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13 Jun 2024

The eyes have it


It is important to set your sights on serious eye problems that may be taking place.
Eyes aren’t exempt from the wear and tear of ageing. Some of the age-related changes in the eyes are annoying but not serious — for example, it can become difficult to focus on near objects, and eyelashes may thin out a bit. But other changes can threaten vision.

Information from Harvard Medical School says that with age, the eyes’ ability to stay lubricated starts to wane. This can leave eyes feeling irritated, sticky, dry, or gritty. The lens of the eye can become less elastic. Night vision may also start to suffer, which can pose problems when driving at night.

Furthermore, cataracts (the process of normal body ageing can cause the eye lens to become increasingly more cloudy and thus difficult to see through); macular degeneration (another condition largely of ageing, that causes blurred or distorted vision, straight lines might appear wavy, there may be partial loss of vision, inability to see in dim light, or may see spots). Similarly diabetic retinopathy (most commonly associated with diabetes) can damage vision; and other conditions can progressively rob you of your sight if not diagnosed and managed well.

How do you know if an eye problem is a nuisance or the start of something serious? The following signs and symptoms warrant a call to your doctor. Catching serious eye problems early can help preserve your vision. Even non-vision-threatening problems can be treated to keep your eyes comfortable and your eyesight as sharp as possible.

Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Change in iris colour (i.e. the coloured part of the eye that surrounds the pupil).
  • Crossed eyes.
  • Dark spot in the centre of your field of vision.
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects.
  • Double vision.
  • Dry eyes with itching or burning sensation.
  • Episodes of cloudy vision.
  • Excess discharge and/or lots of tears (when there is no reason to ‘tear up’).
  • Experiencing objects floating or flashing in sections of your eyes or across your eyes.
  • Eye pain.
  • Growing bump/s on the eyelid.
  • When looking at objects seeing halos (coloured circles around lights) or lots of glare.
  • Hazy or blurred vision
  • Inability to close an eyelid.
  • Loss of peripheral vision (ability to see to the sides without turning your head).
  • Obstructed vision, like a curtain has been put on your eye/s.
  • Redness around the eye.
  • Seeing spots when looking at anything that is not spotted.
  • Sudden loss of vision.
  • Trouble adjusting to dark rooms.
  • Changed sensitivity to light or glare.
  • Wavy or crooked appearance to straight lines.


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Published:  June 2024

To be reviewed: April 2027