Eye care is essential for keeping your eyes healthy and in good vision. Our optometrists perform an eye examination and can determine the presence of vision-related problems. They can also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists in our practice are trained to treat eye diseases and prescribe eye drops for various conditions.


For perfect clear vision, the image needs to be focused onto the retina, just like a camera has to be focused properly in order to take a clear picture.

If the image is not focused exactly on the retina, then the image will be blurred, just like an out-of-focus photograph. In this case, the person is said to have a refractive error.
Refractive errors occur when there is a mis-match between the length of the eye, and its optical power. These mismatches usually originate during childhood, when the eyes are growing. The exact causes of refractive errors are still being studied, but it is known that both hereditary and environmental influences can affect their development.
Most people have some refractive error, but in most cases the error is small, and does not cause any problems. In fact, the average person is slightly long-sighted.


A condition of the eye where the cornea thins out and changes shape. This causes the image to be distorted due to the irregular shape of the cornea. This often requires hard contact lenses to achieve good vision and at worse, a corneal graft.
Fitting contact lenses for keratoconus requires a skilled practitioner. Andrew has over 30 years experience fitting contact lenses for keratoconus.
Our practice is equipped with many contact lens fitting sets for keratoconus and has the latest diagnostic equipment including a Medmont corneal topographer and Pentacam scanner to aid in the fitting process and monitor progression of the condition

Myopia (short sight or near sight)

A condition of the eye where distant objects appear blurry. When light enters the eye it focuses in front of the retina causing the image to be out of focus.

Hypermetropia (long sight or far sight)

A condition of the eye where light focuses behind the retina making it difficult to see at near. In some cases, the eye is unable to focus at any distance.


A condition of the eye where the shape of the cornea is more oval-like, reducing the cornea’s ability to focus light. Astigmatism causes difficulties in seeing fine detail and can cause things to look doubled.

normal vision

astigmatism vision


A condition of the eye where the accommodative ability is reduced which is brought on by natural ageing changes with the crystalline lens. The lens is unable to change shape rapidly to focus on things up close. This typically occurs in people in their 40’s where reading spectacles are required. This prescription is in addition to the distance prescription.

  • Is an irreversible condition that affects the optic nerve at the back of the eye
  • The cause is often unknown
  • It results in a gradual loss of peripheral vision so you will not detect these changes yourself until it becomes quite advanced
  • Any loss to your vision is not recoverable hence the need for early intervention
  • Can be detected by having regular eye examinations and scans done of the back of the eye

Tests include:

  • Assessment of the optic nerve
  • Measuring the eye pressure
  • Visual field analysis is performed if any of the above is suspicious
  • Digital imaging and optical coherence scans (OCT) of the optic nerve and retina

Risk factors:

  • Those over 50 years of age
  • Those with family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • Short-sightedness
  • Eye Injuries
  • Blood pressure (particularly low blood pressure)
  • Past or present use of steroid medication


  • If glaucoma is detected early enough eye drops can be used to reduce the pressure and slow down the progression of the eye disease
  • Occasionally surgery may be necessary
  • Glaucoma, left untreated, can result in total blindness but with treatment it is generally very well managed
  • Is the leading cause of vision loss in those over the age of 55
  • Causes progressive, painless loss of central vision
  • Regular eye examination will enable early detection


  • Blurred central vision
  • The illusion that straight lines are wavy or distorted
  • The appearance of a dark or empty area in the central vision

Risk Factors:

  • Age
  • Family History – 50% chance of developing the condition if there is an immediate family history
  • Smoking – Studies have shown that those who smoke are 3 times greater at risk of developing AMD; Smokers may also develop AMD about 10 years earlier than non-smokers

Reduce your risk:

  • Eat fish two to three times a week
  • Eat dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit daily
  • Eat a handful of nuts a week
  • Limit your intake of fats and oils
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle – control your weight and exercise regularly
  • Have your macula checked at your regular eye examinations
  • Don’t smoke
  • Provide adequate protection from sunlight exposure, particularly when young
  • Consider taking zinc and antioxidant supplements*


  • Regular eye examination
  • Digital imaging and optical coherence scans (OCT) of the macula area
  • Regular monitoring using an Amsler Chart
  • There is no cure for AMD but laser treatment or anti-vegF injections in some cases can slow down the central vision loss (depending on the type of AMD)

*Be aware that some foods and supplements may interact with prescription drugs and may not suit your medical conditions; always check with your medical practitioner before changing your dietary intake.

Diabetic Retinopathy is a long-term (chronic) condition in which blood glucose levels become too high because the body produces little or no insulin, or cannot use insulin properly. There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. If diabetes is not controlled, it can lead to numerous complications including nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease and damage to the eyes (retinopathy).

Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the eye which can lead to blindness if not detected early. If your blood glucose levels become high the small blood vessels at the back of your eyes can become damaged resulting in small bleeds and reduced oxygen supply to the back of the eye. When there is not enough oxygen to supply the lining of the eye new blood vessels often begin to grow. These new blood vessels are fragile and often leak causing further bleeding inside the eye.


There are no symptoms in the early stages
Reduce your risk:

By keeping your blood glucose levels within the target range as recommended by your doctor, the development of complications is significantly reduced
Eat healthy
Exercise regularly
Have a regular annual dilated eye examination

Any early signs of retinopathy will be monitored closely or referred to an ophthalmologist for treatment with laser, medical therapy, or occasionally surgery to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss

A cataract is clouding of the crystalline lens inside the eye which typically occurs with age due to UV exposure over the course of our lifetime.


  • Decreased vision depending on the density of the cataract. Patients tend to report deterioration in their vision or a veil effect in their vision
  • Glare sensitivity

Risk factors:

  • Age
  • UV exposure
  • Use of corticosteroids
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Diabetes


  • To minimize progression, the eyes should be protected from UV exposure by wearing sunglasses and a wide brim hat
  • In advanced cases, cataracts can be removed with surgery. The technique nowadays is fast and effective and the quality of the vision is restored
  • Have your eyes tested regularly to monitor for changes

Dry eyes can be induced by the environment causing the tear film to dry out. This may be due to dry air from air-conditioning, heat or other environmental conditions. It is also caused by an imbalance in the composition of the tear film on the surface of the eye. Other causes of dry eye include: menopause, side effects of certain medications such as antihistamines, birth control pills, acne medications; diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, collagen vascular diseases and structural problems with the eye lids.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Scratchy/gritty sensation
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Excessive tearing


  • Artificial tears in the form of a solution or gel
  • Punctal occlusion

Floaters are little clumps of gel in the eye which can take on the form of a spot, speck, web, strand or other shapes. They are common and can be seen by people of all ages but the older you are the more you may see. Floaters are generally harmless but if the floater(s) come on suddenly, and are associated with flashes of light or if vision is blurry, this may indicate something more serious and should be examined by an optometrist. There is no treatment for floaters.

If you notice a floater for the first time, arrange an appointment to see an optometrist who will further investigate to make sure the problem is not serious. It is advisable that you promptly attend to it to ensure good eye health and vision.

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Andrew Watkins Optometrist
Shop CG 5, Ground floor
Canberra Center, City Walk
Canberra, ACT 2606

Phone: 02 6247 7705

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We unconditionally guarantee the workmanship and quality of our lenses and frames for 2 years from the date of purchase, if due to a manufacturing fault.

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