Obviously, your eyes are a very important part of your body and, like everything else, they develop issues, too. But for some reason, people tend to write off eye symptoms like they're no biggie—and that’s a problem.
If left untreated, some eye problems can progress very rapidly. If they’re not treated, they can permanently affect your vision.
Sure, you’re probably OK to ride it out if you developed some temporary eye redness after sleeping in your contacts, but other issues warrant a trip to your optometrist. Here are some important symptoms to watch out for:
1. You have floaters in your eye.
Floaters in your vision, which can appear as specks, strings, or cobwebs that drift as you move your eyes, are often due to age-related changes in the configuration of the gel within your eye. Those changes tend to not be a huge deal but it's still good to have a dilated eye exam to make sure they're not a sign of a more serious condition like retinal detachment. If you notice one or two floaters that go away, it's a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor, but if they persist, you should to get them checked out ASAP.
2. You have constant red eyes.
It’s pretty normal to wake up with reddish eyes here and there, but if you’re regularly experiencing red eyes, it’s time to see your doctor. Red eyes that don’t clear up with over-the-counter drops can be a sign of dry eye syndrome, a condition that happens when tears aren't able to provide adequate moisture to your eyes, or a number of other conditions that should get checked out.
3. You've got dry eyes that won’t quit.
Over-the-counter artificial tears are your first line of defense against dry eyes, but if artificial tears aren't helping, talk to your eye doctor. You could have an ulcerated cornea, which is when the outermost layer of your eye becomes inflamed. It should be able to be treated with an antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral medication.
4. You got a chemical in your eye.
OMG you got some dish soap in your eye, what do you do? First, rinse your eyes out immediately with water and then contact your optometrist, even if your eye seems OK. If you get exposed to any foreign substance, especially a harsh chemical or cleaner, that requires immediate attention. It can result in permanent damage and scarring.
5. You have eye pain that came out of nowhere.
While any type of persistent eye pain should send you to the doctor, the type of pain you’re experiencing could signal various issues. A sharp pain can be a sign that you have something stuck in your eye or you’ve contracted a viral or bacterial eye infection. An aching pain, though, could be a sign of eye inflammation, increased pressure in your eyes, or just a need for different glasses—but you won’t know what’s causing it unless you get it checked out.
6. You’re seeing halos around lights.
This seems really freaky—and it is—but it can be a sign that your contact lens or glasses prescription isn’t quite right. It can also be an indicator of an ocular migraine, a visual disturbance that can impact your eyes. Either way, see your doctor for help.
7. You have a stye.
A stye is a painful local infection or inflammation of the oil-producing glands of your eyelid. While a stye will often go away in a day or so, it’s a good idea to get it checked out if you tend to get them often, or you have a stye that won’t go away. Your doctor may be able to prescribe something to keep future styes away.
8. You’re suddenly sensitive to light.
Feeling like you need to grab your shades to protect your eyes from light streaming in your window could be a sign of an ocular migraine, or it could indicate that there’s some kind of inflammation in your eye. Either way, see your doctor.