Eye Research

Research into the eyes and how to maintain or even restore good vision has come a long, long way over the years. The speed that technology moves these days only means more new and exciting developments in the world of optics are yet to come.

We should all cherish our vision every single day, it's too easy to take it for granted. But let's face it, we all do - purely because it's something we're used to and don't often give it a second thought. But it's one of those things we'd miss immensely if one day it was gone for good. Advances in eye research help us all receive a higher standard of eye care and often with more successful results.

Developments in Technology

Let's start with the eye examination. In recent years, the methods and instruments used to test the eyes have changed drastically. The traditional methods still work of course, but newer systems such as retinal scanning and retinal photography, deliver much more accurate results, thanks to research into how the inside and the back of the eye can be photographed. We now offer retinal photography as a standard part of a private sight examination, where a very high resolution photograph of the back of your eye is taken and saved against your record. This can then be compared to the photograph taken at your next examination where smaller changes (if any) can be detected much more easily.

Retinal photography
Retinal photography

Cataract Surgery

A diagram of the eye

Cataracts are a common condition, particularly for the older generation. They can occur in one or both eyes, causing blurry/cloudy vision. If the vision becomes so poor that everyday tasks such as driving or reading cannot easily be completed, the cataracts must be removed to restore clear vision (cataract surgery would be available on the NHS for cases such as this). The removal of cataracts is a fairly straightforward procedure that will usually take around half an hour to complete under local anaesthetic. If cataracts are present in both eyes, the surgery would be carried out on each eye at different times.

The surgeon makes a very small incision in your eye so they can remove the now clouded lens. When this has been removed, a very small plastic intraocular lens (or intraocular implant) is put in its place.

Laser Refractive Cataract Surgery is an alternative which is not yet commonly used but could well improve on many aspects of the current regular method. Computer-guided lasers are used for cutting, instead of cutting by hand. This makes the procedure much more accurate and precise and can even be tailored to the shape of the patient's eyeball. The recovery process would also be sped up as a result.

Looking Ahead

A lady wearing Google Glass

Eye research has reached a stage where patients are regularly given the gift of sight thanks to corneal transplants. This procedure is common, though eye donors are often in short supply. We live in a time when you can walk into a hospital with extremely poor and cloudy vision, have an operation on your eye while you're awake and walk back out the same day with crystal clear vision soon after. And now with the arrival in the UK of Google Glass, we can have emails, texts and other vital information projected onto our eyewear lenses.

With Google Glass we can even translate foreign text as we read it. Where will it end? Getting the most from our vision is one thing, but keeping our eyes healthy is another thing entirely. Research has shown for a long time that certain foods and nutritional supplements can help maintain healthy vision (see tomorrow's blog!). We're nearing the end of National Eye Health Week now, but you can always read all of our NEHW blogs to find tips and useful information on maintaining those healthy eyes!

We're excited to see what's next in the world of eye research because, simply put, sight is precious. Everything should be done to maintain it and get the most from it.

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