3 Common Vision Concerns at Any Age
Many of us will experience eye floaters, dry eyes, or sensitivity to light at some point in our lives. In most cases they’re nothing more than a nuisance. Still, knowing more about these common vision issues can help you treat discomfort or avoid situations that might aggravate your eyes. If any of these problems begins to interfere with your daily activities, contact an eye doctor for an exam. Learn more about the causes of these common vision concerns below.
Eye floaters usually appear as opaque circles or squiggly lines moving through our field of vision. They tend to be more noticeable when looking at a bright, blank space such as the sky. Eye floaters are annoying and distracting, but most people learn to ignore them.
What causes eye floaters? Our eyes are filled with a gel-like substance known as vitreous humor. Sometimes, loose cells or fibers clump together within this fluid and cast a shadow onto the retina. These appear to us as eye floaters.
There’s no easy fix for eye floaters. If symptoms grow intolerable, the vitreous humor can be drained and replaced. However, ignoring them is the easiest solution for most people.
In rare cases, eye floaters can be a sign of more serious vision concerns. If you ever experience a burst of floaters or flash of light, you should see an eye doctor immediately. These symptoms can be caused by internal damage to the eye.
Common Vision Concerns by Age
Occasional dryness of the eyes is a common complaint, and treatment is usually as easy as using over-the-counter eye drops to replace moisture. Dry eyes are often the result of low tear production or rapid evaporation.
Several things can cause tear production to slow, including:
- Damage to tear glands
- Medical conditions
- Side-effects from medication
- Natural slow-down due to aging
Evaporation can cause dry eyes in people who produce plenty of tears. Wind, cold weather, or not blinking frequently enough encourages moisture to leave the eyes.
In particularly painful cases of dry eyes, a doctor will first try and identify the underlying cause. Medications can be prescribed to counteract the symptoms. Surgery may be necessary if something is wrong with the tear glands themselves.
Sensitivity to Light
Bright light bothers many people, but some – especially those prone to migraine headaches – experience more pain than others. Known as photophobia, light sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Headaches: People who suffer with migraine headaches often complain of sensitivity to light.
- Internal eye damage: Inflammation or abrasions to various parts of the eye may result in photophobia.
- Neurological conditions: Photophobia is associated with trauma to the brain and certain diseases.
If you’re concerned about photophobia, visit your eye doctor for an exam and diagnosis.
The Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams
The eye concerns listed above affect many people, and are usually nothing to worry about. However, only an optometrist or ophthalmologist can determine whether a seemingly minor symptom is an indication of something more serious.
Many doctors recommend scheduling a comprehensive eye exam every year. Regular appointments allow them to observe the health of your eyes over time. Spotting trouble early can improve the odds of recovery. During your visit, share any concerns you have about your vision.
If it’s been a while since your last checkup, Eyeconic can help you find an eye doctor.