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Watching Out for Poor Vision

In patients, whether young or old, sometimes poor vision can be caused by a number of conditions such as anatomical changes or defects in the eye or visual system, eye diseases, side effects caused by medication or injuries to the eye. Commonly, people also experience visual disturbances resulting from aging or eye strain. This can result in changes in your vision, which might make it painful or difficult to perform normal activities, like reading books or working on a computer for extended periods of time. 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 common signs of a vision problem. If you have blurred vision when focusing on faraway objects, you might very well be myopic or nearsighted. If you suffer from blurred vision when you're looking at anything at close range this could mean you suffer from hyperopia, or farsightedness. Blurred vision can also mean you have astigmatism which occurs due to a flaw in the shape of the cornea, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. No matter the reason you have blurry vision, it's vital that an optometrist examine your vision and decide on the best way to improve your sight.

Another common warning sign of a vision problem is difficulty discerning shades or strength of color. This generally means the patient has a problem perceiving color, or color blindness. Color blindness is often unknown to the patient until discovered with a test. Color blindness is generally found in males. If present in a female it could indicate ocular disease, in which case, an eye care professional should be consulted. For people who struggle to distinguish between objects in minimal light, it could mean the patient suffers from night blindness.

Cataracts, a condition commonly found in elderly people can have a number of indicating signs including: unclear sight that weakens in bright light, weak night vision, trouble discerning small writing or details, the need for brighter light when reading, puffiness of the eye, and an opaque white appearance to the usually dark pupil.

Pulsing pain in the eye, headaches, blurred vision, inflammation in the eye, rainbow halos around lights, nausea and vomiting are indicators of glaucoma, a severe medical illness, which needs medical attention.

In children, it's useful to look out for uncoordinated eye movement, or crossed eyes, which could indicate a vision problem called strabismus. Specific behavior, like rubbing one or both eyes, squinting, or needing to shut one eye in order to focus better, often point to strabismus.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned here, see your eye doctor promptly. While clearly some conditions may be more problematic than others, any disruption to normal sight can be a burden, and impact your quality of life. A short visit to your optometrist can save you from unnecessary discomfort, or further eye and vision problems.