Testing Times

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02 March, 2022

John Bennett

In a recent article in The Times Newspaper urges people to get their eyes tested. Looking after our eyes is vital, especially as we get older. Regular check ups are recommended to ensure there is no risk of glaucoma or detached retina.

Glaucoma is caused by the death of cells causing visual field pattern loss. It is the cause of blindness, particularly with age. It is a major cause of blindness across the world. There is no cure, but it can be controlled. Patients must have regular eye examinations. The NHS recommends an eye test at least every 2 years, if at a higher risk of glaucoma, for example, if a close relative suffers from it. The tests should include the following:

  • Pressure tests. This is often referred to as interocular pressure test. The test is relatively straight forward. A instrument is used to puff air against the eye, or the optometrist may apply some an aesthetic and dye to the surface of the eye. A light will be shone into the eye and a tonometer will touch the eye to test the pressure.
  • They eye should be examined using a Gonioscopy to check how fluid drains out of your eye, which will help identify the type of glaucoma.
  • A Visual field test should be carried out to assess the edges of vision, sometimes by the use of light spots being displayed with the patient being asked to press a button to indicate which ones can be seen. Peripheral vision is often the first area to be affected.
  • Optic nerve assessment. Eyedrops will be used to enlarge the pupils so the eyes can be examined using. a slit lamp (a microscope with a bright light)

If the readings are abnormal or there is cause for concern there should be a referral to a specialist eye doctor, an ophthalmologist for further tests who can then advise on treatment.

Any delay in checkups, failing to follow up or failing to recognize the signs of glaucoma can have a devastating effect on an individual's sight. The optic nerve can be damaged by prolonged high pressures in the eye.

Detached retina

A detached retina occurs when the layer at the back of the eye breaks away. It often causes floaters to suddenly appear or flashes of light. The feeling of a curtain or shadow moving across the eye or vision suddenly becomes blurred. It is usually caused by changes to the jelly inside your eye, which can happen as you get older. There are increased risks if you are short-sighted, have had previous surgery, an eye injury or a family history of retinal detachment.

This can be a medical emergency and you need to be treated quickly, usually by injecting of oil into the eye to help push the retina back on. The sooner the treatment the better the outcome.

Any delay in checkups, failing to follow up, give safety net advice on what to do if symptoms fail to improve or get worse. Failing to recognise the signs of a detached retina can have a devastating effect on an individual's sight.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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