By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about EYE SIGNS that must not be ignored.
People ask me why is it that their eyes are just not the same like they were before. It’s because our eyes are not isolated from medical problems (diabetes, hypertension and other conditions), from the effects of aging or even from the environment that we live in with all the sun exposure, smoke and dust around us. Eye problems may occur at any age but they are often more common in old age. Always be wary of the warning signals and take proper action should that occur. In many cases quick intervention is important to avoid permanent vision loss.
Some Warning Signs
There are some symptoms and signs that may indicate a medical emergency. In most cases, you should seek professional help quickly:
1. A Red Painful Eye with Blurring Vision:
This is often a sign of an acute glaucoma (angle-closure variety) attack often associated with nausea, vomiting with a throbbing headache as well. Left untreated, this may result in permanent irreversible blindness. It may sometimes be mistaken for acute gastroenteritis (food poisoning) because of the symptom of nausea and vomiting. Seek quick treatment for this.
2. Blur Wavy Vision in the Centre Part of Vision:
This may be an early sign of macular degeneration (AMD). The macula is the central part of the retina where all the fine vision takes place. When this is affected, the vision appears distorted, lines appearing crooked or wavy and in the late stages the vision is lost centrally. The sooner treatment is instituted the better.
3. Vision Blurring in part of your Field of Vision:
If the vision loss appears like a curtain falling or like water rising from the floor, this may signal a detaching retina. This may be preceded by a sudden shower of floaters. The retina is a layer of nerve tissue in the back of your eye that receives the images that you see and transmits it to the brain. When this retina gets detached in some portion the vision gets lost in one part of the field of vision.
4. Blurred Vision with Haloes around Lights:
These vision changes may be due to glaucoma when there is a higher than normal eye pressure. Watch out for these subtle symptoms that occasionally occur with a mild headache or mild eye discomfort. Be especially on the look for this symptom if you are already a diagnosed glaucoma patient or have a family history of glaucoma.
5. Sudden Blurring and/or Floaters in Diabetic patients:
In diabetics, this may be a sign of bleeding in the eye because of diabetic eye disease. Regular eye exams are important if you are diabetic regardless of whether you have blurring vision or not. Do not wait for eye symptoms before getting your eyes checked.
These are only some of the warning signs. Seek professional help soon should you experience any unusual eye symptoms.