Medical conditions are detected and diagnosed with regular eye examinations. Your optometrist will discuss appropriate management and treatment and may refer you for ongoing and collaborative care. Early detection, intervention and treatment preserves sight and your nib Optometrist will explain and guide you through your best options for care.

Flashes and Floaters

Floating spots are a common occurrence, increasing in prevalence as we age. They are more noticeable when looking at a white background. They move out of your vision with speed. When floaters are accompanied by bright flashes, this could be indicative of a retinal detachment. New floaters with flashes should be seen immediately by an optometrist.


Glaucoma is a condition in which the nerve cells which transmit information from the eye to the brain become damaged. With all types of glaucoma, the nerve connecting the eye to the brain is damaged, usually due to high eye pressure. The most common type of glaucoma (open-angle glaucoma) often has no symptoms other than slow and often unnoticeable vision loss. Angle-closure glaucoma, although rare, is a medical emergency and its symptoms include eye pain with nausea and sudden visual disturbance. Treatment includes eye drops, medication and surgery. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are at higher risk of developing glaucoma.


A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment. While cataracts most commonly occur in those who are older, they can develop in younger people, including congenital cataracts at birth. Cataracts occur as part of the ageing process but harmful UV exposure, smoking, and diabetes can contribute too. Surgical removal of the cataracts with an implant of an intra-ocular lens restores sight.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), is a medical condition causing central vision loss. Typically affecting people over 65, with a tendency to run in families, risks are increased with smoking. Often without symptoms in the early stages, once progression occurs, this manifests with increased difficulty in low light and near tasks. Supplements and a healthy diet could be of benefit. Your NIB optometrists will provide ongoing monitoring and refer you for treatment as required.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina). Poorly controlled blood sugar is a risk factor and blindness can occur. Early symptoms include floaters, blurriness, dark areas of vision and difficulty perceiving colours. Mild cases may be treated with careful diabetes management. Advanced cases may require laser treatment or surgery. nib optometrists perform annual diabetic reviews in which your eyes will be dilated. Careful examination of your peripheral and central retina forms part of your annual diabetic review

Colour Impairment

Commonly referred to as colour blindness, a condition that affects approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world. There are different causes, with the vast majority of people with deficient colour vision the result of genetics.

Pterygium (Fleshy Growth)

A pterygium is a wing shaped, vascular, fleshy growth that originates on the conjunctiva and can spread to the corneal limbus and beyond. It may slowly grow but rarely grows so large that the pupil is covered. Early in the disease process, pterygia are usually asymptomatic; however, there can be signs of dry eye (such as burning, itching or tearing) as the lesion causes irregular wetting of the ocular surface.

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