Health Enews

Screening, diagnosis and treatment for retinal conditions for the elderly

The main cause for the deterioration of a person’s vision as they age is due to retinal and macular degeneration. Early detection of symptoms and timely treatment will help to prevent eye conditions from progressing and causing loss of vision. Patients have the chance to have consultations with Vitreo-Retinal Consultants from Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) when they take regular vision screenings at FV Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department.  This is part of a long-standing collaboration programme between FV and SNEC.

Mr. N.H.C. (64 years old, HCMC) discovered red spots on his eye which then developed into red patches.  He felt he had a cloud of blood on the front of his eye which blocked his view.  Shortly after these developments, he began to experience eye flashes.  Having suffered from similar symptoms in his left eye six years prior, which led to the loss of sight in that eye, with his right eye now under threat, Mr. N.H.C. was extremely concerned that he could go permanently blind.

Recovery from retinal injuries is a challenge  

Mr. C. visited FV Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department and was directly consulted with Dr. Doric Wong, Head of Retinal Service and Senior Consultant of Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).  Dr. Doric Wong concluded that Mr. C. was affected with choroidal polypoidal (also known as choroidal artery occlusion) a dangerous, difficult to treat retinal condition which can quickly result in vision loss.  Mr C. suffered serious vision loss due to damaged eye tissue as a result of the retinal edema, hemorrhage and macular degeneration in his eye.  Using a combination of vitrectomy surgery, the fitting of a silicon retina and laser treatment, Dr.  Doric Wong was able to avoid possible permanent loss of vision and instead restore Mr C.’s sight.

Another patient affected with a condition to the retina was Ms. N.A (43 years old, Binh Duong).  She began to see the build up of excessive eye floaters which started to disturb her vision.  Eye floaters are the tiny spots, specks, flecks and ‘cobwebs’ that drift aimlessly around in your field of vision.  She thought that her eye’s weakness, eye floaters, and general fatigue were all due to her high myopia (6.5 dioptre in left eye and 9 dioptre in her right eye).  Therefore, to treat it she rested, used eye drops and did not see a doctor, until she had a sudden loss of vision.  Her family then brought her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a retinal hemorrhage, which is a complication that resulted from her high-degree of myopia.  Dr. Laurence Lim, a Senior Consultant from Vitreo-Retinal Service of SNEC, consulted Ms. N.A. He commented: “Experiencing floaters is a common symptom to those affected with high myopia, serious facial injuries or the elderly. The initial symptom of this condition is often invisible and only can be detected by eye screening”. As N.A.’s condition had developed to such a large degree by the time our specialists consulted her, unfortunately, the treatment proved to be ineffective.  Several months later, she lost vision in her right eye, and now has blurred vision in her left.

Retinal conditions may steal your vision – Do not let it happen!

Almost all of retinal problems develop quietly and their symptoms are not always visible.  Therefore, many patients only visit doctors when they visually see their condition deteriorating.  To avoid this risk, individuals who have experienced abnormal or excessive floatation in the eye, eye flashes or any other unusual eye symptoms, should take a vision screening immediately.  These could be signs of retinal detachment which can cause blindness.  This is especially relevant to the elderly, or patients who have suffered serious facial injuries.

Some common retinal conditions found in elderly people, such as retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) condition, retinal haemorrhage, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis, retinal degeneration, retinal detachment, among others do not cause pain and therefore, patients do not know about their eye conditions until they are in a latter, often worse, stage.  Regular vision screenings help to detect eye conditions early and get treatment timely. If you experience floaters, blurred vision and eye flashes, it is recommended to get your eyes checked immediately.

FV Hospital’s Ophthalmology has developed a close collaboration with Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), one of the leading eye centres in South East Asia. Under this programme, SNEC specialists often visit FV Hospital and directly provide their consultations to patients here.  Therefore, patients affected with complicated eye conditions can get consultations, treatments such as retinal implants and other retinal surgeries directly from SNEC specialists. Thanks to this collaboration programme, patients can significantly save treatment costs of about 30% compared going abroad to get treatment.

FV Hospital’s Ophthalmology utilizes advanced imaging and laser treatment techniques to provide accurate diagnosis, minimize pain and optimize the treatment outcome to patients.