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Top Three Signs that You Need To See an Optometrist URGENTLY

Some things could wait. Like the hair cut appointment, you need to organise for yourself or the dishes that need to be put away form your dishwasher. When it comes to your eyes, here are signs and symptoms that you need to see your local optometrist in Canberra promptly.

Red Eye

You woke up with excruciating pain in one or both of your eyes. You look yourself in the mirror and notice it’s very red and perhaps swollen. It didn’t look like that when you went to sleep last night. There are a lot of causes having red and painful eyes and the only way to determine if it needs urgent attention is to visit your optometrist. Your red eyes could be caused by (but not limited to);

  1. Injury (And Foreign Bodies). This is by far the most common cause of having red eyes. Our eyes are very sensitive to grit (or foreign bodies) which can cause the inflammation along with persistent watery eyes. This could be due to a few metal shavings from grinding without eye protection. Or, a bit of dust that’s blown in. Due to the speed or the velocity these particles travel, it often can embed themselves on the front part of the eye. If that’s the case, then your optometrist in Canberra can quickly diagnose and remove these foreign bodies in the office. Without removing them, they will continue to irritate and possibly to scar, which may affect your vision permanently.
  2. Infection. An infection is quite often followed by excessive mucus-like discharge or extreme watery eyes. The discharge reappears as soon as you wipe it away. With any infection, your body would respond by trying to fight it, causing inflammation and become swollen. Without prompt treatment and management of any eye infection, you would be risking permanent vision loss. A quick visit to your optometrist would have this situation well under control. Further delays to the optometrist would put you in an unnecessary risk for the situation to worsen.

There are other causes of red eyes, such as dry eyes, glaucoma, recurrent corneal erosions, pterygium and pingueculum. These conditions are routinely screened, discussed and monitored with your optometrist. It is essential to have your red-eye looked at by your optometrist as soon as possible.

Vision Loss (including Sudden Loss in Colour Vision)

It is common to experience a very gradual change in your vision throughout the year. Your vision may fluctuate during allergy season when your eyes are irritated. Or if you have diabetes, you may feel your vision changes depending on your blood sugar levels. Whatever the case might be, a sudden loss of vision is not normal; especially if you’ve just noticed that the sight in one eye has suddenly gotten worse compared to the remaining eye.

For patients that have experienced a sudden loss in their vision, we need to rule out ocular emergencies that have caused it. One of the most common ocular emergencies we need to determine for patients with acute vision loss is retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is when the retina, the light-sensitive film at the back of your eye starts to peel away. As it happens, it casts a shadow, which sometimes described as a greasy film over your vision. If it is allowed to progress further, your vision loss could be permanent and irreversible. A quick visit to your optometrist would confirm the diagnosis, and a same-day urgent referral to the eye surgeon would be organised.

At Capital Eye, we work closely with eye specialists, and we have an eye surgeon in the same building to handle these types of emergency cases. Should an emergency referral is warranted, we ensure the process is smooth and stress-free where we focus on restoring your vision.

Misaligned Eyes with Double Vision

It is common to see people with eyes either turned in or out. However, if the misalignment has caused your vision to double, this could potentially be a life-threatening situation. It is prudent to visit your optometrist to evaluate and quantify the double vision. Ocular misalignment and double vision are occasionally noted in patients with diabetes, in which diabetes has affected the nerve, which controls eye movements. Patients with experiencing sudden constant double vision and ocular misalignment would often need a further neurological investigation to rule out other potential life-threatening causes.

The Bottom Line

Apart from red eyes and vision loss, any SUDDEN changes to your eyes or vision need prompt assessment, especially if the condition hasn’t improved. A quick visit to the optometrist would give you the peace of mind and advice should further management is required.