Common Signs and Symptoms of Blindness
Shifts in your vision can be unsettling. While new challenges to seeing clearly don’t necessarily indicate impending blindness, visiting an eye care professional at the first sign of unfamiliar symptoms will help diagnose the problem.
“Many conditions that eventually cause blindness can be treated to avoid that end result.” said Eye Consultants of Atlanta physician Dr. Evan Loft. “If you start to experience changes in your vision, scheduling a visit with your eye doctor can help address any issues early in their development and give you a better chance at avoiding long-term damage.”
Here are a few symptoms that warrant a prompt visit to the eye doctor.
The causes for blurry vision range from nearsightedness (which is easily corrected with contact lenses or glasses) to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50. Blurry vision is a symptom eye doctors see often, but can investigate quickly and thoroughly to determine the root cause.
Pain in your eyes may occur from fairly harmless conditions such as dry eye. But it could also indicate something more serious, such as glaucoma, an umbrella term for conditions that damage the optic nerve. Like AMD, glaucoma is most common in older adults. Although it can’t be cured, the progression can be controlled or prevented with professional intervention.
This symptom occurs when you can only see objects clearly within the center of your field of vision. Conditions that cause tunnel vision commonly inhibit the function of the rods in the eye, which cover the outer portions of the retina associated with night vision and peripheral vision. Glaucoma is one possible cause, but the occurrence of sudden tunnel vision could also be a result of retinal detachment, a serious emergency in which the retina pulls away from its position.
Eye redness can be caused by common irritants including allergies and dry eye. Redness in a single eye, rather than both, may be indicative of a more serious source of inflammation, such as uveitis, which occurs when the middle coating of your eyeball becomes swollen — possibly due to infection. Seek professional help if any redness persists for more than a few days.
Take note if you experience sudden flashing lights. Known as photopsia, this symptom may have nothing to do with your vision at all, and instead be connected with migraines, diabetes, or a recent head injury. But the symptom can also be linked to a detached retina, so be sure to talk with your doctor and optometrist if you are experiencing flashing lights, to determine the exact cause.
Any vision change is worth investigating. In some cases, symptoms may come on very slowly and be imperceptible at first. Or they may manifest in other ways, such as causing you to walk into objects, miss the items you’re grabbing for, or have difficulty reading signs or seeing clearly at night.
If you’re experiencing visual changes and want to get to the bottom of them, talk to one of our providers. We can diagnose the source of your symptoms and identify treatment options, including medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination of therapies. Schedule an appointment by calling (404) 351-2220 or connecting with us online.