Even if you have “perfect” 20/20 vision, you could have symptoms of something going wrong with your eyes that could result in visual impairment or even blindness.
Regular eye exams are important because they allow your eye doctor to watch out for progressive conditions that start slowly but can cause serious visual problems. Other symptoms may indicate a more serious condition that needs immediate attention.
Get your eyes checked right away if you experience any of these red flag symptoms:
• Sudden loss of vision
If your vision changes suddenly, if for instance it becomes blurry, have your eyes checked even if your vision goes back to normal. Blurred vision may simply mean you need a new prescription for glasses or contacts. But it can also mean you have a serious condition such as glaucoma, a torn retina or age-related macular degeneration. Loss of vision in just one eye could indicate a blood vessel blockage or stroke.
It is normal to occasionally see a floater, which may look like pieces of lint, dots, circles or lines wafting across your field of vision. But a sudden increase in the number of floaters could be a sign that your retina is becoming detached. Other symptoms of retinal detachment include seeing a “shadow” in your peripheral or side vision, or seeing a gray curtain move across your field of vision.
The retina is the layer of nerves inside the back of the eye that sends visual images to the brain. Retinal detachment must be treated quickly, usually with surgery, to prevent blindness.
• Eye pain or injury
Most diseases of the eye are not painful. But some serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, dry eye or cancer of the eye can cause eye pain. Injury to the eye such as a scratched cornea or a foreign particle in the eye can also result in eye pain.
Get your eye checked right away if you have eye pain or a persistent sensation that something is in your eye, especially after you have been doing work such as hammering or working with small particles such as metal shavings.
• Red eye