Did you know that more than 12 million Americans over 40 have a visual impairment? About 4.88 million Americans 50 and older have dry eyes which could lead to other problems.
These stats might have you concerned, but prevention and being mindful of any changes are essential. You might wonder what signs to look out for that could signal a problem. Read this guide on the top warning signs that your eye discomfort might be serious today.
1. Double Vision
Discomfort behind the eyes such as double vision needs a trip to the doctor. When you’re choosing an optometrist, find someone with great reviews online. Double vision could occur constantly or randomly over time.
This is when you see 2 images, one on top of the other, or next to each other. You might find trouble with your daily activities, reading, and walking.
It could be due to weak eye muscles, muscle damage, or another underlying condition. If you’re consuming alcohol or drugs, it could also cause double vision.
2. Scratchy Pain
If you have scratchy discomfort in one eye, that could be serious. A small object could fall into your eye and cause a scratchy sensation.
It could also be due to eye dryness. When a foreign object disappears and the irritation subsides, it could be less serious.
If the pain continues, contact your eye doctor right away. They can come up with treatment options to provide you with relief.
3. Impaired Peripheral Vision
Peripheral vision is when you can see inside spaces. It’s also when you can see objects even though you’re not focusing. If you can’t see items around you, contact your doctor.
This could mean that you could have glaucoma. Glaucoma could be causing damage to the optic nerve.
If there’s a pause in the regular flow of blood to the optic nerve, this could also cause it.
You might experience sharp pain or a dull ache from your temples or behind your eyes. Over-the-counter medication can help if it’s nothing serious.
Some headaches can last for days, while others only last for a few seconds. If you notice that headache medications aren’t working, something serious could be happening.
While some headaches are caused by stress, others can be due to eye problems. Some eye conditions could include eyestrain, angle-closure glaucoma, migraines, and photokeratitis.
5. Light Sensitivity
Mild light sensitivity is normal. When you wake up in the morning, walk outside of a movie theater, etc.
If you notice that it persists, this might mean that there’s a problem. You might be experiencing a corneal abrasion, cataracts, keratoconus, strabismus, migraines, or allergies.
6. Night Vision Problems
In the evening, your pupils will expand to take in the light available. Some serious conditions could limit how well you see at night. This could include trouble seeing in poorly-lit rooms as well.
Some causes could include:
- Retinitis pigmentosa
7. Sudden Eye Pain
If you’re experiencing eye redness, vomiting, nausea, halos around lights, and eye pain, you might be experiencing glaucoma. It can damage your optic nerve and cause a loss in eyesight.
Your doctor might suggest you see an eye surgeon. They might be able to provide you with laser treatment.
8. Cloudy Vision
If you’re experiencing cloudy vision, you’ll want to see your optometrist right away. You might be experiencing cataracts and require surgery.
Experiencing a film over your eyes could also indicate cataracts.
9. Gray Shadows, Floaters, or Flashing Lights
If you experience floaters, flashing lights, or gray shadows, it could indicate a serious condition. You might be experiencing a detachment of the retina.
This is the nerve layer in the back of the eye that sends images to the brain. Detached retinas are caused by physical injuries, glaucoma, other eye diseases, or nearsightedness.
It could lead to blindness if it’s not helped right away. You’ll often need surgery to fix the problem.
10. Red Eyes
If you’re experiencing redness in both eyes, it’s normally not as serious as one red eye. You might have conjunctivitis or a cold.
If only one eye is red, it could indicate uveitis or scleritis. Uveitis is swelling and inflammation of the middle coating of the eye.
Scleritis is inflammation of the outer protective barrier around the eye.
11. Eye Pain With Contact Lenses
Serious infections could occur when you wear contact lenses. It’s vital that you follow the instructions for use and hygiene. Don’t ignore discomfort, redness, or eye pain. If you experience these, contact your optometrist immediately.
12. Eye Surgery Complication
If you experience blurred vision, eye pain, or redness after eye surgery, contact your eye surgeon. Even if the symptoms go away, you’ll want to let them know.
Swelling around the eye can be due to various problems. It could be due to a serious eye infection, fluid retention, or allergies.
You might be experiencing ocular herpes, orbital cellulitis, or Graves’ disease. All of these could impair your vision permanently.
14. Blurry Vision
If you notice distorted or blurry vision, you’ll want to see your optometrist right away. It could be a sign of a serious eye condition.
Many eye conditions require treatment to avoid long-term effects.
Some conditions could include:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Macular edema
- Detached retina
- Corneal infection
Do I Need an Optometrist for Eye Discomfort?
After exploring this guide, you should understand why you might have eye discomfort and if it warrants a trip to the doctor.
If you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have it checked out.
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