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7 Eye Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

While we all know that regular eye exams can help detect warning signs of disease and prevent vision loss, many people fail to seek medical attention when there is an acute problem with the eye. In fact, only about half of Americans that are at risk for serious vision loss have been examined by an eye doctor within the last year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

While it's true that some eye symptoms resolve on their own, it's better not to take the chance when your eyesight is at risk. Here are seven eye symptoms that should be checked out by an eye doctor immediately, as they could indicate a serious underlying condition that could threaten your vision. Remember, even if you think the issue is minor, getting proper medical attention could be vital to saving your vision. 

  1. Frequent Floaters

    Floaters are shadows or spots that appear to float through your field of vision, particularly when you are looking at a solid colored or bright background such as the blue sky or a white wall. They can appear in a variety of shapes such as a shower of dots or mosquito shaped for example. It is common to see floaters on occasion, however if you experience a sudden increase, especially in combination with pain, flashes or loss of peripheral vision, you should see a doctor immediately. Flashes of light may appear as a quick spark or jagged streaks of light or arcs among other shapes. This could be a sign of a very serious problem such as detached or torn retina, a hemorrhage or bleeding inside the eye, an inflammation of the vitreous or retina caused by an infection or injury or an eye tumor. In the case of a retinal detachment, the different pattern of floaters or flashes depend on how the retina tears, so if you suddenly notice a distinct pattern of floaters or light in your vision, don't delay: seek medical attention within 24 hours. 

  2. Persistent Redness or Irritation

    While minor redness can simply be a result of allergies, exhaustion or extended contact lens wear, there are some more serious causes of eye redness, especially if it persists or is accompanied by pain, swelling, discharge, vision disturbance or severe itchiness. Along with conjunctivitis (or pink eye) which can be a very contagious eye infection, redness can indicate a corneal scratch, uveitis or glaucoma. 

  3. Excessive Watery Eyes 

    Whether you have a foreign object in your eye or are experiencing dryness due to allergies or environmental factors, eye watering is a natural response to keep your eyes healthy, comfortable and safe. When it is constant and disruptive, however, this is no longer normal. Excessive eye watering could indicate a chronic condition such as dry eye syndrome, tear duct problems or problems with the cornea such as a scratch or an ulcer.

  4. Foreign Body in the Eye

    If you experience a foreign object in your eye, the first thing to do it try to flush it out. Never rub the eye as it could cause even greater damage. If your efforts to flush the object out are not successful it is time to see a doctor. Additionally, if you are experiencing vision disturbances, pain or redness while the object is there or after you think you have removed it, see an eye doctor immediately. 

  5. Ptosis (Droopy Eyelid) 

    Ptosis or drooping eyelids is seen in one or both eyelids and can be caused by benign conditions such as allergies or merely part of the aging process. Nevertheless, it can also be a sign of a serious condition such as nerve damage, a stroke, brain tumor or a condition called myasthenia gravis, which is a neurological condition that affects the muscles of the eye. It is also sometimes a result of eye surgery or injury. Often ptosis will resolve gradually on its own, however it is something that should be checked out, especially if it occurs suddenly, to ensure there is no serious underlying cause. 

  6. Bleeding Eyes 

    A subconjunctival hemorrhage in the eye is when a blood vessel right under the surface of the eye breaks. You will see that the white part or sclera of the eye has turned red. Usually, this common occurrence is nothing to be concerned about as this can happen from something as simple as straining, a sneeze or cough. In this case there is nothing to do and it will resolve on its own. If however, the redness comes after an injury to your eye or head it could indicate that there is bleeding in the brain and should be examined immediately.

  7. Moderate to Severe Eye Pain 

    There are several causes of eye pain, the most serious of which is acute angle closure glaucoma or uveitis. Other causes of pain can include corneal abrasions and ulcers, scleritis, orbital cellulitis and sinusitis. 

When it comes to problems with the eye, it's always best to err on the side of caution and get them checked out. Doing otherwise, could cost you your eyesight. Your eye doctor can help.

To Our Valued Patients:

As an essential business, Kennedy Vision Health Center remains committed to patient and employee safety as we navigate through the current healthcare crisis. We are going to see patients again beginning May 4th.  We care deeply about patient health and have implemented several infection prevention measures to ensure the highest level of safety when you visit our clinic.  Following guidance from  the MN Dept. of Labor, MN Dept. of Health, CDC, and the American Optometric Association we are keeping a very controlled and safe environment for our patients and employees.

For patients being seen in our clinic, the CDC is now recommending that all staff, patients and visitors cover their faces in health care facilities. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are requiring patients to bring and wear a face covering (such as protective mask or cloth covering) to any upcoming appointments.

Masks or cloth coverings must be worn over your mouth and nose for the duration of your appointment. Members of your care team will also wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you do not have access to a face covering, the CDC website has guidelines for making no-sew, cloth face coverings. You can also use a scarf or bandana. Additionally, masks can be purchased from many local and online retailers.

We are requiring an appointment to enter the office.  Appointments will be made for eye exams, glasses, and contact lens pickups.  If you do not have an appointment please call before entering so we can make sure we do not have too many people in the office.  Once entering please use the hand sanitizer that is provided in the foyer and wait to approach the front desk until the receptionist is ready.  All people entering the building must have their temperature checked.  If your temperature is above 100.4, it will be rechecked by a different device, and if still high you will need to reschedule.

We continue to ask that you do not bring any unnecessary people with you to your appointment, with the exception of a guardian with a child or assistance with mobility.  Also, please follow the 6 feet social distancing guidelines as much as possible throughout the office.

Rest assured that every surface you come into contact with has been sanitized prior to the arrival of each and every patient entering our practice, and it will be cleaned again as you exit each area. The team will be frequently washing their hands between interactions as per our usual protocol, and you’ll also see hand sanitizer throughout the practice for your use, as well.

If you’re  wanting to purchase glasses, there is a similar protocol in place to ensure a safe interaction with cleaning of frames and minimal contact with our optical team. Please follow their direction if eyewear is needed.

Kennedy Vision Health Center is also offering telemedicine visits which can be completed from the comfort of your home. To schedule a telemedicine visit please contact our office at 763-545-8850 and one of our team members will be happy to schedule your visit.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us. On Monday May 4th we will begin regular office hours at both locations.

We appreciate your efforts to help protect yourself, our care teams and our entire community.