Four Reasons Why You Experience Blurred Vision

Patient getting a vision test for blurred vision

After spending time outdoors on a bright, sunny day and then walking into a darker room, your vision can be hazy. But after blinking several times and allowing your eyes to adjust, normal vision should return. There are many natural reasons for experiencing blurred vision, but it also can be a symptom of a serious medical problem. Review four reasons why you experience blurred vision.

    1. Eye infection– Everyday your eyes intercept and kill bacteria from fibers, dust or viruses that could develop into an infection. However, sometimes germs overwhelm the eye’s natural defense system and cause an infection, such as conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.If you develop an eye infection, wash your hands often and launder towels, sheets and pillow cases to eliminate germs. Over-the-counter eyedrops and medications can be effective in treating an eye infection, but if symptoms persist for more than a few days, contact your doctor.
    2. Refractive error – The ability to see people and objects is determined by how your eyes bend or refract light. Blurred vision occurs when refractive errors affect how the eyes receive light. Depending on the degree of the problem, vision can be corrected with reading glasses, prescription eyewear, or surgery. Refractive errors include:
      • Astigmatism (oval-shaped cornea instead of round)
      • Nearsightedness/myopia (can see close up, but not far away)
      • Farsightedness/hyperopia (can see far away, but not close up)
      • Presbyopia (age-related issues with close-up vision)
    3. Eye disease – As people age, they are more susceptible to developing eye diseases, such as one of these common problems:
      • Cataracts– By age 70, nearly 50 percent of Americans develop a cataract in at least one eye. With this condition, the lens in the front of the eye blocks light to the retina, causing blurred vision.
      • Glaucoma-This disease develops slowly over several years. Glaucoma causes pressure to build up in the eye, which can damage the optic nerve. Since glaucoma is difficult to detect by visual observation, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams.
      • Macular degeneration-Adults over age 60 have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration. This disease damages the macula, located in the center of the retina, and causes blurred or loss of central vision. The disease can develop in either wet or dry forms.
      • Diabetic retinopathy-People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for this disease. Diabetic retinopathy damages blood vessels, causing bleeding that can create blurred vision. Over time, this condition can lead to blindness. Controlling blood sugar and scheduling regular eye exams can help keep it under control.
    4. High blood pressure – This medical condition can cause an eye stroke, called a vein occlusion. It happens when veins in the retina become clogged. There often are no warning signs or pain associated with occlusion. People suddenly notice their vision is blurred. The condition must be treated immediately to prevent complete vision loss.

The best way to maintain good vision is to schedule regular eye exams, so your eye doctor can keep current with changes in your eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away: eye pain that doesn’t go away, complete vision loss, or blurred vision that doesn’t clear up after blinking several times.

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