As we age, our eyes change and become more prone to develop eye conditions that can cause your vision to diminish and may even lead to total vision loss. Routine eye exams are the best way to protect your vision, but it’s also important to know the warning signs of eye problems so you can receive treatment right away and prevent permanent vision loss.
If you experience any of the following signs, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. These may be symptoms of a serious, vision-threatening eye condition.
Sudden onset of floaters, flashes or darkness in your field of vision. Floaters appear as spots in your field of vision and can be a common-non-threatening eye condition, but a sudden onset of many floaters, flashes of light or sudden darkness in your field of vision could be a sign of a torn or detaching retina. If the retina is not reattached quickly, permanent vision loss is likely. If you experience these symptoms, it is considered a medical emergency and should receive immediate treatment.
Unexplained blurred vision. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that affects diabetics. It is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 20-64. About 25 percent of diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy, and five percent have a severe version of the disease. A comprehensive eye exam can detect diabetic eye disease in the early stages to help prevent vision loss. If you have diabetes, be sure you are under medical supervision to keep your diabetes under control and prevent eye problems.
Cloudy, dull or blurred vision and/or seeing halos around lights. Cataracts are a common eye condition affecting aging adults. Cataracts can make it difficult to see to read, drive or complete simple daily tasks. With cataract surgery, vision can be restored. During the procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant.
Gradual vision loss or distorted vision. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in senior adults in the United States. This eye condition causes damage to the macula, which causes sharp central vision to diminish. Changes in your vision caused by macular degeneration can advance so slowly that symptoms may go unnoticed until vision loss has occurred, but routine comprehensive eye exams can catch the disease in the early stages and may ultimately save your vision.
Sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, rainbow-colored circles in vision. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid in the eye does not flow normally, resulting in high pressure inside the eye. Symptoms of glaucoma include hazy vision, sudden vision loss, appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights, or severe eye pain accompanied nausea or vomiting. When pressure builds inside the eye and is not controlled damage to the optic nerve and permanent blindness may occur. If you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar or a family history of glaucoma, you are at an increased risk of developing the eye disease.
If you know the symptoms of these serious eye conditions, you are more likely to receive early treatment, which is essential in slowing the progression of an eye disease and restoring lost vision (if possible). The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams every two years for adults between the ages of 18 and 60, and annual exams for seniors over age 61.
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait to schedule an appointment. Give The Eye Center a call today.