Having cloudy vision can lead to the loss of visual acuity or blurred visual perception. It may affect one or both eyes and feel like a haziness or lack of clarity in vision. Cloudy vision may be a constant occurrence or one that comes and goes. It can also affect color perception and may be accompanied by the perception of halos or glare around light sources.
There are many causes of cloudy vision, with some being more harmful than others. Discharge from the eyes or tearing can lead to the condition, or it could be the symptom of a more serious disorder such as glaucoma or trauma to the eye.
It is important to note that cloudy vision is not the same as blurry vision, despite the terms being used interchangeably. Blurry vision is often caused by a refractive error in the lens of the eye that can be corrected with eyeglasses. Cloudy vision is the gradual loss of transparency of the cornea or lens of the eye, which most commonly occurs in cases of cataracts. Early development of cataracts can occur as a result of injury, diabetes, or prolonged use of certain medication.
What causes cloudy vision?
Various diseases and underlying conditions can lead to the development of cloudy vision. It could be a minor nuisance or lead to permanent vision damage. Additionally, the use of some medications may exhibit side effects affecting eyesight, leading to cloudy vision.
Common causes of cloudy vision include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Dry eyes
- Foreign body in the eye
- Injury to the eye
- Macular degeneration
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Optic neuritis
- Presbyopia (farsightedness)
- Retinal vascular occlusion
Life-threatening causes of cloudy vision:
- Brain tumor
- Transient ischemic attack—a small stroke
- Retinal detachment—the detachment of the blood vessels within the eye that provide oxygen-rich blood
- Glaucoma—increasing intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve
- Optic neuritis—inflammation of the optic nerve
- Corneal infection or injury
Symptoms that can accompany cloudy vision
Cloudy vision is usually a symptom of an underlying condition that presents with a host of additional symptoms that are not eye related. It may lead to a partial loss of vision due to its opaque nature. It could also result in eye dryness, leading to eye irritation, redness, and perhaps double vision. Objects in the distance may become difficult to see in cases of cloudy vision. Photosensitivity or a sensitivity to light may also develop, leading to possible excess tear production.
Cloudy vision may also accompany other conditions such as a severe headache, dizziness, numbness, and confusion.
Treatment of cloudy vision
Depending on your specific case of cloudy vision, it may or may not be treatable. The underlying condition may have already inflicted significant optic nerve damage, limiting vision. However, conditions such as cataracts can be operated on, helping patients to successfully cure their blurry vision.
Most treatment for cloudy vision is focused on preventing further vision loss. The following are various treatments used to help control cloudy vision symptoms and reduce damage.
- High doses of Vitamin A, C, and E are often prescribed to delay the progression of macular degeneration
- Taking prescription medication for delaying age-related macular degeneration
- Being aware of medication side effects that may affect vision
- Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, both of which are known to contribute to a condition that leads to cloudy vision