People often wait until they feel bad to see a doctor. They wait until a problem presents itself believing that if something were wrong, we would know. The fact of the matter is that problems sometimes remain undetected for days, weeks, months, even years. Even healthy eyes need check-ups. Many LASIK patients, after having the procedure, stop going to the eye doctor because they believe they do not need to. That is incorrect. For LASIK patients, eye exams should occur every year. Most eye care experts recommend that everyone else have an eye exam every 1 to 3 years. Between eye exams you should know what to look for should a problem present itself. Here are some things to watch out for to protect your eyes from permanent damage including blindness.
- Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects;
- Increased light sensitivity;
- Changes in the color of the iris (colored part of eye);
- Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen eyelids;
- Recurrent pain in or around eyes;
- Double vision;
- Dark spot in field of vision;
- Lines and edges of vision appear distorted;
- Excessive tearing or watery eyes;
- Dry eyes that are itchy or burning; and
- Seeing spots or ghosting.
Some more serious things to watch out for and seek immediate attention are:
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision;
- Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes;
- Halos or rainbows around light;
- Sudden hazy or blurred vision;
- Flashes of light or black spots; and
- Curtain-like blotting out of vision.
If any of the above symptoms occur, call your ophthalmologist, or if after hours, visit your local emergency room immediately for an appointment.
Remember, even if you are seeing well, it is important to have routine eye exams. A regular examination of your eyes will help detect any problems that may be lurking before they worsen.