When You See Blurred

Possible causes of blurred vision

Article first published: June 2022

You can do something about blurred vision

Blurred or out-of-focus vision is in most cases due to a refractive error such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. Both can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. But it can also be a sign of disease. We explain here how to distinguish symptoms of disease from defective vision – and what everyone can do to see better again.

It's important to begin by clarifying what blurred vision is. Affected people usually describe it as a loss of contrast or limited resolution in vision. Objects can appear foggy and out of focus at different distances. Some people have blurred vision in only one eye – failing to notice it until they cover their "good" eye.

Blurred vision may indicate a disease

If blurred vision occurs very suddenly and with dizziness or nausea, those affected should consult a doctor immediately. Because these symptoms can indicate a serious disease with repercussions beyond the eye alone.

Blurred vision can also be a sign of undetected diabetes or indicate damage to the blood vessels in the eye in existing cases of diabetes. Similarly, inflammation in the eye or low blood pressure can also affect vision. In all cases, a visit to the doctor is advisable to clarify the cause of these forms of blurred vision.

If vision becomes increasingly cloudy over time, this may be a symptom of a cataract (clouding of the lens) – and should also be checked by a specialist. For treatment, the clouded lens of the eye is surgically replaced with an artificial lens.

With age you need different glasses

However, the most common reason for blurred vision is due to the aging process of our eyes. As we age, we simply see less well. In particular, the adaptability of the lens to focus at different distances decreases with age. That's why even people who have never needed glasses in their lives become presbyopic and usually need glasses. For example, when working on the computer or reading. Or they resort to varifocals altogether.
 
But in addition to all the physical and physiological causes and symptoms, our ever-increasing use of smartphones is also changing our visual behavior. Nowadays, we're more connected out and about than ever before – always with our smartphone at hand. Quite simply: we're online everywhere and at all times. We now have the chance to chat online with friends while waiting for the bus. We navigate our way through unfamiliar places with our smartphone and orient ourselves out of the corner of our eye. Our gaze constantly changes from a near display to the far distance – downward, forward and sideways. Our "smartphone-like" vision means we make more eye movements than head movements and look through the peripheral areas of glasses much more than we used to.
 
Dr. Alexander Leube explains how our eyes change when we get older.

Eyeglass lenses should be perfectly fitted

Blurred and out-of-focus vision is quickly remedied in the case of defective vision if it is corrected by the right glasses. What's crucial here: the refraction – the determination of the required lens thickness – and subsequent lens centering should be carried out precisely by an eye care professional. Even the slightest deviations in the example of centering lead to blurred vision. In the case of progressive lenses, there's also the fact that production-related blurring occurs, especially at the edges, which – depending on the quality of the progressive lens design and degree of individual fitting – varies in intensity.
 
With its latest generation of lenses, ZEISS SmartLife, ZEISS offers a product portfolio that, among other things, address today's needs of spectacle lens wearers with excellent peripheral vision. The ZEISS SmartLife lens design factors in our modern connected and on-the-move lifestyle, dynamic visual behavior, individual visual needs, and age. All in all, ZEISS SmartLife is a response to the visual challenges of our time and helps to deliver exceptional visual comfort in our connected, dynamic world.
 
Eyeglass shoppers can easily find ZEISS eye care professional via “Find Optician”.
 

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