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20 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems

  • Category: LiveSmart
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  • Written By: Baldwin

Older man rubbing right eye

These symptoms may mean that your eye health or vision is in jeopardy so don't ignore them.

Your eyes are one of the primary ways you take in information from the world around you. Whether you're marveling at a spectacular sunset or looking before you cross the street to make sure you don't get hit by a passing car, your eyes play an integral part in every aspect of your life. That's why it's important to make sure they stay in optimal health.

As you age, naturally-occurring changes to your eyes may affect your vision or your comfort. Your eyes may get dry or irritated or you may notice that you don't see as well as you once used to. Although bothersome, these are normal signs of aging and most issues can be addressed with medication, corrective lenses or habit changes.

But sometimes you may notice differences in how your eyes work or how they look or feel that are not attributable to normal aging. If you have unusual symptoms, see a doctor for further evaluation. It's also a good idea to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam done every year, especially as you age. This is more than just taking a vision test to see if you need a new pair of glasses. By dilating your pupils, an eye doctor can see deep into your eyes and is better able to spot any potential problems that may affect your vision or the health of your eyes.

Not sure what to look out for that may indicate you have a potentially serious eye problem? Don't ignore these symptoms:

How your eyes feel or what they look like:

  • Experiencing pain, itching, burning or pressure in and around your eyes
  • Seeing redness in the whites of the eyes
  • Experiencing swelling or redness around the eyes
  • Having excess discharge or tearing
  • Noticing a change in iris color
  • Having oddly sized pupils
  • Noticing pupils that look milky or opaque
  • Having the inability to close an eyelid or having a bump on the eyelid that's growing
  • Not being able to move eyes together or noticing they are crossed

Changes to your vision:

  • Having trouble focusing on near or distant objects
  • Seeing spots in the center of your field of vision
  • Noticing that straight lines look wavy or crooked
  • Seeing halos (colored circles around lights)
  • Seeing floaters, flashers or a dark veil over a portion of your vision
  • Having trouble adjusting to dark rooms
  • Experiencing an unusual sensitivity to light or glare
  • Noticing colors look faded
  • Double, hazy, blurred or cloudy vision
  • Loss of peripheral (side) vision
  • Sudden loss of vision

Many different conditions can affect your eyes and some can have serious consequences if not treated, such as a loss of vision. If you experience any unusual eye symptoms, see a doctor for further evaluation. The health of your eyes is too important to ignore.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 18, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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