More than 25% of Americans wear glasses or contact lenses by the time they’re 18. But for some of us, eye issues don’t present themselves until later in life. Refractive errors — the vision issues that change the shape of the eye and make it difficult to see clearly — affect more than 150 million people in the U.S., and their symptoms can creep up gradually. For this reason, it’s important to see an eye doctor regularly, even if you’ve never needed glasses before.
Here are a few of the most common indications that it may be time to start wearing prescription lenses.
Also known as myopia, nearsightedness occurs when far away objects appear blurry. (For instance: objects on the highway when you’re driving, or TV shows when you’re watching from across the room.) To begin diagnosing the condition, eye doctors have patients read off the smallest row of characters on a distance chart, which measures visual acuity. If you’re struggling to decipher the text, the doctor will then use a phoropter, an instrument that allows you to look through different lenses and pinpoint the perfect prescription for you.
The opposite of myopia, hyperopia (or farsightedness) occurs when nearby objects appear blurry. For example, you may struggle to read books, a menu, or the text on your phone when held close up, but holding it further away makes things clearer.
With hyperopia, you may perform well on a visual acuity test, but eye doctors can still diagnose the condition.
If your eyes often feel tired or sore, it’s possible you’re experiencing vision challenges without noticeable changes. Astigmatism, for example, may not be accompanied by blurred vision, but may instead cause eye strain or sensitivity to bright lights.
Frequent headaches have many possible causes. But if you’ve also noticed minor vision changes, or have ruled out other headache causes, it’s worth visiting your eye doctor, as eyestrain caused by imperfect vision may be the culprit. This is especially likely if you notice a headache after long periods of focusing, such as reading, working on the computer, or watching TV.
If your vision is becoming blurry due to refractive errors, one of the first symptoms you may notice is a halo or glare around bright objects (such as headlights or streetlights), especially at night.
Perhaps you’ve caught yourself squinting when trying to read materials up close or make out an object that’s far away. Or, maybe someone has mentioned they’ve seen you squinting. Oftentimes, it’s an automatic habit that can go overlooked, but it could suggest your vision has changed without you realizing it.
Whether you’re noticing the first signs of vision changes or you think your existing prescription needs updating, Eye Consultants of Atlanta has you covered. Our doctors will perform a comprehensive eye exam and offer the best solution to help you see clearly again. Call (404) 351-2220 or visit us online for an appointment.