Have questions about an eye problem? Learn how to identify and manage some of the common eye problems with advice from the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).
Do you suffer from eye pain, excessive tearing, redness in your eyes, or have problems with your vision? Read on to find out the possible causes.
Knowing your symptoms is important as it can help you and your eye doctor find out if there is a problem. An eye examination can determine what is wrong so that your doctor can recommend the best treatment option for you.
6 Common eye problems and possible causes
1. Blurry or distorted vison
Long-term blurry or distorted vision can be due to a number of causes.
Most commonly, blurry vision, in particular the inability to clearly see objects that are either far away or up close, is a sign of a simple refractive error like short-sightedness (myopia), longsightedness (hyperopia),
presbyopia (lao hua).
These conditions can be readily managed with vision correction aids such as spectacles, contact lenses or refractive surgery such as LASIK.
Progressive clouding of vision, when you see objects through a mist, can be a sign of
cataracts. This condition, which commonly affects the elderly, is due to the thickening and clouding of the lens within the eye. It is reversible with surgery.
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Poor vision can also be caused by medical conditions such as
diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes),
hypertension (high blood pressure). Certain medications such as chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine for
rheumatoid arthritis or other soft tissue diseases may also cause vision blurring.
A more serious cause of blurry or distorted vision is
age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which often affects the central vision. In age-related macular degeneration, objects in the centre of the field of view are distorted but the peripheral vision remains clear. This condition is often irreversible and can cause blindness if left untreated, so early diagnosis is important.
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AMD prevention and treatment.
If you are suffering from cloudy vision, do see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
2. Loss of peripheral vision (the ability to see outside your direct field of vision)
If you are bumping into things or people beside you, or have difficulty seeing overtaking vehicles while driving, you may be losing your peripheral or 'side' vision.
A common cause of loss of peripheral or ‘side’ vision is glaucoma, a condition where the eye pressure is usually too high for the eye.
Glaucoma may cause an insidious loss of side vision, resulting in late diagnosis and advanced visual loss.
Therefore, screening for glaucoma is advisable, especially for those who have a family history of glaucoma, or who are on steroid medications.
Click here to find out how to prevent glaucoma and manage it.
3. Itchy and watery eyes
If you are suffering from prolonged itchiness and watering of the eyes, you could have an allergy to pollen, pet hair, or other allergenic substances in your environment. The condition can be uncomfortable, but does not usually result in significant vision loss even though your eye may feel irritated and tired.
Dry eyes (dry eye syndrome) can also be another cause of itching and tearing. Your eye doctor can determine the cause of your eye discomfort and advise treatment.
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When should you see a doctor for watery eyes, click here to find out.
4. Eye pain
Sharp pain in the eye may be caused by foreign bodies, cornea abrasion (break in the surface of the cornea) or even severe dry eye.
Severe, dull pain, however, may indicate an acute attack of glaucoma; this is usually associated with vision loss and eye redness. Consult your doctor for an early diagnosis.
5. Seeing floaters
Floaters are dark, distinct spots that you may see in your field of vision. Floaters occur when the vitreous (the jelly-like content inside the eye) degenerates due to ageing or myopia. These vitreous debris cast shadows onto the field of vision that are seen as floaters.
Floaters can be an indication of vitreous degeneration, or a more serious problem like
diabetic retinopathy, a condition that causes blood vessels in the retina to weaken and burst. The resulting blood that seeps into the eye forms floaters.
diabetic retinopathy treatments or prevention tips, click here.
Floaters can also be caused by retinal tears or detachment, a serious condition when the retina of the eye detaches from the rest of the layers of the eye.
If you see floaters, see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
6. Seeing flashes
Flashes appear as arcs of light across the field of vision. Sometimes it may occur as flashes of light. Like floaters, flashes are eye symptoms that are commonly associated with vitreous detachment or more seriously, with
If you see flashes, see your eye doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
Check out other eye health articles:
How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy (video)
8 Ways to Prevent Computer Eye Strain
How to Protect Your Eyes When Travelling