Most people only have a comprehensive eye exam every 2 years to ensure healthy eyes and sharp vision. Those with medical conditions such as diabetes, or other ocular disorders, previous eye trauma or surgery, high prescriptions, or a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration will need to see their eye doctor more often.

But, there are some signs and symptoms that should not be ignored in between those regularly scheduled exams. If you experience any of the nine symptoms below, you should schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.

1. Gradual Blurring Of Vision

If you’re always having to move objects further away from your eyes to improve clarity, it’s probably time to get an eye exam. This loss of clear vision can happen over time. The same applies if you notice yourself sitting closer to the television or bringing objects closer to you to read them.

2. Sudden Appearance Of Visual Disturbances Such As Floaters or Flashes of Light

Sudden onset of any of these visual disturbances could be a sign of a serious, vision-threatening disorder such as a retinal detachment, retinal tear, or retinal hole. Anyone who experiences these signs must seek immediate (within 24 hours, or sooner) medical attention by an optometrist, ophthalmologist or emergency room physician for proper diagnosis and treatment to minimize vision loss.

3. Sudden Blurry Vision Or Problems Focusing

Sudden blurry vision or focus problems can be a sign of a larger health issue and should always be taken seriously. If the blurry vision comes and goes, or is limited to one eye, you should schedule an exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

4. Squinting

Frequent squinting is the quintessential sign that it’s probably time for an eye exam. We squint when we’re having difficulties seeing because the act of squinting reduces extraneous light entering the eye and reduces light scattering, improving vision. This is often one of the first signs in children that they may need eyeglasses. In addition, squinting coupled with an eye turn, more commonly called a “lazy eye”, is a definite red flag that a comprehensive vision exam is in order. This is especially true in children, and if not detected and treated early enough, permanent vision loss may result.

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