Approximately 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with cataracts at some time in their life. Nearly three million people have been diagnosed with glaucoma.

If you fall into either of these groups, you should understand the importance of seeing an ophthalmologist frequently. An ophthalmologist can help you handle diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma appropriately.

But just because you haven’t been diagnosed with these illnesses before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider seeing an ophthalmologist.

Here are seven signs that you should consult with an ophthalmologist.

1. You Recently Suffered a Sudden Loss of Sight

Approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide have some sort of vision impairment. But you should be concerned if you experience a sudden loss of vision that appears out of nowhere. Whether you lose vision in one or both eyes strongly indicates that you want medical attention.

Vision loss may indicate a stroke or another serious medical condition in certain circumstances. However, it could also signal that you have an underlying vision problem that needs to be addressed.

Sudden vision loss can take place in many forms. You might experience:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blind spots
  • Seeing a curtain blocking some aspect of your vision

An ophthalmologist can examine your eyes and perform a variety of tests to determine the problem. This sort of visual loss often indicates a disease such as glaucoma or retinal detachment.

2. You’re Experiencing Pain in One or Both of Your Eyes

Are your eyes itching or burning now? There is a reasonable probability that you are among the millions of Americans who suffer from eye allergies.

There’s also a chance you’re fighting contagious conjunctivitis or pink eye. In any case, eye drops and other drugs might help relieve the itching and burning.

However, if you are suffering actual discomfort in your eyes, don’t dismiss it as “just allergies.” Pain in one or both of your eyes may indicate a significant medical condition that should be treated as soon as possible.

3. You See Flashes of Light When You Look Around

It’s natural to glance around on July 4th and see bursts of light everywhere. More than likely, fireworks are lighting up the sky.

However, if you constantly encounter these, you should not ignore them. As soon as possible, consult with at least one of many professional ophthalmologists to determine what produces light flashes.

Flashes of light may suggest that you have a retinal tear. You may be coping with retinal detachment. Regardless, you should have an ophthalmologist examine your eyes and recommend the best course of action for you.

4. You Have “Floaters” in Your Field of Vision

Have you noticed little particles in your range of vision when you glance around? The specks are called “floaters,” and they might begin to affect people as they age.

Floaters appear in a person’s field of vision as the gel-like vitreous in their eyes becomes liquid over time. The fibers in the vitreous often clump together, casting shadows on the retina. You will appear to be seeing shadows due to the changes in your vitreous.

Some people can get rid of floaters only by shifting their eyes up, down, and around. However, if your floaters continue to appear and cause visual problems, you should consult an ophthalmologist.

5. Your Family Has a History of Eye Disease

If you go above and beyond to care for your eyes, you may not need to be concerned about getting diagnosed with eye diseases.

To some extent, you are correct. You can help prevent certain eye diseases from affecting you.

However, studies have shown a strong link between heredity and some eye problems. That implies that no matter how vigilant you are about eye care if others in your family have been diagnosed with certain disorders, you may end up with them as well.

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