Blurry vision –

how to manage eye problems that affect your daily life

Eye problems such as blurry vision can drastically influence your quality of life. It’s difficult to perform daily tasks such as driving, reading or working at your computer when your vision is hazy and out of focus. On top of the fact that blurred vision can affect your daily life, it can also be a sign of other more serious health conditions or eye problems. BETTER VISION explains what the possible causes are, and what can be done to improve eyesight.

Symptoms of blurry vision

You need good eyesight to perform daily tasks. We often take it for granted that we’re able to do simple things such as walking up the stairs without missing a step, check messages on our smartphones, or drive to work. But as soon as you experience a loss of sharpness in vision, you may realise how important your eyesight really is. Some may even only realise how bad their vision us until they receive treatment, or a visual aid such as correcting glasses.

Blurry vision is mostly described as a loss in contrast, or limited resolution in sight. Things may appear foggy and out of focus at various distances. Some people experience blurry vision in one eye (you’ll only notice this when you close the “good” eye), and for others it affects both eyes.

Cloudy or milky vision is a fairly common symptom associated with cataracts. It’s often experienced together with blurred vision. If it feels like you are looking through a whitish cloud or film, consult an eye doctor immediately.

Dizziness and blurry vision combined can also be a sign of a serious health issue, and you should seek emergency medical attention if it occurs suddenly or persistently.

What causes blurry vision and other eye problems?

As mentioned above, blurred vision is associated with a number of visual and medical conditions.
What causes blurry vision and other eye problems?

Vision problems

Blurry sight can simply be caused by a deterioration in your vision. This sometimes happens as you grow older, but people experience blurry vision at all ages. It’s important to go for regular eye examinations, and to keep your glasses or contact lens prescription up to date.
Myopia

Myopia

Nearsightedness is a common refractive error that can lead to hazy eyesight combined with squinting, headaches and eyestrain. Nearby objects will appear clearly, while you may struggle to see people and objects that are further away. Most commonly, myopia is described as a condition where the eyeball is too long in relation to the focusing power of the eye lens and cornea. Causes of myopia include genetic and environmental factors.
Eye fatigue

Eye fatigue

Hyperopia (see below), or working on digital devices such as tablets, laptops or smartphones for long periods of time can put a lot of strain on your eyes, and lead to blurry eyesight. This can be a temporary problem that you can simply correct by resting your eyes. If your eyes tend to tire easily, talk to your eye care practitioner about specialised anti-fatigue and digital lenses.

Hyperopia

Farsightedness is a type of refractive error that makes distant objects appear in focus, while nearby objects appear out of focus and blurry. However, hyperopia is experienced differently and for some, vision may be blurry, near and far.
Presbyopia

Presbyopia

This is a naturally occurring, age-related visual condition. Most people start to notice blurry vision up close (when reading a book or looking at your smartphone, for example) around the age of 40 or older. It’s caused by a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens inside the eye. It often starts with eye strain, then progresses to near vision discomfort, and later on to all-day blurry vision.

Astigmatism

A refractive error can generally be caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea. Astigmatism can lead to distorted vision, both near and far. Some people are born with astigmatism, but it can also present and develop gradually over time.

Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication associated with diabetes that damages the retinal blood vessels. Diabetics are advised to manage their blood sugar levels together with a medical professional. Early detection is key, so consult your eye doctor immediately if you suffer from diabetes and blurry vision, see floaters, or struggle to differentiate colours.
Eye inflammation

Eye inflammation

The eye tissue may swell or become inflamed when there is an eye infection, a bruise, foreign body or toxin in the eye, or if the body is affected by a number of diseases. Inflammation or uveitis is characterised by eye pain, blurred vision, redness and sometimes light sensitivity.

Low blood pressure

Low blood pressure is sometimes to blame for dizziness and blurry vision. You may get cloudy vision when you exercise or spend a lot of time in the heat. Low blood pressure can be a sign of another underlying problem, so consult a healthcare professional if you continually experience these symptoms.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can lead to blindness. It can present with symptoms of tunnel vision, blurred vision, eye pain and other visual disturbances. There are acute and gradual forms of this disease – all of which require medical diagnosis and treatment.

Cataracts

Blurred and cloudy vision, halos, and glare can all indicate that you have a cataract or cataracts. Although cataracts can cause blindness, it’s a very treatable eye disease and cataract surgery is usually performed with great success.

Corneal damage

Particles such as dust or sand can scratch the cornea, creating an irritation and blurry vision. Always wear safety glasses when you’re welding or doing carpentry, and consult a doctor immediately if it feels like something is lodged in your eye.

Retinal damage

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is shifted from its normal position, or when intraocular pressure increases due to glaucoma or blunt trauma. It’s a medical emergency that should be treated immediately to avoid blindness, so seek help if you experience blurred vision, flashes of light, shadowed vision or floaters.
Pregnancy

Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes in the body, blurred vision is a fairly common side effect among pregnant women. However, a change in vision can also be an indication of more serious pregnancy-related problems such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, so inform your practitioner of any symptoms.

Dry eyes

Your eyes must be well-lubricated to be healthy and function normally. Chronic dry eyes can cause blurry vision, which is usually treated with lubricating or moisturising eye drops. Speak to your eye care professional if your eyes are severely dry.

Eye surgery

When you undergo cataract, LASIK, or any other type of corrective eye surgery, you may experience blurred vision as a side effect for a day or two following the procedure. Discuss this with your eye doctor during the follow-up visit.

Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses for longer than the prescribed time can cause eye infections and blurred vision. Remember to rest your eyes as often as possible and to wear your glasses in between changing your disposable lenses.
Eye injury or trauma

Eye injury of trauma

A physical injury to the eye or eye socket is sometimes associated with eye pain and blurry sight. This can happen during contact sports such as boxing, or ball sports where a flying ball can hit one or both eyes at a high speed. Eye trauma is a broad term, and the diagnosis should be narrowed down by a medical professional.

Migraine

Those who suffer from regular migraines will know that this debilitating type of headache often starts with a bout of blurred vision.
Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration

Blurred vision and a loss of vision fields (scotoma) is a key symptom of age-related macular degeneration. This is a leading cause of blindness among older people (50 and over) that presents as a gradual blurring and loss of vision.

Neurological, systemic, or cardiovascular problems

Blurry vision can be an indication of any number of health-related issues. The sudden onset of hazy eyesight and dizziness should always be taken seriously. Rather seek medical attention if you’re in doubt.
 
 
* This list is merely an indication of some of the possible causes of hazy vision. Always consult your eye healthcare practitioner or medical doctor for a professional diagnosis.

When to seek medical help

Blurry vision can be a sign of a health emergency. Call your local ambulance service, or ask a family member or friend to take you to the nearest medical emergency facility with the sudden onset of blurred vision and any of the following symptoms:

  • Intense headache
  • Severe eye pain
  • A feeling of disorientation
  • Sudden visual impairment
  • Difficulty speaking or moving
  • Halos or floaters in your field of vision

It’s also important to consult a doctor if you consistently experience any of the above symptoms, even at a low level of pain or intensity.

Blurry vision combined with chronic eye fatigue, dryness, or difficulty with focusing and sight is enough reason to visit your eye care professional for an eye examination and vision test.

How to improve eyesight if you have blurry vision

Your doctor or eye care professional will treat your hazy sight depending on the diagnosis.

Serious eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma may be treated with surgery, whilst other health-related problems will require medication and lifestyle changes.

Refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia can all be managed with prescription glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, corrective laser surgeries can also improve eyesight.

A connected and on-the-move lifestyle, combined with individual needs related to your age can also affect your vision. Always give your optometrist or optician a full breakdown of your daily visual tasks to help them find your ideal prescription. Ask for more information about ZEISS SmartLife Lenses, which are specifically designed to accommodate your modern visual behaviour and age-related needs.

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