When your vision is impaired, your life changes. That’s why it’s important you have an eye doctor you can trust, and that you get regular eye check-ups. It’s also important to look out for common eye problems symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from an acute or chronic condition. The sooner you spot these symptoms, the sooner you can catch vision problems and treat them.
That’s important when early intervention can prevent the degeneration of your eyes, or in extreme cases, even save your eyesight!
In this article we’ll explore some of the most common vision problem symptoms that you should be aware of and what they could mean.
Signs and Symptoms of Eye Problems
1. Double Vision
Double vision is a problem that should cause immediate concern, whether it occurs infrequently and randomly or all the time. It is defined by a person seeing two images either next to one another, or on top of one another. It can immediately cause problems with balance, reading and going about daily routines.
If it occurs in one eye, it is monocular, but if it occurs in both it is binocular. It can be caused by several underlying conditions, from nerve and muscle damage to other illnesses that weaken eye muscles. It may also occur as a result of drug use or alcohol consumption. If it persists without the consumption of alcohol or drugs, it’s a symptom that needs to be assessed and treated right away.
2. Eye Pain
Eye pain is a general symptom. It may be defined by throbbing, stabbing, or shooting pains in the eye. It can occur as a result of trauma, irritation caused by a foreign object (something is stuck in your eye,) an infection, or another serious underlying condition.
You shouldn’t experience pain in your eye. If it occurs rarely when combined with other symptoms, like a headache, it may be an acute problem that doesn’t indicate an underlying condition. However, if you feel it frequently, it needs the attention of an eye doctor and could suggest anything from inflammation or nerve damage.
3. Scratchy Pain on the Eye Surface
A scratching pain on the surface of the eye is often caused by a foreign object like a piece of sand or a small hair. It may also be symptomatic of dry eyes, where your eyes are not lubricated adequately and your eyelids irritate the surface of your cornea each time you blink.
This may go away when the foreign object leaves the eye, but if it persists, it could be a symptom of a problem that you need treatment for. So don’t ignore it! Your doctor can identify the problem and relieve it with treatment addressing the underlying condition that causes it.
4. Floaters or Spots
Everyone sees floaters or spots at some point, and this will usually happen when looking at bright lights. However, for some people, it is more persistent, more frequent, and more extreme. Floaters are small objects that move around in your field of vision, and they are commonly caused by age. As you get older and your eyes slowly deteriorate, the vitreous fluid in your eyes becomes more fluid. As time goes by, the tiny fibers in that fluid start to clump together and create shadows on the retina.
If you experience too many, however, it could be indicative of an underlying condition like inflammation in the back of the eye, a torn retina, or bleeding. You should see a doctor if you notice more floaters than usual, if you start seeing flashes of light, or if you also start noticing darkness or dark-spots in your vision.
5. Impaired Peripheral Vision
Peripheral vision is your ability to see from the corner of your eye, or in spaces where you aren’t focusing. If you find yourself struggling to see things around you, whether on one side or both, it could indicate that there is damage to your optic nerve caused by glaucoma.
Eye occlusions that stop the regular flow of blood to the optic nerve and other parts of the eye can also cause this problem, so if you struggle with your peripheral vision, you should get it checked urgently.
6. Narrowed Field of Vision
A narrowed field of vision is similar to impaired peripheral vision, in that a person may only be able to see what is right in front of them. It may start with impairment to peripheral vision and progress all the way to tunnel vision, which feels as though you are peering through a hole.
If you begin to notice your field of vision narrowing, see a doctor urgently. It may also indicate glaucoma.
7. Blind Spots
Blind spots, or scotoma, appear at any point in your vision. They might appear as a dark spot in the center of your vision, or around the edges. It may also present itself as a flickering light in the center of your eye, and which may move around the eye. These temporary sports may come with migraines, or they may stay permanently.
Typically, these blind spots are indicative of a serious problem, including a stroke, a tumor, trauma, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Swelling in the eye can exhibit symptoms like the ones we’ve explored above, but swelling around the eye can be caused by a myriad other problems which your eye doctor can properly diagnose. Swelling could come as a result of allergies, fluid retention, or serious eye infections that can cause permanent damage if left untreated.
Swelling in the eyelids can also indicate serious health problems like orbital cellulitis, ocular herpes, or even Graves’ disease, all of which can potentially impair your vision forever.
Preventing Eye Diseases
Eye problems come in many forms, and the only way to properly combat them is to ensure you are equipped with a knowledgeable, experienced eye doctor. Even those who don’t wear glasses and have never experienced refractive issues can be vulnerable to eye health problems, too. So even if you don’t think you need to see an eye doctor, regular check-ups can give you peace of mind and catch potential problems early.
If you experience any of the symptoms described above, you should see a doctor. Some symptoms may be acute and occur only as a result of a migraine or a headache, but if they refuse to go away, if they are persistent and painful, reach out to the Kraff Eye Institute of Chicago and we’ll book you in for an appointment right away.
Our doctors and surgeons have decades of experience providing people across Chicago with eye care advice, treatment, and thorough check-ups. If you haven’t seen an eye doctor in a while call us at (312) 444-1111 and we can help you schedule an appointment!