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Ophthalmology in Greenwich

Expert treatment for eye and vision concerns

It can often be easy to pay no attention to the incredibly complex structures and processes that are involved in giving us our sight.

In a healthy eye, light passes easily through the clear window called the cornea and the lens, which directs it onto a thin lining of tissue at the back of the eyeball known as the retina. The retina turns this light into electrical impulses, which travel along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain processes these electrical impulses in order to give us our sight.

If something stops or interferes with any part of this complex process, vision will be affected.

Ophthalmology is the field of medicine involved in assessing, diagnosing and treating problems in and around the eye. A doctor who specialises in this area is a Consultant Ophthalmologist or Consultant Ophthalmic.

The Blackheath Hospital is the main provider of private eye care in South East London, and our highly experienced consultants treat a wide range of eye conditions and symptoms at our London hospital for people aged 18+.

Injury, disease, illness and indeed the ageing process can affect the health of the eye in different ways. Eye problems tend to produce certain symptoms, and many people who come to us for help will complain of one or more of these common symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced vision
  • Glare/dazzle
  • Colour fading
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes
  • Dry/itchy/gritty eyes
  • Painful eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Double vision

The Ophthalmology specialists at The Blackheath Hospital see and treat people with the following conditions:

  • Cataracts - cause the clear lens of your eye to become cloudy so that light cannot pass through it as easily. Cataracts are very common in people aged 60+
  • Glaucoma - a long-term condition involving damage to the optic nerve from raised pressure in the eye. If left untreated, it can lead to complete loss of sight
  • Blepharitis – itching, burning, crusting, lumps on the eyelid
  • Macular degeneration (AMD) – affects the central part of the vision. There are two types, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Wet is more sudden and treatable with injections.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes, affecting the blood supply to the retina. Similar to glaucoma, if left untreated it can lead to blindness
  • Inflammation – such as uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer in the eye) and conjunctivitis
  • General ‘lumps and bumps’ around the eye and eyelids
  • Eyelid problems – such as drooping eyelids, excess eyelid skin that overhangs and can affect the vision.  Lids turning in or out. Eyelashes turning in and rubbing the rubbing.

Whether you are interested in reducing your dependency on glasses or concerned about recent changes in your vision, your consultant will take exceptional care of you, making sure you get the correct advice and the most appropriate treatment for your particular eye condition.

Some eye conditions cannot be cured, but symptoms can often be well managed, and vision improved or maintained, with the correct treatment. It is important to get any eye problem treated at the earliest possible stage, to avoid additional damage to the eye or loss of sight in the future.

Whatever your symptoms, your consultant will ensure you receive advice and guidance about the most relevant and appropriate treatment.

  • Cataracts usually get worse over time, so early treatment is sensible if it has already started affecting you. Using minimally invasive surgery, a small incision is made into the eye. The natural (cloudy) lens is then removed and replaced with a new artificial one. Many people who have cataract surgery cannot believe how clear their vision is again.
  • Dry eyes, blepharitis and conjunctivitis are often treated with medication like eye drops or ointment. Hot fomentation and lid cleaning may also be needed.
  • Eye drops are often used at first to lower pressure in the eye caused by glaucoma. Where this doesn’t help, laser or surgery may be needed. There are a few different types of surgery available, the most common one being a trabeculectomy, where some of the fluid in the eye is drained in order to lower the pressure. There are minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) options as well, which may be suitable for certain types of glaucoma.
  • Where vision is being affected by diabetic retinopathy, injections into the eye, surgery or laser treatment (photocoagulation) may be used.
  • If you would like to stop having to wear glasses or contact lenses, refractive lens surgery (also known as lens exchange surgery) replaces the natural lens with a bespoke artificial one tailored to your specific vision correction requirements. These can be multifocal or trifocal. One of the advantages of private treatment is that you have a far wider choice of implants and can choose the ones that would be best for you, your lifestyle and your requirements.
  • Alternatively, laser refractive surgery can be carried out to reshape the front surface of the eye (cornea) in order to improve vision.
  • Newer treatments like vascular endothelial growth factor antagonist (VEGF) may help to slow the progress of macular degeneration.
  • If your upper eyelids are sagging and limiting your vision, ptosis surgery can be carried out to tighten the muscles that support the eyelid.
  • There are specialists in Oculoplastic surgery and can correct a range of different conditions that affect the eyelids, eye socket or tear ducts (lacrimal ducts).

If anything affects your vision, it can often be quite a worrying time. If you do have any concerns, our experienced consultants are here to help you and to give you peace of mind.

They will supervise every step of your care and will carefully monitor the results of any treatment to make sure you receive the very best result.

When you first meet your consultant, they will take a medical history and ask you about your symptoms.

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

In many cases, this will be all that is needed to make a diagnosis. Your consultant will then explain the results to you and discuss suitable treatment options.

Please note that in many cases drops will be used to dilate the pupil to examine the back of the eye. You should not drive for 4-6 hours afterwards as the vision can be blurry.

In some cases, additional investigations may be needed, such as visual fields test or optical coherence tomography (OCT), Biometry of the eye or angiography of the retina.

Rarely, you may be referred for further investigations, such as a CT or MRI scan, both of which can be easily arranged for you on-site.

The majority of our patients are based in London and Kent, but people also travel from much further afield to visit our leading experts for help and treatment.

Many people are recommended to us by their optician, GP or a friend or family member. We treat private medical insurance and self-pay patients, and you can self-refer to avoid delay in getting appropriate treatment.

When you visit The Blackheath Hospital, you will benefit from:

  • Rapid access to an expert – It is so important to treat many eye conditions, like glaucoma, at the earliest possible stage to avoid further damage and loss of sight. However, waiting lists for treatment elsewhere are often extremely long. We can arrange an appointment for you with an experienced consultant quickly. By getting expert help sooner, you will be able to benefit from treatment more quickly.
  • Consultant-led care, always – Unlike many places, you will always see a consultant, and will never have to worry about being seen by a more junior doctor or a trainee. Your care will always be under direct supervision of an experienced eye specialist.
  • Flexible appointments – With Ophthalmology appointments available throughout the week, you can book an appointment to suit your availability. We are also able to offer remote consultations by telephone or video if required (and where clinically appropriate).
  • Patient Satisfaction – In an independent survey, 97.9% of patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to their friends and family.
  • Location – Blackheath Hospital is located in Greenwich London and has extremely good public transport links (we’re just a few minutes walk from Blackheath train station).

If your eyesight is causing you problems, why not book a consultation with an experienced eye doctor in London? They would be delighted to help you.

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