Your Eye Health

Common Eye Conditions

When you see an optometrist, we don’t just check your glasses prescription – we also do a thorough health assessment of the front and back of the eye, assessing the all the structures for signs of change or disease. 75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable if found early with a comprehensive eye test, so think of us like the eye GP! In this section, we’ll discuss common eye conditions and diseases.


Cataracts occur when a normally clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy over time with UV exposure. Cataracts happen to everyone after the age of 50, slowly developing over years and causing blurry vision, difficulty seeing night, and changes to colours and brightness. Cataract surgery is performed by ophthalmologists to replace the cloudy natural lens with a clear, artificial lens. We can refer you to our trusted specialists for consultation for cataract surgery.


Glaucoma is a disorder that leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve, eventually causing vision loss. There are several causes, most commonly high pressure in the eye caused by blocked drainage passages, leading to soft nerve tissue being crushed in the high pressure environment. Untreated, glaucoma can cause serious vision loss. Glaucoma has a strong genetic component, so if a family member has glaucoma, it is important to let your optometrist know. Treatment for glaucoma includes medications, surgery, or laser treatments to lower the eyes’ pressure.

Macula Degeneration

Macula degeneration affects the macula, the light-sensitive centre in the retina responsible for clear, central vision. It is typically age-related, but does have a genetic component, so if a family member has macula degeneration, it is important to let your optometrist know. Although there are limited treatment options, progression of macular degeneration can be slowed down with vitamin supplements, eating lots of leafy greens, and avoiding smoking. In more severe cases, an ophthalmologist can perform injections to help preserve sight.


Did you know that vision is one of the main factors at risk for someone with diabetes? Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood supply to the retina is cut off, when the vessels are blocked by too much sugar. The eye then forms new abnormal blood vessels on the sensitive retinal tissues. These vessels bleed, causing swelling and scarring, which permanently damages your vision. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of other eye conditions, including glaucoma and cataracts.

It is important to let your optometrist know if you are diabetic, as we do a thorough, diabetic-specific eye test, involving essential scans to rule out diabetic complications before they cause permanent damage.


In order to maintain clear vision, the visual pathway through the eye must be clear. Most of the pathway is made up of the vitreous, a jelly-like substance that supports the eye shape. It is natural for this jelly substance to shrink and pull away from the retina with time, resulting in debris known as ‘floaters’, which look like spots or threads that come and go, moving within your vision. If your floaters are very large or there is a sudden increase in the number of your floaters, it is important to see an optometrist as it could be a sign of something more serious, especially if you are experiencing flashes.


Flashes are bright lights that randomly appear in your vision, like a camera flash or a lightning strike, often to the side of your view. Flashes are usually caused by something ‘pulling’ on the retina, usually the vitreous. If the vitreous gel pulls entirely off the retina, this is called a “posterior vitreous detachment” (PVD), which is a major cause of floaters. PVDs occur normally with increasing age, but can occur in younger people following trauma or due to high levels of short-sightedness. A more serious complication of a PVD/flashes is a retinal tear or detachment, when the vitreous doesn’t pull away from the retina cleanly, but instead tears the retina and detaches it from the globe. This is usually a medical emergency and requires prompt retinal surgery to avoid serious vision loss. If you experience a sudden onset of flashes in your vision, it is essential to contact your optometrist as soon as possible.

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