Eye Reflecting Chart
1 / 32

Warning Signs of Eye Trouble

Blurry vision, spots, glare at night, flashing lights -- these are common eye complaints. Each could be a harmless annoyance or an early sign of disease. It isn’t always easy to tell the difference. Visit your eye doctor promptly if you notice any changes in your vision.

Swipe to advance
Color Blindness Test Chart
2 / 32

Color Blindness Test

Which number do you see on the far left? If it's "3," you probably have normal color vision. If it's a "5," you may be color blind. The center panel shows a mild lack of color vision. Complete color blindness, which is rare, appears at right. No number is visible. Tinted glasses may help you see better.

Swipe to advance
Driver With Myopia
3 / 32

Nearsightedness (Myopia)

When you're nearsighted, things in the distance look blurry. Doctors call it myopia. You're more likely to have it if: 

  • One or both of your parents have it
  • You do lots of close-up reading

Nearsightedness can make it harder to drive, play sports, or see a blackboard or TV. Symptoms include blurred vision, squinting, and fatigue. To correct it, you can wear glasses, contacts, or get surgery in some cases.

Swipe to advance
Person As Seen From Hyperopia Perspective
4 / 32

Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

Most people are born with mild farsightedness and outgrow it in childhood. When it persists, you may see distant objects well, but books, knitting, and other close objects are a blur. This problem runs in families. Symptoms include trouble with reading, blurry vision at night, eyestrain, and headaches. To treat it, you may wear glasses or contacts. Some people get surgery for it.

Swipe to advance
Person With Presbyopia
5 / 32

Presbyopia

Trouble reading fine print is a sign of aging. It's called presbyopia, which means "old eye" in Greek. Most people start to notice it in their 40s The eyes' lenses become less flexible and can't change shape to focus on objects at reading distance. The solution: Wear reading glasses or bifocals, which correct both near and distance vision. If you wear contacts, ask your eye doctor about contacts made for people with presbyopia.

Swipe to advance
Illustration Of Myopia
6 / 32

Nearsightedness: What Happens

The cause is usually an eyeball that's too long. Or it can result from an oddly-shaped cornea or lens. Light rays focus just in front of the retina, instead of directly on it. This sensitive membrane lines the back of the eye (seen in yellow) and sends signals to the brain through the optic nerve. Nearsightedness often develops in school-age children and teens, so they may need to change glasses or contacts frequently as they grow. It usually stabilizes by the early 20s.

Swipe to advance
Illustration Of Hyperopia
7 / 32

Farsightedness: What Happens

This problem results from an eyeball that’s too short or an oddly-shaped lens or cornea. Light rays focus behind your retina and close objects look blurry. Your distance vision might be fuzzy, too. Severely farsighted children often have crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia) and may have trouble reading. That’s one reason eye doctors recommend vision exams for young children.

Swipe to advance
Illustration Of Astigmatism
8 / 32

Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism in one or both eyes, your vision may be out of focus at any distance. It happens when the cornea, the clear “window” that covers the front of the eye, isn’t shaped right. Light rays can’t focus on a single point on your retina. Instead they scatter to many places. Glasses or contact lenses correct it. Surgery may be an option. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, and eye strain.

Swipe to advance
Refractive Eye Surgery
9 / 32

Refractive Eye Surgery

Do you dream of seeing clearly without glasses? Surgery to reshape your cornea can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism with a success rate of better than 90%. Surgery may not be right for you if you have severe dry eye, thin or oddly shaped corneas, or severe vision problems. Side effects include glare or sensitivity to light.

Swipe to advance
vision with glaucoma
10 / 32

Glaucoma: View

You can’t feel it, but this disease damages your optic nerve. You may not have any symptoms until you lose your central vision. Your side vision will go first. That’s why you need regular eye exams every 1 to 2 years, especially after you turn 40. Doctors can treat glaucoma with medications or surgery.

Swipe to advance
Fundoscopy Showing Glaucoma
11 / 32

Glaucoma: What Happens

Your eye is filled with fluid. Sometimes too much of it builds up and raises pressure inside your eye. This can damage your optic nerve, a bundle of nerve fibers that carries information to your brain. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total blindness.

The bright yellow circle shows an optic nerve head damaged by glaucoma. The dark central area is the macula, which controls your finely-detailed central vision.

Swipe to advance
macular degeneration
12 / 32

Macular Degeneration: View

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) damages and then destroys your central vision, making it hard to read or drive. Symptoms can include a central blurry spot or straight lines that appear wavy. You're more likely to have it if you are older than 60, smoke, have high blood pressure, are obese, are female, or have a family history of the condition. See your eye doctor regularly to check for AMD. Prompt treatment can help slow vision loss. 

Swipe to advance
Photograph Of Retnia With Macular Degeneration
13 / 32

Macular Degeneration: What Happens

AMD affects the central part of your retina, called the macula. There are two types:

  • Dry: Doctors often see yellow deposits called drusen in the macula. As it worsens, the macular tissue breaks down. That slows the delivery of images to your brain.
  • Wet: Abnormal blood vessels grow in your eye. They leak blood and fluid (shown here), which causes scars and further damages the macula.

Both types leave you with a central blind spot.

Swipe to advance
Amsler Grid Used To Detect Macular Degeneration
14 / 32

Macular Degeneration: Test

Cover one eye and stare at the center dot in this Amsler grid from a distance of 12 to 15 inches. (You can wear your reading glasses.) Do you see wavy, broken, or blurry lines? Are any areas warped or just plain gone? Repeat for your other eye. Although no self-test can take the place of an eye exam, this grid is used to help spot early symptoms of AMD.

Next:  See how this grid looks with AMD.

Swipe to advance
Amsler Grid Showing AMD
15 / 32

Macular Degeneration: Signs

As seen here, the Amsler grid can look quite distorted to if you have severe macular degeneration. It may include a central dark spot. Straight lines that appear wavy are also cause for concern, as they can be an early symptom of wet AMD, the more serious, fast-moving type. See your eye doctor right away for a thorough exam.

Swipe to advance
diabetic retinopathy
16 / 32

Diabetic Retinopathy: View

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause partial vision loss (shown here) and lead to blindness. The damage involves tiny blood vessels in your retina. It can often be treated, but don't wait for symptoms. By the time you have them -- blurry vision, spots, shadows, or pain -- the disease may be severe. If you have diabetes, get an annual eye exams. The best prevention is to keep your blood sugar in check.

Swipe to advance
Photo Of Eye With Diabetic Retinopathy
17 / 32

Diabetic Retinopathy: What Happens

High blood sugar levels damage the tiny blood vessels that support your retina. They can swell, break, and leak fluid. Somtimes dozens of new, abnormal blood vessels grow. This is called proliferative retinopathy. They’re fragile and break open easily. Over time all this can damage the retina and cause blurred vision, blind spots, or blindness. 

Swipe to advance
vision with cataracts
18 / 32

Cataracts: View

By age 80, more than half of us will have had a cataract, or cloudy lens. Your vision slowly gets foggy and it gets hard to read, drive, and see at night. Diabetes, smoking, or too much time in the sun raise your chances. Surgery that replaces the clouded lens with an man-made one works well.

Swipe to advance
Eye With Cataract
19 / 32

Cataracts: What Happens

A healthy lens focuses light into a single spot on your retina. It captures the image like film in a camera. As you age, protein builds up in the lens. It gets cloudy and sends scattered rays of light to your retina. Instead of one sharp clear image you get blurred vision, changes in color vision, and glare, especially at night. Advanced cataracts are easy to see. It’s the muddy-colored circle at the center of this picture.

Swipe to advance
retinitis pigmentosa
20 / 32

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

You can inherit this disorder from your parents. It often begins with night vision problems. Next comes a slow loss of side vision. That becomes tunnel vision and finally, in some cases, blindness. High-dose vitamin A supplements can reduce vision loss and an implant that can restore some vision is in the works. But see your doctor before you take supplements. Too much vitamin A can be toxic.

Swipe to advance
Photo Of Eye Showing Retinitis Pigmentosa
21 / 32

Retinitis Pigmentosa: What Happens

The light-sensitive tissue of the retina slowly breaks down over many years. As that happens, it no longer sends signals to your brain, and you lose some vision. Eye exams show abnormal dark spots (pigments) sprinkled around the retina. Early cataracts can also happen, along with a swelling of the retina called macular edema (the central orange mass shown here).

Swipe to advance
Specks And Floaters In Eye
22 / 32

Floaters and Specks

Do you see blurry spots or specks that move?They’re probably floaters -- debris in your eye's vitreous gel. They don't block vision and are easier to see in bright light. Floaters are common and usually harmless. See a doctor right away if:

  • They show up or multiply suddenly.
  • You also see flashes of light.
  • You see white or black spots all the time. 
  • You notice a sudden shadow or loss of side vision.
Swipe to advance
Boy With Ambylopia
23 / 32

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

When you’re a child, if one eye doesn’t see well, your brain may favor the other. This condition, called ambylopia, can happen if your eyes aren’t aligned right (strabismus or crossed eyes) or one eye just doesn’t work as well. The doctor will prescribe a patch or drops that blur vision in the "good" eye. This prompts your brain to use the other eye. If amblyopia isn’t treated during childhood, it can cause permanent vision loss.

Swipe to advance
Close Up Of Corneal Abrasion
24 / 32

Object in the Eye

Because so many nerve endings lie just beneath the surface or your cornea, even a tiny speck can be painful. Don't rub your eye, or you could cause serious damage. Wash it it with lukewarm water. If it object doesn’t move, call a doctor. He can remove it and give you antibiotic drops to prevent an infection.

Swipe to advance
Applying Eye Drops
25 / 32

Tears and Dry Eye

Tears keep your eyes moist. Somtimes you don’t have enough, either from dry air, aging, or other health conditions. Your eyes can get painful and irritated. Eye drops labeled artificial tears may do the trick for a mild case. If it’s a bigger problem, you may benefit from other treatments, medications or nutritional supplements

Swipe to advance
boy with pink eye
26 / 32

Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis)

This inflammation results from a virus, bacteria, irritant, or allergy. Your eye will get red, and itch or burn. You’ll also notice a gunky discharge. If your eye itches an allergic is probably to blame. The type you catch from other people is usually viral,  so you won’t need antibiotics. If your pinkeye is caused by bacteria, the doctor will give you antibiotic eye drops. Pinkeye can be very contagious, so wash your hands often while you wait for it to clear up.

Swipe to advance
Eye With Sty Infection
27 / 32

Stye

This painful red bump looks like a pimple on or near the edge of your eyelid. It’s a type of infection of the eyelids (the doctor will call it blepharitis). Styes usually heal in a week. You can speed things up by putting a a warm, wet compress on it 3 to 6 times a day. Don’t wear contacts or eye makeup until it heals.

Swipe to advance
Swollen Eye From Hayfever
28 / 32

Allergies

They can cause itchy, watery eyes. Pollen, grass, dust, weeds, and pet dander are common triggers. An allergy doctor can tell you what’s to blame for yours. Keep your windows shut at home and in your car. You can get special pillow and mattresses covers to keep allergens out. Clean your house thoroughly and use allergen filters in your furnace and air conditioner. Allergy eye drops, artificial tears, and antihistamines may help.

Swipe to advance
woman in eye exam
29 / 32

Keep Up With Your Eye Exams

You need regular checkups all through your life, especially if eye problems run in your family or if you have other risk factors. An eye exam can also find other problems, like diabetes and high blood pressure, or even a stroke or brain tumor. Bulging eyes can signal thyroid disease. A yellow tint in the whites of your eyes might be sign of liver problems.

Swipe to advance
Woman Wearing Sunglasses
30 / 32

Prevent Sun Damage

UV rays can harm your eyes. Exposure can cause you to get cataracts 8-10 years earlier than normal. Just one long session in the sun can cause very painful irritation of your corneas. So wear a hat and sunglasses that block UV rays. You can add a clear, protective UV-blocking film to your car’s side windows, too. If you have light-colored eyes you may be more sensitive to light. If it suddenly starts to bother you more than usual, call your eye doctor.

Swipe to advance
man wearing eye goggles
31 / 32

Stay Safe at Home

Grease splatters from a pan, yard debris flies up from the lawn mower, cleaning solution splashes in a bucket. Some of the greatest eye hazards are in the home. Eye doctors suggest  everyone keep a pair of protective eyewear at home. Look for one approved by the American National Standards Institute. Even if an eye injury seems minor, go to the emergency room right away to get it checked out.

Swipe to advance
Boy With Glasses Looking At Carrots
32 / 32

Foods for Eye Health

Carrots really are good for your eyes. So are spinach, nuts, oranges, beef, fish, whole grains, many other things that make up a healthy diet. Look for foods with antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene; as well as zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Swipe to advance

Up Next

Next Slideshow Title

Sources | Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2017 Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on November 10, 2017

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1)   Dan McCoy/Science Faction
2)   Science And Society Picture Library
3)   Anna Webb/WebMD
4)   Steve Pomberg/WebMD
5)   Steve Pomberg/WebMD
6)   BSIP/Photo Researchers, Inc
7)   BSIP/Photo Researchers, Inc
8)   BSIP/Photo Researchers, Inc
9)   Chris Barry / Phototake
10)   Getty Images
11)   ISM / Phototake
12)   Getty Images
13)   William Feig/Phototake
14)   WebMD
15)   WebMD
16)   Getty Images
17)   Jean-Luc Kokel / Photo Researchers, Inc
18)   Getty Images
19)   Watney Collection / Phototake
20)   Getty Images
21)   ISM / Phototake
22)   iStock
23)   Carolyn A. McKeone / Photo Researchers, Inc.
24)   Dr P. Marazzi / Photo Researchers, Inc.
25)   M. Fermariello/De Agostini Picture Library
26)   Getty Images
27)   Pulse Picture Library/CMP Images / Phototake
28)   Dr. P. Marazzi / Photo Researchers, Inc.
29)   Getty Images
30)   Anthony Saffery/Workbook Stock
31)   Getty Images
32)   Image Source

REFERENCES:

National Eye Health Education Program, National Eye Institute.

News release, National Eye Institute.

American Optometric Association: "Optometric Clinical Practice Guideline Care of the Patient with Hyperopia."

EyeCare America, The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

McBrien, N. Optometry and Vision Science, 2009.

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Is LASIK for me? A Patient's Guide to Refractive Surgery."

EyeSmart, Academy of Ophthalmology: "Eye Injuries at Home."

Emory Eye Center: "Eye Conditions" and "Glaucoma."

Lighthouse International: “Vision Disorders.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Wilmer Eye Institute: “Eye Conditions.”

American Optometric Association: “Eye & Vision Problems.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Diseases & Conditions A to Z,” “Symptoms,” “Living Eye Smart.”

National Eye Institute: "Eye Health Tips."

Genetics Home Reference: "Retinitis pigmentosa."

Kids Health from Nemours: "Styes."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on November 10, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.