The human eye is a marvel of design. Every morning, you wake up, check the time on the clock by you bedside, swing and get your feet to the ground and your day begins. When was the last time you went for eye check up? Remember that the eyes are the windows to your health and have a lot to tell.
According to stats provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the adults in North America at high risk of vision loss haven’t seen an optometrist in the past 12 months. 35% of adults feel that they are OK and don’t think that eye checkup is necessary. Here’s the problem: eye exams not only gauge your vision but also provide vital info on other underlying conditions like blood pressure, cholesterol levels and autoimmune disorders. As such, you should see an optometrist at least once every one to two years depending on your history. However, should you notice any of these 5 symptoms then immediately seek to see an optometrist for immediate attention.
1. Flashes and floaters
Floaters can best be described as small clouds or specks in your field of vision. You can easily tell when you have floaters: just stare into a blank surface and you’ll notice the odd dot, circle, line or cobweb that shouldn’t be there. They (floaters) are actually to clumps of cells or gel inside the vitreous. Flashes on the other hand are akin to lightening streaks which come as a result of the vitreous gel rubbing or pulling on the retina. If you notice floaters and flashes then there is need to see your optometrist as they could be a sign of a benign condition called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) or even a retinal tear, break or a detachment.
2. Red, teary eyes
This is a prevalent problem affecting many people including those who wear contact lenses. Red and teary eyes can sometimes present as one of the symptom of keratisis: an inflammation of the cornea which results in red eyes, general swelling, pain and a host of other problems. Avoid sleeping with your contact lenses on. This puts you at risk of corneal damage and scarring.
3. Double vision
Although double vision could be a sign of any benign condition, it’s something you wouldn’t want to experience. Double vision can affect one or both eyes. In case you get double vision on one eye it’s likely to be a sign of coneal disease, cataract or other condition related to that eye. If you get double vision in both eyes then it’s evident that both eyes aren’t coordinating as they should. This could be due to an autoimmune, neurological or any other issue. See your optometrist for a check up.
4. The pupils don’t look the same size
Anisocoria is the technical name given to this condition. If you look into a mirror or somebody tells you that your pupils don’t look the same size then book an appointment with your optometrist. Anisocoria shouldn’t be taken lightly as it could be a sign of aneurysm, stroke, brain tumor, brain infection or it could simply be physiologic. A thorough assessment is required to determine the diagnosis.
5. Painful eyes
Eye pain should be assessed and addressed immediately. Many condition can cause eye pain including dry eyes and corneal disease. Pain could also be a sign of more serious conditions like angle closure glaucoma or optic neuropathy. Seek immediate medical attention.