Ensuring that you’re in good health requires two main approaches: taking care of yourself today and planning for your future health, and knowing when you need to get something checked out before it becomes potentially more serious and harmful. We can all experience changes to our vision, including the temporary and the not-so-serious. However, it’s a good idea to know the different causes, as well as what you can do about them if you’re concerned.

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The most common changes

There is a chance that the change to your vision might not be all that sudden, but that you have only recently noticed for the first time the differences that have gradually occurred to your vision. In the vast majority of cases, vision changes are caused by what we call refractive errors. Refractive errors such as near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism happen due to errors in how the eyes receive light, which is the origin of the name. An eye exam with your optician will help them prescribe glasses, lenses, or maybe even recommend surgery.

Could it be age-related?

There are a few conditions of the eye that could be better explained if you’re getting a little older. From the age of 40 onwards, presbyopia (another refractive error) becomes more common. Ten years after that and your chances of age-related macular degeneration rise, as well. Macular degeneration also presents a lot more rapidly than most refractive errors, so it can feel like your vision has changed rather suddenly, as well. Cataracts are another issue that becomes more common as you get older (though they can affect people of any age). Most cases of blindness are caused by cataracts, but there are treatment options to help deal with them, such as having it removed via surgery, so it need not be the worst-case scenario.

Changes to the eyelids

It’s not just the eyes that can experience issues. Changes can affect your eyelids as well. For instance, if your vision has recently started to become obstructed by your eyelid, and it has been hanging a little lower, then this is likely a sign of acquired ptosis, which is caused by one of the muscles in the eyelid stretching too much, often due to aging, the use of contact lens or excessive eyelid rubbing. Either way, there are options for acquired ptosis treatment that can help tighten things back up. Aside from helping you see without obstruction again, this can allow you to enjoy a more youthful and alert look to your face. In rare cases, acquired ptosis can be a symptom of a tumor, so if you have any other symptoms to go with it, such as migraines that presented at the same time, you have to see a doctor.

What if you feel pain?

If there’s any pain to go along with changes to your vision, then you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Not all cases of uveitis, which is the inflammation of the uvea (a part of the eye) are severe, but it can cause the degeneration of eye tissue and even loss of the eye in some cases, so it’s best not to ignore it. Alongside blurred vision, the common symptoms of uveitis tend to include eye pain, sensitivity to light, and a visible redness in your eye. Some cases will go away on their own, but you might not want to take the chance of waiting to see how it progresses.

Pressure problems

The eye requires some level of pressure to make sure that it operates properly. However, this pressure can build for a variety of reasons, when it can affect the optic nerve, which can usually cause vision problems, as well as pain. There are several causes of glaucoma, a term that covers a family of diseases rather than a specific one. If you experience an injury to the eye and it’s accompanied by vision changes that don’t go away after a brief while, then you should make sure that you have your eyes inspected. Other causes of glaucoma include issues with the blood vessels in the eye (such as them being blocked) or inflammation. Most cases of glaucoma can be treated with prescription eye drops, but surgery might be necessary in some cases, too.

You should never let changes to your vision go uninvestigated. At the very least, you should make sure that you go for an eye exam so you can get a good idea of whether or not it will be permanent. Otherwise, you don’t know what it could be a symptom of so you should get it checked.

This is a contributed post.

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