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Knowing When to See the Eye Doctor

Updated on August 6, 2017
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Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former cab dispatcher from North Carolina.

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People don’t think about losing vision until some aspect of life is drastically altered because of it. According to some conservative numbers, approximately 40 million individuals will face such a prospect as Baby Boomers age and children are born with disabilities. For this reason, knowing warning signs of vision loss is important. If you feel there may be some loss of vision because of several warning signs, then you can find appropriate help from an eye care professional. Here are some warning signals of vision loss:

Warning Signs of Vision Loss

1. Is reading regular print difficult? Do you have to “Lean in” to read a book? Do you have to hold written documents close to your face?

2. Are colors becoming harder to distinguish?

3. Are you seeing “floaters” in your vision? These are spots of blackness or grey in your sight which appear to move or remain in one place.

4. Are you running into open doors? Are you colliding into corners or cabinets?

5. Do you tend to trip over objects?

6. Do you miss the curb when stepping off the sidewalk?

7. Can you tell when you are approaching a flight of stairs?

8. Are you having trouble seeing people’s faces?

9. Do you have trouble reading signs when you drive?

10. Do you have to sit close to the TV or computer screen to see what others can see sitting farther away?

11. Are you unable to see at night?

12. Are you seeing light flashes?

Types of Vision Specialists

If you suspect you may be experiencing vision loss, there are different eye care professionals you can seek out for help. Each of these professionals has different levels of training and expertise in eye care:

  1. Ophthalmologist – The ophthalmologist is a medical doctor. He/she is trained to treat eye diseases, perform eye surgeries, and prescribe medicine. He/she conducts eye examinations and he can prescribe eye glasses or contact lenses.
  2. Optician – The optician is a technical practitioner. He/she designs and fits lenses to correct visual problems. This professional also may make frames for spectacles and other devices. But the optician uses prescriptions provided by the ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
  3. Optometrist – The optometrist is an eye care professional trained in managing changes in vision. The optometrist is involved in testing vision and diagnosing diseases. He/she is not a medical doctor. However, this eye care professional can treat eye diseases and prescribe glasses and contact lenses.


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