Sudden blurred vision: Causes and treatments

By: Devon Andre | Eye Health | Monday, November 28, 2016 - 03:00 PM

sudden blurred visionSudden blurred vision can be a result of numerous health conditions. It can be temporary or chronic, and can get worse over time. Sudden blurred vision is usually not accompanied by pain, but other symptoms such as migraine may be present.

If you’re experiencing blurry vision, objects and people do not appear clearly and sharpness is lost. This condition can affect either one eye or both eyes, depending on the cause. Some people can have blurry vision from birth (in this case, it’s a birth defect) while others develop blurred vision over time.

Sudden blurred vision causes can range in severity, from easily treatable conditions to chronic, life-long complications. Below you will uncover the many different causes of sudden blurred vision along with symptoms and treatment options.

What causes sudden blurred vision?

Myopia (nearsightedness): Due to a refractive error in the eye, distant objects appear blurry. This condition can be treated with corrective lenses or laser eye surgery.

Hyperopia (farsightedness): Close-up objects appear blurry because the eye cannot focus properly. When the object moves further away, it looks clear again. Farsightedness can be corrected with corrective lenses or laser eye surgery.

Astigmatism: Sudden blurred vision appears at all distances as a result of an irregularly shaped cornea. The light rays do not fall into a single point in the retina, causing sudden blurred vision.

Floaters: More common with aging, floaters can be seen when bits of vitreous fluid float around, casting a shadow in a person’s line of vision. This can sometimes lead to a sudden blurred vision.

Overuse of contact lenses: When contact lenses are used for longer than recommended, it can lead to sudden blurred vision. Ensure you are wearing contact lenses as directed and that you are caring for them properly.

Presbyopia: This is a type of nearsightedness that commonly occurs in people over the age of 40. The lens in the eyes becomes hardened and hence the ability to focus is lost.

Chronic dry eyes: When the eyes are not well lubricated, sudden blurred vision can result from this condition.

Migraine headaches: Prior to experiencing the migraine itself, sudden blurred vision may occur, accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound and even seeing halos or zig-zags.

Sudden blurred vision symptoms

The main symptom of blurred vision is foggy or fuzzy appearance of objects. You may find you have to squint to get a clear view of the object you are looking at. Other symptoms include sensitivity to light, floaters or spots, eye pain, discharge from the eye, loss of peripheral vision, loss of central vision, dry eyes, itchy eyes, increased tear production, poor night vision, red or bloodshot eyes, bleeding from the eye, and poor near vision.

Accompanying symptoms depend on the underlying cause of blurry vision.

Sudden blurred vision treatment options

eye examsThere are a few different tests your eye doctor may perform to uncover the root cause of your sudden blurred vision. These tests include:

Slit-lamp examination: Your doctor will perform an eye examination with a slit-lamp and ask you to stare at objects. Eye drops to dilate the pupils may also be used.

Refraction test: This test measures your prescription for eyeglasses. Your doctor will have you read letters from a board while switching lenses and checking which lens allows you to see the clearest.

Tonometry: This test measures your eye pressure using a device called a tonometer, which is attached to the slit-lamp. Eye drops are used for anesthetic purposes.

Treatment for sudden blurred vision may be as simple as eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. Speaking of the latter, it’s important to keep your contacts clean, to put them in correctly, and avoid leaving in for longer than advised.

The treatment for sudden blurred vision depends on the cause of the condition. For example, if your sudden blurred vision is a result of uncontrolled diabetes, you will need to take blood sugar under control, either with medications or through natural remedies. Preventing fatigue and tiredness is also important. Make sure you get in adequate sleep and ensure that your eyes do not get dry. Use lubricating eye drops if necessary.

Your doctor will be able to give you more detailed treatment recommendations based on your specific diagnosis.

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