Eye conditions and terms

Have you ever heard or been told something about your eyes you don't really understand? Below are some commonly used terms that you may of heard in an opticians and a simple explanation.  If you have any further queries feel free to contact us and one of our trained advisors will be more than happy to help. 

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A cataract is the cloudiness of the intra ocular lens. When we reach 35-40 the lens starts to change, becoming less flexible and deposits of protein settle on the lens- with time this can affect our vision and we will often let you know that you are not seeing as well. Changes to the lens starts quite early on and it usually when we are in our 60’s sometimes earlier for other reasons does it start to affect our vision. Sometimes depending on the cataract you have it might not affect your vision at all.


Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve. It is a condition that starts to affect your peripheral vision slowly, and is rather difficult to pick up changes oneself as the brain works really well in filling in the gaps.

There are different types of glaucoma and sometimes identified with high intra ocular pressures, but this is not always the case. It is important to have regular eye examinations suggested by the optician. You are at higher risk if you are over 40 years of age and have an immediate family link with glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Is a condition that effects the central part of your vision. Its main risk factor is age, but smoking can speed up the process in which this condition can affect you, as well as the genetic element. There are different types of AMD 'dry' and 'wet'. The dry type is the slow progressing type affecting vision slowly and the wet type although the more severe type is the one that has treatment to help slow the progression. 

Tip: Quit smoking! Eating a good healthy green diet, fish oils and vitamins all help maintain a healthy retina.

Macula supplements are available on the market, and we do have products that we can suggest. Feel free to come into store or alternatively speak to your GP.


Astigmatism is the way the eye is shaped, you will often hear your eye is like a rugby ball shape. Correcting the astigmatism allows you to identify letters a lot better, if you were to distinguish an ‘H’ and ‘N’ the astigmatism would allow you to see that the horizontal line makes the ‘H’ and diagonal line ‘N’

Myopia (Short sighted)

Difficulties with the distance range. Corrected with minus lenses. It is the most common refractive error. You will often have difficulties with road signs, text on television and objects in the distance, but you will be able to see for near tasks such as reading a book.

You may also notice that you are squinting, getting eye strain and headaches. Feeling fatigues with concentration tasks i.e driving or playing sports can be a symptom or short sightedness.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with or without glasses, it is important to arrange an eye examination with us soon.

Myopia often begins in childhood and your risk is higher if your parents are shortsighted. A prescription will often progress and then plateau/stabilise and will then even improve. Every patient is different and a definite prediction can not be made.

Hyperopia (Long sighted)

Corrected with plus lenses and will often see distant objects very well, but have difficulty focusing on objects that are up close.

If you are longsighted you may have headaches or eye strain and may squint or feel fatigued when performing work at close range. If you experience these symptoms it is important to have your eye examined.


Unfortunately as you get older you intra ocular lens hardens which reduces it flexibility, making it difficult to focus close up. It usually starts to affect your vision in your early forties. You may find that you need to stretch your arms out to a point that your arms are not long enough, simply holding things further away.

To correct this problem you must have an up to date sight test to check your correct reading prescription. To give you the focusing power that your own lens can no longer create. You will be offered multifocals that will allow you to see the distance or just reading glasses, which will make your vision in the distance blurry. Sometimes having to take your glasses on and off can be a pain, speak to your optician to discuss your options.

Tip: We do sell ready readers at competitive prices, but please don’t buy from non-reputable places because it just cheap. You can do more harm than good. We have found ready readers with different prescriptions in each eye, labelled incorrectly and the list goes on – and you wonder why you head hurts?

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