There are many known medical reasons for vision-related problems. A visual decline can be caused by age, inherited genetic conditions, accidents, infections, and more.
According to a study conducted by the IAPB Vision Atlas and the Lancet Global Health Commission, up to 90% of visual problems can be successfully treated and even prevented by a professional.
However, early treatment is often essential in correcting or managing vision problems. Learn more by checking out five early warning signs of vision problems below.
1. Chronic Red Eyes
Just like the name indicates, red eye is most notably defined by how the whites of your eyes appear red and bloodshot.
These painful, red eyes can be caused by more than just common pink eye. In fact, long-term red eyes can be indicative of simple problems such as allergies and even more serious conditions such as orbital cellulitis, uveitis, glaucoma, and more.
The latter conditions correlate respectively to serious infection, inflammation, and eye disease. There are many more potential conditions related to red eyes.
If your red eyes aren’t clearing up, or if you’re experiencing rapidly blurring vision, pain, light sensitivity, nausea, or headaches, then make sure to visit a doctor immediately for an accurate diagnosis.
2. Blurry Vision
Although blurry vision could just be a sign that you need glasses or contacts, this symptom could also indicate that something more serious is occurring.
One important distinction between the two is if the distortion has occurred suddenly. Sudden blur could indicate that you may have conditions such as a detached retina, a corneal infection, macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, macular edema, pink eye, diabetic retinopathy, and more.
Thorough eye exams that include eye imaging rather than air puffs can get a clearer picture of any eye problem you’re facing.
If your blurry vision is based on needing corrective lenses, then wearing glasses specifically made to suit your eyes can drastically improve your vision quality.
Even if you just need glasses, it’s important to stay on top of your eye care needs so that you go through life seeing with as much clarity as possible.
3. Eye Floaters
If you have an eye floater, you may be seeing what looks like a dot or a stringy object seemingly traveling across your eye.
Floaters can interrupt your vision and become extremely frustrating. You may have even tried to remove the floater without success.
You wouldn’t have been able to remove the floater because they’re not actually located on the surface of your eye.
Floaters are made up of cells or deposits that have grouped together in the vitreous body of your eye. The vitreous body is not near the surface of your eye.
It appears this way because you’re seeing a shadow of those cells reflected onto the surface of your eye. Floaters can just be a condition you have that isn’t actually leading to a decline in your vision.
However, they can also indicate conditions like uveitis, retinal tears, detached retinas, cancers, posterior vitreous detachment, and diabetic retinopathy.
4. Seeing Flashes of Light That Aren’t Really There
If you’re seeing light that isn’t really there, you may be experiencing an eye problem that you need to get checked out. Sudden light flashes that aren’t connected to an actual light source occur when your retina is being tugged at.
This can be caused by your eye changing shape or even just by rubbing your eyes too much or too hard. Other causes could include posterior vitreous detachment, optic inflammation, and retinal detachment.
5. Light Sensitivity
Light sensitivity, or photophobia, occurs when you experience pain or discomfort when exposed to light.
While some amount of light sensitivity is normal, constant light sensitivity that doesn’t have to do with moving suddenly from dark to light spaces may be a sign of vision or other medical problems.
Light sensitivity could be a sign of meningitis, encephalitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, migraines, corneal abrasion, scleritis, and more.
Some less concerning causes could include light headaches, dry eyes, and pink eye. See a doctor right away if you also experience nausea, extreme migraines, fever, or mental confusion.
If you’re experiencing any or all of the above symptoms, you may want to get your eyes seen by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or potentially the ER if you have severe, alarming symptoms.
While the above symptoms indicate early issues, you may also want to look into other symptoms, such as unexplained swelling, chronic headaches, and night blindness.
Regina Thomas is a Southern California native who spends her time as a freelance writer and loves cooking at home when she can find the time. Regina loves reading, music, and hanging out with her friends and family. She recommends you prioritize your vision by scheduling regular visits with your optometrist to check if you may need glasses.