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Eye see what the problem is: Part 1

Posted in 'General' on June 5, 2013 by Stuart Macfarlane

Pterygium is a difficult word to even pronounce let alone understand and yet is quite a common eye condition, particularly in countries close to the equator. The lay term for this eye condition is 'surfers eye' since it is associated with intense exposure to sun, wind and sand, all prominent among surfers who spend so much time in all three.

It appears as a small lesion sitting across the eye, usually pink and fleshy. Luckily it is benign, meaning it is noncancerous. The problem is that in some case it continues to grow, albeit slowly, throughout life. In particularly rare cases the pterygium can continue growing until it covers the pupil of the eye and actually impairs vision. Obviously in this case intervention would be required. In most cases however, pterygium is not considered a serious or concerning eye condition.

For the sufferer it is important to understand that certain symptoms will accompany it including a burning, gritty feeling, itching and sometimes the sensation that a foreign body resides in the eye. Suffice to say, it can be an irritating affliction.

An optometrist will easily determine if you have a pterygium. Unless it is exceptionally large or causing relentless discomfort or vision impairment, surgery will rarely be suggested. Usually, temporary relief is provided through the use of lubricating eye drops and ointments, sometimes the use of eyedrops or even a short course of steroid eyedrops have found to be particularly effective in the treatment of inflammation in the eye and pain relief.

Harden up!

Posted in 'General' on June 10, 2013 by Stuart Macfarlane

The question remains for contact lens wearers hard or soft? Since hard contact lens technology preceded soft lens technology, sometimes the assumption is that soft lenses must be better. This is not always the case. In fact, there are some great benefits to wearing hard contacts and those who wear them generally swear by them!


Hard lenses, while once made from glass, are now made from plastic. One of the reasons hard lenses have their name hard and tend to be thought of as just that, hard and uncomfortable, is because of the materials they were once made from. But technology has kept up with hard lenses and most now incorporate some silicon to increase flexibility and comfortability.

Now that the issue of comfort has been addressed, the benefits of hard lenses begin to shine through. Generally speaking the vision is better. Their hardness ensures that unlike soft lenses, they retain their shape better and this has the run on affect of crisper, sharper vision. The hardness of the lens also decreases the chance of sustaining a rip or tear to the lens. And with a bit of TLC your hard contact lenses can last for years and years. Providing you don't need a new prescription, then contact lens life can be very easy with hard contact lenses.So, why not harden up and give it a go?

Eye see what the problem is: Part 2

Posted in 'General' on June 12, 2013 by Stuart Macfarlane

Retinal detachment sounds exactly like what it is: an eye condition where the retina peels away from the underlying tissue that normally supports it. It is important that attention is sought immediately, otherwise the retina can detach entirely and cause permanent blindness. Since immediate care is required should the retina begin to detach, it is crucial to understand the symptoms.


Before a full retinal detachment occurs, it is frequently preceded by a posterior vitreous detachment. This can be the first step toward retinal detachment and involves the vitreous separating from the retina.

If this occurs you will notice a variety of unusual symptoms:

- You may notice a quick flash of light (similar to a camera flash) in the periphery of your vision.  This is more noticeable at night time. 

- There may be a sudden and dramatic increase in the number of floaters in your eye. Floaters are normal and are simply deposits of various shapes, sizes and consistencies in the eyes vitreous humour. The vitreous humour is the clear gel that sits between the lens and the retina of the eye. It is perfectly transparent at birth but as we age it starts to liquefy and develop opacities or floaters. This is normal unless you notice a dramatic and sudden increase in the number of floaters.  If so, this might be a symptom of a vitreous or retinal detachment.

- You may complain of slightly blurred vision.  Some people describe this as looking through smudged glasses.

If you notice these symptoms it is essential for you to undergo an examination of your retina after your pupils have been dilated with drops. 

posterior vitreous detachment can sometimes cause a tear in the retina which can progress to a retinal detachment.  As well as the symptoms listed above, the symptoms of a retinal detachment can include:

- Shadows or obscuration of the vision in the periphery, similar to a curtain. 

- Straight lines may begin to appear curved and wavy.  

- Finally you will notice central vision loss.

The key is in understanding the signs and symptoms and seeking help before it's too late.