Eye care service in Armagh

The eye examination will usually contain all of the following, although sometimes additional or alternative procedures maybe adopted to suit the needs of a particular patient.

History & Symptoms - a discussion of the particular patients optical needs relevant to their career, hobbies and associated 'use of eyes'. Also any relevant regular medication and family history of ocular problems will be noted. The job of the optometrist is to establish just why a particular person has decided to visit the practice for an eye examination and to establish if a visual correction is required, referral for medical opinion is required, or merely some optical advice given, such as advice on lighting, use of VDU's etc.

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Establishing Binocular Status - allowing the optometrist to find out if the patients coordination of his two eyes is within normal limits. Does the patient use both eyes together easily and without stress on the visual system?

Refraction - establishing if any optical error exists and measuring this. The degree of any refracture error will of course be used to decide if any optical appliance such as spectacles or contact lenses are likely to be prescribed.

Fundoscopy - examination of the health of the eyes usually using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. The eyes media - the cornea, aqueous humour, crystalline lens, vitreous and the surface of the retina can all be studied in this manner

Common Eye Problems

Detached Retina

This is where the retina becomes detached from the back of the eye, frequently causing a sudden loss of vision. Other symptoms can be flashing lights and floaters. This is a serious condition requiring immediate referral to casualty for treatment.


Glaucoma is classically caused by a progressive increase of the pressure in the eye to an abnormal level, which damages the optic nerve so messages are no longer sent to the brain. This may lead to tunnel vision and blindness at an early stage. Unfortunately this simple 'definition' is no longer accurate. Glaucomatous field of vision loss can occur in eyes with 'normal' pressures...ie intraocular pressures within the band or range of values generally considered to be normal.

If you suffer from diabetes, anaemia, or hardening of the arteries or if you are black or have a family history of glaucoma, you are more likely to develop glaucoma.

There are two main types of glaucoma; chronic and acute

The acute form is where the pressure suddenly becomes very high and should be treated as soon as possible. It can be very painful. The chronic form is generally symptom less and is gradual process. The pressure, which may be at an abnormally high level, does not get so high as to cause pain. The visual field is gradually affected.
It is important to note that glaucoma is treatable if diagnosed early enough. Glaucoma may be detected by using several tests in conjunction with one another. The intra ocular pressure (IOP) can be measured with a tonometer, the visual field for field defects and the optic nerve head can be examined by the Optometrist using an ophthalmoscope and slit-lamp bio microscope.


This is when one eye turns and does not work properly with the other. The movements of the eyes are controlled by muscles which, work in pairs. If one muscle is weak a squint can occur. A squinting eye may not develop properly leading to a 'lazy' eye. A child may have to wear a patch over the non-squinting eye to stimulate the vision in the poorer eye. Often an operation, sometimes followed by exercises, can remedy the squint. Early diagnosis is important.


A Stye is caused when an eyelash follicle becomes infected. Most styes get better on their own, although hot compresses can help.


Cataracts cloud the eye's normally clear, transparent lens, thus blurring the vision; it's like looking out of a cloudy bathroom window. Like presbyopia, cataract commonly occurs with ageing. Almost all people over 65 will have cataracts, however, only a small number will have poor vision as a result, requiring an operation to remove the cataract.

If you have a cataract you may notice;

  • Gradually blurring or dimming of vision
  • Haziness around lights (particularly at night time)
  • Vision may be worse in bright light

This can be resolved surgically by removing the cataractous lens, and a new plastic lens (an intraocular lens or IOL) is usually inserted into the capsule at the same time, thus being able to restore clear vision without the necessity of thick glasses. Cataract surgery is now quite commonplace and has a high success rate.


Information for patients with flashes and floaters

Flashes of light or black floaters that look like spiders/tadpoles are quite commonly seen by people with normal eyes and may well have been present for many years. They occur because of changes in the vitreous jelly, which lies directly in front of the retina. Any changes in the vitreous jelly can give rise to the appearance of floaters but do not usually lead to any serious problems. No treatment is therefore necessary.

Separation or detachment of the vitreous from the retina is a common phenomenon particularly in people over 50 years of age. In 99 per cent of patients this is an entirely innocent change with no damage to the retina. Floaters can either remain the same, become less noticeable with time or can get completely better.

If they are troublesome, the effect of floaters may be minimized by wearing dark glasses. This will help especially in bright sunlight or when looking at a brightly lit surface or white background.

Symptoms to look for;

  • A decrease or loss of vision
  • An increase in the number of floaters
  • Flashes
  • A curtain effect with your vision.

Lid Hygiene Scrubs

Mix a solution of Baby shampoo and warm water – 5 parts water to 1 part shampoo. Using a clean cotton wool ball and the solution, clean along the eyelashes and lids. Do this to both eyes and repeat every night.

  • Warm Compresses
  • Rinse a clean facecloth with hot water
  • Squeeze out the facecloth and hold onto the closed eyes
  • Repeat this every other night

Please feel free to visit us at our practice. You can also contact us by giving us a call using the click to call free feature or alternatively you can complete our simple contact us form. Make Gamble & Creswell your premier choice for eye care specialists in the local area.

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