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It Might Be Time to Schedule an Eye Checkup
Having trouble seeing at night? Experiencing a blurry vision or eye strain? Do you have to squint when you’re reading? These are all signs it might be time to visit an eye doctor. Check out these 10 signs it might be time to schedule an eye checkup.
From visual impairments like myopia to eye diseases like glaucoma, millions of Americans currently struggle with poor eye health.
You could be part of this group and not even know it! Vision changes typically come on so gradually that it’s hard to notice them.
Scheduling an appointment with an eye doctor can help you determine whether or not your eyes are as healthy as they could be.
It’s especially important to head to the doctor for an eye checkup if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms.
Blurred Vision and Difficulty Focusing
If your vision is blurred or you have a hard time focusing, this is a major sign that you’re in need of an eye checkup. This is especially true if your blurred vision has developed suddenly, comes and goes, or is limited to one eye.
Some common conditions that cause blurred vision and hinder your ability to focus include:
- Macular degeneration
You could also be suffering from a condition known as keratoconus. This condition occurs when you develop a cone-shaped bulge in the front of your eye.
Keratoconus treatment typically involves special, rigid contact lenses or a corneal transplant.
Visual disturbances usually show up as flashes of light, obstructed vision, or floaters. Floaters are floating spots in the field of vision. They are often caused by aging and may fade with time.
However, if floaters are accompanied by sudden flashes of light, this is more serious and can be a sign of a serious issue like a retinal detachment or a retinal tear.
Many people who struggle with frequent headaches don’t realize that poor vision could be the culprit. The next time you get a headache before you reach for the ibuprofen, consider scheduling an eye exam to make sure the strain on your eyes isn’t causing your pain.
Eye Pain or Strain
It’s common to experience some eye pain from time to time, especially during allergy and cold and flu season. But, if you experience ongoing aches or strain in your eyes, this could be a sign of an infection or vision change, both of which are things that your eye doctor should be aware of.
Frequent Eye Infections
If you’re constantly dealing with eye infections like conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), blepharitis, eyelid cysts (also known as chalazion), or corneal ulcers (white spots on the cornea), you should see an eye specialist to figure out what’s going on.
This is especially important if you have children or live with roommates. Eye infections can spread very quickly, so getting them under control will keep those you live or come in contact with regularly safe from contamination.
If you’re always squinting, you should talk to an eye doctor about getting glasses. Frequent squinting can contribute to eye strain and headaches, and it can cause premature wrinkles around your eyes — who wants to deal with that?
It’s especially important to address squinting when it’s accompanied by an eye turn or crossed eyes (a condition known as strabismus).
Sensitivity to Light
It’s actually a sign of health for your eyes to be slightly sensitive to the light, especially when you’re outside in the bright sun. But, if your eyes are extra sensitive to any type of light, you could be suffering from an eye infection or a disorder like uveitis.
Uveitis occurs when the middle layer of the eye, where all the veins and arteries are located, becomes inflamed. Uveitis is also characterized by redness, blurred vision, pain, and irritation. This condition is usually caused by eye trauma, but infections and rheumatologic diseases can also contribute.
An eye doctor can often treat uveitis with antibiotic or anti-inflammatory drops.
Persistent redness or red, vein-like shapes in the eyes can be a sign of diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when the blood vessels in the retina are damaged, usually as a result of chronically elevated blood sugar.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
- Non-proliferative retinopathy: This is mild bleeding that causes the leakage of blood and/or serum in the retina
- Proliferative retinopathy: This occurs when abnormal blood vessels start to grow on the retina and cause visual impairment.
Both of these conditions must be treated with either surgery or laser treatment.
Poor eye health can also cause a feeling of whole body fatigue. If you’re struggling to focus and are always tired, your eyes may be to blame. If you’ve controlled for other factors (minimizing stress, getting enough sleep, etc.) talk to your eye doctor to see what they think.
You Haven’t Been in Two or More Years
If it’s been more than two years since you last went to the eye doctor, you should go ahead and schedule an appointment.
Even if you feel fine and don’t think you’re experiencing any symptoms, it’s still a good idea to get checked out. Remember, you can prevent future eye problems by being proactive and making sure everything is in good working order.
It’s also a good idea to get your eyes checked if it’s been a while and you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling abroad. Your doctor can get you any supplies you may need and save you the trouble of having to do it on your trip.
What to Expect During an Eye Checkup
After reading through these 10 signs, have you decided that you do, in fact, need an eye checkup? If it’s been a while since your last checkup, you might be feeling a little nervous.
Eye checkups are usually pretty straightforward, and they usually only take about 20-30 minutes. If you need extra tests, they may take a bit longer, but a standard checkup is quite short.
When you arrive at the doctor’s office, tell them about any issues you’ve been experiencing. The doctor will then perform an eye exam, which usually includes the following components:
- Looking at your eyes with an ophthalmoscope
- Asking you to read letters on a chart
- Photography of the interior and exterior of your eyes
Throughout these tests, you can ask your doctor to explain what they’re doing or express any concerns you may have.
Want to Learn More?
Are you in need of an eye checkup? Could there be other health issues you’re experiencing without realizing it?
If you want to get up to speed on other common health issues and learn what signs and symptoms you need to be on the lookout for, check out some of our other health-related articles today.