Over 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. According to statistics, about 80% of cases could be prevented or treated. Therefore, regular eye exams are so important – they can be very useful in detecting possible progressive eye diseases such as glaucoma (a condition frequently found having very few symptoms in its early stages). In other cases, people may experience symptoms such as vision changes or eye pain which require immediate medical attention.
Here are some events that may indicate the presence of an ocular disease and the need of going the doctor as soon as possible.
Eye problems for which you should consult your doctor
– Flashing lights, floaters or gray shadows in the visual field. The sudden onset of these symptoms could be a sign of retinal detachment – the nervous layer behind the eye that sends images to the brain. Myopia, glaucoma and ocular lesions are the most common causes of detachment of the retina. If not treated quickly (usually through surgery), retinal detachment can cause blindness.
– Sudden vision quality alteration – It is partial or complete (especially when involving only one eye). Sudden loss of vision can indicate a number of eye diseases and conditions. One of these is macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in people over age 65. In case of macular degeneration, the vision loss occurs gradually, but sometimes can occur suddenly – if fluid from the blood vessels in the eye reaches the retina. Another cause of sudden loss of vision is glaucoma, which affects the optic nerve.
– Eye pain – Most eye diseases are painless. However, some conditions or injuries can cause eye pain. Pain may be caused by glaucoma, dry eye or corneal scratching.
– Eye Injury – Any ocular lesion, regardless of its nature or degree must be evaluated by a doctor, especially if there is redness and pain that persists for 15-20 minutes.
– Persistent ocular discomfort – Any eye discomfort should not be overlooked, either after a certain activity during which a small particle of material entered the eye, or discomfort that occurs for no apparent reason. Go to the eye doctor to make sure you do not have any foreign objects in the eye, which may cause eye infection.
– Red Eye – You should be concerned when only one of the two eyes becomes red. Redness of both eyes can mean the presence of diseases such as conjunctivitis, which is a minor eye infection, easily treated. Instead, redness of one eye may signal deep inflammation such as scleritis or uveitis. Scleritis is inflammation of the protective outer layer of the eye and uveitis is inflammation and swelling of the middle layer of the eyeball.
– Blurred vision – blurred vision may be a sign of several eye problems, including glaucoma, uveitis, retinal tear or macular degeneration. Loss of vision in one eye may be an early symptom of a stroke.