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Ophthalmology in Manchester

Expert treatment for eye and vision concerns

It can be all too easy to take our sight for granted, and many of us don’t really pay much attention to the incredibly complex processes involved in our ability to see.

When the eye functions normally, light is able to easily pass through the lens, where it is focussed onto a particular area at the back of the eyeball known as the retina. The retina turns the light into electrical impulses that are transmitted along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain processes these signals in order to give us our sight.

If anything disrupts any of these complex processes, vision will be affected. We often tend to notice our vision more when we experience a problem.

Any change in vision can be a cause for concern. Perhaps you’re finding it harder to enjoy reading because the words are appearing somewhat blurred? Maybe you’re wondering about alternatives to prescription glasses? When any concerns with vision start affecting daily life, you shouldn’t just have to put up with it.

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery that diagnoses and treats diseases and disorders of the eye. A doctor who has specialised in this area is known as a Consultant Ophthalmologist.

The consultants at The Alexandra Hospital are experts in eye health, treating a wide range of eye conditions and symptoms.

They would be delighted to meet with you and help you access the most appropriate treatment for your particular requirements.

Eye health can be affected by injury, disease and illnesses such as diabetes.

The people who visit us for help often complain of one of these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced vision
  • Glare/dazzle
  • Colour losing intensity
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye pain
  • Squints

Many people with some of these symptoms, especially those aged 60+, are found to have cataracts. A cataract causes the lens of your eye to become cloudy, which stops light from passing through correctly. This affects your vision in a way that can’t be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

Cataracts become more common as we age. There are also other conditions that commonly affect the eye, all of which can affect vision to varying degrees. In addition to cataracts, the Ophthalmology specialists at The Alexandra Hospital regularly see and treat with the following conditions:

  • Glaucoma - a long-term condition caused by damage to the optic nerve, usually from raised pressure in the eye
  • Dry eyes
  • Blepharitis - itchy and swollen eyelids
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – two types, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’
  • Diabetic retinopathy – affects the blood supply to the retina. A complication of diabetes, it can lead to blindness if left untreated
  • ‘Lumps and bumps’ around the eye and eyelids – (e.g. stye)
  • Inflammation – such as uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer in the eye) and conjunctivitis
  • Floaters - specks in your field of vision
  • Eyelid problems – such as eyelid cysts or drooping eyelids that hang over the eye and interfere with vision
  • Retinal detachment - when the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye
  • Retinoblastoma - cancer of the retina

Some eye conditions cannot be completely cured, but symptoms can often be effectively managed with appropriate treatment. Your consultant will advise you on suitable treatment options for your specific symptoms and condition.

  • Cataracts will get worse over time, and it is worth removing a cataract once your vision has been noticeably affected. This is done with minimally invasive surgery, where a very small cut is made into the eye, so the natural lens can be removed and replaced with an artificial one. The procedure is most often completely painless. Cataract surgery can be a life-changing operation for many people.
  • Dry eyes, blepharitis and conjunctivitis are often treated with medication like eye drops or antibiotics.
  • Glaucoma is usually initially treated with eye drops to try to lower the pressure inside the eye. If this is not successful, surgery may be needed. There are different ways this can be done, one of which is a trabeculectomy to drain some of the fluid in your eye in order to relieve the pressure. Laser treatment can also be used. Whichever treatment is used, the aim is to prevent additional damage to the optic nerve, but it won’t undo any damage that has already occurred.
  • If diabetic retinopathy is affecting your vision, treatment can be given by laser (photocoagulation), injections into the eye or by surgery.
  • If you wear glasses or contact lenses and are interested in alternative options, your consultant will discuss these with you. Refractive lens surgery (also known as lens exchange surgery) replaces the natural lens with an artificial one tailored to your exact vision correction requirements. Different levels of customisation are available, including multifocal or toric, and your consultant will discuss these with you to ensure you see the best possible improvement in vision.
  • While there is no cure for age-related macular degeneration, modern treatments such as a vascular endothelial growth factor antagonist (anti-VEGF) injection may help to slow its progress.
  • If your upper eyelids are sagging and affecting your vision, ptosis surgery can be carried out to tighten the muscles that support the eyelid.
  • Oculoplastic surgery can be carried out for a range of different conditions affecting the eye socket or tear ducts (lacrimal ducts).

Whatever symptoms you may have, the highly experienced consultants at The Alexandra Hospital will oversee every aspect of your care tailoring treatment to your specific needs and what is best for you.

When you meet your consultant at the hospital, they will take a medical history and ask you about your symptoms. They will want to know things like:

  • What symptoms you have
  • When the symptoms first appeared
  • Whether you have received any treatment already, such as prescribed medication

They will carry out an examination of your eyes (this is known as an ophthalmologic examination), to determine your current vision and the health of your eyes. They may also take certain measurements of your eye.

This may be all that is needed to make a diagnosis, in which case your consultant will explain the results and discuss suitable treatment options with you (if treatment is needed) and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

In other cases, additional investigations may be needed, like a visual acuity test, optical coherence tomography (OCT) or a CT or MRI scan. (CT and MRI scans can be helpful when investigating symptoms like frequent headaches and migraines, or unexplained loss of vision).

When the results are back, your consultant will be able to create a treatment plan that best suits your needs. They will discuss this thoroughly with you so that you can make an informed choice about treatment.

As the largest private hospital in the country outside London, we can offer fast access to leading Consultant Ophthalmologists, with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

Many of our eye patients are from Manchester and the surrounding areas, but due to excellent road access and the national and international reputation of our consultants, people travel from much further away, including the Isle of Man.

People may be referred to us by their optician, GP or private medical insurance provider. We treat private medical insurance and self-pay patients, and you can self-refer to avoid delay.

When you choose The Alexandra Hospital for help with your eye health, you will benefit from:

  • Fast access – Many eye conditions are better treated at the earliest possible stage. We can easily and quickly arrange an appointment for you with an experienced consultant. Earlier assessment and diagnosis mean you will benefit from the most appropriate treatment for your condition sooner.
  • Personalised care – For eye concerns, a bespoke approach to treatment is always going to deliver the best result. Your consultant will tailor treatment to your specific symptoms and requirements and will closely monitor your progress.
  • Convenient appointments – Ophthalmology appointments are available on-site throughout the week, and it’s very easy to book your time online or by telephone. We can offer remote consultations by telephone or video if required (and where clinically appropriate).
  • An experienced team – A multidisciplinary team of specialists, including neurologists, rheumatologist, ENT surgeons, radiologists and neurosurgeons are quickly and easily available for expert input if required. This ensures you will always see the most appropriate person for your particular eye condition.
  • Recommended by our patients – In an independent survey, 97.3% of the people we treated said they were likely or highly likely to recommend The Alexandra Hospital to their friends and family.

If you have any symptoms in or around your eye that are causing you concern, why not book a consultation with one of our experienced specialists?

We look forward to welcoming you to The Alexandra Hospital soon.

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