Potential Warning Signs of Vision Loss and Blindness
Millions of Americans suffer from vision problems every year. Doctors often recommend that those diagnosed with diabetes and other medical conditions get their eyes checked every year. A simple eye exam can determine if you have any eye problems that may lead to vision loss or even blindness later. While many people assume that blindness is something they will recognize right off the bat, there are a number of symptoms that you might experience and overlook every day. You can watch for these signs and symptoms both in yourself and in your loved ones.
One of the more common symptoms is something that doctors refer to as a floater. A floater is a grayish or white colored blob that you often see along the edges of your eye. Some people may also see floaters moving across their field of vision, and some assume that these are simply flecks of dust in the air. When those floaters grow larger or look like a shadow, this can indicate a problem with the retina. It’s better to see a doctor and get the problem checked out right away. Any damage to the retina can lead to permanent blindness.
There is a big difference between minor discomfort that occurs after a long and stressful day and discomfort that you feel and experience every day. If you wear glasses and your eyes hurt of you feel any type of discomfort, you need to speak to a doctor. The problem may occur because of a simple problem like a rip or tear in your contact lens, but that discomfort may also occur because of an infection. Left untreated, the infection can eventually lead to some vision loss and even blindness.
Eye pain is a common problem that you might ignore. You may even find yourself reaching for a bottle of eye drops on the assumption that the pain occurs because your eyes are dry. While minor pain is generally nothing to worry about, severe pain is something you need to talk about with your doctor. Talking with your doctor is especially important if the pain travels behind your eyes, into your head or into your ears. This may indicate TMJ, migraines or cluster headaches. Constant eye pain may even be a sign that you need a stronger prescription for glasses or that you risk losing your vision.
Many people experience blurry vision every now and then. You might notice that your vision seems off when you first wake or when you feel tired late at night. When you experience blurriness in one eye but not the other, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. This is an early warning sign or symptom of glaucoma, but blurry vision in one or both eyes may indicate other eye conditions or diseases. Diabetic patients sometimes experience blurry vision when their blood glucose levels drop, and others may suffer from blurry vision because their blood sugar levels are too high.
If you have one or more close family members who went blind or had vision problems, your risk of suffering a similar problem increases. Many vision institutes and eye doctors offer genetic testing that lets you submit a sample for testing. The test will then inform you if you have any problems and if you are a risk for going blind later in your life. The Stephen A Wynn Institute for Vision Research and other similar organizations offer both genetic testing and help with those having troubles with their vision.
You use your eyes every day, but you probably don’t think about what you would do without clear vision. Whether you wear glasses or have perfect vision, you should still consider talking with a doctor when you experience unusual symptoms that might indicate a problem with your vision.