Common eye problems

A complete guide

Blurry vision noticed on regular basis, could be due to short sightedness, long sightedness or presbyopia. In these cases an eye test is recommended to correct your vision for the clearest, sharpest and most comfortable vision.

Sudden onset of blurry vision should be considered serious and you should seek medical attention immediately.

If one eye goes suddenly blurry, or you notice a cloud or curtain over your vision, this could be due to a retinal problem like retinal detachment or a medical condition like a stroke. In both cases this is classified as an emergency and you should seek urgent medical attention.

If your blurry vision comes and goes, this could be related to tiredness, dry eyes, lack of sleep or even eyestrain.

TIP: If you experience sudden onset of blurry vision or even occasional blurry vision, book an appointment for an eye test.

This is commonly due to dry eyes. Lack of good quality tears causes these symptoms.

People with medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, can also cause dry eyes.

TIP: Book a dry eye assessment appointment. Your optometrist will assess your tear film quality using various techniques and advise the best way of management specific to your eyes.

Dry eyes, an allergy, and lack of sleep or tiredness frequently cause burning eyes.

TIP: First try lubricating eye drops from your optician. If your symptoms persist book yourself for an eye test to investigate the cause.

Pain in your eyes can described as being:

* sharp

* dull

* stabbing or

* throbbing in nature.

If you have pain and redness in your eyes, you should have an emergency eye test or go straight to the emergency eye department at the hospital.

If you experience pain whilst moving your eyes in different positions of gaze, this could be due to inflammation of any of your inner eye structures.  Your optometrist would also indicate an eye test in this instance to rule out any underlying problems.

These spots, bits, cobwebs or threadlike strands moving around in your vision are referred to as floaters. Your eyeball is filled with a clear jelly called the vitreous and floaters are found within this jelly. Floaters are small protein or other particles, which are semi-transparent and can be cloudy.

As we all get older the vitreous shrinks and becomes more of a fluid like structure. Which means these floaters can easily move around in your eyes and you can see the reflections.

If you ever notice a sudden increase in floaters, with flashes of lights and a mist or curtain over your vision, this needs to be taken very seriously. You should book an emergency eye test appointment or go straight to the emergency eye department at the hospital. This can be indicative of a retinal problem, like retinal detachment.

TIP: Any symptoms of seeing floaters in your vision, you should book an appointment for a eye test. Your optometrist will put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils, so that a detailed examination of your retina can be done.

Getting dust particles in your eyes, or something of a similar nature, can usually be resolved by irrigating, rinsing your eye with water or saline. If you get a piece of metal, thorn or any objects which cause severe irritation and pain you must see your optometrist in emergency on the same day.

TIP: Any foreign body in your eye you should:

1. Don’t rub your eyes

2. Don’t try to take the foreign body out

3. Book a emergency appointment with your Optometrist the same day if possible

If you are having difficulty focusing on near objects like books, electronic devices like ipad and kindle then this could be indicative of presbyopia. This is when the crystalline lens inside your eye losses its elasticity and the surrounding muscles become more rigid. Normal signs include near objects look blurry, you get eyestrain and fatigue.  Book an appointment for an eye test.

There are many causes of red or bloodshot eyes. The main causes include:

* Eye infection

* Eye allergies

* Broken blood vessel

* Injury/ Trauma

Eye infection – Conjunctivitis is very common, which includes having a pink eye and yellow discharge. The common symptoms for an eye infection include: itching, stinging, foreign body sensation, sticky eye due to discharge, swelling and watering. The eye infection can be viral or bacterial and can also be contagious.

TIP: Book an eye test with your optometrist to confirm the type of infection and you may also need to be referred. Avoid rubbing your eyes and sharing towels with anyone.

Eye allergies – The common symptoms of allergies include itchy eyes, red eyes, watery and puffy. The allergy can vary considerably from seasonable plant allergy or all year round dust or pet allergy.

TIP: See your doctor for advice on the type of allergy that may be affecting you. Cold and wet compresses on your eyelids whilst your eyes are closed can also help. Taking antihistamines from the chemist can also help.

Broken blood vessel

If you notice your eye is bloodshot and all or a section of your eye is totally filled with blood. This is called a sub-conjunctival haemorrhage. This type of problem often looks scary in the mirror, but is nothing serious and you should not worry about it.

TIP: If you have a bloodshot eye with no history of any injury or foreign body in your eyes, you should see both your optometrist and doctor. It is important your optometrist looks into your eyes to confirm there no underlying cause. Also your doctor should check for any medical conditions that could cause it like blood pressure.

Eye injury/trauma

If you have a foreign object hit your eye, especially if it’s with great force you should see your optometrist for an emergency appointment. There could be

both damaged caused to the outside surface of your eye as well as hidden damage caused on the retina, like retinal detachment.

TIP: If you are suffering from a lot pain, place a cold compress on your eyes. Try not to rub your eyes. Seek medical attention either see your optometrist or emergency department at the hospital.