developing the condition.
- Smoking – more than doubles the risk of AMD.
Life style changes that are recommended are:
- Eat a good diet rich in fruits and greens, particularly calabrese and kale
- Wear sunglasses, which reduce the blue wavelength.
- Reduce saturated fats, cholesterol and alcohol.
- Stop smoking
- Visit your optician every two years for an eye examination.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration (MD) is the collective term for over 1,500 conditions, which affect the central vision by damage to the macula, a small area at the back of the eye. ?Macular degeneration is the most common form of visual impairment in the UK.
The retina is a very thin tissue that lines the back of the eye and contains the light sensing cells that send visual signals to the brain. Sharp, clear central vision is processed by the macula, which is a circular patch in the central part of the retina and is about the size of a grain of rice.
MD occurs when the layer of the retina responsible for nourishing the macula’s sensitive rod and cone cells, and for carrying away waste products, starts to function less effectively as it ages.
Cells in the macula breakdown, causing loss of light in the central part of the field of vision but leaving the side vision, known as the peripheral vision, unaffected. ??Although people do not lose all their sight, reading, recognition of faces, driving, watching TV and colour definition become impossible.
The condition develops in one or both eyes and often begins with small distortions in vision. It advances to a state in which there is no central vision.
Blepharitis is a common condition involving inflammation of the eyelid edges. It is often associated with certain skin conditions, such as very dry or oily skin and dandruff.
What does it look like?
You may experience some or all of the following:
- Whitish scales around the roots of your eyelashes.
- Red appearance of the edges of your eyelids.
- A sensation of burning, soreness or itchiness around the eyes.
How can I make it better?
We need to make sure that all the crusts and debris from the edge of your eyelids and from between your eyelashes are removed. The easiest way to do this is with eyelid cleaning products such as ‘Lid Care’, which may have a separate cleaning solution with sterile pads, or individual pre-moistened wipes.
These specially formulated products are available from your optometrist or pharmacist. In severe cases an antibiotic ointment may be recommended.
To use the eye cleaning products follow the instructions on the packet/leaflet provided with the product.
Rub the pad firmly but gently along the eyelid edges so that the crusts and debris are removed. Make sure you wipe between the eyelashes of both the upper and lower lids. Use a separate, fresh pad or wipe for each eye.
After using a pad once it must be discarded and a fresh one used for the next occasion. You should clean both eyes even if only one of them seems to be infected. Dry your eyes gently after using the pads.
What happens next?
Continue the treatment twice a day at first, then less as it starts to get better. Treatment of this condition is often long-term, so do not be discouraged if you don’t see any improvement for several weeks – this is quite normal.