Our vision naturally deteriorates with age. However, certain problems could be a sign something more serious. Here’s when to worry about sight problems and what symptoms could mean.
Gradual blurred vision is likely to be a common sight problem such as hyperopia (long-sightedness) or myopia (short-sightedness). An optician will easily be able to diagnose this and it can be easily fixed by wearing glasses or contact lenses or even getting laser treatment.
If the blurriness is more sudden, then it could be a greater cause for concern. If you’re pregnant and blurry vision is accompanied by swelling around the body, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, in which case you should see your midwife straight away. If it’s following a head injury, then it could be a sign of brain damage, which you should also seek immediate action for. Sudden blurred vision could also be an early sign of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or even a brain tumour.
That said, sudden blurred vision isn’t always an immediate cause for concern. It’s possible if you’ve got blurred vision and a bad headache that it could just be a migraine and not necessarily a tumour. In all cases, see a doctor if you are concerned.
Floaters and flashes
Most people see floating objects when they close their eyes and may naturally see more as they get older. However, if your constantly seeing floating objects in your field of vision or they have appeared suddenly, it could be a sign of retina damage. Cataracts is the most common example of retina damage – this can be treated if caught easily. Diabetes can also lead to floaters if left untreated.
Similar to floaters and flashes (sometimes referred to as ‘seeing stars’). These often accompany an eye injury and in serious cases could be a sign of retina detachment. Flashes can also accompany migraines in some cases.
Eye pain and redness
If your eye is red and is painful it could be due to a number of conditions. One of the most serious is glaucoma, accompanied by sudden sight loss and headaches – this is the result of damage to the optic nerve and should be diagnosed immediately. Red eyes could also be a result of an infection called conjunctivitis. This could be due to bacteria or a virus getting into the eye. Conjunctivitis is also commonly associated with allergic reactions such as hayfever or animal allergies – this may be treated by taking antihistamines.
Bumps on the eye
Bumps on the eye and eyelid can occur due to a variety of reasons. If the bump is on your eyelid and doesn’t hurt it could be harmless. If it is painful then it could be a stye – compression with a warm soaked washcloth over a number of days can sometimes get rid of these. A bump on the actual eyeball meanwhile could be a form of conjunctivitis or something worse. These are worth checking out – some are harmless but others may need treatment.