Eye & Vision Problems

There are many types of eye problems and visual disturbances. These include blurred vision, halos, blind spots, floaters, and other symptoms. Blurred vision is the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see small details. Blind spots (scotomas) are dark “holes” in the visual field in which nothing can be seen.

Considerations

Changes in vision, blurriness, blind spots, halos around lights, or dimness of vision should always be evaluated by a medical professional. Such changes may represent an eye disease, aging, eye injury, or a condition like diabetes that affects many organs in your body.

Whatever the cause, vision changes should never be ignored. They can get worse and significantly impact the quality of your life. Professional help is always necessary. As you determine which professional to see, the following descriptions may help:

  • Opticians dispense glasses and do not diagnose eye problems.
  • Optometrists perform eye exams and may diagnose eye problems. They prescribe glasses and contact lenses. In some states, they treat diseases that affect the eyes.
  • Ophthalmologists are physicians who diagnose and treat diseases that affect the eyes. They also perform eye surgery. These doctors may also provide routine vision care services, such as prescribing glasses and contact lenses.
  • Sometimes an eye problem is part of a general health problem. In these situations, your primary care provider should also be involved.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 if:

  • You experience partial or complete blindness in one or both eyes, even if it is only temporary.
  • You experience double vision, even if it is temporary.
  • You have a sensation of a shade being pulled over your eyes or a curtain being drawn from the side.
  • Blind spots, halos around lights, or areas of distorted vision appear suddenly.
  • You have eye pain, especially if also red. A red, painful eye is a medical emergency.

Call your provider if you have:

  • Trouble seeing objects to either side
  • Difficulty seeing at night or when reading
  • Gradual loss of the sharpness of your vision
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors
  • Blurred vision when trying to view objects near or far
  • Diabetes or family history of diabetes
  • Eye itching or discharge
  • Vision changes that seem related to medication (Do NOT stop or change a medication without talking to your doctor.)

 

Prevention

Regular eye checkups from Kaster Eye Clinic are important. They should be done once a year if you are over age 65. Your optometrist will recommend earlier and more frequent exams if you have diabetes or if you are already showing early signs of eye problems from diabetes, high blood pressure, or other causes.

The pressure in your eyes will be measured at some visits to test for glaucoma. Periodically, your eyes will be dilated to examine the retina for any signs of problems from aging, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

These important steps can prevent eye and vision problems:

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink.
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Keep your blood sugars under control if you have diabetes.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants, like green leafy vegetables.

 

Causes

Vision changes and problems can be caused by many different conditions. Some include:

Acanthamoeba


Help protect yourself from this potentially sight-threatening infection
read more

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)


Early diagnosis increases the chance for a complete recovery
read more

Anterior Uveitis


Inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which includes the iris and adjacent tissue
read more

Astigmatism


A vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye
read more

Blepharitis


Inflammation of the eyelids causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes
read more

Cataract


Most cataracts are due to age-related changes in the lens of the eye
read more

Chalazion


A slowly developing lump that forms due to blockage and swelling of an oil gland in the eyelid
read more

Color Vision Deficiency


The inability to distinguish certain shades of color or in more severe cases, see colors at all
read more

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)


Inflammation or infection of the conjuctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye
read more

Diabetic Retinopathy


A condition occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the retina
read more

Dry Eye


A condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye
read more

Eye Coordination


The ability of both eyes to work together as a team
read more

Glaucoma


A group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision
read more

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)


Occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly
read more

Keratoconus


A vision disorder that occurs when the normally round cornea becomes thin and irregular (cone) shaped
read more

Age-Related Macular Degeneration


The leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50
read more

Myopia (Nearsightedness)


Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred.
read more

Nystagmus


A vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, often resulting in reduced vision
read more

Ocular Hypertension


An increase in the pressure in your eyes that is above the range considered normal with no detectable changes in vision or damage to the structure of your eyes
read more

Presbyopia


A vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects
read more

Retinitis Pigmentosa


A group of inherited diseases that damage the light-sensitive rods and cones located in the retina
read more

Retinoblastoma


The most common cancer involving the eye in young children
read more

Spots and Floaters


Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems
read more

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)


If detected and treated early, strabismus can often be corrected with excellent results
read more

Visual Acuity: What is 20/20 Vision?


20/20 does not necessarily mean perfect vision
read more

Glossary of All Eye & Vision Conditions


Covers many of the eyecare conditions you’ll commonly discuss with your optometrist
read more

 

Other potential causes of vision problems include fatigue, overexposure to the outdoors (temporary and reversible blurring of vision), and many medications.

Medications that can affect vision include antihistamines, anticholinergics, digitalis derivatives (temporary), some high blood pressure pills (guanethidine, reserpine, and thiazide diuretics), indomethacin, phenothiazines (like Compazine for nausea, Thorazine and Stelazine for schizophrenia), medications for malaria, ethambutol (for tuberculosis), and many others.