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Signs of Possible Eye Trouble in Adults

Any changes in the appearance of your eyes or vision should be investigated further. Some examples include:

  • Unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects;
  • Squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare;
  • Change in color of iris;
  • Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen lids;
  • Recurrent pain in or around eyes;
  • Double vision;
  • Dark spot at the center of viewing;
  • Lines that appear distorted or wavy;
  • Excess tearing or "watery eyes";
  • Dry eyes with itching or burning; and
  • Seeing spots, ghost-like images

The following may be indications of potentially serious problems:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye;
  • Sudden hazy or blurred vision
  • Flashes of light or black spots;
  • Halos or rainbows around light;
  • Curtain-like blotting out of vision; and
  • Loss of peripheral (side) vision.

If you notice any signs of potential eye problems, see an eye doctor for a complete eye exam. Even if you have no signs, regular eye exams are recommended – especially for those with some chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Early detection and treatment can be the key to preventing sight loss.

Common Eye Diseases in Adults

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults. The disease affects the macula, the central area at the back of the eye. As a result the ability to see fine details is impaired. Laser treatment can help control vision loss due to leaking blood vessels found in some cases of AMD – especially when treated early.

  • Cataract is a clouding of eye's lens. Many people 65 years of age and older have some degree of cataract. If a cataract causes vision loss that interferes with important activities, it can be surgically removed. This results in improved vision in most cases.

  • Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It causes blood vessels inside the eye swell and leak. New abnormal blood vessels may start to grow. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the likelihood of retinopathy. Carefully controlling blood sugar levels helps lessen the risk of vision loss. Those with diabetes should have annual eye exams to ensure early detection and treatment to prevent vision loss.

  • Glaucoma is a disease that "silently" destroys the optic nerve, eventually causing vision loss. Treated early, most cases can be controlled, reducing the risk of vision loss and blindness. You are at high risk if you have a family history glaucoma, are over 65, are African American and over 45, have diabetes, have had an eye injury or have been on long-term steroid drugs.

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