test

SCROLL DOWN

9 Important Signs You Need An Eye Check-up

Book a free consultation

10
Apr
2018

Typically, optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend that most people go for an eye health check-up at least once every two years.

The value of a regularly scheduled eye examination extends far beyond simply identifying a need for vision correction. In fact, periodic check-ups can also be useful in helping to diagnose other common medical conditions, both visual and more general.

Woman having eye health check up

Regular examinations are especially important if you have any history of eye problems in your family, as some – like glaucoma, for instance – can have a hereditary element.It’s also wise to increase the frequency of your regularly scheduled check-ups as you get older:

  • Many people stand to benefit from developing a more regular pattern of eye health tests once they reach the age of 40 (again, particularly if there’s any history of vision issues in the family), because identifying and correcting problems early in their onset can greatly reduce their overall impact
  • Even if there’s no prominent history of vision problems in your family, anyone over 60 should ideally book themselves in for a check-up once a year, as eye health and vision quality can both start to deteriorate much more quickly as we age
  • Again, catching and correcting issues early can often be key to slowing their progress – including for older people who are already experiencing some degree of natural degeneration in their overall vision quality
  • If you want laser surgery, eye check-ups for tests are important

In addition, here are ten key signs that it’s time to book yourself an eye test and/or a trip to the doctor:

1. Blocked or occluded vision

This one may seem obvious, but we’re putting it first because it’s important: ANY sudden onset of vision loss, blockage or occlusion could be medically significant and requires the immediate attention of a qualified doctor for a diagnosis.

  • This is not the time to book an appointment with your local optician in a fortnight’s time – request an urgent medical consultation now if you’re experiencing sudden vision loss, even if it’s partial and/or intermittent
  • If vision loss has occurred following any sort of head trauma, be sure to include this information when talking to a doctor or medic

Occluded Vision

2. Sudden significant changes in overall vision quality

As in the above scenario, if you experience any sudden or dramatic changes in your eyesight quality – seeing double (when sober!), for example – then you should seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity. Once again, it’s important to inform your examiner of any recent head injuries that immediately preceded a visual complication.

Not all sudden vision changes will be a result of a medical emergency; they can indicate anything from problems with the cornea to complications arising from conditions such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Short-term damage to important muscles in and around the eye
  • A range of other medical issues not primarily associated with vision

Either way, if the effects develop over an abbreviated period of time, it’s important to get a qualified diagnosis as soon as you can.

3. Persistent blurry vision (sudden or gradual onset)

This extremely common eye-related complaint causes issues for millions of people every year – unfortunately, it’s one of the universal symptoms of natural degeneration in our vision as we age. (Once again, as with all prominent changes to your eyesight, if it occurs very suddenly then it’s important to seek medical attention right away).

  • For most people, a slight blurring of vision will be something that creeps up on us quite gradually as we get older
  • It’s also relatively common for young people to experience it as they enter their teenage years; puberty is often when nearsightedness (myopia) can start to manifest itself in those with an existing predisposition or hereditary bias towards the condition
  • Common indicators can include:
    -Increased difficulty identifying familiar faces at an appropriate distance
    -Having to shift position relative to things you’re trying to read
    -Conversely, you may also notice problems with deciphering visual information at a distance
  • If you’re having trouble with both near and distant visual clarity, it could be a sign of astigmatism
    -This is an issue related to improper light refraction, often caused by the specific curvature of your lens or cornea
    -It’s a fairly common condition with various effective options for correction

Woman with blurry vision holding glasses

4. Trouble focusing and/or squinting

A huge number of us experience some degree of difficulty in focusing at certain distances, be it extremely close-up or very far away. The range of distances you struggle with, and the extent to which you have to modify your approach to tasks, will vary greatly from person to person depending on a wide variety of factors and causes.

An inconsistency of focus is another common sign that it’s time to get your eyes tested:

  • Perhaps you find that viewing the TV clearly from the sofa isn’t always as easy as it once was, but that the problem doesn’t seem overly specific to any one particular eye
  • Equally, you might experience difficulties only below a certain light threshold – as the afternoon moves towards dusk, for instance
  • Minor focusing problems are often manifested in small ways that may not be immediately noticeable if their onset is very gradual – in fact, other people may notice before you do!
  • Common symptoms include slight behavioural changes, such as:
    -Holding newspapers further away to read them properly
    -Sitting closer to screens at work
    Closing one eye to make small text clearer
  • Squinting is often the first corrective measure we put in place ourselves in cases such as this, and it’s an instinctive reaction that we might not even notice we’re doing it – but others will!

If you’re experiencing more frequent headaches when doing tasks that require concentrated vision focus, consider whether you might be squinting more than usual to ‘manually’ adjust focus, and raise the issue with your eye care professional at your next visit.

And, speaking of headaches…

5. Regular headaches, nausea or dizziness

It should go without saying that any extreme or very frequent vision-related physical discomfort (nausea, dizziness, eye pain) must be investigated just as you would any other obvious medical issue: with a visit to your GP at the first opportunity.

However, occasional but recurrent lower-level headaches, as well as a host of other physical symptoms relating to eye strain, could indicate that the muscles in your eyes have weakened, and are being forced to work overtime to keep up.

Other signs of generalised macular degeneration – something of an umbrella term, but typically used to refer to a deterioration in the functioning of the central retina – include various sorts of visual distortion:

  • Straight lines may begin to appear crooked or bowed in this scenario
  • Fixed patterns can start to look ‘wavy’ when viewed from certain angles
  • Many of these effects can cause sensations of mild nausea, headaches or a vertigo-like dizziness as we battle to force our visual data into sharper focus
  • At the very least, noticeable eye fatigue is likely to set in relatively quickly

Corrective measures such as glasses or laser surgery can compensate brilliantly in these sorts of situations, and alleviate many of the symptoms we commonly experience when we’re pushing our eyes to work harder than their natural condition allows for.

Headaches from vision

6.  Painful eyes

If it’s your eyes themselves – as opposed to, say, discomfort from headaches – which are causing you physical discomfort, then it’s important to get them checked out as soon as you can.

There are many reasons why your eyes might ache or feel scratchy; most will likely be fatigue- or strain-related, and can be brought on by activities as mundane as reading from a computer screen for extended periods.

It’s always worth getting physical eye discomfort checked out as early as you can, though, and especially if you’ve had any persistent discomfort for more than 2-3 days at a time – this can be a sign of an underlying infection or condition which needs sorting out quickly before it worsens.

In addition, any very sharp or sudden pain should be treated as a pressing medical issue.

Any sensation of excessive pressure in one or both eyes is another good reason to seek a qualified diagnosis promptly:

  • Although it can be related to any number of non-threatening conditions, pressure build-up or pronounced discomfort when pressing gently on a closed eye can sometimes be a sign of developing glaucoma
    -This is very treatable, but can eventually damage the optic nerve if left unattended
  • If certain repetitive movements – say, looking upwards, or winking – are causing you repeated discomfort, then this is also something to refer to a qualified eye examiner
    This is most likely to be related to a muscle strain somewhere in the structure or surrounding of the eye, which can often be eased with rest or vision correction, but you’ll want to rule out any other causes as early as you can

Man getting eye health check up

7.  Increased light sensitivity and/or difficulty seeing at night

Again, this is a common scenario in which many people first realise their vision could do with a tune-up:

  • Difficulty seeing certain objects clearly when driving in low light conditions is an especially common complaint
    -Many people first begin to notice a slight halo effect around streetlights and headlamps
    -Others find they’re having increased trouble in reading road markings and street signs outside of daylight hours
  • Peripheral vision issues are often more pronounced in low light conditions too
    As we get older, it’s not unusual to find ourselves struggling in the evenings to distinguish clear outlines for non-illuminated objects, such as parked vehicles and telecom poles

Furthermore, trouble adjusting to sudden changes in light intensity can be a sign of weakening muscles in the structure of the eye, which is also an inevitable consequence of ageing:

  • If you find yourself dazzled when moving from darkness outside to a brightly lit hallway, for example, it may well be that your iris is no longer expanding and contracting as effectively as it could be
  • Note that a very pronounced sensitivity to bright light, especially if it develops quickly, can be a symptom of a more urgent issue such as an infection, corneal abrasion, or even unrelated illnesses
    -This complaint should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible

8. Sudden appearance of prominent objects or artefacts

Visual disruptions like ‘floaters’ – the black or clear dust-like specks we often see drifting across the surface of our eyes, which move away when we try to focus on them – are extremely common, and can be worsened or relieved by all manner of factors (tiredness and lack of sufficient humidity, for instance).

People who suffer from migraines often report increased visual disruptions before, during or after an episode:

  • As well as black spots and floaters, these can frequently include a pronounced haloing effect, or intermittently perceived flashes and areas of higher luminance
  • Once again, if a very noticeable or disruptive concentration of these artefacts occurs suddenly and with no apparent cause, seek a medical diagnosis promptly
    -On rare occasions, these disruptions can result from a serious issue such as retinal detachment or retinal holes

Pregnancy and other physical changes related to hormonal imbalance can also cause noticeable visual and eye effects, including:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurriness
  • Floaters and specks

9. Frequent or recurrent eye infections

Any unusual discharge from the eye, or an obvious discolouration in or around the eye area, should always be referred to a doctor for a further medical diagnosis.

  • Less immediately problematic symptoms of infection can include eyes that are regularly red, dry, itchy, gritty or otherwise physically uncomfortable.
  • There’s also a wide range of superficial skin or tissue-related conditions that can cause discomfort, swelling or pain around the periphery of the eye and eyelid – common examples are:
    -Styes, which usually involve temporary redness or swelling caused by bacterial infection of a blocked follicle (see below)
    -Chalazions, which are longer-lasting, often painless lumps in the tissue of the eyelid caused by a hardened build-up of oils (see below)
    -Both of the above can typically be treated with drops, warm compresses, and gentle frequent cleaning over a period of days or weeks

So there are the nine signs you need an eye check-up. Don’t forget that typically, optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend that most people go for an eye check-up at least once every two years.

By: David

If you are interested in vision correction at Focus Clinic please call us on 0207 307 8250 and book a free consultation.

Book your FREE consultation
Related Articles
  • Eye yoga

    Eye yoga…top tips on improving vision and busting stress

    We have all heard of yoga as a form of exercise to improve our health and mind, but did you know eye yoga can do wonders to our vision too? Eye yoga enables us to use our eyes to their fullest capability, something which does not occur in our day-to-day life. Whilst many of us […]

    Learn more
  • Healthy Vision Month: spot the sun-seeker not wearing sunglasses

    Healthy Vision Month: Can you spot the sun-seeker not wearing any sunglasses?

    The summer months are slowly but surely on their way, so what better way to encourage sun-seekers to protect their vision than with a brainteaser with an eye-testing twist? With the sun fighting to get through the clouds, we’ve come up with this eye-boggling brain teaser that asks challengers to spot the sun-seeker that isn’t […]

    Learn more
  • synesthesia

    Synesthesia: The blending of the senses

    Have you ever looked at the number three and decided that its colour is red? Or perhaps you’ve been at a concert and the sound of the guitar you can actually feel on the side of your arm, whilst the vocalist you can feel on your right ankle? These experiences may be a sign you […]

    Learn more
  • The Principle Causes of Blindness

    The Principle Causes of Blindness Worldwide

    Worldwide, over 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings and 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above. So what can cause Blindness? Multiple afflictions can affect the same […]

    Learn more
  • high cholesterol

    High cholesterol: Did you know it can damage your vision?

    Most people are aware that high cholesterol causes health issues, but many aren’t aware of the impact high cholesterol can have on your vision.

    Learn more
  • Focus Clinics Solar Eclipse

    How To View A Solar Eclipse Safely

    The next solar eclipse happens this year on the 21st August but our view of the phenomenon won’t be as spectacular as the one the people in the US will enjoy; the moon will pass in front of the sun making it as dark as night-time for 2 minutes during the day. What is a […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_330511832

    Microbial Keratitis: Contact Lens infection vs LASIK

    New research has found that if you wear contact lenses for 10 years, you’re six times more likely to develop a sight-threatening infection than if you’d had laser eye surgery. Can you radically reduce these risks by ditching contact lenses and opting to go under the laser to correct your vision instead? According to scientists at […]

    Learn more
  • Improve your eye health with simple exercises

    Exercises to improve your eye health

    Do you suffer from eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to bright light, tired eyes or difficulty sustaining attention? When your eyes get tired but still have some work to do, you can do a number of eye exercises to help improve your eyesight and take the strain away. Our eyes need regular exercise in […]

    Learn more
  • driving sunset

    Driving into the sunset? Here’s how to do it safely…

    Why are sunrises and sunsets so dangerous when we drive? There is nothing more beautiful than watching the sun rise or fall, but did you know it can be one of the most dangerous times for driving? With many of us commuting to and from work at these times, it is important to make sure […]

    Learn more
  • common habits that damage your eyes

    Common Habits That Can Damage Your Eyes

    "Don't sit so close to the television...you'll ruin your eyes!" Pretty much all of us will have had this shouted at us as kids! And to be fair to our concerned parents, there used to be some truth in the saying!

    Learn more
  • Gene therapyy

    Gene therapy, the new cure for blindness?

    Have we really found a cure for blindness? Earlier this month, a gene therapy that treats an inherited form of blindness was approved unanimously by the U.S. Food and Drug Administered (FDA) panel.  If they get final approval in January, this will be a major breakthrough in gene therapy, as it will be the first […]

    Learn more
  • young people long-sightedness

    Age 18-30 and reading glasses

    The most common reason for vision issues for people from 18-30, who need glasses for reading (and who may wear glasses full time) is: Hyperopia, also known as long-sight / longsighted You may also have astigmatism, either alone or combined with long-sight How does hyperopia/long-sightedness develop? According to the National Eye Institute, hyperopia develops in […]

    Learn more
  • Could an iPad game cure lazy eye in children?

    Could an iPad game cure lazy eye in children?

    We all know that too much iPad use is leading to a number of health issues that could potentially affect our children’s vision – however it’s not all bad news, as research has found an iPad game that can cure lazy eye in children. Lazy eye, also known as Amblyopia, is a condition where the […]

    Learn more
  • how to accentuate your eye colour

    How to accentuate your eye colour after laser eye surgery

    People choose to have laser eye surgery for a variety of different reasons. To avoid the hassle of glasses and contact lenses, to gain freedom to fully enjoy sporting pursuits or to simply gain a confidence boost. Whatever your motivation, you will probably find that you will be showing off your beautiful eyes for the very […]

    Learn more
  • pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery Despite the procedure being more than 25 years old, laser eye surgery is still regarded as a relatively new operation. The pros and cons of laser eye surgery can help a prospective patient decide if vision correction is right for them. Benefits and risks of vision correction It […]

    Learn more
  • 1920--1200

    What happens if I blink during laser eye surgery?

    The idea of having laser surgery can be a frightening thought. One of the most common concerns that we hear is whether you will be able to keep your eyes open for long enough, and then what happens if you blink? We would like to take this time to give you some reassurance. We all […]

    Learn more
  • Hay Fever

    Hay Fever: Preventing Itchy Eyes

    Spring days are nigh, and for many of us, with the increasing pollen count, Hay Fever is looming. The oncoming bouts of itchy eyes and a runny nose fill sufferers with dread, so what would be better than to prepare for, and possibly eliminate, these symptoms before pollen terrorises them for foreseeable sunny days? It […]

    Learn more
  • Original Eye test by Ferdinand Monoyer

    The Google Doodle Created in Honour of Ferdinand Monoyer

    Earlier this week on the 9th May an animated Google Doodle was created in honour of Ferdinand Monoyer’s 181st birthday. The doodle features a pair of eyes on the left, which form the ‘O’s in the word Google, alongside an eye chart on the right. As the eyes squint, the letters on the right become […]

    Learn more
  • What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    What is age-related macular degeneration?

    If you’ve been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, you’re not alone. In the UK, over 600,000 people are affected with the condition, and is one of the leading causes of severe vision loss in people over 60. You may not notice any change in your vision during the early stages, especially if you have AMD […]

    Learn more
  • Child with colourful eye patch

    5 Top Eye Patching Tips for Parents

    As part of children’s eye health and safety month, we want to provide some helpful tips for parents about patching their child’s eye for certain eye conditions.

    Learn more
  • firework night

    Remember remember the 5th November, and to protect your eyesight of course

    Now Halloween is out the way, we look to the coming weekend to celebrate Guy Fawkes night, commonly known as bonfire or firework night. With shops stocked up full of firecrackers and fountains, it’s easy to forget about the precautions we need to take to protect our vision. Fireworks are a spectacular show, and whilst […]

    Learn more
  • burning smell

    Burning smell during laser eye surgery? Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t burning

    Heard of a burning smell during laser eye surgery? Don’t worry your eyes aren’t burning! One of the main myths about laser eye surgery is that the burning smell many experience during their procedure means your eyes are burning.  You may have read comments such as “I could smell burning during the treatment” and been […]

    Learn more
  • Why uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious eye problems

    Why uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious eye problems

    Did you know nearly one person in every 25 in the UK has diabetes? It can take time to get your diabetes under control, but the results are worth it – otherwise you could set yourself up for a host of complications. Diabetes can take a toll on nearly every organ in your body, and […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_175095980

    The epidemic outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis

    Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare, but serious vision threatening parasitic infection seen most often in contact lens wearers. First recognised in 1973, Acanthamoeba are naturally occurring amoeba (tiny, one-celled animals) commonly found in water sources, such as tap water, well water, hot tubs, and soil and sewage systems. If these tiny parasites infect the eye, […]

    Learn more
  • smart glasses

    The new smart glasses: you’ve never seen or heard anything like it

    We all know that glasses help us read more easily, but did you know there will soon be smart glasses that can read out loud what’s written in front of us on paper? A new Japanese company called Oton Glass are currently developing a pair of glasses that will be able to convert text into […]

    Learn more
  • Comparing Surgery Times

    Comparing Surgery Times: Laser Eye Surgery vs Other Surgeries

    The idea of any surgery, no matter how big or small, can be daunting. Laser eye surgery may seem like a scary option, your eyes are precious, but in reality, the procedure time is a lot shorter than people think. The duration of a surgery of any kind cannot be predicted 100% accurately. Like a […]

    Learn more
  • dark chocolate vision

    Need an excuse to eat chocolate? It’s good for your eyes

    With the Easter weekend only just over, there might be a few of us that are feeling a little guilty about the amount of chocolate we have eaten. But did you know that dark chocolate is actually good for our vision and can protect us from a number of diseases in our eyes? You probably […]

    Learn more
  • Why myopia progression is a concern worldwide

    Why myopia progression is a concern worldwide

    As one of the most common eye disorders across the world, there has been an alarming increase in myopia over the years, with the condition starting at younger ages than ever before. To put this into perspective, the prevalence of myopia is about 30-40 percent among adults in Europe and the United States, and up […]

    Learn more
  • novelty contacts

    Novelty contacts this Halloween: trick or treat?

    Novelty contacts are extremely popular around this time of year and whilst we all want to have the scariest Halloween costume, it is not worth risking your vision by misusing these special-effects lenses. What are novelty contact lenses? Did you need a prescription to wear novelty contact lenses? If you are thinking about wearing novelty […]

    Learn more
  • tea drinking

    A tea a day can keep the ophthalmologist away!

    Us Brits are known for loving a good cup of tea.  In fact in just one day the UK consumes 165 million cups of the stuff!  But did you know this popular hot drink does more than taste good and warm up our insides?  A new study reveals tea drinkers are 74 per cent less […]

    Learn more
Get in touch
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!
Reviews

Julie

21st Apr

julie

‘If you are considering surgery just do it ‘

close
close
big close

Book a free* consultation

There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!

Would you rather speak to someone?

*Opening Times:
Monday - Friday: 9am – 6pm Saturday: 9am – 3pm

Would you rather speak to someone?

Call: 0207 307 8250

to arrange your free* consultation
There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Mr Samer Hamada
laser and lens eye surgery specialist
 Samar Hamada