Just as you see an optometrist at regular intervals to check your visual acuity, it’s a good idea to also schedule regular visits to an eye doctor, or Ophthalmologist. Making an appointment with a private ophthalmologist at a state-of-the-art eye clinic to screen for potential eye problems means you’re more likely to catch them in their early stages for diagnosis and treatment using medical drugs or, where necessary, surgery.
How often should you see an eye doctor?
Ideally, a regular routine appointment with an ophthalmologist is advisable every two years unless you wear contact lenses, in which case an annual check-up is recommended. You should also have regular eye checks if you have a medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which is associated with damage to the back of the eye (retina).
Most people only see an ophthalmologist when eye problems have already arisen, however. Your GP or optometrist may refer you to an eye specialist if you develop conjunctivitis or other forms of eye inflammation, persistent dry eyes, increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) or loss of vision due to cataract or macular degeneration, for example.
If an eye problem such as glaucoma runs in your family, or if you have a condition such as diabetes that increases the risk of visual complications, our ophthalmologists can provide specialist monitoring and advice.
Two leading ophthalmologists have consulting rooms at the Medical Chambers Kensington.
Inflammation of the eyes Inflammation can affect the front of the eye (conjunctivitis or pink eye), or deeper parts of the eye, especially in people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Inflammation of the eyelids, known as blepharitis, is also common and causes redness of the edge of the eyelid with soreness, itching, crusting and a build-up of dandruff-like scales. If you develop redness or pain in one or both eyes or eyelids, it is important to seek immediate medical advice, especially if you also notice changes in vision.
Dry eyes Dry eyes are relatively common, especially if you forget to blink when concentrating on your work or computer screen. Some people experience dry eyes all the time, however, due to reduced tear production, which becomes more common with increasing age. You can use eye drops to moisten your eyes if they get dry but, if your eyes are irritated for more than two days you should see an Eye Doctor because it could be the start of something more serious. An ophthalmologist can diagnose the cause and severity, and explain all your treatment options.
Cataracts A cataract is an opacity that forms in the normally crystal clear eye lens. You may experience blurring, changes in colour perception and seeing halos around light, as well as sensitivity to sun glare. Cataracts are due to degenerative changes within the lens that occur with increasing age and are worsened by exposure to ultraviolet light.
After an initial appointment at an eye clinic, an ophthalmic surgeon can remove a cloudy eye lens and replace it with an artificial one to improve your clarity of vision and colour vision.
Age-related macular degeneration Also known as AMD, this is painless and progressive loss of vision in later life and is caused by a drop in the eye's ability to filter out harmful blue light. Chemicals produced during light detection damage cells which leads to a widening circle of visual distortion and blurring. AMD needs specialist management to help preserve eyesight. Some forms of AND respond to new immune-based treatments known as anti-VEGF drugs. Your ophthalmologist can also offer dietary and lifestyle changes to help minimise the progression of symptoms.
Presbyopia Everyone becomes increasingly long-sighted as part of the normal ageing process when the lens in each eye becomes thicker and less able to focus on near objects. Presbyopia symptoms usually occur around the age of 45, and could eventually mean you need spectacles for close activities such as reading or using your mobile phone. Your ophthalmologist can tell you if your eyes are healthy enough to explore treatment through Laser Eye Surgery.
Glaucoma Glaucoma is a sight-threatening condition in which fluid pressure in the eye is too high. It is important to have regular screening with an eye doctor as, by the time symptoms arise, such as headaches, blurred vision or eye pain, damage has already occurred. Regular checks are especially important if you are short-sighted, or if you have a family history of glaucoma. Treatment usually involves eye drops and, in some cases, surgery to create a new channel in the eye through which excess fluid can drain away.
The ophthalmologists at our eye clinic in London
Dr Elodie Azan and Mr Nabeel Malik specialise in all manner of eye conditions including inflammatory eye disease and cataract treatment, and refractive surgery. They are available for private appointments at The Medical Chambers Kensington to provide specialist ophthalmic care in our eye clinic. Please telephone 020 7244 4200 to make a convenient appointment.