Preventing deterioration of eye conditions
We can take steps to stave off progression of eye conditions during the early stage. This includes:
- Quit smoking
- Eat a balanced diet – dark green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruits, omega 6 fatty acids meat
- Visit ophthalmologist regularly to get eye screenings
- Check your blood pressure regularly
- Have health screenings for heart disease
- Avoid long-term exposure to bright sunlight without eye protection
Primary PreventionFor those of us who have yet to have any symptoms but have higher risk, screening is paramount for early detection.
Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It causes damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, also known as retina.
Among those who are diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus, about a third will develop diabetic retinopathy and over 4% will have retinopathy that can progress to blindness.
Studies have shown that regular screening helps to detect the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Those who did not have screening, a quarter of the patients develop diabetic retinopathy after five years. This number increases to 60% after 10 years, and 80% after 15 years.
At the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, you may not have any symptoms. As the condition progresses, you will develop floating spots in your vision, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, dark areas in your vision, and vision loss.
Our Ophthalmologist partners at A Healing Heart Medical will do extensive eye screening that goes beyond the usual yearly retinal photography to detect any abnormalities. Together with optimal diabetic medical therapy at A Healing Heart Medical, we seek to minimise your diabetic eye risk.
Glaucoma can happen at any age, but it is more common in older adults. There are no warning signs. The effect of glaucoma is gradual and irreversible. Most adults may not notice a change in their vision until at an advanced stage.
The symptoms for glaucoma are varied as there are many types of glaucoma. It also depends on the stage of your condition. Some may see patchy blind spots in your peripheral vision in both eyes.
Those in advanced stages will see tunnel vision. Other common acute glaucoma symptoms include redness in the eye, eye pain, blurred vision, halos around lights, severe headache.
We strongly recommend starting regular glaucoma screening from age 40. Since vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be recovered, regular screening will allow early detection and with treatment, limit vision loss.
At A Healing Heart Medical, our Ophthalmologist partners will do extensive eye evaluation not only for glaucoma but to look for root causes e.g. ocular hypertension. Together, with blood tests to look for risk factors at A Healing Heart Medical, we seek to minimise your risk for glaucoma.
Cataract is one of the most common causes of blindness. It is often associated with ageing and is common among the elderly. However, it can also affect young people who have inflammatory eye disease, eye injury or congenital eye disease. Cataracts can be removed safely by surgery.
The first sign of cataract is blurred vision that cannot be corrected after wearing or changing the degrees of your glasses. You will also start to notice colour dullness, halos, poor vision at night and are sensitive to light and glare.
As cataract gradually clouds your vision and interferes with your daily activities, you will find it difficult to read, watch television or drive at night. Your eye pressure may be raised, and you will have more frequent eye inflammation, pain, and redness.
Those who have diabetes, prolong use of corticosteroid drugs, smoke and are exposed to UV lights excessively are most at risk. Therefore, it is important to get your eyes checked for cataract once every two years from age 40, and every year when you are over 65 years old.
At A Healing Heart Medical, our Ophthalmologist partners will do extensive eye screening that goes beyond the handheld ophthalmoscope examination. Together with blood tests to look for risk factors at A Healing Heart Medical, we seek to minimise your eye cataract risk.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
A common eye disorder found in people over 50 years old, the age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes blurred or reduced vision.
Macular degeneration can only be diagnosed by a comprehensive eye exam and other tests such as scans of the retina. Drusen (small yellow deposits) are often detected and when drusen grows larger in size and number, they can deteriorate the macula and put a person at risk for macular degeneration.
There are two forms of AMD, including the wet form and the dry form. Dry AMD progresses very slowly and will impact a person’s vision over time. Wet AMD involves abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina that leak or burst. People experience severe visual impairment within days or weeks of the onset of wet AMD.
Intermediate AMD will have subtle changes in vision; some may see black or grey spots in the centre of their visual field or have trouble adjusting from location with bright light to a dim area. Late-stage AMD will lead to central vision loss where objects may appear distorted or blurry, and eventually you cannot see objects in the middle of your line of vision.
There is no cure for AMD but with early detection, our Ophthalmologist partners will be able to slow progression for some forms of AMD and in turn slow down the rate of vision loss.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is experienced among people aged 50 and older. This is a condition that occurs when the tear glands are unable to produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist. As a result, dust and other irritants may cause stinging, burning and redness in the eye. Intermittent blurring of vision is a common symptom of dry eye syndrome.
There are many components that make up tears and different parts of the process can be deranged resulting in Dry Eye Syndrome. Our partners will be able to assist you with this and targeted treatment can be given for optimal relief of your symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ophthalmology?
Ophthalmology is the study of medical conditions relating to the eye. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and surgical treatments of the eye.
What is eye screening?
Eye screening is a detailed examination by an ophthalmologist using advanced machinery for potential vision problems and eye disorders. Here at A Healing Heart Medical Clinic, we work together with our ophthalmologist partners to provide comprehensive eye examination for identification of specific eye health issues, not just eyesight screening.
Who needs eye screening?
Your risk of eye conditions increases when you have high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of eye conditions, HIV, or thyroid conditions. Most people who are experiencing chronic or severe vision or eye conditions, such as bulging eyes, reduced or double vision, loss of peripheral vision, halos around lights or see coloured circles, will need to see ophthalmologists.