10 Warning Signs That You Should Schedule an Eye Exam

24 Aug 2023Pre- and Post-op Info

Did you know that serious eye problems often do not cause any pain, especially in their early stages? This often makes it challenging for individuals to recognise that something might be wrong with their eyes.

This is why regular eye exams are so important for early detection and treatment. It’s important not to ignore any warning signs your eyes could be telling you.

Why is eye screening important? 

Eye screening is essential because it’s the best way to find problems and address them as soon as possible.

Many eye problems are best addressed early, which means people who don’t know they have eye problems could miss out on the crucial period for treatment. Sometimes, by the time they find a problem, things have progressed to the point where permanent damage has occurred.

For instance, a lot of people with glaucoma only realise it after they have lost a significant portion of their vision. Unfortunately, while glaucoma can be treated and the risk of it lowered, its effects cannot be reversed once they’ve happened.

At an eye screening, a doctor can identify issues through assessments as well as eye tests. For example, a doctor may perform tonometry for glaucoma screening, or a refraction or auto-refraction test to check your eyes’ refractive power.

We’ve discussed a lot of the essential tests performed in eye screening before, so see our article about that to learn more.

What are the symptoms of eye problems that mean you should get an eye test?

Some of the tell-tale signs that you need to get your eyes checked would be if your vision has changed or if you have a family history of eye problems.

To help you figure out whether or not you should see a doctor, below are some of the warning signs or symptoms of eye problems.

1. Sudden changes in vision

Blurry vision, double vision, or other unexpected changes in how you see could indicate an underlying issue. If they happen out of the blue, that’s a clear sign to get your eyes checked.

So, what do these symptoms indicate? Among other things, they could be signs of refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.

That said, it’s also possible that these sudden changes indicate even more serious conditions like cataracts or retinal problems. Double vision could also indicate problems with eye alignment.

2. Persistent discomfort in eye

Persistent eye pain, irritation, burning, redness, or itching could be due to a number of things.

Common causes are infections, dry eye syndrome or problems with the tear glands, or even more serious conditions like glaucoma or corneal issues.

 3. Vision-related headaches 

Frequent headaches, especially after reading or using digital devices, could indicate that you are suffering from eye strain. 

The most common treatment for this is to get a new prescription for your vision correction (like glasses or contact lens) after checking the refractive error in your eyes.

4. Sensitivity to light

Increased sensitivity to light is also known as photophobia. Yes, the term means fear of light, but in reality, it simply indicates a painful or uncomfortable reaction to light as a stimulus.

If you find that bright indoor lights or exposure to the sun cause eye pain for you, it’s worth seeing an eye doctor. It can often be a symptom of an eye problem, such as a cataract.

5. Seeing halos

Seeing halos around lights, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like eye pain or decreased vision, is another alarming eye symptom. The presence of halos could be related to conditions like glaucoma or cataracts.

6. Changes in colour vision

When you have difficulty distinguishing between colours, or notice a shift in colour perception, this might indicate colour vision deficiency or other problems.

7. Difficulty focusing

If you find it challenging to shift your focus between near and distant objects or if your vision blurs when focusing, it’s time for an eye exam. This is often caused by refractive errors like farsightedness or nearsightedness.

8. Floaters and flashes

Floaters are tiny specks, spots, or cobweb-like shapes that appear to float in your field of vision, while flashes of light are brief bursts of light that appear in your vision.

While they are often harmless and are a natural part of the aging process, it’s important to pay attention to sudden or significant changes, such as them becoming aggressively common.

This could be a sign of retinal tear or detachment, which requires immediate attention.

 9. Night blindness

This means that you have more difficulty seeing or driving in darkness, and indicates an inability to adapt when switching from well-illuminated areas to poorly lit ones.

There are many potential causes of night blindness, from cataracts to retinal problems. It’s worth noting that some forms of it are treatable but others are not, which means you will need a doctor to determine that for you.

10. Loss of peripheral vision

The loss of peripheral vision refers to a phenomenon where you struggle to see what’s at your side. You can still see items directly in front of you, but items to your side – your peripheral vision – are blurry or missing.

Because of this, peripheral vision loss is also often called tunnel vision (because you see only directly in front of you, as in a tunnel). The possible causes of the phenomenon include glaucoma and retinal detachment, but a doctor can confirm this for you.

Get an eye screening with an eye doctor today 

What’s clear from all of this is that regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining optimal eye health. Even if you’re not experiencing noticeable issues, getting your eyes checked periodically can help catch problems before they become noticeable.

Consult an eye care professional for personalised advice based on your situation and to ensure that you retain your vision for as long as possible. Call us to enquire or book an appointment for an eye screening today.