There are some age-related eye problems, some of which are medical emergencies. If you are over age 50 and notice any changes in your vision or experience eye pain - especially if it occurs suddenly - your best course of action is to schedule an appointment immediately to determine the urgency of the situation.
1. A flood of spots and floaters in your field of vision. A sudden onset of spots and floaters can be due to a serious, sight-threatening detached retina in the back of the eye.
2. Sudden loss of a portion of your peripheral vision. This too could indicate a retinal detachment. If the retina is not reattached within hours, vision loss can be permanent.
3. Sudden eye pain, redness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can signal a sudden attack of glaucoma. Immediate treatment is required to prevent permanent vision loss.
4. A narrowing of your field of vision, causing a 'tunnel vision' effect. This could be caused by chronic glaucoma, which often has no symptoms other than visual field loss. Without intervention, vision loss can continue and blindness may result.
5. Distortions of your central vision. This could be caused by macular degeneration (age related macular degeneration or AMD), the leading cause of blindness among older Americans. Usually AMD progresses slowly, but schedule an appointment soon.
6. Glare and halos around lights at night. These vision changes may be due to cataracts. Though cataracts tend to progress slowly and are not a medical emergency, schedule an appointment to evaluate and monitor your vision.
If you are over age 50 and notice any changes in your vision or experience eye pain - especially if it occurs suddenly - your best course of action is to schedule an appointment immediately to determine the urgency of the situation.