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Recognizing Poor Vision

In patients, whether young or old, sometimes poor vision can be the result of a number of factors including anatomical changes in the eye or visual system, eye diseases, side effects due to medicine or injury. Many people also experience visual disturbances associated with age or eye stress. These experiences can result in changes in your vision, which might make it painful or difficult to get through daily activities, like reading books or working on a computer for long periods. These vision problems can be expressed through the following symptoms: blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, squinting and problems seeing at close and far distances.

Blurred vision is one of the most oft-reported signs of a vision problem. If you have blurred vision when you are looking at faraway objects or signs, you might be nearsighted, or myopic. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at anything close by could mean you suffer from hyperopia, or farsightedness. It can also mean you have astigmatism which occurs because of a flaw in the way the cornea is formed, or the curvature of the lens inside the eye. Whatever the cause of blurry vision, it is essential that an eye doctor examine your vision and prescribe a solution to help clarify your sight.

Sudden flashes of light, sometimes coupled with floating black spots and what may feel like a dark curtain blocking a section of your vision indicates the chance of what's known as a retinal detachment. If this happens, make an appointment to see your eye doctor as soon as you can, as this can have severe consequences for your vision

Another sign of a vision problem is the inability to distinguish between shades or brightness of color. This generally means the patient has a color perception problem, or color blindness. Interestingly, this condition is usually not known to the patient until discovered with a test. Color blindness is mostly found in males. If a woman has difficulty seeing color it may represent ocular disease, and an eye doctor should be consulted. If you can't see objects in low light, it is a sign of possible night blindness.

Cataracts, a condition commonly found in elderly patients can have a number of telltale signs including: blurry sight that weakens in bright light, trouble seeing in the dark or reduced light, difficulty discerning small writing or details, the need for brighter light when reading, double or triple vision in one eye only painful puffiness of the eye, and an opaque white look to the usually dark pupil.

Pulsing eye pain, headaches, blurry sight, inflammation in the eye, colorful rings around lights, nausea and vomiting are also signs of glaucoma, an acute medical condition, which needs prompt medical attention.

With younger patients, it's useful to keep an eye out for weak eye movement, or eyes that cross in or out, which could indicate a condition known as strabismus. Some things children might do, such as rubbing eyes, squinting, or needing to shut one eye to focus better, often indicate strabismus.

Though some conditions may be more problematic than others, any disruption to good sight will be a burden, and impact your quality of life. A brief appointment with your optometrist can save you from being avoidably uncomfortable, or further eye and vision damage.