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7 Signs That You Need An Eye Exam

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Everyone needs eye exams, but how do you know when to have one? Understanding some common symptoms can help determine when you should visit your optometrist

Continue reading to learn more about the 7 signs you need an eye exam. 

7 Signs You Should See Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye examinations are vital for protecting your eye health. Your eye doctor can identify different eye diseases that can affect your vision. While eye exams are important, it can be difficult to know when you need one. 

Understanding some of the signs you need an eye exam can help you determine whether or not to book an appointment. Here are 7 signs you need an eye exam: 

Blurry Vision

Blurry vision is a common sign of many different eye conditions. It’s most commonly associated with refractive errors, but it can mean something more significant is affecting you. 

Blurred vision can occur in your entire visual field or certain parts of it, such as your peripheral vision or a single eye. It can seem insignificant when your vision is blurry, but this condition is a sign of several eye conditions, including: 

Blurry vision can mean many things, so it’s always a good idea to visit your eye doctor if you experience it. If blurry vision occurs alongside severe headaches or eye pain, seek medical attention to protect your ocular health.

Headaches Behind Your Eye

Everyone experiences headaches at some point, but they shouldn’t be a consistent problem. A headache may happen randomly, but it can be a symptom of an eye issue, especially if you feel pain behind your eyes

A headache behind your eyes can be a sign of eyestrain. Most headaches go away on their own, but seek treatment if you experience them frequently. Your optometrist can help determine the cause of your headaches. 

Dry Eyes

If your eyes feel irritated and watery, you may be suffering from dry eye disease. It’s a common and chronic condition where your tears cannot keep your eyes lubricated. Issues can arise when there are complications within your tear film

Dry eyes can feel like a normal part of life, but the associated inflammation can damage your eye’s surface. Visit your optometrist for an eye exam if you experience frequent dry eye symptoms, such as: 

  • A stinging, burning or scratching sensation 
  • Mucus in or around the eyes
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Eye redness
  • Foreign object sensation
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue 

Difficulty Seeing at Night

You’re likely to experience this symptom when transitioning from a bright environment into a darker one. Night vision issues is typically a symptom of an underlying condition, such as: 

If you struggle to see at night, refrain from driving in the evening and book an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Your optometrist can determine the cause of your night vision issues and recommend a specific night vision lens coating to help with this condition. . 

Eye Pain

Eye pain is concerning no matter the severity. Pain around your eyes may be a nonissue, but only your eye doctor can determine the cause of your discomfort. It can be a sign of several eye conditions, including: 

  • Allergies
  • Eyelid inflammation 
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Dry eyes
  • Foreign object in the eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Conjunctivitis 

If you develop severe or sudden eye pain, see your optometrist for an assessment. Severe eye pain alongside other symptoms can be a sign of an emergency. 

Light Sensitivity 

Light sensitivity is a condition where bright lights hurt your eyes. The severity of this condition can range—lights may cause you to squint or feel pain. 

Light sensitivity can be a symptom of several eye conditions like corneal abrasions, dry eyes, or keratoconus

It’s Been a While Since Your Last Appointment 

Unless you experience visible problems, there may be long periods between your eye exams. Visiting your eye doctor can seem like a waste of time if you can see fine, but you never know what’s happening internally. 

Many eye diseases can develop with little to no noticeable symptoms, and the only way to identify these issues is during a comprehensive eye exam. You should see your optometrist regularly to catch any potential problems. 

If you’re an adult between 20 to 64 years old, you should have an eye exam at least every 2 years. Older adults and those at-risk should receive an annual examination. 

These are the recommended guidelines from the Canadian Association of Optometrists but listen to your eye doctor’s recommendation. They may want to see you for more frequent examinations.

Women with mask undergoing eye exam at eye doctors office

Don’t Ignore Signs of a Problem

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, book an eye examination. Eye pain, dryness, and other symptoms can seem insignificant, but they may be a sign of an underlying issue. 

If you have symptoms of an eye condition, or it’s been a while since your last examination, contact your optometrist

Written by Dr. Cynthia Markarian Bahoshy

How many doctors does it take to change a lightbulb?”

One or two.

Clear, comfortable vision is such an integral and important part of our lives. I enjoy interacting with our patients, learning about them and their visual needs and I get great satisfaction when I can improve their quality of life by providing them with optimal eyesight at the same time as screening for and treating potentially sight-threatening conditions.

I have been an optometrist at Brantford Eye Care (previously known as Dr. Robert Schumacher and associates) since 2002. I became the new owner of Brantford Eye Care in October 2012.

I attended the University of Ottawa where I studied Biochemistry as part of my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree. I completed my Doctor of optometry (OD) degree at the University of Waterloo in 2002.

My externship was completed at the Houston Eye Associates in Texas. During that time, I gained extensive experience in all aspects of ocular health diagnosis and management. This included exposure to various retinal conditions, glaucoma, cataracts, children’s vision, binocular vision, and other aspects of ocular disease.

I worked as a student researcher at the Centre of Contact Lens Research at the School of Optometry, University of Waterloo where I gained extensive experience in all aspects of contact lenses. I also worked as a student researcher at the Ottawa General hospital in the Department of Ophthalmology during my university years.

I am an active member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists, The Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Ontario College of Optometrists, and the Hamilton and District Area Society of Optometrists. I am certified in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Diseases.

My main interests are in dry eyes, contact lenses, and in children’s vision. I have experience working as an optometrist at a Toronto LASIK centre and I am able to answer any questions you may have regarding LASIK and other refractive surgeries. We are affiliated with the various LASIK centres and can refer you for a complimentary LASIK consultation as well as perform your pre and post-op examinations at our office.

I enjoy many activities such as swimming, yoga, playing the piano, and spending time with my family. I enjoy solving visual issues and challenges and meeting new people.

I’ve been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful patients and families at our office. I enjoy being a part of Brantford’s health care team and look forward to seeing you at the office!

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