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Recognizing When to Get Your Vision Checked

In patients, whether young or old, sometimes poor vision can be the result of a few conditions such as anatomical changes or abnormalities in the eye or visual system, diseases affecting the eye, side effects of medication or injuries to the eye. Commonly, people also report visual abnormalities due to aging or eye stress. This can lead to changes in your eyesight, which can make it uncomfortable or difficult to get through everyday activities such as reading books or working on a computer for extended periods of time. These vision problems can be expressed via the following symptoms: blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, squinting and trouble seeing from short or long distances.

Blurred vision is one of the most oft-reported signs of a vision problem. If you suffer from blurred vision when looking at distant objects, you could very well be myopic or nearsighted. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at something at close range may be a sign of hyperopia, or farsightedness. Blurred vision can also be a sign of astigmatism due to an irregularity in the way the cornea is formed. Whatever the cause of blurry vision, it is really important that an eye care professional examine your eyes and decide on the best way to rectify your sight.

A sudden onset of flashes of light, sometimes coupled with black floating spots and what may feel like a dark curtain inhabiting a part of your vision indicates the chance of a retinal detachment. If this happens, visit your eye doctor right away, because this can have serious consequences for your vision

Another indicator of a vision problem is difficulty discerning shades or intensity of color. This indicates a problem perceiving color, or color blindness. Color vision defects are usually not known to the patient until proven with a test. Color blindness is mainly found in males. If present in a female it might indicate ocular disease, and an eye doctor needs to be consulted. For those who can't see objects in minimal light, it could mean the patient suffers from night blindness.

A condition commonly found in elderly people is cataracts, which have several indicating signs which include: hazy vision that is worse in bright light, trouble seeing in the dark or reduced light, difficulty discerning small writing or details, the need for brighter light when reading, improvement in near vision while distance vision worsens, painful redness around the eye, and a milky white look to the normally dark pupil.

Pulsing eye pain, headaches, blurry sight, inflammation in the eye, colorful coronas around lights, nausea and vomiting are signs of acute glaucoma, a severe medical condition, which requires medical attention.  However, glaucoma is often called the silent thief of the night, as usually there are no pain symptoms as peripheral vision is gradually lost.

With younger patients, it is important to look out for weak eye movement, or crossed eyes, which may indicate a condition known as strabismus. Some things children might do, such as rubbing one or both eyes, squinting, head tilting, or needing to shut one eye to look at things better, can often indicate strabismus.

If you are familiar with any of the symptoms we've mentioned here, make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Even though some conditions could be more serious than others, anything that limits good vision can be a burden, and impact your quality of life. A brief appointment with your optometrist can prevent unnecessary discomfort, or even more severe eye problems.