Eye Problems, Noninjury
Many people have minor eye problems, such as eyestrain, irritated eyes, or itchy, scaly eyelids (blepharitis). These problems may be ongoing (chronic) but usually aren't serious. Home treatment can relieve the symptoms of many minor eye problems.
See a picture of the eye.
Common eye problems
Common types of eye problems include:
It is common for the eyes to be irritated or have a scratchy feeling. Pain is not a common eye problem unless there has been an injury. It is not unusual for the eyes to be slightly sensitive to light. But sudden, painful sensitivity to light is a serious problem that may mean glaucoma or inflammation of the muscles that control the pupil (iritis) and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Sudden problems such as new vision changes, pain in the eye, or increased drainage are often more serious and need to be evaluated by a doctor. Eye symptoms that are new or that occur suddenly may be evaluated by an emergency medicine specialist.
Ongoing (chronic) eye problems that may be worsening are usually evaluated by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). A gradual change in your vision or chronic eye problems may include:
People often tolerate minor eye irritation and problems for a long time, until the irritation or problems become bothersome enough to seek care. People who have skin problems and allergies often have ongoing minor problems with the skin of their eyelids and allergic irritation of the eyes.
As you reach your 40s and 50s, it is common to have some vision changes and possibly to need glasses. Some of the changes may also cause other symptoms, like headaches and nausea, that affect your ability to function.
Some children may have special risks for eye problems. Vision screening is recommended for infants who were either born at or before 30 weeks, whose birth weight was below 3.3 lb (1500 g), or who have serious medical conditions. Most vision problems are noticed first by the parents. See tips for spotting eye problems in your child. The first screening is recommended about 4 to 7 weeks after birth.1
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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