Monthly Archives: April 2015
It can be hard to know which eye problems are benign and which require immediate attention. Here Dr. Eric Donnenfeld outlines a few of the more serious eye symptoms that may require immediate attention from an eye doctor.
Sudden Eye Pain
Sudden, severe eye pain, especially when coupled with red eyes, seeing halos around lights, nausea and vomiting, may be a signal of acute narrow-angle glaucoma. This occurs when the iris (the colored portion of the eye) is pushed or pulled forward, causing a blockage of the eye’s drainage channels. Because of this blockage, the intraocular pressure (eye pressure) may spike, causing damage to the optic nerve. This condition requires immediate attention by an eye doctor. If left untreated, it could lead to complete vision loss.
Excessive Spots and Floaters
It’s not uncommon to see spots and floaters (randomly shaped objects) in your vision, as they are mostly caused by small flecks of protein (or collagen) in the eye that break off from the vitreous (the clear gel that fills the gap between the retina and lens) as you age. However, if you see a flood of floaters, sometimes accompanied by flashing lights, it could be a sign of something more serious. This could mean that the vitreous is pulling away from the retina or that the retina is detaching from the inner back of the eye. If this is the case, see an eye surgeon immediately to reattach the retina so that there is no vision loss.
Cloudy or Blurred Vision
Cloudy or blurred vision could be a sign of cataracts. Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens clouds with age. Besides cloudy vision, you may find that you have increasing sensitivity to light, and colors may not seem as bright as they once were. Although the development of cataracts isn’t a medical emergency, left unchecked and without cataract surgery to remove them, you increase your chances of developing glaucoma.
Loss of Vision
A loss of any part of your vision is a sign that you should see your eye doctor immediately. If you’ve noticed a gradual narrowing of your vision, resulting in the ability to see only directly in front of you, you may have a damaged optic nerve due to the development of glaucoma. As glaucoma can cause partial or total loss of vision over time, and especially when left untreated, it is important that you see your eye doctor immediately for a glaucoma test.
If you notice a loss in your central vision, or your central vision is distorted, it may be a symptom of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula (the central part of the retina that is responsible for visual acuity and color vision) is deteriorated. Though not an immediate medical emergency, you should see your doctor as soon as possible in order to find out about treatments that may help prevent, and possibly even restore, some vision loss.
Contact Dr. Donnenfeld
If you have questions on how to prevent or correct eye problems, please contact laser eye surgeon Dr. Eric Donnenfeld today.