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Recognizing Poor Vision

In patients, whether young or old, sometimes poor vision can be due to a few conditions including changes in the body or defects in the eye or visual system, eye diseases, side effects of medication or eye injuries. Commonly, people also suffer from visual disturbances resulting from aging or eye strain. This can result in changes in your vision, which may make it uncomfortable or difficult to get through everyday activities, like reading the newspaper or working on a computer for long periods. Common signs and symptoms of such vision problems include blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, and problems seeing at close and far distances.

One of the first signs of a vision problem can be blurred vision. If you have blurred vision when you're looking at faraway objects, you may very well be nearsighted, or myopic. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at something close by could mean you suffer from farsightedness, or hyperopia. Blurred vision can also be a symptom of astigmatism because of an abnormality in the way the cornea is formed, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. In all cases of blurry vision, it is really important to have your optometrist examine your vision and decide on the best way to improve your sight.

A sudden onset of flashes of light, often combined with black floating spots and what may feel like a dark curtain that limits a section of your vision indicates the possibility of what's known as a retinal detachment. If this is the case, visit your eye doctor right away, as this can have serious consequences.

Another sign of a vision problem is trouble distinguishing different colors or brightness of color. This indicates a color perception problem, or color blindness. Color blindness is generally not known to the patient until proven via a consultation. Color blindness is mostly something that affects males. If a woman has difficulty perceiving color it may represent ocular disease, in which case, an eye doctor should be consulted. For those who struggle to distinguish between objects in minimal light, it is a sign of possible night blindness.

Cataracts, a condition frequently seen elderly patients have several indicating signs which include: unclear sight that worsens in bright light, trouble seeing in the dark or reduced light, trouble seeing small writing or details, the need for brighter light when reading, improvement in near vision but a decline in distance vision, inflammation of the eye, and a pale look to the normally dark pupil.

Pulsing pain in the eye, headaches, blurry sight, inflammation in the eye, rainbow halos around lights, nausea and vomiting are also signs of glaucoma, an acute medical illness, which needs immediate medical attention.

In children, we recommend you watch for uncoordinated eye movement, or eyes that cross in or out, which may indicate a condition called strabismus. Certain behavior in children, such as rubbing eyes, squinting, head tilting, or the need to shut one eye to look at things better, often indicate this issue.

While clearly some conditions could be more problematic than others, any disruption to good eyesight can be a burden, and impact your quality of life. A brief visit to your optometrist can prevent unnecessary discomfort, or even more severe eye and vision problems.