Do you know when you urgently need to see an eye doctor? Read this, and maybe you can save yours, or someone else's sight one day!
While most optical shops should be able to refer you if your symptoms appear urgent, it is also good to know what is an emergency, and what is not!
We need to look at the “big picture” when it comes to vision issues; a condition that has been there since young and checked by an eye specialist to be generally benign can be followed up in longer intervals, whereas symptoms that occur more suddenly tend to need more urgent referral.
These issues usually require an urgent referral:
- A change in, especially a decrease, or loss of vision, e.g. not being able to see faces
- Flashes of light, sudden spots floating in your vision, lightning streaks, lines of light, blockages in the field of vision like shadows or curtains, e.g. not being able to see the floor when looking straight ahead
- Wavy vision, distortions of lines, e.g. text on newspapers seems to be distorted
- Halos around lights
- Seeing double or having an eye turn, e.g. seeing two televisions when you only have one
- Pain, swelling, severe redness, discharge
- Changes in colour perception
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when there is a loss or change in vision, hence:
- If the apparent issue is with one eye, compare between your eyes, and note any differences
- If the apparent issue affects both eyes, compare what you can see with what you could previously see, for example the windows on a building across your office, or the calender hanging on the wall while seated at the dining table.
If it is a family member who is facing these issues, do also check if any factors seem to have caused the symptom, for instance a change in vision after a fall or trauma to the head, or if the issue has been a long-standing one since young.
It is good to be observant and go for regular eye screenings, as early detection of many conditions can improve prognosis.
Remember that generally, a symptom that cannot be corrected by getting a new prescription is something to look into with detail by an eye specialist.