If you've spent most of your life without vision problems, it can be disconcerting to start to notice that objects around you become blurred. While it's often simply a matter of changing vision, blurred vision can also be a precursor to a larger eye problem. The best place to have an initial eye exam is an optometrist. A doctor of optometry (OD) regularly performs comprehensive eye exams and will be able to tell you if you simply need corrective lenses or if you are facing a larger problem, such as glaucoma.
An optometrist can treat conditions such as glaucoma and will refer you to an ophthalmologist if surgical procedures are needed. Contact your eye surgeon if you have eye pain and have had eye surgery in the past, or if you have recently had eye surgery or an injection in the eye. If you have sudden, severe eye pain in one or both eyes, you should seek medical attention right away. It can be a sign of a serious condition, such as corneal abrasion, inflammation inside the eye, infection, or angle-closure glaucoma.
If you experience eye pain, it's vital that you immediately contact your ophthalmologist to find out the cause and find the best treatment. Often, it's even difficult for doctors to know what's going on with eye pain unless they do a full eye exam. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids and occurs when the sebaceous glands at the edges of the eyelids become clogged, causing irritation and swelling, which can cause eye pain. If you find yourself squinting to read traffic signs or have to hold the book with your arm extended to distinguish the fine print, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist.
According to the Canadian Optometrist Association, adults with healthy eyes between the ages of 20 and 39 should see their ophthalmologist every 2 to 3 years. If you wear contact lenses and are regularly affected by allergies, you may experience dry and itchy eyes as a result. Cataracts can only be cured with surgery, but your ophthalmologist can recommend steps you can take to slow the progression of cataracts. Adults should have an eye exam at least once every two years, although your optometrist may recommend that you visit more often.
An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgeries, and prescribes and places glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. The best way to determine the cause of double vision is to schedule a consultation with your ophthalmologist. Often, the eyes can remove these irritants on their own with tears, but if this doesn't seem to work, rinsing your eyes with water or artificial tears may help. If you have a corneal ulcer, your doctor may want you to use antibiotic drops to prevent infections, steroid drops to reduce inflammation, or some other form of treatment to treat the exact cause of the ulcer.
If your blurred vision comes and goes, or is limited to one eye, you should schedule a regular exam with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. This additional training and knowledge prepares the ophthalmologist to deal with more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and eye tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases. They're usually not a big deal and will go away on their own, although you should have them checked by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.