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Eye health (cataracts, glaucoma etc) - expert Q&A

(106 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 15-Apr-19 14:48:58

Have you been experiencing issues with your vision or noticed a change in how your eyes look or feel? Do you have a question about cataracts, want to get to grips with glaucoma or learn more about a symptom you or a close one may been experiencing?

Renowned consultant ophthalmologist, Mr Larry Benjamin, is here to answer your questions as part of blindness prevention charity Orbis’s See My Future appeal. Larry is consultant ophthalmologist at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire and has been an Orbis medical volunteer for 15 years, training ophthalmologists in Zambia, China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Ghana and more, with both the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and within local hospitals.

He has special interests in cataract and diabetic retinopathy management and has served on the ophthalmic committee of the Royal Society of Medicine. In 2016, Larry won an award for his dedication to improving global eye health at the Charity Staff and Volunteer Awards.

Gransnet is supporting Orbis’s See My Future appeal. For three months, until 23rd June, all public donations to the appeal will be doubled by the UK government. To find out more and double the impact of your donation, visit:

Please add your questions on this thread before midday on Monday 29 April, when we will be sending them over to Larry. Answers will be posted here shortly afterwards

Candelle Wed 17-Apr-19 23:44:05


I had macular hole surgery a few years ago.

I was recently 70 and was required to undertake a DVLA eye exam during which I had to score 100% in the peripheral vision test*.

I understand my licence will need to be renewed in three years (as with everyone my age) but could you please tell me if I will have to take the DVLA test again?

*I was told I had three attempts at this test and then.... no licence!
Shaking like a leaf, I first scored 119/120 but told this was a fail.
I had to re-take, managing 120.

Annana Thu 18-Apr-19 06:47:42

Hello Sir,
My 12year old grandson has extreme sensitivity t9 light so much so that his dread on going to the dentist is more from fear of overhead light than the drill. Is that normal and does it carry some risk for future eyesight ?

BradfordLass72 Thu 18-Apr-19 12:21:37

Hello Larry,
I thought I needed new glasses and, as I couldn't afford them, did nothing about my deteriorating eyesight.

Many years later, having been diagnoses as diabetic, I was entitled to a free eye test and they discovered I had AMD.
(there was and still is no damage from diabetic retinopathy)

Since that time I have been having injections of Avastin in my eyes, originally every month, then 2 months and now, after 8 years of regular injections we have come as far as we can. I simply go for checks every 4 months.

I would encourage everyone with any sort of eye problem to have a test because had I been aware of AMD, the ophthalmologist may have been able to slow down my AMD at a much earlier stage.

I also took part in a trial by Auckland (NZ) University.
They were looking for early signs of AMD, and, I believe, found them.

I do feel there should be much more publicity about catching AMD early.

I can no longer read, paint or drive (books and research were my life, painting and carving my passion and of course my car enabled me to go anywhere) but I had 63 years of these treats and created heirlooms over the years. All my treatment has been free so I am not really complaining. smile

Lili2 Thu 18-Apr-19 16:58:17

What are the signs of cataract forming please. Can you still read with cataracts? drive?

watermeadow Mon 22-Apr-19 21:35:33

I’m another one with cataracts, nearing the stage of needing removal, plus useful vision in only one eye.
Apart from being left blind if anything goes wrong, I’m very worried how I will cope after the operation on my good eye. How much will I be able to see until I can have new glasses? Would I be best kept in hospital overnight when my good eye is covered?

BradfordLass72 Tue 23-Apr-19 08:21:27

Has anyone had a response to their queries yet?

Gagagran Tue 23-Apr-19 09:15:53

Cari said the questions would be passed across on 29 April BradfordLass so I think it will be a while yet!

TwiceAsNice Tue 23-Apr-19 09:25:12

Ninathenana I am type 2 diabetic but am on oral metformin not insulin . I don’t know if that makes s difference

DanniRae Tue 23-Apr-19 13:28:03

I have dry eyes but strangely enough they mainly only trouble me when I am even slightly stressed. For example I can be perfectly fine, the phone will ring and if the call is anything stressful POW I have dry eyes. How can this be? I visited an optician to do with my dry eyes - she did a very thorough examination - but when I told her of my selective dry eye problem she said she had never heard of it. I am sincerely hoping that you have and can help me. Thank you!

shabby Wed 24-Apr-19 11:35:25

Following a cataract operation on my left eye in September 2017 I have been diagnosed with negative dysphotopsia. Although my vision in this eye is fairly good the effects of the condition are not good ie the shadow/dark strip on the left side of the eye and my reaction to sunlight and artificial light. Shopping can be a nightmare because of the lighting in shops. For various reasons it has taken some time to diagnose this condition because it is quite rare - my optician has never heard of it in 40 years of practising! The discomfort I can feel varies from day to day and on a scale of 1-10 can be one or 10 with no discernible reason for the change.

My consultant has offered a lens replacement using a different type of lens and has said he will place the lens slightly differently. However this is not without complications and because it is not known who or why negative dysphotopsia affects neither he or I will know if it will be successful - it could make matters worse. At my last visit to see the consultant he offered a different solution which is I have a cataract in my right eye and he thinks if my lens in my right eye was replaced it could make it the dominant eye which could lessen the problems I have in my left eye. He has no way of knowing however if I could suffer the same condition in both eyes so it would be a leap of faith on my part to have this done.

I really would appreciate your thoughts on negative dyphotopsia and possible solutions to the condition.

Razzy Fri 26-Apr-19 21:15:18

Do you find retired professional pilots are more likely to have faster deteriorating vision? Are there any long term effects of the lower oxygen at altitude?

Moses Sun 28-Apr-19 17:08:25

I have had a few floaters for years, but they have just been a bit annoying . Over the past year however they have increased to the point that they are impacting greatly on my life. They make reading a book really difficult & I can't read a screen comfortably as the brightness makes it worse. I work in a school so this is really making life difficult & depressing . I'm constantly moving my eyes back & forth to shift them . Can I have a laser treatment on the nhs to get rid of them?

Grandma2213 Mon 29-Apr-19 01:18:09

I had a macular repair with vitrectomy a few years ago and it accelerated cataract development for which I had another operation. After this my vision was much clearer (right eye) though the scarring from the macular repair resulted in some distortion. I was discharged from the hospital as a result. Now I find vision in my right eye is blurred even with glasses. Is it possible that the new lens has clouded over? And can it be replaced? I also have glaucoma which is controlled with Timoptol.

BradfordLass72 Mon 29-Apr-19 04:26:49

Gagagran thank you smile

travelsafar Mon 29-Apr-19 09:00:56

Moses didnt realise that laser treatment got rid of 'floaters'. Please can our expert confirm this because if true i will ask at my next appointment with eye consultant as they are a real nusiance!!!!!

Labaik Mon 29-Apr-19 09:48:54

I've been told that I have a cataract developing in one eye. Early stages. Is there anything I can do to slow down the progression; wearing sunglasses etc....

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 29-Apr-19 13:58:43

Hello all - thank you for leaving such a range of interesting questions. We are sending them over shortly and will post the answers as soon as we get them.

Charleygirl5 Mon 29-Apr-19 14:13:48

I agree, Cari, an amazing range so hopefully he will be able to answer our questions.

TwiceAsNice Thu 02-May-19 08:29:13

Mr Benjamin just to update you my blood sugars are now pre-diabetic and in the normal range. Does this mean I have a better chance that my background retinopathy result in my last test has, or will now reverse itself also? The test has previously been normal each time

travelsafar Fri 03-May-19 07:58:02

Anyone had an answer yet to their question?? Not sure if they will be posted on GN or be sent as a private message.

TwiceAsNice Fri 03-May-19 08:34:36

No answer yet

ninathenana Sat 04-May-19 11:46:14

Nor me, I think the answers are usually posted on one thread.

travelsafar Mon 20-May-19 08:07:57

Still no answers to our questions, a bit disappointing.

ninathenana Mon 20-May-19 10:18:54

Yes, it's been so long I'd forgotten about it.

DanniRae Mon 20-May-19 11:25:45

I am disappointed too that we haven't had a reply - I wonder why?