An Easy Option for Common Eye Conditions

4 min read  |  October 04, 2023  | 

Whether it’s pain, redness, swelling or blurry vision, unexpected eye symptoms can happen to anyone. If they only occur occasionally or come and go quickly, ignoring them and avoiding the inconvenience of a doctor’s visit can be tempting. 

Natalie Townsend, O.D., an optometrist and director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Rapid Virtual Eye Care service, says it’s important not to take these seemingly benign symptoms for granted. 

“Whether you have a preexisting eye condition or not, any major change in the eyes or vision, or the persistence of an existing problem, is worth a visit with an eye doctor,” she says. “Even if it ends up being a minor issue, it’s always better to identify it early rather than wait.”

What are the vision symptoms to look for?

Beyond the typical vision conditions (nearsightedness, farsightedness, etc.) that require correction, other eye symptoms are common and tend to become more prevalent as people age. 

Dr. Townsend says the symptoms that warrant a visit with an eye doctor include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Floaters
  • Flashes of light 

The AARP adds double vision and extreme redness or swelling to this list. In some cases, these eye issues can be due to easily identifiable and treatable conditions, but at other times, they could be a sign of a more serious vision problem. 

“Some of these symptoms could indicate something simple like a need for new glasses or mild dryness of the eye,” says Dr. Townsend. “Other times, they may indicate an underlying issue like an infection, inflammation, retinal detachment or something systemic like an issue related to diabetes.” 

Avoid traffic with a virtual visit.

In most cases, the solution is to seek medical care to diagnose and begin treating these issues as early as possible. Bascom Palmer has simplified this diagnosis process for patients in Florida with their Rapid Virtual Eye Care service. 

A virtual appointment isn’t appropriate for every eye problem. For example, it’s not used to prescribe glasses or contact lenses. But it’s a great option if you have a new eye problem and need a quick consultation. 

“We recommend a virtual appointment for patients with eye symptoms that are easy to see on the surface, such as redness, eyelid swelling or itchy eyes,” says Dr. Townsend. “It’s a simple way for doctors to determine the severity of the problem at hand and recommend next steps, whether that’s an over–the–counter medication or an in-person consultation.” 

In the right situations, a virtual eye appointment can offer many advantages. By visiting, you can schedule a same-day or next-day appointment and attend it from the comfort of your home, anywhere in Florida. 

“The idea is to remove obstacles for patients who need a quick eye assessment,” says Dr. Townsend. “If you’re an established patient at Bascom Palmer, we know your eye history and can bring it up immediately to help in the diagnosis.” 

Of course, a virtual appointment isn’t right for everyone. 

If you’re experiencing blurry vision, flashes or floaters, for example, Dr. Townsend says it’s best to get those problems checked out in person. However, she does see virtual eye care as a complementary part of your comprehensive eye care plan. 

“A lot of times, the virtual appointment will give us a quick sense of the problem and allow us to refer the person to the right specialist,” says Dr. Townsend. “We can also use virtual visits for follow-up appointments to see how a problem is progressing or how their medication has been working.” 

In some cases, these virtual appointments have even helped doctors identify emergencies and send patients to the emergency room for vision-saving treatments. 

The next time you experience eye symptoms, don’t let the inconvenience of an appointment put your eyes and vision at risk. You can get your care started quickly using Bascom Palmer’s Rapid Virtual Eye Care service. 

Wyatt Myers is a contributor for UHealth’s news service.

Tags: Dr. Natalie Ann Townsend, eye care in Miami, eye health, Ophthalmology, vision care in Miami

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