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Blurred Vision

Blurred vision refers to lack of vision sharpness that causes your inability to see clearly. This can result due to abnormalities such as – farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia which may be improved by wearing eye glasses or corrective lenses. It may also denote the presence of eye disease. Blurred vision can occur in one eye or in both the eyes, depending upon the cause. It may also be the reason of several conditions that do not involve your eye directly such as stroke or migraine. Taking different medications can cause temporary blurred vision in the form of side effect. Sometimes, blurred vision is also related to other symptoms depending upon its cause such as light sensitivity, headache, irritation and redness of your eyes.

Symptoms of blurred vision

  • head injury
  • diabetes
  • low blood sugar
  • migraine
  • brain tumour
  • stroke
  • multiple sclerosis
  • pre-eclampsia or high pressure during pregnancy
  • psoriasis or a skin condition that may affect your eyes
  • Parkinson’s disease

Causes of blurred vision

  • Retinal detachment – This happens when the retina tears away from your eyes back and loses its nerve and blood supply. It generally happens due to age or injury but can be the complication of diabetes. 
  • Steep increase in blood pressure – When you have high blood pressure, this can affect your vision greatly. You may not be able to see clearly or even become blind.  
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) – Blurred vision in both the eyes may occur when you have a stroke which affects the part of brain controlling vision. A stroke involving your eye causes blurred vision in one eye only. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) lasts for less than 24 hours. One of its symptoms can be blurred vision in one or both the eyes.
  • Migraine headache – Migraine attacks sometimes occur due to aura which leads to flashing lights and blurred vision. Taking proper medication may help to ease the symptoms.
  • Hyphema or bleeding inside the eye – The dark red blood inside the front part of your eyeball is known as hyphema. It occurs due to bleeding after there is eye injury. It may be painful when it increases pressure inside the eye.
  • Concussion – This is a mild traumatic injury to your brain and most of the pathway of brain is dedicated to controlling eye and vision. There are fewer chances of permanent vision loss or damage with a concussion.
  • Eye strain – Eye strain may occur after you focus on and look at something for a long time. When it happens due to focussing on electronic devices such as cellphone or computer, it is known as digital eye strain. Other causes are driving and reading, especially in bad weather and at night.
  • Eye infections and its tissues – There is no need to wear lenses for treating eye infections damaging your cornea. Herpes keratitis is an eye infection caused by herpes virus and you can get it by touching cold sores on your lips and then touching the eyes.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – This may affect anyone suffering from diabetes. The condition can decrease your clear vision and even cause blindness. It can make blood vessels weak in the retina.
  • Optic neuritis – The optic nerve connects your brain and eye and the inflammation of optic nerve is known as optic neuritis. It generally occurs due to autoimmune reaction or several sclerosis. Other causes are infections or lupus. Mostly, it affects one eye only.
  • Macular degeneration due to age – The center of your retina is known as macula. There can be growth of unusual vessels which cause blood and other fluids to leak into macula. It may even lead to loss of vision and blurriness. This type may start suddenly and progress at a rapid pace.
  • Abrasions to your cornea – Your cornea is clear covering on the front part of your eye. When it is injured or scratched, you might develop corneal abrasion. You might even feel there is something in your eyes other than blurred vision.

Risk factors with blurred vision

  • Not wearing correct prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Not wearing sunglasses outside
  • Having uncontrolled high pressure
  • Not wearing safety googles when needed
  • Not conducting routine eye examinations
  • Having uncontrolled diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Not getting medical care after eye or head injury

When should you worry about blurred vision?

It is quite common to suffer from blurred vision when you cannot see fine details during nearsightedness or farsightedness. It is necessary to seek medical care when you face quick change in your vision such as sudden loss of clear vision.

Can blurred vision go away by itself?

Most people suffer from blurred vision at some point of time in their life. There are cases when it will be temporary and will resolve itself without any treatment. However, some people will require further assistance to restore their vision clarity.

Can anxiety lead to blurred vision?

When you feel extremely anxious and stressed, the high levels of adrenaline in your body may cause some pressure on the eyes leading to blurred vision. People who suffer from long-term anxiety have eye strain throughout the day on a daily basis. Anxiety causes your body to become sensitised to any movement.

How long can blurred vision last?

There is no specific answer for how long blurred vision may last. Some people suffer from sudden blurred vision in one eye or both the eyes. Others can experience blurred vision for a long time and even for a few weeks.

When you should visit an eye doctor for blurred vision

When you suffer from blurred vision, it is important to see an eye doctor. If you are experiencing painful red eye with or without any kind of discharge from the eyes, it is necessary to book your early appointment. Also, blurred vision might denote serious systemic disease like diabetes or stroke and so, an eye examination becomes very important for the ones who have risk factors with their eyes.