The Warning Signs of Eye Problems

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

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

Many people ask me why is it that their eyes are just not same like they were before. Well, the answer is simple. It’s because our eyes are not isolated from medical problems (diabetes, hypertension & 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. 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.

Some Warning Signs

There are some symptoms and signs that may indicate a medical emergency. In most cases, you should see your eye doctor immediately if you experience:

Eye Health - Warning signs of eye problemsRed Painful Eye with Blurring Vision

This is often a sign of an acute glaucoma (angle-closure variety) attack. There may be nausea and vomiting with a throbbing headache as well. Left untreated, this condition may result in permanent irreversible blindness. Seek treatment early should this happen. This condition may sometimes be mistaken for acute gastroenteritis (food poisoning) because of the symptom of nausea and vomiting. Seek quick treatment for this.

Blur Wavy Vision in the Centre Part of Vision

This may be an early sign of macular degeneration (AMD). It is 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 the macular is affected, the vision appears distorted, lines appearing crooked or wavy and in the late stages, the vision may be lost centrally. In recent years, there has been medication available for treatment of this condition. The sooner treatment is instituted the better.

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, then this may be a signal of a detaching retina. The retina is a layer of nerve tissue in the back of your eye. This layer receives the images that you see and transmits it to the brain. When this retina (nerve layer) gets detached in some portion, then the vision gets lost in the corresponding part of the field of vision. The detachment is sometimes preceded by a sudden shower of floaters.

Blurred Vision with Halos 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 may occur with a mild headache or mild eye discomfort. Be especially on the lookout for this symptom if you are already a diagnosed glaucoma patient or have a family history of glaucoma.

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.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email