Focus on eye disease - Bendigo Magazine August 2017

Dr Farokh in BendigoALCataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes are the most common eye diseases to cause visual loss. These eye sight problems cannot be corrected with glasses.

Cataracts: The lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. This happens gradually and is more prevalent as we age. Symptoms include difficulties distinguishing small print and fine details and may be accompanied by glare, washed-out colours, and difficulty driving at night. Frequent changes in glasses and the desire to constantly clean them are other symptoms.

Advanced cataracts can cause total blindness. A day procedure under a local anaesthetic is the remedy. I personally do not use needles, stitches, or even an eye cover. There is instant vision before leaving the hospital and nearly always a reduction in the need for glasses.

Macular degeneration: This is a degenerative disease of the central retina at the inside back of the eye. It causes a decrease in the central vision, which is needed to read, recognise objects and discriminate detail. It is classified as wet or dry.

The dry is often slow and causes progressive, painless loss of central vision and difficulty adjusting between light and dark.

The wet form is sudden due to leaking of fluid and blood causing a rapid drop in vision. It also causes distortion of vision (objects are crooked or misshapen). Treatment is possible by administering special drugs into the eye via an injection.

Dry can become wet, even subtly, and so regular monitoring is essential.

Glaucoma: Results in damage to the optic nerve (at back of eye and connects eye with the brain) causing first loss of peripheral vision then later central vision. This disease is insidious and sufferers do not realise anything till it is late (“the thief of sight”). Early detection is critical.

Treatment is to lower eye pressure with drops, laser treatment and sometimes>
Diabetes: A vascular disease of the retina. It causes a drop in vision because of fluid accumulation at the back of the eye. Other times there is bleeding inside the eye also. Prevention by undergoing regular eye examinations is paramount. If the sight is affected, then to remedy this or just to prevent blindness, therapies such as laser, injections of ocular drugs, or surgery may be needed.

All of the above conditions can be successfully managed by Eye Surgeons Bendigo, experts in screening, diagnosing and treating eye diseases.