Health Brief: Eye Symptoms that Can Indicate Serious Problems

Look out for these eye symptoms

Caring for your eyes is an important part of good health. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes require specific nutrition and activities to function properly. If your eyes are not properly nourished, you may experience problems that could cause blindness or severe vision loss in the future. Below is a look at some of the key signs of eye problems that could require emergency medical attention.

Blurred vision

Vision may gradually worsen as you get older, but sudden changes in vision are cause for medical attention. Blurry vision, poor night vision, light glare, and wavy lines in the vision could be signs of cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal damage. Each of these conditions should be addressed right away, because they can progress rapidly and lead to permanent vision damage. Sudden changes in the vision—particularly trouble seeing at night—can indicate a hereditary condition called keratoconous in which the cornea becomes cone shaped. This change may occur suddenly, and it may need to be treated surgically in severe cases.

Dry eyes

If you regularly experience irritation in the eyes such as redness, dryness, and itchiness, these symptoms may simply be the result of allergies or a reaction to certain medications. However, dry eyes can also indicate infection of the cornea or eyelid—especially if the irritation is only in one eye. Contact lens use can also cause irritation to the eyes, so you might take a break from your contacts for a day or two to relieve your eyes.

Pain in the eyes

Eye pain may be a sign of glaucoma, which is a serious condition requiring immediate care. Ideally, you should have an eye test every year to screen for glaucoma and other problematic conditions so they may be identified before symptoms arise. Burning pain in the eyes may be related to corneal irritation.

Light sensitivity

Frequent headaches and sensitivity to light might be due to damage in the eyes, but it can also be the result of several other conditions including neurological disorders. Therefore, you should consult a physician to discuss this symptom and all of its potential causes.

Floating spots

In most cases, eye floaters are not serious and will not interfere with your vision. When these floaters appear often and are accompanied by flashes of light or black spots in your vision, you may have retinal detachment. This condition should be treated as soon as possible, so you may need to schedule an emergency appointment with your ophthalmologist.