Which Health Status Changes Should Prompt a Visit to Your Eye Doctor by Puneet Panda, M.D.

September 25, 2018

Dr. Panda is an ophthalmologist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in dry eye, cataracts, and corneas.

Whether you’ve worn glasses or contacts most of your life or have never had vision problems before, the majority of people don’t think about their vision on a daily basis. Even when you do experience changes in your eyesight, they’re often gradual enough to go unnoticed.

That said, having your eyes examined on a regular basis is vital to their health. It allows your optometrist or ophthalmologist to identify and track any changes in your vision and can help them catch certain eye diseases early on. But when is it time to disregard that schedule and make an appointment with your doctor right away? Check out some of the signs that now is the time for your next eye exam.

Bright Flashes and Floaters

Having a few floaters is perfectly normal. However, if you start to see a lot more than usual, you should schedule an eye exam. If these new floaters are accompanied by bright flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision, seek care as soon as possible. This combination of symptoms may indicate retinal detachment, which could lead to blindness if not treated quickly enough.

Differences in Night Vision

For many adults, increased difficulty when driving at night is the first sign of vision changes. If you’re having trouble reading road signs or seeing other cars on the road at night, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your eye care provider. Additionally, seeing halos around headlights and street lights at night may be a sign your vision has changed.

Eye Infections

Some eye infections may clear up on their own, but it’s not a risk worth taking. An eye exam won’t only tell you if your vision has changed, it also provides an opportunity for your optometrist or ophthalmologist to analyze the health of your eyelids and eyes. If you’re experiencing discharge, light sensitivity, blurred vision, itchiness, redness or other discomfort, give your doctor a visit.

Frequent Headaches

Headaches can be caused by a multitude of factors such as stress, muscle tension, allergies and more. However, it’s not uncommon for chronic headaches to be caused by vision changes. If you use a computer or look at screens for prolonged periods of time, eye strain may be the source of your headaches. Instead of dealing with the pain of chronic headaches, an eye doctor may be able to provide relief.

Diagnosis of a New Health Condition

So many aspects of your overall health can also impact the health of your eyes. From your sleeping habits to what you eat, most things you do can affect the way your eyes function and how they feel. The diagnosis of a new health condition like diabetes, lupus, or a thyroid issue is no different in this regard. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a new condition, be sure to discuss it with your eye doctor, too.

Even if you don’t experience one of the symptoms or changes we’ve outlined above, it’s important to be proactive about your vision. Your eyesight is crucial to your quality of life, so schedule an eye exam at Marietta Eye Clinic today to ensure that you’re seeing your very best.

More About Puneet Panda, M.D.

Dr. Panda is an ophthalmologist at the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in dry eye, cataracts, and corneas, in addition to offering comprehensive ophthalmic care. He serves the Kennestone, West Cobb, and Paulding offices. Dr. Panda graduated cum laude with honors from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in biological and environmental engineering. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a member of both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. Read more about Dr. Panda here.

References and Additional Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students. 

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