Even if your eyes feel perfectly fine, there could be problems lurking. Sight-threatening eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma have no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Skipping the eye doctor could lead to bigger problems down the line.
An eye doctor visit could even alert you to other health issues, like high blood pressure or diabetes. An eye exam enables your doctor to directly see blood vessels, so it’s a vital part of taking care of overall health.
In other cases, you may experience eye problems that warrant a trip to the eye doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms like squinting, headaches and the inability to see properly are a few glaring warning signs. If you’re wondering, “When should you go for an eye test?” here are some eye-related issues to be aware of, and what might be causing them.
Headaches may be a result of eye problems. One common cause of vision-related headaches is eye strain. Those who work regularly on computers or other devices are prone to digital eye strain. Your eyes have to work hard to read what’s on a digital screen, and people blink up to a third less when using screens. Blinking is important because it keeps your eyes moist and clean.
If your headache is accompanied by any of the following, you may be experiencing eye strain:
- Burning eyes
- Double vision
- Sensitivity to bright light
Eye strain and its resulting headaches are even more severe when you don’t have proper vision correction. If you have to work even harder to read something because you’re not outfitted with glasses or contacts, you may have eye strain more often or get worse headaches.
Squinting can help you see slightly better. Squinting reduces the amount of light from out-of-focus sources, and enables you to see what you’re looking at more clearly.
If you’ve discovered these temporary focusing benefits of squinting and find yourself doing it often, you probably need vision correction. Wearing contacts or glasses that are prescribed for your unique vision will help you see everything clearly, with no need to squint.
3. Blurry Vision
The causes of blurry vision are wide-ranging, and it’s a condition you should take seriously. Whether you experience sudden or ongoing blurry vision, you should schedule an eye exam to pinpoint the cause. It might be:
- Myopia: Myopia is nearsightedness. If you’re experiencing blurry vision when looking at distant objects, myopia might be the reason. Glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery could help.
- Hyperopia: Hyperopia is farsightedness, although some distant objects may appear blurry, as well. The same treatments for myopia may help those with hyperopia.
- Astigmatism: Fuzzy vision at all distances may be a result of astigmatism, a common refractive error. Again, glasses, contacts, or surgery may help.
- Presbyopia: Presbyopia is the gradual loss of focusing ability for close objects. This generally develops in people ages 40 and older. In addition to blurry vision, squinting at objects up close is another symptom. Prescription lenses or surgery could help.
- Chronic dry eyes: When your body doesn’t produce enough tears, or it produces low-quality tears, dry eyes may be the result. Prescription medication may help.
- Eye floaters: If you see something that looks like gray specks or floating strings or spots, it might indicate a serious eye problem, like retinal detachment.
Blurry vision may also be a sign of eye problems like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy.
Blurry vision is never normal. You may be able to immediately correct it with glasses or contacts, or an eye exam could clue you into a bigger issue that is important to treat as early as possible.
4. Stabbing Pain
Stabbing pain can be one of the most invasive symptoms that send patients to an eye doctor quickly. It could be the result of something you’ve done, like improperly wearing contacts, and could be treated relatively easily.
Stabbing eye pain could be a result of:
- Rubbing the eye when there’s a foreign body present, like a grain of sand, can result in scratches on the cornea
- A chemical burn
- Conjunctivitis, which is also known as “pink eye”
- Sjogren’s Syndrome is a condition defined by dry eye, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis
- An eye infection
- Eye inflammation
As soon as you experience eye pain, you should jot down details that you can take to your eye doctor. Note a description of the pain, location, appearance, duration, and how often you experience it. Then get to an eye doctor.
Don’t Wait – Schedule an Eye Exam
One other way to tell if you need an eye exam is if it’s been more than a year since your last one. You could be in the early stages of a symptom-free eye problem. Or, you could have diabetes or blood pressure issues that may be discovered in your next exam. Even if you have 20/20 vision, an annual eye exam is the best way to take care of your eyes.
If you’re experiencing any of the issues listed here – headaches, squinting, blurred vision, aching eyes, or stabbing pain – schedule an eye exam right away. Other symptoms like floaters, changes in eye appearance, and sensitivity to light are also signs to take seriously.
Contact a Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center near you. You can also call 602-603-4247 to schedule an eye exam.