As the process of ageing starts, the signs and symptoms of the body’s wear and tear become more visible and eyes are no exception. Age-related eye conditions and changes start to occur. Some people find it difficult to focus and have blurred vision. The not-so-serious refractive problems can be corrected with the help of glasses. However, serious eye diseases can affect the eyes drastically at any age and if left untreated can lead to vision loss.
Warning Symptoms that Indicate Eye Problems
If you experience these common eye problems or changes, immediately book an appointment with your ophthalmologist:
1. Red shots: Eyes are supplied with nutrients with the help of small blood vessels. Sometimes, due to infection or irritation, these tiny vessels of blood may expand or even burst to cause red shots in the eye. Generally, this symptom is not serious and goes away without any sort of treatment. However, an eye injury, glaucoma, or scratches on the cornea of the eye could be serious. So, it is better to check with your ophthalmologist if this condition in the eye hurts, causes pain or doesn’t go away in a day or two. Red shots can also be a sign of diabetes and if it is left untreated, this can eventually lead to poor vision or even blindness.
Figure 1. Red eyes
2. Dry eyes: This symptom is common and is generally a side effect of excessive screen or computer usage and also a side effect of several medications. In some cases, autoimmune diseases can also lead to dry eyes.
3. Burning sensation: Stinging or burning sensation in the eyes is often considered as a sign of tired or irritated eyes. Burning sensation in the eyes can also be a sign of blepharitis which is a buildup of bacteria causing dandruff-like flakes on the eyelids. Burning sensation can also indicate more serious issue like keratitis which is inflamed cornea.
4. Crust: Crust is the sticky material which is a result of drying of tears or oil on the eyelids or lashes. It is normal to find a bit of the crust when you wake up. However, you need to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist if it is excessive in quantity or is greenish or yellow in colour as it may indicate a contagious pink-eye condition.
Figure 2. Crust
5. Blurred vision: Serious eye conditions like Cataract, Uveitis, Macular hole, etc can lead to blurred vision. It can worsen and cause permanent vision loss.
6. Flashes of light: Sudden flashes of light could indicate retinal tear formation which in turn can lead to retinal detachment.
7. Red growth over the eye: If you see a triangular growth starting at the nasal corner of the eye and encroaching the black part of the eye, it may indicate formation of pterygium (abnormal fibrous growth of the conjunctiva). This can be removed surgically for better eye comfort and cosmesis.
Figure 3. Pterygium
8. Puffy eyes: Puffy eyes can be due to allergies, inflammation, pink eye, or another infection. In many cases, puffy eyes may be due to thyroid problems.
9. Watery eyes: Tears keeps the eyes moist and wash out unwanted particles. Watery eyes can be a result of infection, scrape, cut or blocked tear ducts. See your ophthalmologist if your eyes hurt or vision is affected.
10. Twitching: Twitching or blinking of eyes is a small, unintended movement. Twitching of eyelids is quite common. It generally stops when you cut back on caffeine or take rest. Visit ophthalmologist if the twitching lasts for hours or involves one half of your face.
11. Lump: Styes are painful red-coloured lumps caused by bacteria. It occurs on eyelashes or under the eyelid. Some lumps are a painless swollen bump. It is called as ‘chalazion’, and it occurs on the lids of the eye because of a clogged oil gland. Painful red lumps can be treated with medication but chalazia require surgical removal.
Figure 4. Lump on the eyelid- chalazion
12. Yellow eyes: When the white part of the eyes looks yellow in colour, it is an indication of jaundice. Yellow spots in the eyes can be due to pinguecula (abnormal fat deposition on the surface of the eye).
13. Oddly sized pupils: Sometimes, a pupil of the eye appears to be stuck. When it is wide open, it is called as ‘mydriasis’, and when it is small, it is called as ‘miosis’. In some cases, both the pupils of an individual are of different sizes. See an ophthalmologist as this may indicate an underlying neurological problem.
14. Crossed eyes: Also known as ‘turned eyes’. It is a condition in which the eyes fail to point in the same direction. In this condition, both the eyes send different images to the brain. This may indicate poor vision in one or both eyes and this condition can be treated with glasses or surgery depending on the age of the patient and severity of the condition.
15. Droopy eyelids: Over a period of time, an eyelid that has fallen or hangs, blocks the sight. When droopy eyelids appear suddenly, it could be a symptom of a brain tumour, stroke or muscle disease.
16. Dark curtain sensation: Generally, it is a sign of a retinal detachment. If the retina is not reattached as soon as possible, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
17. Double images: Many eye conditions can lead to double images and it can be an underlying health emergency.
18. Narrowing of vision field: If you find it difficult to see or focus on objects near or off to the sides, it may be a symptom of optic nerve disease.
19. Cloudy eyesight: One of the main reasons for the cloudy eye eyesight is a cataract. Though it is not a medical emergency, it worsens over a period of time.
Figure 5. Cataract
20. Blind spots: People with diabetes can experience blind spots and their vision can be compromised. It can be because of the onset of diabetic retinopathy.
Regular eye examinations help to detect and treat the early signs and symptoms of several vision problems. Also, being aware of certain signs and symptoms can help take appropriate steps to maintain clear vision. Hence, it is important to pay attention to warning signs and symptoms that can indicate eye problems.