Vision Change

Vision changes should always be taken seriously. Learn about the various types of changes that can affect your vision, how these problems can be treated and prevented, and when it's time to see your eye doctor.

There are many types of changes that can affect your vision. Sometimes called impaired vision, vision impairments or blurred vision, you should always seek medical attention if changes in your vision occur. Symptoms can include blurriness, halos, blind spots, floaters and even blindness. If any of these symptoms are occurring, it could be a sign of an eye disease, aging, an eye injury or another condition such as diabetes or Sjogren’s syndrome. Vision changes should never be ignored, as they can get worse and greatly impact your life. There are different types of eye professionals available, so remember that:

Opticians can fix eyeglasses and insure that eyeglasses match the prescription.

Optometrists will determine many eye problems including general declines in vision due to age, glaucoma, and others. Optometrists also diagnose eye dieases and treat many of them. They also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in the eyes and can prescribe prescriptive wear, check for major diseases, and perform surgeries.

Causes of Vision Change

There can be many different causes to the change in your vision due to many conditions such as:

  • Presbyopia – Difficult to see objects up close, caused by aging
  • Cataracts – Common in elderly; cloudiness over the eyes lens, halos around lights, poor nighttime vision, sensitivity to glares
  • Glaucoma – Increased pressure in the eyes and a major cause of blindness
  • Diabetic Retinopathy - Complication due to diabetes that leads to bleeding of the retina, major cause of blindness
  • Macular Degeneration – Loss of central vision, blurred vision of close-up objects, distorted vision and loss of color. Also the number one cause of blindness in people over the age of 60
  • Floaters - Tiny particles that drift across the eye
  • Retinal Detachment -Disruption of visual field

Other possible causes of vision changes can be simple fixes like fatigue, medications and overexposure to the outdoors. Medications that can affect your vision include antihistamines, high blood pressure medication, anticholinergics, and medications for malaria, as well as many others. Talk with your eye care professional about any other medications you are taking.

Preventing a Change in Vision

The biggest thing you can do in preventing and treating vision changes is to see your eye care professional on a regular basis. If you’re under the age of 65, and have no family history of eye diseases, having a yearly eye exam is recommended. Once you hit the age of 65, regardless of your history, you should begin to see your ECP annually. If you’re diagnosed with a separate condition such as diabetes, your doctors will probably recommend you seek an eye doctor for eye exams on a regular basis. Take a look at the list to see the other preventive steps you can take to ensure your vision doesn’t take a turn for the worse:

  • Wear sunglasses while outdoors
  • Don’t smoke or associate where smoke is around
  • Limit your alcohol and drug intake
  • Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as green, leafy food
  • Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • If diabetic, what your sugar intake closely

Remember, vision changes are bound to happen to all of us once we reach a certain age. Taking preventive measures when you’re younger, and having regular medical and eye exams could catch a problem early. Knowing your family’s history can also help determine which type of lifestyle would be beneficial to you and also aid in future diagnosis. Also, most importantly, if you are experiencing any type of vision change, go see your doctor, otherwise something minor could turn into something major.

References:
  • S. Moore, MD; K. Yoder, MD “Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery” Revised 5th Edition (The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2006) 42-43
  • R. Abel, Jr., MD “The Eye Care Revolution” (Kensington Books, 2004) 239
  • J. Weizer, MD; J. Stein, MD, MS “Reader’s Digest Guide to Eye Care” (Quantum Publishing, 2009) 76-77
This article was last updated on 07/2013