Blurry vision is one of the most common eye complaints. Its primary causes are the normal loss of focusing ability that comes with age, and refractive errors – nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. However, blurred vision can be a symptom of a more serious eye condition, including potentially sight-threatening eye disease.
It can affect either one or both eyes, and should not be left untreated. Our expert optometrist, Paul Fotkou, can measure the cause and extent of blurry vision through a comprehensive eye exam.
Causes And Treatments Of Blurry Vision
Myopia (nearsightedness) is the most common refractive error, and causes objects in the distance to become blurred. The most common symptoms are blurred vision, squinting, eye strain and headaches. Myopia can be managed through glasses, contact lenses and a personalised vision training program.
If you can see objects in the distance sharply, yet struggle to focus on close-up objects or items, you may suffer from hyperopia (farsightedness). This often causes eye strain and fatigue. It can be managed similarly to myopia, through glasses, contact lenses and vision training.
Blurred or distorted vision at all distances is most commonly a sign of astigmatism. It is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea and affects how the eye focuses on light. It can be treated through both glasses and contact lenses.
If you’re over 40 and begin to notice blurred vision up close, there’s no need to panic. This is often the result of presbyopia, a naturally occurring, age-related eye condition. It is often noticed when reading a newspaper, book or other fine print. These symptoms resemble those of hyperopia, but are due to the hardening of the lens inside the eye. Treatment includes progressive lenses or reading glasses, as well as surgical options.
One of the symptoms of dry eyes is blurred vision. Lubricating eye drops can often aid relief of dry eyes. Paul Fotkou is also able to prescribe medication if required, to ensure the eye remains lubricated and healthy.
During pregnancy, females can experience blurry, double vision. This is due to changes in hormones that alter the shape and thickness of the cornea. While it is not always related to a serious issue, it is important to report any vision changes, as it can be an indicator of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Migraine headaches are often accompanied with blurred vision, flickering light or halos. Usually, migraines cause vision to be blurred temporarily, but if it persists, it is vital to seek medical advice.
Floaters typically appear when the vitreous (a gel-like part of the eye) begins to liquefy with age, causing microscopic bits of tissue to float inside the eye. However, if you see a sudden shower of floaters, it could signify a torn or detached retina. If this is the case, contact your optometrist immediately.
Blurry Vision After LASIK
Vision may be blurred immediately following LASIK surgery. This should improve within several days, but can take several weeks to completely stabilise.
Some eye drops contain preservatives, which can irritate and blur vision. These effects can be overcome with preservative free drops, prescription dry eye medication, or tear duct plugs. Other medication can also result in blurred vision, so it is important to always tell your optometrist if you are taking medication that may be causing this.
If you wear contact lenses for longer periods than prescribed, proteins and other debris can build up on the lenses. Not only can this blur vision, but it also increases your risk of eye infection. The best way to avoid this is sticking to the timeframe recommended by your optometrist.
Eye Conditions and Disease
Blurred vision can also be a symptom of several eye conditions or disease. Eye disease that starts with blurred vision can cause permanent vision loss. Diagnosis and treatment is only achievable through an eye test.
Cataracts cause change in vision, which could include blurred or cloudy vision. If not identified and removed, cataracts can fully obstruct your vision. To treat this condition, eye surgery is required, whereby the cataract is replaced with an artificial lens. This process is highly successful in restoring lost vision.
Noticing your vision becoming blurred could be indicative of glaucoma. This may appear as gradual or sudden narrowing of peripheral vision, and can result in permanent blindness.
The leading cause of blindness in Australia, macular degeneration results in blurring and lost vision. It is vital to have regular eye tests and scans to both identify and monitor the progression of macular degeneration.
If you are a diabetic, blurred vision may be due to diabetic retinopathy – a vision threatening disease that damages the retina.
Cardiovascular And Other Systemic Diseases
In conjunction with double vision, blurred vision can be the sign of a health emergency. It can be a symptom of a stroke, brain haemorrhage, or an early sign of multiple sclerosis.
Sometimes, minor blurs that come and go can be a result of tiredness, eye strain or over-exposure to light. However, changes in vision should always be monitored, as there may be an underlying issue. If you have sudden changes to your vision, contact your optometrist immediately.