Having some sort of vision impairment? It has estimated that over 1.3 billion people have some sort of vision impairment, whether that means such people need glassed readers or have complete/partial blindness.
The natural declinations in vision take place as we age. It is important to take action on the issue as all vision issues are not normal. Researchers have found that over 200,000 people in the United States alone can get affected from different types of retinal problems. If these retinal problems left untreated, these retina problems can lead to blindness.
But the considerable fact is that how can you tell which vision symptoms are worrying and which are just a result of aging?
Here we are going to discuss some top warning signs that indicate your vision issues could be more serious than simple aging.
A Quick Eye Lesson
Before going to the warning signs, it is important to understand the different parts of the eye in order to understand what the retina really is.
The retina is transparent layer of tissue found at the very back of the eye. When light goes into your eye and reaches the retina, the retina will process this light information and send signals to the brain through your optic nerve.
Without the retina, your brain will receive no signal on what you see. If the retina is damaged or degenerated, it can lead to vision loss and potential blindness.
Warning Signs of Retina Problems
Now that you know how the retina works, let’s look at some of the major symptoms that might indicate that you have retinal problems.
Flashing lights may be a symptom of a number of conditions, including headaches, eye injuries, and retinal problems. If you don’t often suffer from headaches or have never known random flashing lights before, this may be a sign that you might have retinal disease or a problem.
As we have seen before, the retina is responsible for transmitting light signals to the brain. When the retina is damaged or diseased, it can send erroneous or abnormal signals to your brain, which could make you feel this ‘blinking light’ phenomenon.
Dark vision can be characterized as things that seem darker than usual, are ‘fuzzy’ and see less contrast. Some compare it with its appearance when you wear slightly tinted sunglasses or when you attenuate the intensity of light on a ceiling light.
Dual vision is when you see a duplicate version together with the actual version. The dubbed version is often fuzzy and less clean compared to what you actually see. The two images often overlap, overlap and/or are blurred, which can be disorienting and uncomfortable for people suffering from this symptom. While dual vision may be a symptom of various disorders, it often refers to a retinal condition.
Dual vision can be categorized as a kind of distorted vision. However, most people with retinal disorders have some types of distorted vision, including:
Things appearing crooked
The severity of these vision problems may vary, and many people confuse blurred vision with simple age-related vision damage. However, you should always be assessed by an eye care professional to rule out serious problems such as retinal illness.
Specks and/or Lines in Vision
We’ve all been through this before: you see random dots or lines in your vision for a couple of minutes before they disappear. These are normal things that happen to all of us down the road.
However, if you notice that this happens more often, or that the lines/stains do not disappear, it might be a sign that something serious is going on. This is a common sign of retinal damage or degeneration: damaged retina send wrong signals to the brain, which can make you see these random/scribbled lines.
We all have a blind spot in our peripheral vision due to the manner in which the optic nerve is located at the back of the eye.
The development of more or more blind spots is a worrying indication of retinal problems. These can take the form of complete blind spots, big shadows, or something that ‘blocks’ your vision in a certain area.
Perceptible vision problems that get worse with time This symptom is somewhat more difficult to identify. As we said earlier, it is natural for our vision to deteriorate over time.
But if you see drastic changes within a short period of time, it’s a concern. It’s also worth noting any changes in vision to your eye doctor; they’ll be able to evaluate whether your vision changes and issues are cause for concern, especially if it’s combined with any of the other symptoms.
Types of Retinal Diseases
Each of these warning signs signal that you may be facing a bigger retinal problem. Let’s consider some of the more common retinal problems and how the above symptoms come into play with each of them.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among people over the age of 50. With this condition, the center of the retina begins to degenerate and deteriorate, making vision and vision loss worse.
Types of AMD
With wet AMD, blood vessels develop in areas beneath the macula where they should not. This leads to fluid and blood leakage in the region and may cause quick and massive damage to the retina. You will notice a rapid and serious onset of symptoms, particularly blurred/distorted vision.
Dry AMD is caused by the gradual degradation of those cells Because this happens over time and symptoms gradually get worse, it can be difficult to diagnose. That’s why monitoring regular eye exams is so important.
Retinal Tears and/or Detachment
Like other tissue types, retinal tissue may be torn. The fluid in the eye may then fill the tear under the retina, causing greater pressure. As the pressure rises, and if the tear is not treated, the entire retina may detach.
Retinal tears may cause blurred and deteriorated vision due to fluid leakage. Sudden and rapid symptoms are common with retinal detachment, including blinking lights and ‘floating liquids’ in the eye.
If you get the tear early, it may be treated (generally with laser treatment).Surgery can be used to try to reattach the retinal if it becomes completely detached.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease, or diabetic retinopathy, is caused by complications related to diabetes.
Blood vessels in the back of the eye may leak from blood and fluid, leading to blurred/deformed vision, dark spots and pressure in the eye.
By looking after your diabetes, you can avoid this problem. If you have diabetes and experience these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You ca,n receive treatment to slow down the disease.
This is a genetic condition which causes abnormal retinal degeneration. Unlike some of the other problems on this list, this disorder is gradual and leads to vision loss and problems over time rather than an early start.
Since the stems, who are responsible for helping us see things in low light, die first, the first symptom that people experience is usually nocturnal blindness. It then progresses to worsening general vision, blurry and weak coloring, and peripheral vision loss.
Retinoblastoma is a retina cancer. It is a rare type of cancer that typically occurs in children. It can cause tumor growth in the eyes, resulting in blurred/distorted vision, vision loss and even blindness.
Tumors can physically affect vision by damaging the retina, and they can lead to an accumulation of liquid and pressure in the eye as well. Retinoblastoma can be treated with laser, radiation, cryotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery.
A macular hole is a small hole/tear in the macula, which is in the central retinal region, and may happen due to illness, eye injury, or aging. This small area of damage may result in impaired vision, loss of fine detail, dark spots and a “fuzzy” and “foggy” field of vision.
If You Notice These Signs, See an Eye Doctor ASAP
Any of the signs covered in this paper may indicate retinal problems, especially when they occur simultaneously, or your family has a history of retinal problems. If you notice one of these symptoms, set up an appointment with your ophthalmologist for control.