1. Transient vision loss: A “greying out” of vision in one eye lasting seconds or minutes. This may be a sign of a risk for stroke or other types of blood-vessel blockage disease. See your optometrist as soon as possible.
2. Double vision: This may be as simple as a problem with your eye teaming or binocular vision (more common), or rarely may be caused by a more serious health problem such as stroke or tumour. See your optometrist within a few days.
3. Blurry vision, sudden: If it improves with blinking or using tear supplements, it’s probably related to dry eyes. If it does not go away it may be due to a variety of causes from the front of your eye to the back. Another common cause is diabetes. See your optometrist within one or two days.
4. Blurry vision, gradual: This may be just because you need new glasses (most likely)! Cataracts are another common cause. See us within 2 weeks.
5. Painful sudden blurring of vision with nausea and vomiting: May be caused by an eye disease called “narrow angle glaucoma”. The pressure may rise acutely in one eye precipitating the symptoms. This is an urgent situation: call our office immediately or proceed to an urgent care centre if after hours.
6. Flashing lights/floaters: Extremely common and one of the most frequent reasons for same-day referrals to our clinic from physicians. This may signify a change in the gel inside the eye which carries a small risk for a tear of the retina. This symptom should be evaluated at our office within one or two days.
7. Curtain or veil across one side of your vision: This painless symptom is often ignored for several weeks, which is unfortunate because it may signal a retinal detachment. This condition must be diagnosed and treated urgently to prevent permanent vision loss.
8. Distorted vision in one eye: If you are over 50 years of age this may be due to macular degeneration. If you are under 50 we will look for different diseases of the macula (part of the retina that provides the clearest “central” vision). See one of our optometrists within two days if experiencing distorted vision.
9. Unequal pupil sizes: Most commonly this is not a serious symptom. If it lasts for more than a couple of days, is accompanied by blurred vision, or especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as a droopy eyelid or double vision, see us immediately or proceed to the nearest emergency room.
10. Scratchy, irritated eyes: Usually due to dryness, but may be more severe such as an infection or ulcer. See us within one or two days for proper diagnosis and management. Symptoms such as these can start out very minor and turn serious and even lead to vision loss if left untreated.
Remember, most eye disease starts with almost no symptoms in the early stages. Don’t wait for these problems to develop before consulting an optometrist. An annual comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure your eyes are healthy.