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Top causes of sudden blurred vision

By Pauline Muindi | July 19th 2020 at 09:38:05 GMT +0300

Your vision getting blurry can be scary especially if you don’t know why it is happening. However, this is one of the most common eye problems and usually, it shouldn’t be a major cause of concern. It could be something as simple as needing to update your glasses or contacts. That said, sometimes unclear, unfocused, or blurry vision could indicate a serious health concern.

If you notice your vision getting fuzzy, it is always a good idea to check with an ophthalmologist. Knowing the reason behind the blurry vision is key in resolving the issue. With that in mind, here are some of the most common causes of blurry eyesight and what you can do to fix the problem:

You need prescription glasses

Both shortsightedness (myopia) and long-sightedness (hyperopia) are refractive errors that are behind many cases of blurry vision. In such cases, the curve of the eye gets in the way of light focusing directly on the retina. When light entering your eyes doesn’t bend correctly, you can’t see images clearly.

Fix it: Blurred vision from refractive errors is fairly easy to fix. All you need to do is get prescription glasses or contact lenses or have the ones you’re currently wearing updated. Consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a checkup. Consider going for laser eye surgery to permanently correct the problem.

You need reading glasses

You don’t have to be either shortsighted or longsighted to need glasses. People with presbyopia, where you have trouble focusing on close up images such as reading material, also need glasses. You might have this problem if you find that you have to hold newspapers or book a little further away from your face to read them.

Fix it: Just like with other refractive errors, presbyopia can be easily solved with prescription glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery. But if you don’t have any additional eye problems, the solution is as simple as wearing reading glasses. If you have any additional refractive issues (either myopia or hyperopia), consider switching to bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses.

You’re developing cataracts

Just like ageing causes your skin to wrinkle, it can give you blurry vision. The main reason behind this is the formation of cataracts on the lens of the eyes. Cataracts form when protein builds up on the lens either due to ageing or some form of eye injury. This protein buildup blocks light from reaching the retina.

Cataracts might start developing when one is in their 40s or 50s. But they usually start affecting vision after age 60. Cataract formation doesn’t cause any pain or other symptoms. Most cataracts are not visible to the naked eye. But in some severe cases, the pupil might look whitish, which means that the lens is totally covered by a dense cataract.

People with cataracts often complain of blurry, hazy, or less colourful vision. They often find it more difficult to read, drive (especially at night), or read facial expressions.

Fix it: Some cataracts stay small and cause no problems. Wearing stronger reading glasses and using brighter lights can help in mild cases. But in cases where cataracts cause significant vision problems, the only solution is to get cataract surgery. With a 97-98 per cent success rate, cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that only takes about 15 minutes.

You have an eye infection

If you have the habit of leaving in your contact lenses when you sleep, you’re likely to get infections that can cause blurry vision. Contact lenses can leave tiny scratches on the eye surface. Microorganisms on the contact lenses get into these scratches and cause infections. This leads to sores that can blur vision.

But you don’t have to wear contact lenses to get eye infections that can blur your vision. Herpes keratitis is an eye infection that is known to cause blurry

vision. Most people get the infection by touching a cold sore on their mouth and then touching their eyes. Other bacteria and fungi can also cause infections that lead to blurred vision.

Fix it: If you use contact lenses, always take them out before going to bed. Throw out disposable contact lenses at the end of the day. Eye infections are usually treated with antibacterial or anti-fungal eye drops, which will restore clear vision. But the best method of protection for your eyes is prevention.

You have dry eye syndrome

As the name suggests, dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. The most common types of dry eye syndrome are insufficient tear production or excessively rapid tear evaporation. With this syndrome, the tear film gets dry, which causes the cornea to become irritated.  An irritated cornea might scatter light instead of focusing it as it enters the eye, which leads to hazy vision.

Fix it: The most common treatment for dry eye syndrome is artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops. There are a wide range of prescription eye drops to provide relief for dry eye.

You have diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes is responsible for some cases of blurry vision. This is because high blood sugar causes damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. The damaged blood vessels can have leakages, which leads to diabetic retinopathy.

High blood sugar can also cause the lens to swell, affecting how the eye focuses light. This issue might last a few hours or a couple of days.

Fix it: If you suspect that you might have diabetes, get checked. Controlling your blood sugar is key in healing damaged organs and preventing more damage.

You have high blood pressure

High blood pressure usually develops silently without symptoms. But one of the signs of high blood pressure is blurry vision. This is usually caused by a mini-stroke of the eye called a vein occlusion. This usually happens without any other warning signs. A person with high blood pressure might wake up one day with hazy vision, usually in one eye.

Fix it: Vein occlusion treatments have to be given right away to be effective. Delays can lead to loss of vision.


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