What does it mean when you see Halos, Floaters or Rainbows?
When changes appear in your vision, especially if they are something you’ve never experienced before, it can be unsettling. If you’ve ever experienced seeing halos, floaters or rainbows around lights and wondered what caused it, then you’re in the right place! Read on to learn more about these common vision issues, and when or if they are a cause for concern.
Is it an Angel or Something Else?
If you randomly meet someone on the street and you see a halo around them, you might think you’ve just had an angelic encounter. Not to burst your bubble, but it could mean there is an issue with your vision, depending on when you see halos and how often.
What does it mean when you see Halos?
Halos around lights can be a sign of both mild eye issues such as outdated contact lenses, or something more serious. So how do you know when to worry? If you see halos when staring at lights, and it goes away it’s probably not a concern. If, however; you’re suddenly seeing them often and they are accompanied by pain and blurred vision you should tell your Toronto area eye doctor immediately.
What causes halos in vision?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, seeing halos around lights may be associated with the following conditions:
- Cataracts– Certain types of cataracts lead to halo vision. These may require surgery to treat them.
- Fuchs’ dystrophy– is a disease that causes fluid to build up in the cornea-seeing halos around lights is a common symptom.
- Keratoconus-progressive eye condition that causes the naturally dome-shaped cornea to thin out over time. Since the cornea is affected, it causes issues such as light sensitivity and halos.
- Closed-angle glaucoma- this type of glaucoma can lead to a fast increase in eye pressure and blindness and requires immediate treatment. One critical symptom of acute angle-closure glaucoma is seeing rainbow halos or rings around lights.
- Pigment dispersion syndrome– this is when the pigment of the eye moves to other places and interferes with sight, may contribute to closed angle glaucoma if it’s not treated.
Some other more common less serious conditions that can contribute to halo vision include:
- Incorrect Prescription- the wrong prescription can cause headaches, blurred vision and halos around lights. Usually correcting the prescription corrects the problem.
- Dry Eye Syndrome– when the surface of the eye loses moisture, it can affect the way light enters it causing glares and halos around light sources at night, especially when driving. Eye drops may help.
- Astigmatism- since it affects the way the cornea refracts light it can cause halos around lights, especially while driving at night. Corrective lenses can help.
- Recovery from eye surgery- should resolve but if continues you will need to seek medical advice
- Photokeratitis (sunburn like condition that should resolve on its own)
When to Worry
It is normal to see halos around bright lights for the most part. It’s when you see them without staring at lights or they don’t go away or are accompanied by other symptoms. It’s always wise to schedule an appointment for an eye exam and let your Toronto area eye doctor know that you’re experiencing halo vision to rule out anything serious and get treatment.
Rainbows around Lights
If you look in the sky and see a rainbow, that’s great! Take a picture and enjoy. If, however; you see rainbows around lights or in places or times where you shouldn’t, it might be cause for concern and time to get your vision checked. Let’s talk about seeing rainbows around lights, and when it’s time to worry.
What causes rainbow-coloured halos?
Seeing rainbow halos when staring at lights (ever stare at a ring-light while using zoom?) or looking at the sun (don’t do that!) or a camera flash is a normal response and will resolve on its own. It can also happen when staring into headlights at night which is usually attributed to the following common eye conditions:
- Nearsightedness – hard to see things far away
- Farsightedness – hard to see things up close due to the shape of your eye
- Presbyopia – farsightedness due to aging
- Astigmatism – blurry vision due to the irregular shape of the cornea or lens of the eye
When is seeing rainbows around lights serious?
If you see rainbows around lights, according to All About Vision, it could be due to a serious problem such as one of the following:
- Foreign object in your cornea
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Diabetic Retinopathy– Swelling of the eye’s lens due to diabetes
Did you know?
Kaleidoscope vision is another issue that can cause distortion of vision and colours and is usually caused by migraines.
When to Seek Treatment
Should you experience halos with rainbow colours accompanied with pain and blurred vision, or if they persist even without direct light exposure contact an eye doctor as soon as possible.
What causes eye floaters?
As we age the vitreous (gel-like substance that makes up 80% of our eyes) can become less firm (doesn’t everything?) allowing small tissue particles in the eye to clump together and move around, which creates these annoying floaters in your vision.
Other conditions that may cause floaters in eyes include:
- Eye infections
- Eye injuries
How do I get rid of floaters in my vision?
Though floaters usually they resolve on their own there are a couple of things you can do to speed up the process. Treatments for eye floaters are:
- Moisturize- your eyes with MSM drops to help flush out the tissue that causes the spots in your vision. Always ask your eye doctor first before starting any treatment.
- Get Tropical- Fruit that is. According to the Journal of American Science, studies show that eating pineapple (1 ½ cups/day) eliminated floaters in 73% of participants after 3 months! Sounds like a delicious outcome.
When are eye floaters a cause for concern?
If you have an eye injury and suddenly see floaters you should contact your optometrist immediately as this could be an indication of a detached retina.
Are halos, rainbows, or floaters in your vision serious?
To sum it up, halos around lights could mean that you’re developing a serious eye disorder such as cataracts or glaucoma or something minor like a side effect of wearing incorrect eyeglasses or contact lenses. Having a regular eye exam is the best way to prevent or manage vision problems, especially as you get older. Contact your eye doctor if you are seeing halos often, especially if it follows an eye injury, and you are experiencing other symptoms such as blurred vision, red eyes, fever, headaches or anything out of the ordinary. Let’s keep rainbows and halos, mystical and magical and keep your eyes healthy by scheduling routine check-ups to avoid serious eyes issues that may lead to vision loss.