Most parts of our body give warning signs when we need to get them checked, teeth in particular are notorious for it. Our eyes, on the other hand, are much less efficient at letting us know there’s a problem.
Aside from feeling tired after a long day or too many hours at the screen, eye pain is rare. Changes and problems with our vision and eye health tend to happen gradually, making them difficult to notice.
So it’s important for us to keep on top of our eye health, even when everything feels good. Regular check-ups are the best way to make sure we are looking after our eyes properly.
For glasses and contact lens wearers, having the right prescription is vital. A bad lens doesn’t just affect your vision, it can cause tiredness, headaches, eye strain, and many long-term issues.
It’s also important to make sure your prescription is used to make high-quality lenses by a trustworthy supplier. These days your choice of supplier is vastly increased, and quality, affordable glasses can easily be found online through companies like Spex4Less.
Opticians recommend getting your eyes properly tested at least every two years, but our eye condition can change quicker than that. So, how can you tell when you’re overdue for an eye test?
- Eye strain or blurred vision
These are two of the most easily recognizable signs something isn’t right with your vision. If what used to be clear is now blurry, or you’re feeling tired quicker when reading, you may need a check-up.
Neither a friend’s face ten meters away nor the book held in front of you should be blurry. Nor should you be struggling to concentrate or having to blink your eyes into focus after only a short time reading.
- Difficulty seeing street signs
Street signs are a great barometer of whether or not your vision is as it should be. They’re carefully designed to be easily readable and positioned to be clearly visible.
If you’re struggling to read street signs, the safe thing to do is visit your optician.
- Trouble following a moving target
Eye-tracking issues can be a sign of vision problems that need correction, or a warning sign of more severe health conditions. Signs include struggling to follow along the lines when reading, or difficulty keeping up with the movement of objects and other players during sports.
- Red, dry, or itchy eyes
One of the most common eye complaints people suffer from is dry or irritated eyes. This can be caused by many things, including allergies, hay fever, or even just irritation by a hair or piece of grit.
It can also be the sign of bigger issues, such as chronic dryness, keratitis, infection, or badly fitting contact lenses. Often the treatment is as simple as eye drops or cold compresses, but the right thing to do is get it checked out.
- Frequent headaches
Headaches are caused by a variety of situations, but one can be that the mechanism which helps the eye focus is failing. Constant strain and squinting to regain focus quickly causes headaches unless corrected by lenses.
- Experiencing spots or flashes of lights
Many of us experience flashes of light or spots, usually called floaters, in our vision, especially as we get older. Generally these are harmless, but sudden or severe changes can be a sign of retinal detachment.
If you don’t notice any particular increase in the number of floaters or frequency of flashes, there’s unlikely to be anything to worry about. If either of these things do occur, however, the advice is always to see an optician as soon as possible.
We only have one pair of eyes, and they are essential to our ease and quality of life, so looking after them is important. By keeping vigilant for these things, or any other changes in our vision, we can help keep them in the best possible health.
And, of course, even if there are no warning signs, it’s still important to get our eyes tested at least once every two years.