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  • Common Eye Conditions
  • Common Eye Conditions
  • Common Eye Conditions
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Common Eye Conditions

Taking care of your eyes is a very important part of maintaining overall good health. With over 60 years optical experience, you can be confident that DW Roberts will provide expert eye care along with up-to-date and meaningful advice about the range of spectacles and contact lenses available.

Our five practices in Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, Stony Stratford, Towcester and Wolverton cover the wider areas of Milton Keynes, including Fenny Stratford, Olney, Buckingham and Winslow in North Buckinghamshire and Brackley in South Northamptonshire.

Find out more about eyesight at different life-stages:

Find out more about common eye conditions

Eyesight at different life stages

Young Adults


We advise regular eye tests for children and young adults. Lens prescription changes may occur at different stages in their physical development.

Over 40s

From this age some natural changes occur within the eye. These may be summarised as:


Natural changes that occur within the eye that result in a reduced ability to focus at close range.


  • Difficulty reading small print, more noticeable in poor lighting.
  • Difficulty changing focus, when looking from a distant object to a near object.
  • The need to hold print further away to read it clearly.

These natural eye changes can be managed with the use of reading glasses, bifocal lenses or varifocals for existing spectacle wearers.

Dry Eye

As the eyes age there is an increased risk of dry eye. Ask your optician for advice on dry eye and contact lenses.


The vitreous humour (a jelly like substance in the eye), becomes more liquid with age. Parts of the vitreous may break off, causing shadow like /images (floaters) in your vision. Some people describe these black specs, as little flies or spiders in their vision.

Many people experience these natural changes. However if many floaters appear and you experience flashing lights, or a decrease in vision you should treat this seriously and contact an optician or go to A&E straight away as could be these symptoms of retinal detatchment.

Over 60s


The rate of change in the eye varies with each individual. Beyond the age of 60 your vision may deteriorate due to degenerative changes that happen within the eye or decreased transparency of the surfaces of the eye.

Changes within the eye and conditions more prevalent in people over 60 include:

  • Cataract
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity: for example it may be more difficult to read black text on a grey background than it is to read black text on a white background.

Over the age of 60, once presbyopia has occurred, people frequently need a different glasses prescription for reading and computer use. This can be resolved with varifocal lenses which allow a progression from distance to near.

Pregnancy and the Eye

Some of the more common changes that can happen within the eye during pregnancy include:

  • Changes to the prescription (these may be temporary but variable) due to fluid changes within the eye – particularly in the last three months
  • The pressure inside the eye can decrease due to reduced tissue rigidity - this is not often noticed, but may have an impact if you have glaucoma.
  • The eyes can become less sensitive during pregnancy, which may cause problems for contact lens wearers.

If you are experiencing any problems with your vision please book an appointment with one of our experienced opticians.

Common Eye Conditions

ARMD (age related macular degeneration)

ARMD is a progressive condition, which can lead to severely reduced vision. The two categories for ARMD are:


This is the more common of the two conditions and is a slow progressive build up of waste material at the back of the eye, resulting in reduced vision. Currently there is no treatment for dry AMD, although some studies have shown that certain nutrient supplements can slow the progression of the condition. DW Roberts sell a variety of nutrient supplements.


This is a less common condition but it progresses much faster and can lead to severely reduced vision in days or months. Wet AMD is caused by leakage of blood vessels at the back of the eye, which affects central vision. There are some treatments for wet AMD, depending on the level of your vision and the progression of the disease.

People who have ARMD may notice a reduction in their central vision – reading fine print and recognising faces may be more difficult and straight lines may appear 'wobbly'. If you notice this, it is important to contact your optician as soon as possible. At DW Roberts our optometrists are here to help you.

There have been many suggested risk factors for ARMD, but the only known risk factors are age, smoking and family history.

Retinal Photography

Retinal photography is recommended for AMD sufferers along with those suffering from high blood pressure, headaches, flashing lights, floaters, diabetes, glaucoma and those with a high prescription.


These are caused by changes to the lens of the eye. Your lenses become cloudy, and this can have a negative impact on vision so you may feel you are looking through frosted glass.

Age related cataracts normally develop slowly over a long period of time, and can affect people in different ways. Once a cataract reduces vision to a significant level, it may be necessary to have surgery. Cataract operations are the most frequently performed surgery in the UK. For people with early cataracts, and for those who do not want surgery, our opticians can advise on ways to optimise the remaining vision. Frequent changes in your glasses prescription may be necessary.


Diabetes is the most common cause of reduced vision in the population.

Key points for diabetic patients:

  • Have annual sight tests to monitor your prescription.
  • Have regular appointments at the NHS diabetic screening clinic to have retinal photographs (pictures of the back of the eye) taken.
  • If you notice any sudden changes in your vision, it is vital you contact your optician to ask their advice.

If diabetes is poorly controlled, or not monitored sufficiently it can have a negative impact on vision. Visual changes may include:

  • Changes in the prescription due to varying sugar levels.
  • The growth of new vessels at the back of the eye. These vessels may break and bleed into the eye, reducing the vision and may need laser surgery to prevent the growth of further vessels.
  • 'Patchy' vision, where parts of the vision seem clearer than others. This may vary from hour to hour, or day to day.

Retinal Photography

Retinal Photography is recommended for diabetes sufferers along with those suffering from high blood pressure, headaches, flashing lights, floaters, glaucoma, AMD (macular degeneration) and those with a high prescription.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is a very common eye condition, which can cause irritation and discomfort. It can occur due to an insufficiency of quantity of tears, a reduction in the quality of the tears, or a combination of both those factors.

Most commonly, the symptoms of Dry Eye include:

  • Dry, gritty sensation
  • Redness and soreness
  • Stinging or itchy sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurring of vision
  • Contact Lens Discomfort
  • Tiredness
  • Watering eyes (although this seems to be an odd symptom for dry eye syndrome, often, if the tear film is unstable you will produce more tears than usual, but they will not stay in the eye causing your eyes to water).
  • Smeary vision
  • Contact lens discomfort

There are many things that can contribute to Dry Eye Syndrome including the following factors:

  • Increasing age (though people of any age can suffer with Dry Eye)
  • Contact Lens wear
  • Eye or eyelid infection or inflammation such as Blepharitis
  • Certain medications (including birth control)
  • Skin conditions
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and diabetes
  • Prolonged computer use
  • Preservatives in eye drops

Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic condition usually treated with drops. DW Roberts supply various eye care drops and other treatments for Dry Eye including: Systane, Refresh, Hyabak and Thealoz and Eyebags.

Dry Eye Clinic

If you are experiencing symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome, DW Roberts can provide a dedicated, specialist Dry Eye Assessment in order to assess the extent of your dry eye condition and to formulate an effective treatment plan. Our staff have undertaken specialist Dry Eye education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye. The assessment includes tear quantity/quality testing, examination of the front of the eyes and eyelids, a written treatment plan and advice for obtaining the maximum benefit from using the prescribed treatments at home.

Please contact your nearest branch of DW Roberts to book a Dry Eye Assessment or to obtain further information. (The Dry Eye Clinic is a chargeable private service not covered by the NHS.)


Glaucoma is a progressive eye condition caused by changes taking place at the back of the eye. This can result in severely reduced vision if left untreated. Anybody with a family history of glaucoma should have sight tests annually.

Glaucoma screening tests include:

  • Checking the pressure inside the eyes- this is done using a tonometer.
  • Visual fields test - checks your peripheral vision, as glaucoma can cause changes to your visual field.
  • Checking the health at the back of the eye.

Retinal Photography

Retinal photography is recommended for diabetes sufferers along with those suffering from high blood pressure, headaches, flashing lights, floaters, diabetes, AMD (macular degeneration) and those with a high prescription.

If your optician suspects glaucoma, you will be referred to the hospital for more screening tests. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you may be given drops to control the pressure. In some cases surgery may be required. If you have any questions about glaucoma, please ask your optician.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is not as common as the conditions mentioned above but a brief description has been included. The retina is a layer at the back of the eye that receives light to form an image in the brain. In certain instances the retina can become dislodged, which can result in severe vision loss in that eye. If you have, or are thought to be at risk of having a retinal detachment, you will be referred to hospital where they may perform surgery to attempt to prevent the detachment progressing, or to try to re-attach the retina to the back of the eye.

Symptoms to be concerned about:

  • Sudden onset of flashing lights and floaters (little black specs in you vision).
  • A curtain or veil coming across your vision, or if you feel you have lost part of your visual field.
  • A sudden painless loss of vision, in one eye.

If you have any of these symptoms, please contact your optician urgently, if you are not able to contact your optician, you should contact your GP or go straight to A&E.

Regular Eye Tests

Perhaps the most important point to make is regular eye examinations will help you keep your vision performing at its best achievable level and early signs of changes requiring further investigation will be identified.

If you are concerned about any of the common eye conditions described above, please book an appointment.

  • Get In Touch:
  • Bletchley – 01908 373131
  • Newport Pagnell – 01908 218121
  • Stony Stratford – 01908 562355
  • Towcester – 01327 350240
  • Wolverton – 01908 313338
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