Blurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight, making objects appear out of focus and hazy.
The primary causes of blurred vision are refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism — or presbyopia. But blurry vision also can be a symptom of more serious problems, including a potentially sight-threatening eye disease or neurological disorder.
Blurred vision can affect both eyes, but some people experience blurry vision in one eye only.
Cloudy vision, where objects are obscured and appear "milky," is often mistaken for blurry vision. Cloudy vision usually is a symptom of specific conditions such as cataracts, but blurry and cloudy vision can both be symptoms of a serious eye problem.
A qualified eye doctor can measure the extent of your blurred vision and determine the cause with a comprehensive eye exam, including spatial contrast sensitivity, slit-lamp and standard Snellen eye chart tests.
Sudden blurry vision that persists could be a sign of a serious health problem, and you should see a doctor immediately.
Blurry Vision: Causes And Treatment
Eyeglasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery such as LASIK and PRK are the most common ways to correct nearsightedness.
Like myopia, hyperopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive eye surgery.
With astigmatism, light rays fail to come to a single focus point on the retina to produce clear vision, regardless of how far away the viewed object is from the eye. Astigmatism, like nearsightedness and farsightedness, can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
While the symptoms of presbyopia are the same as those caused by hyperopia (blurry near vision; eye strain when reading), presbyopia is a diminished ability to focus on near objects due to hardening of the lens inside the eye rather than a defect of vision caused by the overall shape of the eye like hyperopia.
Common treatments for presbyopia include progressive lenses, bifocals and reading glasses. There also are presbyopia surgery options — including corneal inlays, monovision LASIK and conductive keratoplasty.
For all eyeglasses to correct refractive errors and presbyopia, clarity and comfort can be enhanced with anti-reflective coating and photochromic lenses. Ask your optician for details.
You should always report any vision disturbances during pregnancy to your doctor. While blurry vision is not always serious, in some cases it could be an indicator of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.
While a normal part of the aging process, if you see a sudden shower of floaters it could signify a torn or detached retina and you should see your eye doctor immediately.
Also, some medications such as allergy pills can cause side effects of dry eyes and blurred vision. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist can advise you whether any of your medications might cause blurry vision.
Blurry Vision Can Be A Symptom Of A More Serious Eye Problem
Eye conditions and diseases. If you have sudden blurry vision in one eye and are over 60, you may have developed a macular hole in the part of the retina where fine focusing occurs. Blurry vision also may be a symptom of a detached retina, eye herpes or optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve), among other causes.
Certain eye conditions and diseases can cause permanent loss of vision, so it's important to visit your eye care practitioner for diagnosis and prompt treatment.
If you have some minor blurring that comes and goes, this could mean simply tiredness, over-exposure to sunlight or eye strain.
However, sudden or continuing changes in vision such as blurriness, double vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, halos or dimness of vision could be signs of a serious eye disease or other health problem.
If you have sudden changes to your vision, you should always contact your eye doctor immediately.