Our vision is arguably one of our most important senses, but it is very easy to take it for granted. Unless we take positive steps to keep our eyes healthy, there is a very real risk that we will start to experience problems that could make our day-to-day life more difficult.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 21 million Americans suffer from vision problems. These range from common refractive errors like myopia (better known as nearsightedness) to severe, sight-threatening conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration. It is only by being vigilant and staying aware of your eye health by monitoring any changes and attending comprehensive eye exams that it is more likely that you will be able to maintain your long-term vision.
Realizing that you are experiencing eye problems isn’t always easy, especially since many of the symptoms that occur develop very slowly over a number of weeks, months, or even years. Fortunately, there are certain things that you can look out for that indicate that you should make an appointment with your eye doctor to have your eyes and vision assessed.
Here are some of the most common signs of potential eye problems.
Healthy eyes are usually clear and a healthy color. Redness of the eyes nearly always indicates a problem, and there can be many different causes including:
Most people with eye redness also experience inflammation, irritation, and blurred vision.
Despite their name, headaches aren’t only felt in the head, but can also affect the neck, shoulders, and face. Although headaches are a common symptom associated with many different injuries and health issues, from concussion to high blood pressure, they can also be indicative of various eye problems, including some which are considered emergencies. These include acute glaucoma, Photokeratitis, and refractive eye errors like nearsightedness and astigmatism
If you start to experience very sudden, agonizing headaches it is advisable to speak to a medical professional as quickly as possible, particularly if they are accompanied by other symptoms, such as eye pain.
It’s not unusual to notice visual disturbances from time to time. Most of these appear as specks, lines, dots, or webs that encroach on your visual field. Some people also experience flashing lights or lightning-type streaks. Floaters are normally harmless and will fade away over time. They occur when small clumps of cells cause shadows on your retina. However, occasionally severe floaters can indicate an eye problem such as
Problems with your retina, such as tearing or detachment
Meanwhile, flashes are usually caused by the vitreous fluid inside the eyes rubbing or pulling on the retina. This can happen as part of the natural aging process, but it can also indicate problems such as a migraine or a torn retina. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's best to get checked over by your eye doctor.
Some patients are naturally more sensitive to light than others and some people find even mild to moderate light difficult to tolerate. This is known as photophobia. However, light sensitivity can also be a sign of an eye problem. Some of the conditions that have light sensitivity as a symptom include cataracts, corneal abrasion, keratoconus, and strabismus. Your eye doctor should be able to determine why your eyes are so sensitive to light and recommend a treatment to help.
Unsurprisingly, a swollen eye is often indicative of trauma to the face. In most cases, the inflammation will subside over the course of a few days or more. Nevertheless, swelling can also be a sign of many other issues affecting the eyes, including but not limited to:
Blocked tear duct
Last but not least is blurred vision. Blurred or distorted vision is arguably one of the most common signs of a problem with your eyes or vision. It can be a symptom of a huge range of different potential causes including macular degeneration, astigmatism, cataracts, conjunctivitis, keratoconus, macular edema and simply needing a prescription change for your glasses or contact lenses. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive assessment of your eye health and vision to determine how they can best help you and improve or preserve your vision.
For more advice and information about eye problems, please call our dedicated eye care team at Battleground Eye Care at (336) 282-2273.