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Symptoms & Risks

What Are Common Risk Factors for Vision Loss?

Check with your eye care specialist to see how often you should have a complete eye exam if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of glaucoma, macular degeneration, or other eye problems. For example, if you have a brother or sister with glaucoma, you have a five-fold greater risk of developing the disease.

  • African-American or Latino heritage, which puts you at greater risk for glaucoma.

  • Diabetes. Diabetic eye disease can only be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Pupil dilation (enlargement with drops) is necessary to best view the back of the eye to check for early signs of retinopathy, such as microaneurysms (tiny blister-like outcroppings on retinal blood vessels that can bulge and leak), before noticeable vision loss occurs. National health and eye organizations strongly recommend annual dilated exams for diabetics, as well as when they become pregnant or experience changes in vision.

  • A history of smoking, which substantially increases your risk for macular degeneration and other eye and health conditions.

  • Steroid use, which increases your risk for cataracts and other problems.

  • Previous eye injuries.​

What Are the Symptoms of Possible Eye Problems?

In addition to regular eye exams, contact an eye care specialist if you experience any eye conditions, such as:

  • Blurriness, loss of sight, or double vision

  • Pain in or around the eye

  • Flashes of light

  • Sensitivity to bright light

  • Seeing floaters, spots or webs

  • Continual eye redness

  • Lines appearing distorted or wavy

  • Excessive tear production

  • Dry eyes with itching and burning

  • Difficulty seeing at night

When Was Your Last Eye Exam?

Remember, the best way to protect your vision is to schedule regular, thorough, dilated eye exams to check for hidden signs of sight-threatening conditions. Ask yourself and your family members—"When was your last eye exam?" If it was more than two years ago, it's time to pick up the phone.

For more information or a comprehensive examination . . .

Since 1985, Eye Care Specialists has provided comprehensive medical, surgical and laser care for virtually every eye condition to more than 200,000 people. If you would like one of our free educational booklets on any of the eye concerns reviewed on this website, please complete this form or call our Communications & Education Department at 414-321-7520 ext. 207. To schedule a comprehensive eye examination or a second opinion evaluation, call any of our three convenient Milwaukee-area locations directly.

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