Many people downplay the importance of regular eye checkups. So much so that they don’t give it a second thought. Most of the time, people only get their eyes checked when they notice that their vision has blurred or have become sensitive to light.
According to the World Health Organization, cataracts and uncorrected refractive errors are the leading causes of impairment in vision and blindness. However, the majority of the people with these are 50 years old and above. But even then, vision problems can affect all ages, especially when it’s not addressed right away.
Although these are the most common causes of blindness and visual impairment, here are warning signs worth watching for when it comes to vision. These often have underlying causes and should prompt a visit to the doctor.
Pain and Discomfort in the Eye
Most eye conditions are asymptomatic. However, some can cause eye pain. Conjunctivitis (pinkeye), glaucoma, corneal abrasions, and other conditions can all cause eye pain. Additionally, foreign particles may cause discomfort in the eyes. Something in your eye, such as dust, might irritate it. Rinse it out with water if possible. If left alone, it can scrape your eye or develop an infection.
This type of blurred vision is different from people who need glasses to see their surroundings. Earlier in the day, your vision might be clear, but a few hours later, it turns blurry. Even if it clears up, blurry vision in both or one eye might be an indication of a variety of vision issues associated with age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma.
Blurred vision can impact your complete line of vision or only a portion of it. It can manifest in loss of central vision or peripheral vision. It’s also possible for only one eye to have blurred vision. This can generally affect daily reading, cooking, and driving.
Loss of Vision
Loss of vision in one or both eyes can also be caused by age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. It’s important to note that visual loss in one eye can be an early warning sign of a stroke. Seek medical attention if you experience a severe headache, speech problems, loss of muscular control on one side of your body, face drooping, and more. These symptoms are similar to that of stroke.
Flashes, Floaters, or a ‘Curtain’ in Your Visual Field
The three major indications and of a detached retina are floaters (i.e., little black dots, specks, cobwebs), flickering or flashing lights, and a gray or black curtain covering a portion of your field of vision.
The retina is a lining on the rear wall of the eye. It captures light that enters the eye, converts it, and transmits it to the brain. That information is interpreted by the brain, and this is generally how one can visually perceive things in their environment.
To operate effectively, the retina must be located on the rear wall of the eye, in which it links to the blood vessels that provide nourishment in the form of oxygen and nutrients. However, when the retina becomes detached or displaced, it can no longer obtain the sustenance it requires. As a result, parts of it might become damaged, and portions might even die.
A Yellow or Brown Tint
For people with cataracts, driving at night is not the ideal time of the day to drive. The yellow or brown tint in the person’s field of vision makes it difficult to navigate during nighttime. The yellow or brown tint caused by cataracts can also affect the person’s perception of color. Additionally, cataracts cause higher sensitivity to light too.
When to Seek Professional Help
Eye injury-causing eye pain, stinging, decreased vision, light sensitivity, and more should be reasons to seek medical attention. But as for non-injury pain and discomfort in the eyes, medical attention should still be needed. For example, some eye conditions, cataracts, and vision can be restored with corrective surgery.
On the other hand, blurred vision could have an underlying life-threatening reason, such as a stroke. After all, a sure way of knowing the underlying cause, treatment, and severity is consulting a doctor.
The Bottom Line
These early warning signs can result in long-term and serious vision problems. These occur not just in the elderly but also in younger adults. Genetics, eye injury, infection, and maybe even medication can result in any symptoms, regardless of age.
It should be emphasized that not all visual problems indicate that a simple adjustment in glasses or treatment for a mild illness is all that is required. Some things described earlier can be underlying symptoms of serious illnesses. Consult a doctor about your vision problems and other issues.