Eye Problems, Noninjury
Many people have minor eye problems, such as eyestrain, irritated eyes, or itchy, scaly eyelids (Reference blepharitis Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window). These problems may be ongoing (chronic) but usually aren't serious. Home treatment can relieve the symptoms of many minor eye problems.
Common eye problems
Common types of eye problems include:
- Reference Drainage from the eyes or Reference excessive tearing.
- Eyestrain or Reference vision changes.
- Reference Misaligned eyes or Reference strabismus Opens New Window (sometimes called cross-eyes).
- Reference Blood in the white of the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage).
- Reference Eyelid problems.
- Reference Contact lens problems.
- Reference Color blindness Opens New Window.
- Night blindness.
- Reference Glaucoma Opens New Window.
- Reference Cataracts Opens New Window.
- Retinal problems, such as Reference diabetic retinopathy Opens New Window.
- Red eyes that may be caused by infection, inflammation, or tumors.
- Reference Uveitis Opens New Window.
- Reference Macular degeneration Opens New Window.
It is common for the eyes to be irritated or have a scratchy feeling. Reference Pain is not a common eye problem unless there has been an injury. It is not unusual for the eyes to be slightly sensitive to light. But sudden, painful sensitivity to light is a serious problem that may mean glaucoma or inflammation of the muscles that control the Reference pupil Opens New Window (Reference iritis Opens New Window) and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Sudden problems such as new vision changes, pain in the eye, or increased drainage are often more serious and need to be evaluated by a doctor. Eye symptoms that are new or that occur suddenly may be evaluated by an Reference emergency medicine specialist Opens New Window.
Ongoing (chronic) eye problems that may be worsening are usually evaluated by an eye doctor (Reference ophthalmologist Opens New Window). A gradual change in your vision or chronic eye problems may include:
- Vision changes. These may include:
- Trouble adjusting your vision when entering a dark room.
- Trouble focusing on close or faraway objects.
- Dark spots in the center of your vision field.
- Lines or edges that appear wavy.
- Eyelid problems, such as a Reference stye Opens New Window or chalazion (a small, hard lump).
- Discharge or irritation of the eyeball or eyelids, such as an infection of the inner edge of the lower eyelid (Reference dacryocystitis Opens New Window) or pinkeye (Reference conjunctivitis Opens New Window).
- Sensitivity to light (Reference photophobia Opens New Window).
- Inability to see well at night (night blindness). A decrease in night vision may be caused by nearsightedness, cataracts, macular degeneration, or conditions that affect the Reference retina Opens New Window.
People often tolerate minor eye irritation and problems for a long time, until the irritation or problems become bothersome enough to seek care. People who have skin problems and allergies often have ongoing minor problems with the skin of their eyelids and allergic irritation of the eyes.
As you reach your 40s and 50s, it is common to have some vision changes and possibly to need glasses. Some of the changes may also cause other symptoms, like headaches and nausea, that affect your ability to function.
Some children may have special risks for eye problems. Vision screening is recommended for infants who were either born at or before 30 weeks, whose birth weight was below 3.3 lb (1500 g), or who have serious medical conditions. Most vision problems are noticed first by the parents. See Reference tips for spotting eye problems in your child. The first screening is recommended about 4 to 7 weeks after birth.Reference 1
Reference Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine