Blurred vision means, lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision can occur when a person who wears corrective lens is without them. Blurred vision can also be an important clue to eye disease . It may result from abnormalities such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, or astigmatism that can be improved with corrective lenses (eyeglasses) or it may signal the presence of eye disease.
Types of Blurred Vision
- General blurred vision – inability to see an image clearly – it’s important to establish whether the blurring occurs more at close distance, or when objects are further away.
- Decreased peripheral vision – blurring may occur around the sides of a vision, leading patients to bump into items or have trouble parking.
- Alteration of an image – sometimes blurring can cause images to appear smaller or larger, or even distorted.
- Diplopia – this is when blurred vision causes double vision, when the eye is unable to focus on an item or image.
- Dry eye blurring – this occurs when a dry eye is unable to focus on an item, leading to blurring and discomfort that can be temporarily reduced by blinking.
Causes of Blurred Vision
There are many causes of blurred vision:
- Use of atropine or other anticholinergics
- Presbyopia – Difficulty focusing on objects that are close. Common in the elderly. (Accommodation tends to decrease with age.)
- Cataracts – Cloudiness over the eye’s lens, causing poor night-time vision, halos around lights, and sensitivity to glare. Daytime vision is eventually affected. Common in the elderly.
- Glaucoma – Increased pressure in the eye, causing poor night vision, blind spots, and loss of vision to either side. A major cause of blindness. Glaucoma can happen gradually or suddenly if sudden, it is a medical emergency.
- Diabetes – Poorly controlled blood sugar can lead to temporary swelling of the lens of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. While it resolves if blood sugar control is reestablished, it is believed repeated occurrences promote the formation of cataracts (which are not temporary).
- Diabetic retinopathy – This complication of diabetes can lead to bleeding into the retina. Another common cause of blindness.
- Hypervitaminosis A – Excess consumption of vitamin A can cause blurred vision.
- Macular degeneration – of central vision, blurred vision (especially while reading), distorted vision (like seeing wavy lines), and colors appearing faded. The most common cause of blindness in people over age 60.
- Eye infection, inflammation, or injury.
- Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that destroys moisture producing glands, including lacrimal (tear)
- Floaters – Tiny particles drifting across the eye. Although often brief and harmless, they may be a sign of retinal detachment.
- Retinal detachment – Symptoms include floaters, flashes of light across your visual field, or a sensation of a shade or curtain hanging on one side of your visual field.
- Optic neuritis – Inflammation of the optic nerve from infection or multiple sclerosis. You may have pain when you move your eye or touch it through the eyelid.
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack
- Brain tumor
- Toxocara – A parasitic roundworm that can cause blurred vision
- Bleeding into the eye
- Temporal arteritis – Inflammation of an artery in the brain that supplies blood to the optic nerve.
- Macular degeneration and macular holes – The macula is the central part of the retina at the back of your eye. It allows you to see detail, colour, and things directly in front of you. Macular degeneration and macular holes damage the macula, causing central vision to become blurred.
- Retinal detachment – A detached retina is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden blurred vision. It may also cause a number of other symptoms, such as flashes and floaters, and sudden blindness.
- Retinal vein occlusion – If the blood vessels that feed the retina (the focusing surface at the back of the eye) become blocked, it is known as a retinal vein occlusion. This can cause sudden blurred vision, and also sudden blindness.
- Pterygium – A pterygium is a benign growth that occurs on the surface of the eye. Sometimes, a pterygium can grow onto the cornea. If this occurs, it can alter the shape of the cornea, causing blurred vision.
- Vitreous haemorrhage – If blood leaks into the vitreous ‘gel’ that fills your eye, it can block the light that enters your eye, causing blurred vision. Vitreous haemorrhage can be caused by trauma or injury, or it may be a result of an eye condition, such as diabetic retinopathy.
- Migraine headaches—Spots of light, halos, or zigzag patterns are common symptoms prior to the start of the headache. A retinal migraine is when you have only visual symptoms without a headache.
- Myopia – Blurred vision may be a systemic sign of local anaesthetic toxicity
- Reduced blinking – Lid closure that occurs too infrequently often leads to irregularities of the tear film due to prolonged evaporation, thus resulting in disruptions in visual perception.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning – Reduced oxygen delivery can effect many areas of the body including vision. Other symptoms caused by CO include vertigo, hallucination and sensitivity to light.
- Sometimes medications cause blurry vision. There are many prescribed drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements that can cause this problem, including:
Symptoms of Blurred Vision
In some cases blurred vision may be accompanied by additional symptoms in one or both eyes. There is usually some other underlying cause. Symptoms can include:
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Floaters or spots
- Eye pain
- Discharge from eye
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Loss of central vision
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Increased tear production
- Poor night vision
- Red bloodshot eyes
- Bleeding from eye
- Poor near vision
Diagnosis of Blurred Vision
Diabetes – Fingerstick or random glucose measurement
HIV/AIDS and retinal abnormalities – HIV serology and CD4+ count
Waldenström macroglobulinemia, multiple myeloma, or sickle cell anemia – CBC with differential count and other testing (eg, serum protein electrophoresis) as clinically indicated
A refraction test – this test is designed to measure the prescription you could need for contact lenses or eyeglasses. A device known as a refractor or phoroptor will be used, and by looking through the device, you will be asked to focus on a Snellen eye chart. As your doctor asks for you to read the chart, they will also put lenses of different strengths in and out of your view to determine whether you are in need of a prescription.
Slit-lamp examination – Your eye doctor will have you place your chin on a resting pad at first. Then he or she will use a machine to focus on different structures in the front and back of the eye. This helps them see if the eye is functioning properly or not. When necessary, the doctor may adjust the light and the level of magnification in order to see better.
Tonometry – Using the glowing eye drops mentioned above, your eye doctor will measure your eye pressure. This is done with a device called a tonometer, which is attached to the slit-lamp. You will be asked to keep your eyes wide open and to breathe normally.
The following findings are of particular concern:
Eye pain (with or without eye movement)
Visual field defect (by history or examination)
Visible abnormality of the retina or optic disk
Treatment of Blurred Vision
Treating blurry vision depends on the cause. It is why it’s important to see your eye doctor who will determine the cause of eye blurriness. Here are some treatments of blurred vision
- ILasik – is the world’s most advanced laser eye surgery and is highly effective for blurred vision caused by refractive errors. Furthermore, if blurred vision is caused by cataracts or some other eye condition, your doctor will suggest laser surgery as well.
- Your doctor might recommend glasses or contact lenses. Moreover, if you already wear glasses or contact, then the eye doctor might suggest new ones with more power suitable for the intensity of blurred vision you experience.
- If blurred vision is caused by high blood sugar then regulating it would ease your condition. On the other hand, blurred vision can sometimes be caused by low blood sugar in which case you should eat a candy bar or something sweet.
- Eye drops – for patients who experience blurred vision due to eye dryness, the doctor will suggest eye drops with lubricating properties.
- Medications – if blurred vision is caused by a migraine or some other disease then taking medications to treat the particular disease or disorder will also relieve blurred vision.
Eye Exercises for Blurred Vision
Blurred vision or blurry vision is when one or both of your eyes experience a failure to see things in a sharp fashion. The inability to see fine detail can be a symptom of many things ranging from a serious disease or health concern, such as glaucoma, to more common vision loss conditions, like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Blurry vision can also be a normal sign of aging or a result of wearing incorrect or outdated prescription lenses.
Health conditions unrelated to the eye such as migraines or strokes, as well as a head trauma, can also cause blurry vision. Certain medications can even cause temporary blurred vision. Sometimes, blurry vision may be sudden and then vanish quickly, like after reading up close or while in a moving vehicle, or as a result of sun overexposure.
Just another reason to always shield your eyes from the sun with sunglasses that block the harmful UV rays
How to Stay Sharp
We exercise our muscles to stay strong and healthy, but how many of us take the time to exercise the muscles you are using right now to read this? That’s right, our eyes!
By properly giving our eyes a workout, we can prevent not only blurred vision but also the general decline of vision that comes naturally with age. And, seriously, eye exercises are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine.
Below are a few easy steps to lessen the chances of needing corrective contacts or glasses in the future. Try these four simple and quick exercises to get your eyes in shape fast!
Four Exercises to Start Today of Blurred Vision
The 10-10-10 Rule
If you are someone that spends a lot of time in front of a computer screen, a TV, or reading books, the 10-10-10 Rule is for you. Focusing on objects in close proximity to our eyes causes blurry vision and may lead to long term damage to the ciliary muscles in our eyes. Every 10 minutes, focus on an object at least 10 feet away for a duration of 10 seconds. Doing this will give your eyes a “time-out” so they can recharge a little before going back to focusing on whatever it is you were doing.
BlinkingBlinking is a very basic exercise, but it is also a very effective one. We already blink unconsciously, but you should train yourself to blink very firmly and hold it for two seconds. Blinking rests the eye muscles and keeps them loose. It also circulates moisture around the eyes, keeping them lubricated, relaxed and refreshed.
Relax and Reset
This palming exercise will take about 10 minutes and is best done in a quiet space. While resting comfortably in a chair, place your elbows on your desk or table. Massage your hands together as if you were trying to generate heat, and then place both of your hands gently over your eyes for about 10 minutes. Use this time to allow your eyes to relax, while you breathe deeply and unwind.
Stop, Tone and Roll
Our mothers taught us that rolling our eyes was impolite. But in this instance, it can actually help with blurry vision! By rolling your eyes, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise, you are toning your eye muscles and circulating blood flow and oxygen around the eye. Start by slowly rolling in both directions, then accelerating the speed. Aim for 15-20 repetitions.
Prevention to Keep Your Eyes Strong and Clear
Along with eye exercises, you should be implementing regular cardio exercise and a healthy diet into your every day life to help keep your eyes blur free. A daily eye vitamin, like the Ocu-Plus Formula, is a great way to get the essential vitamins and minerals your eyes need to stay healthy for years to come. Prevention is the first step; don’t wait until it’s too late, start taking care of your eyes and vision today.
Preventing blurred vision
- Always wear sunglasses to protect your eye when you’re outdoors.
- Don’t spend too much time in front of TV, computer, tablet or smartphone screen. If your job involves usage of computers or other gadgets you should take frequent breaks.
- Avoid alcohol as it also affects vision.
- Eat a diet with eye-healthy nutrients e.g. carrots, eggs
- Don’t smoke.
- Wash your hands before and after you put contact lenses in your eyes.
- Don’t touch or rub your eyes, especially if your hands aren’t clean.
- Wear protective eyewear when operating heavy machinery
- Check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly.