Our eyes allow us to see the world around us, making it incredibly important to address any concerning eye symptoms right away, so proper care and treatment can be provided. There are a few issues that can signify that something more serious may be occurring with your health. From double or blurred vision and unequal pupil size to flashes and floaters or burning and grittiness, it’s essential to see an eye care professional immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Flashes and Floaters
Floaters are likely to occur as you age due to changes in your vitreous or the gel-like substance that fills your eyeball. Over time, your vitreous turns into more of a liquid, which causes the eye to change. It’s essential to monitor flashes and floaters because they could turn into a much larger issue. If you notice a new set of floaters, flashes of light, or obscured vision, your retina may have been torn. As the vitreous loses its gel-like consistency, your retina can be tugged on. If your retina is weak, there is potential for tearing, leading to retinal detachment if left untreated. Along with a retinal tear or detachment, there is also a potential for posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). If you begin to notice flashes or floaters, it’s encouraged to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible so the issue can be caught early on, and adequate treatment can be provided. Here are a few signs to look for if you suspect you may have a tear or detachment:
- Flashes and floaters escalating
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Decrease in vision
Commonly, tears and detachments aren’t painful, so many individuals don’t know a retinal tear or detachment has occurred. Regular comprehensive eye exams are incredibly important, so your doctor can monitor your eyes’ health and provide proper care as needed.
Double or Blurred Vision
If you experience double or blurred vision of any sort, it’s encouraged to see your eye doctor immediately as it’s likely something much more severe going on. However, the most common cause of blurred vision is a lack of lubrication in your eyeball or commonly called dry eye. Dry eye can usually be treated with artificial tears. If your vision blurs suddenly or artificial tears don’t resolve the blurriness, a eyecare professional must be seen as your optic nerve could be inflamed, or there may be high pressure levels around your brain and spinal cord. Blurred vision can also be an indicator of high blood pressure or diabetes. Along with high blood pressure and diabetes, there are many other causes of blurred vision:
- Brain hemorrhage
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lyme Disease
- Cat Scratch Fever
You can experience double vision in one or both eyes and it’s incredibly dangerous. If you experience double vision, it’s vital that you get in with your eye doctor immediately as it could be a result of a neurological issue, cataracts, an autoimmune problem, or many other potentially dangerous issues.
Burning or Gritty Feeling
Many factors can cause you to feel burning or grittiness in your eyes. Most of the time, flushing your eyes with artificial tears can relieve this sensation as it may result from lack of sleep, smoky air, allergies, or dry eye. However, there are instances where it could mean an object is stuck in your eye, oil glands in your eyelashes are blocked, or there are too many mites in and around your eyelashes’ hair follicles. If you suspect any of the previously mentioned issues, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to resolve it.
- An Object in Your Eye: If there is an object in your eye that’s irritating, as tempting as it is to remove it yourself, it’s vital to make an eye appointment instead. Depending on the object’s size and its place in your eye, you could cause more harm trying to remove it yourself. Never use any tweezers and try not to rub or apply pressure as this can cause further irritation.
- Oil Gland Blockage: There are instances when the oil glands around your eyelash follicles can get blocked, and this can usually be resolved by applying a warm compress for five to ten minutes for a few days.
- An Abundance of Mites: If you’re still having issues after trying to unblock oil glands, it may mean that there are too many mites, and you have excess dead skin cells and oils built up. There are many home remedies to kill mites, but it will take several weeks. A gentle cleanser with tea tree oil can be applied to your eyelashes every day, but if this doesn’t resolve the burning or grittiness, it’s time to make an appointment.
Unequal Pupil Size
Your pupils naturally adapt to bright and dim light by shrinking or dilating. However, your pupils should always be symmetrical, so if you notice one that is suddenly larger than the other, it’s encouraged to see a medical professional right away. Unequal pupil size or anisocoria can be a sign of an aneurysm, tumor, brain infection, or stroke. There are instances where healthy individuals naturally have unequal pupil sizes, but if you haven’t noticed it before, it’s vital that you call your doctor immediately so the issue can be addressed right away.
If you experience any eye pain, something much more severe is likely going on. If the pain comes on suddenly, is unbearable, or lasts for an extended period, you must see an eye doctor. While eye pain commonly occurs due to an eye injury, it could also be a sign of an eye infection or severe inflammation. Any eye pain should be taken very seriously. If an injury hasn’t occurred, it could be an early sign of potentially blinding eye conditions such as optic neuropathy or a form of an ocular disease called glaucoma.
The Health of Your Eyes is Important
Staying up to date with regular eye exams and addressing any concerning issues early on will help keep your eyes in optimal shape for years to come. By scheduling annual eye exams, your eye doctor can monitor your eyes’ health, provide care as needed, and catch serious issues early on. If you begin to experience any of the eye symptoms above, it’s vital that you see your eye doctor as soon as possible, as the problems may signify a serious and dangerous health issue.