Everyone knows that the eyes are the windows to the soul, so it only makes sense that you should pay attention when there are signs that your eyes aren’t working correctly. Eye doctors won’t only be able to help as your vision changes or weakens naturally with age, they can also catch early signs of greater health problems that first become evident through issues with your eyes. Eye-related symptoms are often the first sign of an underlying health problem, mostly because your eye tissue is some of the most delicate and sensitive tissue in your body. According to Clarity Vision, an eye doctor in Holly Springs, NC, these underlying issues can include “ocular allergies, eye injuries, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.” Here are 4 signs and symptoms that you should consider going to see an eye doctor.
1: Long Time Since Last Eye Exam
While many people remember to book regular checkups with their GP and dentist, eye care is often neglected for long periods of time. If it’s been several years since you last had an eye exam or you can’t recall the last time you went to the optometrist, then you should consider going in for a checkup. Screening for various eye diseases can help you avoid a lot of pain and maintain your sight, especially considering that some of the most serious eye diseases have few symptoms at first. Common eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma, as well as normal age-related sight degradation, can be combated by regularly getting an eye exam. If you have no significant risk factors, getting an eye exam every 2 to 3 years is sufficient, while those with family history, other risk factors, or who are over the age of 65 should get an eye exam annually.
2: High Risk for Eye Diseases
You probably already know that there are risk factors that can greatly increase your risk for various diseases, and eye diseases are no different. If you have a high risk for eye diseases, then you should be even more vigilant about your eye health. Some risk factors include a family history of eye diseases, diabetes, visually demanding jobs that require a significant degree of eye strain, wearing contact lenses, and having a previous eye injury or eye surgery. Additionally, if your eyesight has historically worsened over time, you are considered at risk for further complications.
3: Worsening Vision
Do you find yourself struggling to read books or road signs? Do you notice that you have headaches after reading for a significant period of time? These are indications that your vision may be worsening, and you should book an eye exam as soon as possible in order to update your prescription. Vision problems can affect your daily routine and mental wellbeing – headaches can frustrate or incapacitate you, while struggling to read various materials can slow you down or even be dangerous in certain circumstances. In addition, untreated eye strain and unupdated glasses or contact lenses can increase your vision loss exponentially. Once you have your prescription from your optometrist, you can order glasses online in the future for your convenience.
4: Symptoms of Other Eye Problems
Because your eyes are so important, you should never ignore signs and symptoms that indicate changes in your eyes. While some symptoms are obvious, others are more subtle and may be early indications of a greater underlying problem with your eye health. The two most common factors for symptoms are eye infections and eye injuries. Neither infections nor injuries may be evident when they begin, but if left untreated they can have permanent consequences for your eyesight. Some symptoms that may indicate the early stages of eye infection, an unnoticed eye injury, or another disease include eye pain, double vision, constantly teary or red eyes, halos around lights, floaters or spots in your vision, unexplained flashes of light, or sudden changes in your vision. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should book an eye appointment as soon as possible.
Taking Care of Your Ocular Health
There are a number of ways you can change your lifestyle that will help you maintain your eye health. While making these lifestyle changes doesn’t mean that you should neglect going to the eye doctor regularly, they can help you maintain your eye health and eyesight and avoid uncomfortable, unhealthy, and costly eye disorders.
One change that you should consider making is to quit smoking if you are currently a smoker. In addition to the many mouth, gum, and lung problems that are known to be risks of smoking, smoking can also affect your eye health. Smoking obstructs eye health through the stress of smoke in your eyes. In addition, there is evidence that smoking may obstruct your body’s ability to absorb antioxidants, which are essential for maintaining eye health. A combination of oxidative stress and a deficiency of antioxidants may contribute to a weakening of your eyesight and eye muscles.
In addition, a healthy, balanced diet is essential to your eye health. Fatty acids are absolutely essential in moderation, since they are found in the retina and necessary for developing and maintaining your eye muscles. Nutrients often found in leafy greens, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, both have antioxidant properties and are also found in the pigment and lens of your eye. If you have common vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc, taking a supplement may help to maintain your overall eye health, including aspects such as low light vision and color vision.
Finally, there are many ways that not protecting your eyes from the sun can temporarily or permanently damage your eyesight. Both visible and UV light can damage your retina and cornea, damage that can lead to worsening eyesight and cataracts. Getting high-grade sunglasses that block UV light will help you maintain your eye health during the bright summer months. This aspect is often neglected, but it is as essential as sunscreen during the summer, especially if you have a family history of cataracts and are therefore more at risk for developing them.