Eye Conditions

Almost 1 in 30 people is living with sight loss in the UK.  Everyone has different degrees of sight loss, the experience is personal to the individual.  The images below are a representation of how a condition may affect someone’s vision.

Full Vision

Image is of Gloucester cathedral as someone with full vision would see it.

Image is of Gloucester cathedral as someone with full vision would see it.

Image shows the Cathedral with a large central part of the picture blurred out.

Image shows the Cathedral with a large central part of the picture blurred out.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration affects the central part of the field of vision. The most common cause of sight loss in older people is age related macular degeneration (AMD)

AMD comes in 2 forms

Dry AMD – Currently there is no treatment for dry AMD which is caused by the gradual dying off of retinal cells.  The progression of the disease is gradual and can take many months or years to develop.

Wet AMD – is caused by the formation of blood vessels in the macular area of the eye, these can and do ‘leak’ fluid which then leads to scaring of the macular.  The impact of the leaking vessels is sudden and a deterioration in vision levels will be noticed straight away.  There is treatment available which can limit the amount of damage / vision lost if accessed straight away.

As always if you notice any sudden changes in your vision please seek assistance from an optician/ eye clinic as soon as possible.

Image shows the outer parts of the picture blurred out.

Image shows the outer parts of the picture blurred out.

Glaucoma

This is the name for a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. The eye, like our heart, needs a certain level of pressure to be able to function.  If the pressure in your eye goes outside of a healthy range it can lead to damage to your optic nerve.

The damage to your optic nerve may be visible to an optician before you are even aware that your vision has been affected. In most cases, there is treatment available which hopefully will reduce the risk and speed of sight deterioration.

If you ever experience any sudden pain in your eye, see misty rainbow rings around white lights, vision declines and you feel nauseous, you may be experiencing an attack of acute glaucoma – this will require immediate emergency treatment at the hospital.

Image depicts how someone with advanced cataracts may see the Cathedral. Patches of the image are hazy

Image depicts how someone with advanced cataracts may see the Cathedral. Patches of the image are hazy

Cataracts

This is a common condition that in most cases can be treated.  It is often associated with getting older.

The lens in our eyes can become misty as the fluid changes causing less light to get through the lens,  this will cause  the  vision to appear blurry.  Colours may start to appear washed out and bright lights may appear to be more dazzling or glare more than they did before.

If  you become aware of any changes to your vision please ensure to book an appointment with your optometrist.

Image shows the Cathedral nearly completely obscured by patches of black blur.

Image shows the Cathedral nearly completely obscured by patches of black blur.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is a common complication of Diabetes, the blood vessels at the back of the eye are weakened and can bulge, leak blood or fluid.  Over time the body may try to grow new blood vessels to get more oxygen to the eye, but these new vessels often leak and cause further problems effecting someones vision.

Depending on the severity of the retinopathy will depend on how much your sight is effected.  The image shows a fairly advanced stage of the condition.

As retinopthy is such a common complication for diabetics the NHS offer retinal screening- it is important that you attend these screenings as early detection  can lead to treatment that could help limit the damage done by leaking blood vessels.

Only the central part of the image is visible.

Only the central part of the image is visible.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

This is a the name given to a group of conditions that affects the retina, overtime the retinal cells die and as they do so the level of vision will decrease.  Most forms of RP are genetic based.  RP is a very personal condition depending on what genes / cells are affected and this is reflected in how your vision changes over time.   This image shows a very advanced stage of the condition with only some central vision left.

Only half of the Cathedral is visible.

Only half of the Cathedral is visible.

Homonymous Hemianopia

This is a loss of one side of the visual field.  This form of sight loss is mostly associated with stroke but other severe brain injuries.  In some cases  the vision may return in time.  Often people with this form of sight loss find navigating their environment very difficult as they are not fully aware of what they are not seeing.

What can you do to help yourself?

Have an eye test every 2 years even if you feel there is nothing wrong with your vision, the optician may pick up early signs of disease and in some cases, early detection can help to lower the risk of losing your sight.

Help Others?

Tell people that Insight Gloucestershire is here to support people living with sight loss

Donate to Insight Gloucestershire so that we can keep on supporting people.

Text EYEC15 £5 to 70070  to make a one off donation

or

Set up a standing order for a regular monthly donation by completing the form and return it to Insight. Standing Order Mandate