Vision, one of our five senses, is perhaps the most relied upon in our daily lives. For this reason, eye health is essential. Vision is one of the most delicate systems in the human body, so any unusual symptoms or sensations should be brought to the attention of an eye care professional immediately to ensure proper treatment and continued function. The following common eye symptoms are a few which may require a visit to and an examination by your eye care professional.
Also referred to as eye matter or eye discharge, a little sleep in the eyes upon waking is a normal function of the eye, produced by your body's mechanism for clearing the eyes of any bacteria or debris such as allergens or cosmetics. A change in your eye's normal discharge (consistency, frequency, or amount), however, can point to an eye infection which requires prompt treatment. Conjunctivitis (bacterial, viral, or allergic) is the condition most commonly associated with abnormal eye discharge.
Also called light sensitivity, photophobia is characterized by a sensitivity or intolerance to bright light. In mild cases, one might need to squint in bright light, but in serious cases of photophobia, bright light causes severe pain in the eyes. Corneal abrasion, dry eyes, scleritis, conjunctivitis, encephalitis, meningitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhage all cause photophobia. Some causes of photophobia are not considered serious medical problems, but sometimes this symptom accompanies conditions which are medical emergencies. Any instance of light sensitivity should be brought to the attention of an eye care professional.
Small spots, squiggly lines, strands, or ring-like objects which appear in the field of vision are called floaters. Especially apparent in bright environments, floaters are most often a benign annoyance. They can, however, appear in conjunction with more serious underlying conditions such as eye tumors, retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, or a retinal tear. Anyone experiencing floaters should seek treatment with an eye care professional. (All see Retinal Detachment is Section entitled "Diseases and Conditions of the Eye")