Eye Symptoms

Eye diseases can present in multiple ways. Symptoms suggesting an eye problem may include:

Blind spots (scotomas)

A scotoma refers to an area of the vision that is dark or missing. Unlike “floaters”, they do not move within the field of vision. This can be caused by a retinal detachment, macula hole, glaucoma or stroke.

Difficulty reading

Difficulty reading may just suggest that reading glasses need updating. However, they also often suggest a problem with the macula.

Eye pain

Most retinal diseases do not cause eye pain. However, inflammation in the eye, high eye pressure or changes to the surface of the eye can cause pain.


Glare and haloes around lights is a common symptom of cataracts.

Blurred vision

Blurring of vision can be caused by many eye diseases, including those affecting the lens (e.g. cataract), vitreous, retina and macula.

Tunnel vision

Tunnel vision refers to the loss of peripheral vision. This may occur in advanced cases of glaucoma.

Distorted vision

Distorted vision refers to the image of straight lines being wavy. A quick way to check is to cover one eye and see if the edge of a doorway looks straight. Distorted vision often suggests a macular disease (e.g. macular degeneration, macular hole, epiretinal membrane).

  Download this AMSLER GRID to test your vision at home.

Flashes and floaters

“Flashes” refers to when a patient sees “flickering lights” or “lightning bolt”. “Floaters” refers to the sensation of a spot or spots in the vision that move around, especially with eye movement. “Flashes” and “floaters” may be a symptom of retinal tears or detachments, and if new, require urgent examination by an ophthalmologist.

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