Top Causes of Blurred Vision
For most people, blurred vision simply means you need glasses. We think that blurred vision is due to eye strain or aging and nothing to worry about, and in many cases it is, but the truth is that blurred vision may indicate a more serious health problem.
There are many reasons for blurred vision, and while refractive errors such as nearsightedness, astigmatism, or aging and eyestrain are the most common causes of blurred vision, more serious conditions include:
- Trauma or injury to the eye
- Eye disease or infection
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Brain Tumor
This is why it’s so important to book regular eye exams with your local Kelowna optometrist.
Common Causes of Blurred Vision
Refractive errors in vision are the most common causes of blurred vision, these include:
- Myopia, or nearsightedness
- Hyperopia, or farsightedness
- Astigmatism, caused by an irregularly shaped cornea
- Presbyopia, caused by the hardening of the lens inside the eye
Most people over the age of 40 experience blurred vision, and if you already wear glasses, chances are you know that your blurred vision is caused by a refractive error and it may simply be time for a new prescription. All of the above eye problems can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. However, if you experience other symptoms such as headaches, or if the blurred vision has occurred suddenly, there may be an underlying cause that should be examined.
When Blurred Vision Is a Symptom of a Serious Illness
There are six common illnesses that include symptoms of blurred vision, and in many illnesses blurred vision is one of the first symptoms that can alert your Kelowna optometrist to a more serious condition. Since early detection is key to preventing illness from becoming more severe, it makes sense to pay close attention to the health of your eyes.
Diabetes and blurred vision could signal a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Low blood sugar can result in damaged blood vessels in the retina, which then causes the macula in the retina to swell. This leads to macular degeneration, and if it is not properly diagnosed and treated, it can cause blindness.
Headaches and Brain Tumors
Blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and seeing spots often accompany migraine headaches, but if you are not prone to migraines, and experience blurry vision and headaches that won’t go away, it could be caused by a tumor that is causing pressure to build in your brain.
High Blood Pressure or Stroke
High blood pressure can lead to a stroke, it can also cause a mini stroke of the eye called a vein occlusion, and it usually shows up as blurred vision in one eye. A clot-busting medication is prescribed for a vein occlusion, but to be effective it must be administered immediately. However, if you experience sudden blurred vision in one eye or in both, it could be a symptom of a stroke, and not just a mini stroke of the eye.
Blurry vision may be an early indication of glaucoma. Glaucoma places pressure on the eye, which damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often difficult to detect in the early stages, but if you notice loss of peripheral vision, shadows or blurred vision, do not hesitate to get your eyes checked. Glaucoma can be treated effectively, but without intervention, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
Blurred vision in one eye could be an early symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS causes inflammation of the optic nerve, which leads to a condition called optic neuritis. Other symptoms of optic neuritis include loss of colour vision and pain when you move your eyes, and although MS can cause optic neuritis, having optic neuritis doesn’t mean you have MS. Inflammation of the optic nerve can be caused by illness or infection.
Cataracts can include vision changes such as blurred vision, cloudy vision and night glares or halos around light that impede visual acuity. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness; fortunately, cataract surgery is highly successful.
While blurred vision may not be a sign of a serious illness, a regular check up will tell you what you need to know and give you the information you need to take care of any concerns you may have.