Short sight: Myopia is an error of vision where distant objects are blurred. This is caused by the eyes’ optical system bending light too much and the image is focused in front of the retina.
Long sight: Hypermetropia is when objects are focused behind the retina and this tends to make near objects blurred although with age the vision can be affected at all distances.
Astigmatism: An error of vision caused by an irregularity in the shape of the front surface of the eye or 'cornea'. Astigmatism results in distorted vision at all distances and is corrected by spectacle lenses or TORIC contact lenses.
Presbyopia: An error of vision caused by the natural lens in the eye becoming less flexible with age, resulting in long sight and the need for reading or multifocal spectacles. This normally happens when people reach their mid forties.
Refraction: The process of measuring and correcting the refractive error of the eyes. Myopia, Hypermetropia and Astigmatism are all examples of refractive error.
Refractive surgery: An alternative to spectacles and contact lenses to correct refractive errors. Available procedures include laser treatment, lens implants and lens exchange. Link:www.grangeeyeconsultants.com
GOC: General Optical Council - the regulatory body for all registered Optometrists and Opticians. Link: www.optical.org
College of Optometrists : The professional body for Optometry in the UK, it works to inform the public and ensures the profession is up to date. Link:lookafteryoureyes.org
Optometrist: A person licensed to practice optometry (see eye examination page). Historically called Ophthalmic Optician.
Dispensing Optician: A person trained in the fitting and dispensing of spectacles. Professionally qualified they are registered with the GOC.
Ophthalmologist: Medical practitioner specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions and diseases. They normally work in the Hospital Eye Service.
Orthoptist: A person who diagnoses and non-surgically treats binocular vision problems. Common conditions include squints (strabismus) and lazy eyes (amblyopia). They normally work in the Hospital Eye Service.
Cataract: Very common eye condition, normally due to the ageing of the eyes’ internal lens (the crystalline lens), resulting in a partial or complete loss of transparency. May need to be treated surgically. Link:http://www.nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/taunton
Macular Degeneration: A common eye condition in the elderly population affecting central vision. Treatments are now available for some forms of macular degeneration and it is usually managed by an Ophthalmologist. Often called AMD (age-related macular disease) Link: macularsociety.org
Keratoconus: An anomaly of the cornea. A progressive condition that often presents in the early teens and is usually managed by an Ophthalmologist with patients often needing specialised contact lenses.Link: www.keratoconus-group.org.uk
Glaucoma: A common eye disease that increases in frequency with age. It is often characterised by raised pressure within the eye. If untreated it can lead to loss of peripheral (side) vision. Link: www.glaucoma-association.com