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Demodex infestation could be the cause of blepharitis and meibomian gland disease.

What is Demodex?

Demodex is an eight-legged mite from the Demodicidae family that feeds on skin and oil within the eyelid oil-producing glands. They cause inflammation, dryness, grittiness, and scaly skin around the eyelids.

Demodex mites need humans to live, they develop naturally on our skin until their death. The life cycle from the egg to the adult mite lasts between 14 and 18 days. The eggs are deposited in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, turning into larvae until they reach adult form.

The mites prefer colonising in the upper eyelash follicles and when they lay eggs in the follicles this can cause them to stretch, leading to misdirected eyelashes. The deposits they leave on the eyelashes can leave them sticky or crusty, irritating the eyelids. These deposits also release toxins which can trigger an inflammatory response.

Those with rosacea and older people tend to have greater numbers of Demodex mites, making them more prone to blepharitis.

Symptoms

  • Grittiness or a foreign body sensation
  • Redness and itching of the eyelid
  • Loss or misdirection of eyelashes
  • Recurrent eye or eyelid infections
  • Transparent or whitish flakes forming crusty debris over approximately 1mm of the base of the lashes and referred to as cylindrical dandruff.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Demodex can be confirmed by the microscopic analysis of an eyelash sample during a consultation with an ophthalmologist.

Treatment

Following diagnosis, your ophthalmologist will recommend a daily cleansing routine using topical products containing tea tree oil to clean the eyelids and eyelashes.

In cases where treatment is not successful or for more severe forms of the condition, an oral antibiotic or IPL treatment may be prescribed and used in addition to the daily cleansing routine.

Treatment should be continued until the eggs hatch and the new mites can be targeted as initial treatment will only eradicate the Demodex mite but not their eggs.

What to do if you think you may have symptoms of a Demodex infestation

If you think you may have symptoms of a Demodex infestation it is recommended you book a consultation with an ophthalmologist.

MY Eye Clinic can provide expert consultant ophthalmologist assessment for the diagnosis and treatment of Demodex, Blepharitis, and Meibomian Gland Disease.

We offer BlephEx™ treatment of blepharitis and are the only medical facility in the North East offering OptiLight IPL for the treatment of dry eyes and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

It’s no secret that, as we age, our eyes deteriorate. Over 54% of people over 60 years of age are estimated to have cataracts. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed ophthalmic surgical procedure worldwide. With NHS waiting lists rising in the last couple of years, it’s important to act early to reduce the impact cataracts can have on your life. Here, we discuss everything from symptoms to look out for to treatment and recovery. Here’s everything you need to know.

Starting with the basics, what are cataracts?

Inside the eye is a small lens, similar to a camera lens. This lens sits just behind your coloured iris. The lens focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye for clear vision. As we age, the lens will naturally start to lose transparency and become cloudy, this is called a cataract. Most cataracts are related to age and as they develop slowly, some patients may not be aware they are developing cataracts until a routine eye test with an optician identifies them. Cataracts are the most common cause of treatable blindness in the world.

How can you tell if you have a cataract?

Due to their gradual development, your cataracts may have little effect on your vision at first. Over time the vision can become blurred and you may find that it does not even improve with new glasses. The longer the cataract is left to develop, the more severely it can affect your vision. Book an appointment with your local Optometrist if you experience symptoms such as cloudiness or mistiness, faded or washed-out colours, a dazzling glare from bright light and light sensitivity, repeated changes in spectacle prescription, or double vision.

Can anyone develop cataracts? What are the risk factors?

Whilst most cataracts are age-related, they aren’t just in the over 60’s. Risk factors include genetic causes, infections, smoking, exposure to UV light over prolonged periods, medications such as steroids, medical conditions such as diabetes and a history of previous eye surgery.

What is the best way to get a diagnosis?

They can usually be picked up by a normal eye test, which is why it is important to visit your local Optometrist regularly (once every two years or more frequently if your optician recommends it). During your eye exam, your Optometrist will carry out several tests, and if they suspect you have cataracts they can make a referral to an eye specialist (Ophthalmologist) who can confirm the diagnosis and your plan of treatment.

Do cataracts always need treatment?

Cataracts don’t always require treatment after initial diagnosis, especially if they aren’t bothering you. Initially, a simple change of prescription may restore acceptable vision. The cataracts will however progressively get worse and will need treatment to restore your vision.

Is surgery the only option for getting rid of cataracts?

Yes, surgery is the only way to remove your cataracts. This is a very short operation, typically it takes less than 15 minutes per eye. It is a safe, effective and low-risk procedure. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and is pain free – you will feel some pressure and fluids around the eye but should not feel any pain or discomfort. Sedation is available if you’re anxious.

What can you expect from the surgery itself?

During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant (intraocular lens, IOL). The surgeon will make a tiny incision to open the outer lining of the natural lens to remove the cloudy contents using an ultrasound machine and lots of water. Your surgeon will then place a new artificial lens inside the eye, allowing you to see more clearly.

Is it worth going private?

When cataract surgery is performed on the NHS, patients are treated with a standard intraocular lens (IOL), a synthetic lens which aims to improve the clarity of vision, but patients may need to wear reading and/or long-distance glasses even if they weren’t previously worn. Patients treated privately have the option to ‘upgrade’ to a premium IOL, which is tailored specifically to your personal vision requirements, which can mean that you can also be free of glasses or contact lenses as well as cataracts all in one procedure.

Are there any risks and downtime to be aware of?

Cataract is a low-risk surgery but, as with any surgery, it is not zero risk. The risk of eyesight being worse in the operated eye is about 1 in 100 and of a serious complication leading to severe loss of vision (such as infection) is about 1 in 1000. Your Consultant Ophthalmologist will discuss all risks with you prior to surgery.

Overall, there is no major downtime following surgery. You can expect your vision after surgery to be blurry with a slight glare that will settle. It is normal for eyes to feel a little gritty for a few days, drops will be given to ensure your eyes are as comfortable as possible in the days following surgery. It is important you avoid touching or rubbing your eyes after surgery for a few days to a week, sunglasses will help with sensitivity.

Finally, is there a risk of cataracts returning?

No, cataracts will not return. It is worth noting that about one in ten may need a very simple laser treatment, YAG laser capsulotomy. This can be necessary after cataract surgery if there is a misting of the capsule that holds the new lens implanted in position. This treatment is painless and generally takes just 10-15 minutes.

Considering cataract surgery? Here’s why we believe you should choose MY Eye Clinic…

  • A kind, compassionate and reassuring team. We aim to immediately put you at ease and are happy to discuss any questions you may have about your procedure.
  • Expert consultant assessment of cataracts. If you have not previously had refractive surgery, the initial consultation appointment is free!
  • Provision of Toric lenses which correct astigmatism and Multifocal lenses can offer corrected vision for distance, intermediate and near vision.
  • A full refractive service, Site for Eyes, which offers laser eye surgery (LASIK/LASEK), clear lens extractions and cataract surgery with special lenses (toric/ multifocal).
  • A new operating theatre suite which is fully equipped with the latest generation cataract machine (Alcon Centurion Gold), an excellent operating microscope and a new (DORC Nexus) combined cataract and vitrectomy machine.

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes, due to a reduction in the quality or quantity of tears. This tear film comprises three layers that work together to keep your eyes moist and protected. The top oily layer helps to prevent evaporation of tears. The middle, watery layer is the thickest layer and the sticky bottom layer helps the tear film to adhere to the eye. If anything upsets the balance of these tear film components it can become unstable or evaporate. This results in dryness and inflammation of the cornea (front of the eye).

What treatment is available?

MY Eye Clinic are delighted to introduce a new cutting-edge IPL treatment for dry eyes. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for evaporative dry eye disease, and is now available at MY Eye Clinic.

OptiLIGHT IPL is the latest machine to be introduced in our clinic offering treatment for dry eye disease (DED) and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), as well as many dermatological conditions such as rosacea, acne and skin pigmentation.

A full OptiLIGHT IPL treatment plan includes four sessions with a senior, fully accredited corneal consultant, spaced 2 – 3 weeks apart, followed by maintenance sessions every six months.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of dry eye disease. The most common symptoms include gritty, sore, itchy, red and uncomfortable eyes. It can feel as if there is a foreign body in your eye. Although lubricating eye drops can help manage the symptoms, OptiLight IPL actually treats, and even cures, dry eyes.  This allows patients to reduce or stop taking lubricating eye drops.

The OptiLIGHT IPL uses patented Lumenis Optimal Pulse Technology for targeted, precise, controlled treatment. This new light therapy is not a laser, but instead it is an intense white light source. It offers a clinically proven, effective and safe treatment. Patients undergoing IPL can expect to regain comfortable, clearer, brighter, more moist eyes without pain and puffy red thickened eyelids. Each IPL session is cumulative in effect.

If you suffer from dry eye disease, ocular rosacea or meibomian gland dysfunction, don’t leave it too long to seek treatment. The OptiLIGHT IPL could address and break the dry eye vicious circle of inflammation. 

MY Eye Clinic is the only medical facility in the North East offering OptiLIGHT IPL for the treatment of dry eyes; only a few clinics outside of London can offer this latest FDA-approved treatment.

Having your eyes checked regularly is very important, many causes of sight loss are preventable if caught early enough and a regular eye check is the best way to do this.

In many cases glaucoma can show no symptoms so it can be a bit of a shock when you visit your optometrist and they say they suspect you may have glaucoma. Here one of our patients Mrs Peters shares her journey of being diagnosed with glaucoma.

“I just went along to my opticians for a routine check to see if my glasses needed changing. I did need stronger glasses to read fine print but they also found that the pressure was slightly raised in both eyes. My gran had glaucoma so this worried me. I was referred to the local NHS eye clinic. For a long while I didn’t hear anything, then my hospital appointment letter arrived saying I would have to wait a further 12 weeks to be seen. That seemed a long wait so I decided to go private. After a bit of research I went to see Mr Doherty, a glaucoma specialist who sees private patients at My Health Clinic in Gosforth.

My appointment was early evening, fitting in around my work schedule and avoiding the busy traffic. Upon arriving at the clinic, I was welcomed by Pauline who gave me a lovely frothy coffee and sat and chatted with me, she was great at calming my nerves. Mr Doherty called me in for my glaucoma assessment. It started with reading down the chart, having my eyes examined with a bright light and having my eye pressures checked with a blue light (no puff of air, thank goodness!), but both were a little high. He looked at the front of my eye using a lens with mirrors. The thickness of the front part of my eye was measured with a little beeping pen machine. Next came the field of vision test, I had to put on a patch and look into a machine that made little flashes of light. Each time I saw a flash I had to press a little button that made a beep. It was quite difficult to concentrate and keep looking straight ahead. My field test was nearly normal, but I had missed some flashes with each eye. Mr Doherty explained that I had early glaucoma that I can treat with just one drop to each eye before bedtime. I was very worried coming into this appointment, but my mind is now at rest. Mr Doherty was lovely, taking the time to fully explain the tests, condition and treatment to me and also taking the time to listen to and respond to my concerns. I will see Mr Doherty again in 2 months at My Health Clinic to recheck my pressures.”

The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed, the less damage will be done and the more vision will be saved! It is recommended you visit your optometrist for a regular eye check:

Every 2 – 4 years for those aged under 40 years

Every 2 – 3 years for those between 40 and 60 years

Every 1 – 2 years for those aged 60 years plus

The ear is a delicate, complex organ which controls hearing and balance, allowing us to make sense of our surroundings and position ourselves correctly. It’s split into three parts; outer, middle and inner. It’s one of the only body parts we can’t see without a mirror! But what if we could see our ears? Or even better, what if we could see inside? To make sense of the hardworking organ, fasten your seatbelts and take a trip inside the ear with us…

As our journey begins, we find ourselves landing on the outside of the ear, the pinna. The pinna is the large part of your ear attached to your head. When you reach up to touch your ear, you’re touching the pinna.

From here, we take a walk into a large tunnel where you can still see the outside world. Sound travels from the external world into this path when it first reaches your head. You may notice some sticky yellow residue on the walls, this is earwax. Earwax is the cleaning system for your ears. It blocks dirt and debris from getting into the sensitive and important parts of your ear. The ear is self-cleaning for this reason, and is best left alone unless you have a significant build up needing professional attention.

Once you reach the end of the tunnel, you’ll take a turn and see a large round wall. This is your eardrum, or medically known as the tympanic membrane. As you’d imagine, the eardrum is very similar to a musician’s drum, being that it’s made up of 3 layers which are stretched across the ear canal, when the sound hits the eardrum, it vibrates and moves the layers of skin.

Nothing typically gets past the eardrum, but for educational purposes, we’ve managed to get you a backstage pass into the middle ear! Inside the middle ear, above you you’ll see something resembling a hammer attached to the eardrum. This is the malleus, which is first bone in your middle ear. It’s attached to the eardrum and it moves whenever the eardrum moves. You’ll also see another bone attached to the malleus, the incus.

The incus is the bone which works like a lever. It turns the tiny vibrations of sound into movements big enough for your ear to hear. Next in line is the stapes. The stapes looks like almost like an old fashioned clothing iron, and is attached to your cochlea by an oval window. The oval window is the entrance to the cochlea, when the oval window is pushed back and forth by the stapes, the fluid inside the cochlea moves back and forth.

Once you’ve managed to sneak past security through the oval window, you’ll find yourself in the cochlea. This is part of the inner ear and looks a bit like a snail shell. Inside the cochlea you’ll find yourself in a big sphere surrounded by fluid, membranes and cells. The vibrations move through the fluid and cause the tiny hair cells in the cochlea to move. The hair cells detect the movement and change it into the chemical signals for the hearing nerve. The hearing nerve then carries the signal to the brainstem which analyses the sound. You wouldn’t know you’d heard a single thing if the signal didn’t reach the brainstem. We’re all aware of how wonderful our hardworking brains are, and the partnership between the ears and the brain is simply magical. It’s important to take care of your ears, which is why at My Hearing Clinic, we’re here to cover all aspects of hearing health.

Early diagnosis and treatment of cataracts can help you maintain your vision having a profound effect on your well-being.

Inside the eye is a small lens which helps you see clearly. The lens sits just behind the coloured iris. As you grow older the lens naturally starts to become cloudy, this is called a cataract. The lens will never clear and so will need to be removed to help you see clearly again.

Cataracts can develop gradually so at first your cataract may have little effect on your vision. For others there can be a definable and definite change to vision. Knowing more about the symptoms of cataracts can help you to get an early diagnosis and treatment.

Common cataract symptoms to look out for: 

  • Cloudy or blurred vision – you may notice difficulty when reading the newspaper or looking to road signs in the distance.
  • Problems in bright light – you may find you are more sensitive to light during the day, suffer with glare in bright light (like sun through a dirty windscreen) or glare from lights on a night may be causing difficulty.
  • Seeing double – you may see double or multiple images from one eye.
  • Poor night vision – you may find it difficult to see when the light starts to fade.

I have some of these symptoms, what next?

If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cataracts. Book an appointment with one of our ophthalmic surgeons here at My Eye Clinic and they can assess your eyes for cataracts and any other problems.

If you have developed a cataract, your surgeon will develop a personalised treatment plan for your specific needs and will be with you every step of the way through the process.

Cataract surgery

If following your consultation you find that you require cataract surgery, your surgeon will talk you through everything that is involved. Cataract operations are performed under local anaesthetic, the eye will be numbed using drops and/ or an injection and you will be awake throughout the surgery. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.

During surgery, the consultant will replace the cloudy natural lens with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) which will last a lifetime. For those who are interested in correcting visual errors such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism, we also offer refractive cataract surgery – just ask your surgeon for more information.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world. It is a relatively painless, simple procedure which is very successful in restoring vision.

All My Eye Clinic ophthalmologists hold consultant NHS posts and all have undergone additional training in their chosen sub-specialty training within ophthalmology to ensure high-quality care. We have specialists in cornea, cataract, glaucoma, eyelid problems, retinal problems and neuro-ophthalmology. At My Eye Clinic you can be assured your eye care is in good hands.

Contact us today to book your consultation on 0191 9178887.

When fitted with new hearing aids, the most common comment we get from people is “I can hear the birds singing now!”

There is very little that can compare to immersing yourself in nature and soaking in the sights and sounds. Be it the birds in the trees, the crunch of Autumn leaves below your feet or the lapping of the sea against the shore, the beautiful sounds our planet Earth produces are unparalleled.

To get an understanding of the impact sounds have on our everyday life, we asked the following question:

What is your favourite sound?

“Running water from a river, stream or waterfall. I love the sound of the water trickling!”

“The engine noise from a Mustang!”

“The crunch you get under your feet when walking in deep snow.”

“The sound of raindrops hitting the top of your tent when camping!”

Something that we often overlook is the sheer power that sounds have to transport you back to a time or place, be it the opening credits of your favourite childhood cartoon, a song from your favourite film or perhaps the way Forest Gump claims “life is like a box of chocolates”. Psychologists have long been fascinated with the link between sounds and memory, so much so that there are constantly studies being done around sound. Sounds are used to unlock memories in dementia care, music and sounds seem to be able to reach places in the brain that other forms of communication simply can’t.

Despite sounds, music and noise being so influential in our lives, bringing so much power and joy, it is often taken for granted. We notice most that those presenting with hearing loss have long forgot the usual sounds they used to hear, which is why once their hearing is restored, they are amazed at the things they had been missing!

“I can hear the kettle boiling as soon as I walk into my kitchen!”

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, don’t delay in getting a hearing test. They are free and painless and can be done in around an hour. With the help of a hearing aid you could once again hear your world and the wonderful sounds it makes. Call today on 0191 917 8887 for more information. 

Digital eyestrain and poor eye health is on the rise, not surprising with the average Briton now spending seven hours plus in front of a screen each day! Keep your eyes in tip-top condition with our eight tips for healthy eyes … 

1. Visit A Good Local Optometrist 

Adults should visit at least every two years, if you have a close relative who has Glaucoma you should visit every year from the age of 40. Children should have their first eye test before starting school, this can drastically reduce the chances of developing an untreatable lazy eye in adulthood. 

2. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes often and vigorously can permanently weaken the cornea which can cause a condition know as keratoconus. 

3. Eat The Rainbow

Enjoying a diet rich in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables can help reduce the chances of developing severe macular degeneration. 

4. Prevent Computer Screen Discomfort 

Simple changes can help reduce dry, uncomfortable eyes from computer screen use. Try lowering the position of your screen and close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Preservative free artificial tears can also help some people. 

5. Increase The Quality Of Your Tears 

Increasing omega-3 oils, such as oily fish, and introducing flaxseed oil supplements in your diet can reduce the chance of dry eye and increase the quality of your tears.

6. Refresh After A Day In Front Of The Screen

Spending everyday in front of the screen can leave you suffering with blocked oil ducts in the eyelids (meibomian gland dysfunction), resulting in sore, tired, heavy, gritty eyes. Refresh your eyes by placing a hot compress over closed eyelids for 10 minutes, doing this three – four a week can really help refresh the eyes and provide instant relief. 

7. Take Care When Removing Eye Make-up 

Ingredients, such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil, found in some eye make-up removers have been known to clog pores which can cause discomfort, puffiness and irritation of the eye area, it may also cause infection. 

8. Quit Smoking  

Smoking increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and has been linked to the development of cataracts. It causes harm to the tissue of the eye and doubles your chances of losing your sight, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People. 

We have been fortunate to have another wonderful summer again this year, it has been simply glorious. Yes, we’ve had the occasional rainy day but that helps the garden! 

As we look forward to more wonderful long summer days spent outdoors with friends and family we thought we share some of our tips on protecting your eyes in the sun.

Overexposure to UV light increases the risks of eye diseases, including cataracts, growths on the eye and cancer. It can cause damage to the surface of the eye as well as the cornea and lens.

These diseases may take many years to develop, but each time we go out into the sun without protection we could be adding damage and increasing our risks to these serious disorders.

Be eye smart in the sun!

Simple steps you can take to stay safe in the sun and reduce your risk of developing a potentially blinding disease or tumour.

When buying sunglasses, do you check the UV rating? Ensure yours block both UV-A and UV-B rays and are labelled either UV400 or 100% UV protection. Wrap around styles stop the sun’s rays from entering at the side.

If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, remember they are not protecting your whole eye – you still need sunglasses!

For extra protection, wear a broad-brimmed hat with your sunglasses.

Take extra care in UV-intense conditions such as the mid-day sun, when at higher altitudes and when the sun is reflected off water, ice or snow. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis, this condition is responsible for snow blindness.

Ensure you and your family take precautions whenever you are outdoors.

Remember – never look directly at the sun!

We all use sunscreen to protect our skin, don’t forget to protect your eyes as well.

Concerned about damage your eyes may have suffered due to sun exposure – contact us today on 0191 9178887 or book on-line 

As we approach Tinnitus Awareness Week (1st – 7th February 2021) we thought we’d share some information on the condition and what we can do here in clinic to help you get relief. 

Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and or ear which have no external source. It is possible to experience tinnitus in one ear (Unilateral tinnitus) or both ears at once. It can begin suddenly or come on gradually. Different people suffer in slightly different ways from tinnitus such as:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Musical

Tinnitus is a condition that most of us have heard of before. In fact, in the UK it affects around 6 million people, with about 600,000 experiencing it to a severity that affects their quality of life.

Although there is sadly no cure for tinnitus there are ways in which we can help to reduce the impact tinnitus can have on your life. 

The solution is in fact hearing aids. They don’t just help you hear clearer but do in fact have additional purposes with one being tinnitus management. Starkey’s Multiflex tinnitus technology creates a comforting and customisable sound stimulus that helps mask your tinnitus. This doesn’t eliminate the tinnitus altogether but helps fade it into the background of your day to day tasks. It works in the same way a clock ticks, when you focus on the clock you can hear it tick but as soon as your brain focuses on another sound it fades into the background, appearing to go altogether.

Starkey’s Multiflex tinnitus technology is clinically proven to provide tinnitus relief and with the predicted UK figures of 7.1 million people suffering from tinnitus by 2028, this could be very valuable technology.

We will win this battle against tinnitus.

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