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Seeing an ophthalmologist can help protect your vision and ensure that your eyes are in good health. Ophthalmologists learn to do it all in regard to eye care, offering thorough eye exams for prescriptions, medical treatment for many eye problems, and complex but delicate surgeries. Behind the scenes, ophthalmology physicians work to find a cure for eye diseases and vision problems by conducting scientific research.

Ophthalmologists provide everything you need for vision care in one convenient location, which sets them apart from optometrists. Regular eye exams should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle to avoid putting the health of your eyes at risk. You might not know the symptoms you’re experiencing are a cause for concern that should be looked at by a professional. Read on as we discuss seven signs you should see an ophthalmologist.

Sign 1: You’re experiencing vision changes.

Sudden changes in vision can happen for a variety of reasons. If you notice that your eyesight is changing, it’s essential to see an ophthalmologist to determine the diagnosis. Pay attention to the symptoms and environments that are causing difficulty such as driving at night and if only one eye is affected. Vision obstructions (flashes of light, black spots, dark shadows, or floaters) could be an indication of serious eye issues, which is why it’s critical that you talk to an ophthalmologist without delay. Even mild vision changes can be a sign of a serious eye condition and should be evaluated by a specialist. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to rule out serious complications and determine the reason why your vision is changing.

If you’re having trouble seeing clearly, you may need to get corrective lenses. An ophthalmologist can evaluate your vision and determine if you need glasses or contact lenses. They can also provide you with a prescription for the correct lenses so you can get the vision correction you need. If you are suffering from a sudden loss of sight, you might be experiencing it in the form of blind spots, double vision, tunnel vision, blurred vision, or blocking from some aspect of your vision. It’s important that you don’t delay a visit with an eye care expert as it puts your vision at risk the longer you wait. Ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat a range of vision changes, from as simple as a change in your prescription lenses to as serious as a vision loss restoration.

Sign 2: You feel pain in one or both of your eyes.

If your eyes hurt, it’s a potential sign of an underlying condition. Eye pain can be a sign of corneal abrasion, glaucoma, pink eye, dry eye, inflammation of the eye wall, intraocular inflammation, or serious eye disease. Eye pain requires an ophthalmic assessment to rule out eye disease as the cause of the pain. A foreign object in the eye can also cause eye pain, which an ophthalmologist can remove to prevent additional damage. Headaches and sinus disease also can cause eye discomfort. Pain in one or both of your eyes could be a sign of a serious medical condition that needs to be dealt with, and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to having your eye pain examined. The only way you’re going to know if you have one of these kinds of conditions is by meeting with an ophthalmologist.

Sign 3: Your eyes have become sensitive to light.

Do you find yourself squinching or closing your eyes when exposed to light? Oftentimes light sensitivity is an indication that there’s inflammation within the eye. You can stay out of the sun and avoid looking directly into light sources to help control your sensitivity to some degree. However, ignoring this issue for a long time can cause further complications over the years. It’s possible you could be suffering from cataracts or certain eye diseases that can lead to scarring on the eye. Therefore, it’s essential to see an ophthalmologist right away.

Sign 4: You have a family history of eye conditions or diabetes.

If you or your family members have experience with eye conditions or diabetes, it’s important to get your eyes regularly examined by an ophthalmologist. Diabetes and high blood pressure act as a catalyst for a plethora of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. These can cause severe damage to the eye structure and also lead to vision loss. Ophthalmologists can screen for genetic eye conditions and other hereditary diseases. There are multiple other health conditions that you might not know can also have an impact on your vision. If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or another autoimmune condition, you should consult an ophthalmologist for eye care services.

Sign 5: You’ve noticed a color change in the white of your eye.

You should be able to see a white color in your eyes, but this white can change to pink or red. Eye redness might not be a sign of anything serious, as some individuals naturally have more red in their eyes. However, a change in color could be an indication of a more severe condition, including infection or allergies. Redness can also be a sign of dryness or inflammation affecting the external or internal aspects of the eyes. A sudden bright red spot can indicate a broken blood vessel. Though not usually concerning, it can become so with recurrence. If you have concerns about the redness of your eyes, reach out to your ophthalmologist.

Sign 6: You need eye surgery or are interested in refractive surgery.

Regular eye examinations can diagnose serious eye diseases long before they pose a danger to your eyesight. Even with the best treatment, some vision problems can only be corrected with eye surgery. Along with having a wide range of knowledge to help with everyday vision care, ophthalmologists are trained in specialized surgical solutions for the eyes to provide you with the best treatment for your condition. In addition, if you’re considering LASIK or other refractive surgery, an ophthalmologist can make sure you’re a good candidate before you spend the money.

Sign 7: You have never seen an ophthalmologist.

If it’s been longer than a year since your last comprehensive eye exam or you have never seen an ophthalmologist, it’s about time to make an appointment! Yearly or bi-yearly preventive eye exams are essential to healthy living. You can catch signs of eye conditions early on to receive treatment and prevent or restore vision loss. After the initial exam, the ophthalmologist can speak with you about how often you should come back for appointments.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that adults over 40 should especially prioritize visiting an ophthalmologist. Once reaching the age of 65, it’s important to see your ophthalmologist often to check for signs of conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. These can affect people at any age, but we’re more prone to eye conditions as we grow older.

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