Eye pain? Problems with your vision? Excessive tearing or redness in your eyes?
Below is a list of some of the common eye symptoms and the possible associated eye conditions.
Noting the kind of symptoms you experience is important to help you and your eye doctor find out if there's a problem. An eye examination can determine what is wrong and how to fix it.
Is your vision blurry or distorted?
Long-term blurry or distorted vision can have a number of causes.
Blurry vision, in particular the inability to clearly see objects that are either far away or up close, is commonly a sign of a simple refractive error like short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism or presbyopia (lao hua).
These can be readily solved with vision correction aids such as spectacles, contact lenses and LASIK.
A more serious cause of blurry or distorted vision is age-related macular degeneration, which often affects the central vision.
Objects in the middle of the field of view are seen as distorted, but the peripheral vision remains clear. This condition is irreversible and can cause blindness if left untreated, so early diagnosis is important.
Do you have cloudy vision?
Having cloudy vision or having your vision obscured, as if you are seeing objects through a mist, can be a sign of cataracts.
This condition, which is age-related, is a progressive condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Cataracts can be easily removed, so it is important to diagnose the disease as soon as possible.
Cloudy vision can also be caused by other medical conditions such as vitamin A deficiency, sexually transmitted disease and eye tumours.
If you are suffering from cloudy vision, do see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
|Left: Normal vision. Right: Cloudy vision.|
Are you losing your peripheral vision? Do you have eye pain?
If your central vision is fine, but the areas outside your central field of vision start to lose clarity or detail, you could be losing your peripheral vision.
Peripheral vision is responsible for detecting motion at the edges of our field of view and sensing incoming danger. Any impairment of your peripheral vision can be quite dangerous.
One cause of loss of peripheral vision is glaucoma, where the eye pressure is usually abnormal.
The loss of peripheral vision is not always noticed but as glaucoma progresses, it can cause extreme pain and blindness.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent vision loss.
|Left: Early visual field loss.|
Are your eyes itchy or watery?
If you are suffering from prolonged itchiness and watering of the eyes, you could have an allergy to pollen, pet hair, or other foreign substances in your environment. The condition can be uncomfortable, but does not usually result in significant vision loss.
Your eye may feel irritated and tired. Dry eyes can also cause itch and tearing. Your eye doctor can accurately determine the cause of your eye discomfort and advise treatment.
Do you see floaters in your field of vision?
The dark, distinct spots you sometimes see in your field of vision are called floaters.
Floaters occur when small clumps of the vitreous (a jelly-like fluid) inside the eye detach from the inner wall of the eye. Seeing floaters can be an indication of vitreous detachment, or a more serious problem like diabetic retinopathy which causes blood vessels in the retina to weaken and burst.
The resulting blood that seeps into the eye forms floaters. Floaters can also be caused by retinal detachment, a serious condition when the retina of the eye detaches from the rest of the layers of the eye.
If you see floaters, see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
Are you seeing flashes?
Flashes appear as arcs of light across the field of vision, or sometimes as flashes of light.
Like floaters, flashes are eye symptoms that are commonly associated with vitreous detachment and, more seriously, with retinal detachment.
If you see flashes, see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
Other vision problems and symptoms
There are many other symptoms that can occur due to eye problems.
Eye pain can be due to scratches on the cornea or internal pressure, which might signal a dangerous form of glaucoma.
If you suffer from excessive crusting of the eyelid, it could be due to allergies or eye infections such as pink eye.
If you suffer from any problems with your eyes or vision, see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
This article was contributed by Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). For more information, visit SNEC's website at www.snec.com.sg.