Most symptoms in your eyes signal something relatively minor and treatable, like allergies or dry eye syndrome. Others can be more serious. Macular degeneration and glaucoma, for instance, can start to harm your vision without you realising it until it’s too late. Even the minor problems could grow severe if you don’t take care of them. To pre-empt the normal changes that come with ageing, ophthalmologist Dr Matthew Gorski recommends getting comprehensive annual eye tests starting at age 40, or sooner if you have a family history of eye disease or if you have symptoms. Here are some vision symptoms that could indicate trouble.
A gritty feeling in your eye could be a sign you have dry eye. You may also have intermittent stabbing pain, glare around lights, sensitivity to light and watery eyes, says clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr Stephanie Marioneaux. “If you’re staring at computer screens all day, reading, driving, you’re set up for dry eye,” she adds. Approaching menopause can also contribute. “If you think that you have dry eye, this is not a do-it-yourself thing,” says Dr Marioneaux. “You want to be evaluated because there are many options that we can offer you but if you wait you may have missed a window of opportunity to get some effective treatment.”
Flashers and floaters
Those spots that float past your vision from time to time are called floaters and they usually vanish as soon as you try to focus on them. “Floaters are often a normal symptom of the ageing eye, but any sudden onset or change in floaters, flashing lights, a shadow or grey curtain in the peripheral or side vision could be a sign of a retinal tear or retinal detachment,” says Dr Gorski. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of your eye that receives light signals. It can pull away from the back of your eye. usually due to ageing or an eye injury, according to the US National Eye Institute. If you experience these symptoms, get emergency help right away. Without adequate treatment, you could lose your vision.