Some Warning Signs of Eye Problems

Routine eye exams are the best way to prevent vision problems, even as you grow older. If you have not had an eye exam in over 12 months, schedule a visit with an eye doctor near you.

Staying aware of certain warning signs also can help you take appropriate steps to maintain your eyesight, particularly if vision symptoms occur suddenly. In many cases, such as with a detached retina or rapid onset of glaucoma, prompt intervention is essential to prevent or minimize permanent vision loss.

While many eye problems can occur at any age, they often are more common in older individuals. Unfortunately, aging also increases your risk for certain types of sight-threatening eye conditions that can lead to blindness.

10 Signs And Symptoms Of Eye Problems

The following signs and symptoms can indicate a medical emergency or an urgent condition that could cause significant vision loss over time. In most cases, you should see your eye doctor asap if you experience:

Blurry traffic on a busy highway.
Blurry vision, ghost images and nighttime halos around lights all can be warning signs of eye problems.

A flooding of spots and floaters in your field of vision. Usually, eye floaters are due to a benign, age-related condition called vitreous detachment. This occurs when the eye’s gel-like interior liquefies and separates from the retina, the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye.

But a sudden onset of spots and floaters also can be caused by a serious, sight-threatening tear or detachment of the retina. If you suddenly see a shower of spots and floaters, visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

A feeling that a dark curtain has settled across your field of view. This could be caused by a detachment that is retinal which occurs when the retina separates from the underlying layer of nourishing blood vessels (choroid). If the retina is not reattached within hours, vision loss can be permanent.

Immediate eye pain, redness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can signal a sudden (acute) attack of narrow-angle glaucoma, which can permanently damage the eye’s optic nerve. Immediate treatment is required to prevent permanent vision loss.

Double vision, double images or “ghost” images. Double vision can be caused by many eye conditions. In some cases, double vision also can signal an underlying health emergency such as a stroke. If you have a sudden onset of double vision, see your eye doctor or family physician immediately.

Immediate blurry vision in one eye. If you are over 60, your chance of developing a macular hole in the part of the retina where fine focusing occurs increases. Because macular holes can worsen and cause permanent loss of vision, it’s important to visit your eye care practitioner for a diagnosis and prompt treatment (if necessary).

The same photo, as seen by someone with tunnel vision.A simulation of peripheral vision loss, also known as tunnel vision. A narrowing of your field of view. A reduction of your ability to off see objects to the sides could be a sign of glaucoma. Without intervention, peripheral vision loss could continue to worsen, leading to tunnel vision or even blindness.

A gradual loss of central vision, including distortions such as straight lines appearing wavy. These symptoms may be caused by macular degeneration (AMD), a cause that is leading of among older Americans. In the past, there was no treatment that is effective macular degeneration. But today, new medical treatments sometimes can halt or limit AMD-related vision loss.

Cloudy and blurred eyesight, “halos” around lights at night, loss of bright color vision. These vision changes may be due to cataracts. Cataracts tend to worsen gradually over time and are not an emergency that is medical. Nevertheless, as your eye’s natural lens continues to cloud with aging, your vision will continue to deteriorate unless you have cataract surgery that replaces your lens that is cloudy with custom intraocular lens (IOL).

You increase your chance of complications such as glaucoma if you wait too long for cataract surgery. Also, if cataract surgery is postponed too long, the cloudy lens can harden and become more difficult to remove.

Blind spots in your field of view, accompanied by eye floaters and unexplained vision that is blurred. These vision problems may be due to the onset of diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes. Regular eye exams are essential for diabetics, particularly if you are over age 60. By evaluating the condition of your retina, your eye doctor can provide information that is valuable your general physician about the control and severity of your diabetes.

“Scratchy” or irritated feeling, eye surface pain, tearing. These signs and symptoms are most commonly due to dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes usually are more of a nuisance than a sight-threatening condition. But symptoms can be severe, particularly as you grow older and your body produces fewer tears or your tear chemistry changes. Consult your eye care practitioner for advice about remedies, which may include over-the-counter or prescription eye drops.