Recognizing When to Get Your Vision Checked

In patients, whether young or old, sometimes poor vision can be caused by several possible conditions including anatomical changes in the eye or visual system, diseases affecting the eye, side effects of medication or injury. Commonly, people also experience visual disturbances resulting from aging or eye strain. This can result in changes in your vision, which may cause discomfort and even make it harder to get through normal activities such as reading fine print or looking at a computer screen for extended periods of time. Common symptoms of these types of vision problems include eye strain, headache, blurred vision, and struggling with short or long distances.

One of the first signs of a vision problem can be blurred vision. If you report blurred vision when you're focusing on distant objects or signs, you might have myopia, or be nearsighted. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at anything close by may be a sign of hyperopia, or farsightedness. Blurred vision can also mean you have astigmatism which occurs because of an irregularity in the way the cornea is formed, or the curvature of the lens inside the eye. No matter the reason you have blurry vision, it is essential that an eye doctor examine your eyes and decide on the best way to rectify your sight.

Another common sign of a vision problem is trouble distinguishing shades or intensity of color. This generally means the patient has color blindness. Color vision defects are often not known to the patient until diagnosed with a test. Color blindness is mostly found in males. If present in a female it may indicate ocular disease, in which case, an eye care professional should be consulted. For people who can't see objects in low light, it could mean the patient suffers from night blindness.

A problem frequently seen in older patients is cataracts, which can have a number of warning signs which include: hazy vision that weakens in bright light, trouble seeing in the dark or reduced light, trouble seeing small writing or details, muted or faded colors, double or triple vision in one eye only redness around the eye, and an opaque white look to the normally dark pupil.

Pulsing eye pain, headaches, blurred sight, inflammation in the eye, rainbow rings around lights, nausea and vomiting are also signs of glaucoma, a severe medical illness, which requires medical attention.

When it comes to children, it's useful to look out for uncoordinated eye movement, or crossed eyes, which could indicate a condition called strabismus. Specific things children might do, like rubbing eyes, squinting, or needing to close one eye in order to look at things better, often indicate strabismus.

Though some conditions are more serious than others, any disruption to normal eyesight can be something that really affects your quality of life. A quick appointment with your optometrist can prevent being avoidably uncomfortable, or even more severe eye and vision problems.

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