There is a very large range of eye diseases treated at Edgbaston Eye Consultants and we will treat all parts of the eye. Some of the more common types of eye diseases that we encounter are shown below.
Glaucoma is a very common disease where the optic nerve is damaged due to a number of factors, including the pressure of the fluid in the eye. There must be some pressure in the eye to keep its shape, but sometimes the mechanism that keeps the pressure normal fails and the pressure is too high for the nerves leaving the eye at the optic nerve to cause tunnel vision (Figure 1).
Figure1. In a healthy eye, excess fluid leaves the eye through the drainage angle, keeping pressure stable.
There are a number of different types of glaucoma. The main types are called primary open angle glaucoma (the most common type) and angle closure glaucoma. Primary open angle glaucoma is where the drainage channel at the angle between the iris (coloured part of the eye) and the cornea, (clear part of the eye) like a clogged drain. There is pressure build-up of the fluid produced in the eye that raises the pressure within the eye. The optic nerve is nipped and damaged by this pressure at the point it leaves the eye. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no obvious vision changes until it is fairly advanced.
Some people can have optic nerves that are sensitive to normal eye pressure. This means their risk of getting glaucoma is higher than normal, even with a relatively normal pressure in the eye. That is why regular eye exams are important to find early signs of glaucoma, so that it can be treated before it affects your sight.
Angle-closure glaucoma happens when your iris is close to the cornea and blocks the drainage channel of the eye, like a sheet of plastic sliding over a sink drain. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure rises very quickly and painfully. This is called an acute attack. If you don’t seek help at this stage urgently to get drugs and laser treatment to the iris, you might go blind.
The signs of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack are sudden blurry vision, severe eye pain, headache, feeling sick or even vomiting and often you will have seen rings or halos around lights (because your cornea is cloudy).
Some people with angle-closure glaucoma develop it slowly. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. There are no symptoms at first, so you must have your eyes checked before you have an acute attack.
When a diagnosis of glaucoma is made, it is important to have it properly monitored and treated. Edgbaston Eye Consultants has sophisticated equipment that can monitor your treatment every six months.
The cornea is the clear window at the front of the eye. There is a large range of inflammatory, scarring, infectious and degenerative diseases that can affect it and distort or dim your vision (Figure 2). Edgbaston Eye Consultants will carefully examine you and get the best treatments to help you preserve your eyesight.
Figure 2. Picture of a corneal ulcered stained with green dye to help with its diagnosis.
The conjunctiva is the skin at the front of the eye, it acts as a barrier to the outside world and will often become inflamed and red. Often this is through allergy, but there are a number of other infections and inflammatory diseases that affect the conjunctiva to give you an uncomfortable and unsightly red eye (Figure 3). Our expert consultants will carefully examine you and give you the best treatment for your conjunctival disease to make the eye comfortable and white again.
Figure 3. Unsightly inflammatory degeneration of conjunctiva (pterygium) spreading over cornea to affect the vision, that required surgery to remove.
Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. If there are not enough tears produced, you get dry eyes. This is a very common disease that affects everybody to a certain extent, though some have very irritating symptoms. Dry eye can be associated with a number of eye diseases and diseases of all the body, that need to be diagnosed and treated before the symptoms go. In most cases they are treated using artificial tears. A good examination and test of the tears is essential to get the right treatment for dry eye. When you get the right treatment, it can be a relief after literally years of suffering.
Some common things that cause dry eye and can be avoided include being in smoke, wind or a very dry climate; activities that reduce blinking like looking at a computer screen for a long time, or reading; using contact lenses for too long; not using eye drops after refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK; or taking certain medicines. Edgbaston Eye Consultants will carefully find out why you have dry eye and treat it properly (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Picture of a dry eye before and after treatment, returning to a white and comfortable state