Eyesight examination

Worryingly, myopia, or short-sightedness as it’s commonly known, is increasing worldwide. More and more children are having to turn to glasses or contact lenses to see more clearly and there’s little doubt that this is  – in part  – due to environmental factors.

Leading independent eye hospital, My-iClinic, (based in Finchley, North London) has recently announced the appointment of Consultant Ophthalmologist Yvonne Luo who has joined the team of specialists, bringing a real commitment to helping raise awareness of the impact of a “21st century indoor lifestyle”  – with an associated lack of natural light – on this so-called myopia epidemic.

33% of people living in Britain are already known to be myopic, but among children the percentage is even higher. And, in some schools in the UK, over half of A-level students are myopic, with experts predicting that by 2050, 50% of the entire “human race” will suffer from short-sighted vision impairment.

People living with myopia unfortunately have a higher chance of developing other eye health disorders, such as retinal detachment. As such, it’s important to understand what is normal in terms of eye issues and what could indicate there’s something more sinister going on.


In recent years, Yvonne Luo, has seen an increasing number of patients suffering with ‘floaters’ and ‘flashing lights’, two key symptoms which can suggest a ‘torn retina’. A torn retina can potentially develop into retinal detachment, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss, or even blindness.

Key symptoms which may suggest a torn retina;

  • Floaters – tiny black dots, or shapes like ‘tadpoles’
  • Flashing ‘lights’ – called photopsia, with a sensation of ‘pulling’ on the retina
  • Thick shadow in corners of vision

For the majority of patients, ‘floaters’ are harmless and more of an annoyance than anything else. Many people can live with them quite happily, while others may wish to have them removed via a vitrectomy – a type of surgery which removes some of the gel-like fluid in the middle of the eye to improve vision.

And, whilst the chances of developing retinal detachment are higher among sufferers of myopia, if identified early, it can be treated effectively.  The most common form of treatment is laser or freezing (cryopexy) treatment, with 80-90% of cases fixed after just one operation.

However, older myopia patients (50+) are more likely to develop acute and urgent retinal detachment, whilst in younger patients the symptoms can be more subtle and develop, undetected, over a longer period. Therefore, the chances of the condition being treated early enough are reduced.

As such, Yvonne Luo and her colleagues at My-iclinic always recommend reaching out to an eye specialist for investigative tests as soon as possible, preferably in the first couple of days of experiencing symptoms in order to improve your chances of effective treatment.