Vision problems are not always easy to detect. If you have any eye symptoms, it’s important to see an eye doctor.
Here are some common signs that it’s time for a vision checkup:
- Loss of peripheral vision. This is the most common symptom in people older than age 50 who have diabetes or high blood pressure. The problem may be caused by blood vessel damage from the disease or from elevated blood pressure.
- Dry eyes or dryness of the eyes. If you have dry eyes, they can be irritated by salt in your diet and other factors, such as smoking and exposure to wind, sunlight and dust.
- Blurred vision (scotoma). A scotoma is an area of loss of central vision that appears in one eye after cataract surgery. It usually improves with time, but if it doesn’t improve after several months, you should see an eye doctor to find out why it hasn’t improved more quickly.
- Pain when you blink, squint or hold your eyelids open for long periods of time (strabismus).
- Blurry vision
- Redness around the eyes (periorbital edema). This occurs when fluid builds up between the cornea and lens in your eyes. This can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
- Sensitivity to light and flashing lights (photophobia)
If you have any of these symptoms, see an eye doctor as soon as possible. The sooner they are identified and treated, the less likely they are to become permanent problems.
When you have eye problems, you may not feel it at first. But as time goes on, symptoms can worsen and cause a lot of trouble for you.
To figure out what’s wrong with your vision, your doctor will do a few tests. These include:
- Visual acuity test. This test measures how well you see at low light levels and with near objects. For example, it determines whether you can read the newspaper at 20 feet away with the aid of a magnifier.
- Eye exam. During an eye exam, your doctor will check to see if your eyes are working properly by using special instruments that shine light into them (called retinal cameras). He or she also may take pictures of your retina in order to check for changes over time or damage from injury or disease.
- Ophthalmoscopy (eye examination) is used to detect early signs of glaucoma and other eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. It also helps detect other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.