The Warning Signals

Eye Health

By Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about some WARNING SIGNALS OF EYE PROBLEMS.

It is important to be wary of the warning signals that something is going wrong with your eyes and to take proper action should that occur. In many cases, such as diabetic eye disease, eye strokes or acute angle closure glaucoma, quick intervention is important to avoid permanent vision loss. 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. Always be aware of them.

Some Warning Signals!

There are some warning signs that require urgent treatment. Some of them are:

1. Red Painful Eye with Significant Blur Vision

This is often a sign of an acute glaucoma (angle-closure glaucoma) attack. There may be nausea and vomiting with a throbbing headache as well. Left untreated, this condition may result in permanent irreversible blindness. This condition may sometimes be mistaken for acute gastroenteritis (food poisoning) because of the symptom of nausea and vomiting. Don’t delay in seeking treatment!

2. Blur Wavy Vision

This may be an early sign of Macular Degeneration (AMD), a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. The macular is the central part of the retina where all the fine vision takes place. When this is affected, the vision appears distorted with lines appearing crooked, and in the late stages the vision is lost centrally. The sooner treatment is instituted the better.

3. Blur peripheral vision

If the vision loss appears like a curtain falling or like water rising from the floor, then this may be a signal of a detaching retina (nerve tissue in the back of your eye). When this nerve layer gets detached in some portion, then the vision gets lost in one part of the field of vision (see adjacent simulated pic). It is sometimes preceded by a sudden shower of floaters.

4. Haloes around Lights

These vision changes may be due to glaucoma when there is a higher than normal eye pressure. It may occur with a mild headache or eye discomfort. Be especially on the lookout 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. It is best for diabetics to get their eyes checked regularly and not have to wait for eye symptoms such as this before seeking eye treatment. By looking into a diabetic’s eye, the eye doctor is able to obtain valuable information about the general diabetic condition which is helpful for the physician who is managing your diabetes. Regular eye exams are important if you are diabetic regardless of whether you have blurring vision or not.

These are only some of the warning signs. Never hesitate to seek professional help if you experience any unusual eye symptoms that you are unsure of.

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