Eye and vision problems

The eye is very complex and injury or disease can easily damage your eye beyond repair. It’s important to know what symptoms can indicate a threat to your vision.

If you or a family member has lost vision (can’t see) in one or both eyes, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of eye problems

Many medical problems can cause loss of sight.

  • Eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma or a detached retina may eventually lead to blindness.
  • Illnesses such as diabetes, stroke or high blood pressure can also cause a loss of vision.
  • Some visual changes may be caused by a problem in the brain. Others may be related to a reaction to medication, or nerve or muscle diseases.
  • Vision can be threatened by having something in your eye, trauma, infection or exposure to chemicals or dense smoke.

Eye injuries

Go to Eye injuries to find out what to do if you or a family member injures an eye or has something stuck in the eye. Basic first aid can prevent further damage or loss of sight.

You must go to your doctor or the emergency department for all eye injuries. Don’t take risks with your vision.

When to see your doctor or optometrist

Other eye symptoms which need medical attention are:

  • a new or unexplained pain in your eye
  • sensitivity to light
  • ‘floaters’ (small specks in your field of vision)
  • unusual eye redness or excessive wateriness.

Seek medical care for any change in the condition of your eyes or sight.

If you are already registered with an optometrist, contact them if you have any concerns about your eye health or changes in your vision.

Call Healthline 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what you should do.

In this section

  • A cataract is when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy, so that you can’t see as well. Cataracts can be caused by different things, like ageing or injury. Read more
  • Glaucoma is an eye disease in which progressive damage to your optic nerve can result in blindness if not treated in time Read more
  • Macular degeneration is an ageing-related eye condition. It causes vision loss, often starting with central vision. Read more
  • Problems focusing your eyes (blurred vision) might mean you have a refractive eye condition like short- or long-sightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. Read more
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