Conditions We Screen For
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)
ARMD is a group of diseases characterised by the gradual breakdown of the macular (central portion of the eye) and is the most common cause of adult blindness in the UK.
About 1% of people aged 65-75, and about 12% of people aged over 85 have ARMD severe enough to cause serious visual loss. Almost twice as many women over 75 have ARMD compared with men of the same age.
Risk factors thought to increase the chance of developing ARMD include a family history of the disease, smoking, and recent studies have suggested that UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause damage.
Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop in the lens of the eye. Even if you have no symptoms, screening is advised for those with a high risk of developing a cataract.
People with a strong family history of eye disease, and those who are obese, diabetic or have had a serious eye injury in the past, are more at risk of developing cataracts.
Although cataracts are largely treatable, one in four cases of sight loss in people over the age of 75 is due to cataracts.
It is vital that patient with diabetes have the back of their eyes closely examined at least once a year. Diabetic retinopathy is common in people with diabetes, though more common in type 1s.
The longer a person has had diabetes, the higher the risk of developing the condition. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease caused by diabetes, poor management of blood sugars, smoking and obesity.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders in which the optic nerve is damaged, usually due to changes in eye pressure.
Around 2% of patients over the age of 40 have glaucoma, with 500,000 people in England and Wales having some form of the condition.
People with a family history of glaucoma, and those with shortsightedness or diabetes, are more at risk of developing this condition.
It is also thought that 50% of all cases remain undiagnosed, highlighting the need for frequent eye tests. If caught and treated early, glaucoma can be prevented.
Eye Screening Can Also Detect The following Conditions:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension) – signs of high blood pressure, which can cause loss of sight if the blood pressure is not treated effectively
- Neurological and nerve disorders – the eye is a complex branch of the brain and examination can help detect many underlying conditions
- Connective tissue disorders
- High cholesterol