Marian Donovan Optometrist


helping you to make the most of your vision

Tel: 01934 862933   |   Email:

Common Eye Conditions

Dry Eye is an increasingly common condition often associated with hormonal problems but also a complication of some forms of arthritis.  It is often caused by a disruption in tear fluid - not enough of the oily component is being manufactured and so the cornea dries out each time the eye blinks, partially exposing the nerve endings.  It can be controlled by using artificial tears on an ongoing basis and/or by using a warm compress on the closed lids followed by a massage at the lid margins.

Cataracts are a condition where the lens inside the eye gradually becomes less transparent, causing a reduction in vision.  Progressive cataracts can cause a change in spectacle prescription so it is worth having your eyes checked regularly.  A good light is essential at this point.  Cataract surgery is usually a simple 30 minute outpatient procedure, more uncomfortable than painful, with usually good outcomes.  Be prepared for colours to look very different post cataract!

Conjunctivitis is a relatively common problem caused by several different things.  It is characterised by slight redness on the white part of the eye and/or the inside of the lids.  It can be resolved with specific drops or eye washes but sometimes it can resolve without intervention, depending on the cause (viral, bacterial or allergic).  It is best to consult your optometrist for advice.

Glaucoma is a condition caused by raised intraocular pressure in the eye.  Imagine an over-inflated balloon - it will bulge at its weakest point.  The weakest point in the eye is where the optic nerve will be pushed back out, thus stretching nerve fibres and damaging them, causing a loss of peripheral vision.  It is easily controlled if caught early so regular check-ups are very important to monitor the intraocular pressure.  It is not connected with blood pressure.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins.  It tends to be a chronic condition, particularly associated with dry skin (seborrhoeic) or bacterial.  It can be very difficult to get rid of and so anyone advised to try lid wipes etc may have to cotinue for weeks or months with the treatment before seeing results.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the major causes of visual loss.  The central part of the vision begins to fade, become distorted or fragmented.  It can be classified as either 'wet' or 'dry', though the two conditions have very different aetiology.


Wet AMD is a little like blisters on the surface of the retina and can now be treated with lucentis injections which, although not a cure, can prevent it getting worse. 


Dry AMD happens when the receptors in the retina become disconnected from their blood supply.  This is a chronic condition which can take years to progress but cannot be treated at present.  Vitamin supplements of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, C and E, are recommended for people with a family history of dry AMD.