Your life and eyes 3 min read

5 signs you need to see an optician

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Your eyes don’t often hurt when there is something wrong with them. It is one of the reasons why having regular eye examinations can be very beneficial as it gives your optician the chance to check your eyes and vision for any potential issues. Likewise, it’s not always easy to recognise when or if you need glasses.

The NHS usually recommends that you have your eyes tested every 2 years, but if you feel as though something has changed in your vision or eye health, you can see your local optician sooner. A lot of eye conditions don’t always present symptoms, but your optician can detect early signs, whether it is a refractive error or glaucoma.

There are several signs you can look out for that may suggest you should see an optician. It can be helpful to recognise these signs to prolong your eye health. 

1. You have frequent headaches

If you often experience frequent headaches, the cause could be a vision problem. It is one of the most common symptoms that people have when they need glasses.

Refractive errors such as short-sightedness or long-sightedness can make you overwork your eyes, as you will likely be straining your eyes to see clearly. Luckily, wearing the right lenses can be the solution for many eye conditions that cause headaches. 

In some cases, headaches could be a symptom of glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when there is a build-up of pressure inside the eye. Your optician can check for this and advice treatment.

2. Holding objects at varying distances to see clearly

If you find that you have to move reading material to different distances to see clearly, it might be time to wear glasses. Whether it’s a book, newspaper or smartphone, if you notice blurred vision on objects close up, then you may be experiencing an eye condition known as presbyopia.

A man struggles to see his phone due to presbyopia so stretches his arm out to see more clearly

Presbyopia is also known as age-related long-sightedness and usually occurs in those aged over 40. It is caused by the natural hardening of the lens in your eye, making it harder for the lens to focus at different distances. 

If you begin to notice any signs of blurred vision or reduced vision in low lit conditions, you should make an appointment for an eye test so your optician can check your eyesight.

3. Your eyes are itchy, dry or red

Having itchy, dry or red eyes could indicate many different eye conditions. Eye irritations such as these can be very common, and while it is usually nothing to worry about, it can sometimes be a symptom of an eye condition.

Conditions like conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome or glaucoma may present symptoms like eye redness, pain, dryness or itchiness. Excessive use of digital devices could also result in similar signs due to overexerting your eyes. 

If the symptoms do not fade, it is worth making an appointment with your optician to make sure everything is fine with your eye health.

4. You have started to see spots, flashes of light or floaters

 

Floaters shown on the sky

If you notice that you sometimes see flashes of light or small dark dots or lines in your vision, do not panic. It is not usually severe and can be quite common. If they aren’t getting any worse and it doesn’t affect your vision, it’s not a sign of something more serious.

If floaters or flashes appear suddenly, or they increase in number, there could be a problem with your eye and you should book an appointment with your eye care professional. If it causes you any pain, it is also a reason to visit your optician.

Both floaters and flashes are particularly common in older people, usually caused by a harmless process known as posterior vitreous detachment, which is entirely natural.

5. If you can’t remember when your last eye examination was!

If you can’t remember when your last appointment was, you’re likely due an eye examination! Check your diary or get in touch with your optician to find out when you last had one, it’s recommended to have an eye test every 2 years, or more often if advised by your eye care professional.

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