A variety of different culprits can lead to fuzzy, unfocused eyesight. While blurry vision in one or both eyes generally is not something major to worry about, sometimes it does indicate a serious problem. In fact, of the more than 250 million people around the world who are visually impaired, the World Health Organization estimates that timely and professional medical care could have helped prevent or cure about 80% of the cases.
These statistics underscore the message that you should never ignore blurred vision! It could be a warning sign of a dangerous health condition. Always look into what is causing your problem, and schedule your eye exam at Hopewell-Lambertville Eye Associates!
Overview of the primary causes of blurry vision:
You Need to Wear Prescription Glasses
Either your eyes have changed and you need to wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if you already wear prescription eyewear, it’s time to update your vision prescription. The most common refractive errors that can blur your eyesight are nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. These conditions occur when the curve of your eye does not allow light to focus properly on the retina. As a result, the retina does not process light into clear signals for the brain to read.
Fortunately, refractive errors are relatively easy to resolve. Typically, our Hopewell and Lambertville optometrists will examine your eyes and vision and provide you with a precise prescription for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK laser eye surgery is an alternative option for correcting refractive error by reshaping the cornea. Ask our eye doctors if you are interested in learning more about this surgical procedure.
Put on Readers
Blurry vision may point simply to the need to buy reading glasses. After the age of 40, most people experience presbyopia, which refers to a loss of flexibility in your eye lens. Presbyopia makes it hard for the eye to focus on anything up-close. Reading a book or menu becomes challenging. This condition is aptly nicknamed “long-arm syndrome,” since people hold fine print farther away in order to see it. Presbyopia is corrected efficiently with reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses.
Chronic Dry Eye
A classic symptom of dry eye is blurry or fluctuating vision. Lubricating eye drops can help clarify your sight if your dry eye is mild, yet more extreme cases of dry eye may require treatment with a prescription medication or other therapy, such as punctal plugs.
Pink Eye, or another Eye Infection
Pink eye, formally known as conjunctivitis, can be due to a pesky virus or a bacterial infection. People who work with kids or in crowded spaces are most vulnerable to picking up an eye infection, and this condition can make it hard to see clearly. Typically, conjunctivitis will clear up in one to two weeks without treatment, but antibiotic or antiviral medications are often prescribed in order to alleviate the painful symptoms – and restore your clear vision – more quickly. Our eye doctors in Hopewell and Lambertville may recommend medicated eye drops or ointments as treatment for eye infection.
In general, two red eyes are probably less serious than one red eye. One inflamed eye, with or without blurry vision, can indicate a deeper problem – such as scleritis or uveitis. These types of ocular inflammation require immediate medical care to enable healing.
Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes
Blurry vision and pregnancy often go hand in hand. This happens because hormonal changes can reshape your cornea, thereby affecting vision quality. If you notice any significant changes in your vision during pregnancy, it is important to consult your physician. Sometimes, it could point to other conditions, such as hypertension or gestational diabetes.
Wearing (and Overwearing!) Contact Lenses
Wearing your disposable contact lenses for longer than your eye doctor prescribed is an easy way to allow proteins and other debris to accumulate on your lenses. These deposits will get in the way of your sharp vision, as well as raise your chances of developing an eye infection – which can also cloud your view.
Different injuries or trauma to the eye can be painful and interfere with your crisp vision. Many of these eye injuries require urgent eye care; contact our eye doctors in Hopewell and Lambertville immediately for guidance. Examples of eye injury that may require medical treatment include a puncture wound or cut, a foreign object stuck in your eye, contact with a chemical substance, and a forceful blow to the eye.
Many eye diseases that are associated with aging, such as cataracts, can cause blurry or cloudy vision in one or both eyes. Cataracts develop slowly and do not usually cause any pain or symptoms when they are small. Once they grow to the point that they interfere with sharp eyesight, our eye care specialists will probably recommend cataract surgery to remove them and replace your damaged lens with a clear, artificial plastic lens. Cataract surgery is performed widely and has a very high success rate at restoring crisp vision.
Just like cataracts, glaucoma is an eye disease linked to aging. If you have glaucoma, vision problems are caused by higher-than-normal pressure of your intraocular fluid, which can damage the optic nerve. Glaucoma may contribute to blurry vision in one or both eyes.
There are two main types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma, the more common type, is slow to progress. Symptoms generally remain unnoticed until late in the progression of this disease. Only a comprehensive eye exam can detect the early signs of open-angle glaucoma. Once you experience blurry vision – treatment is much more difficult and much less successful. Glaucoma treatment to prevent permanent vision loss involves prescription medications, laser treatment, and surgery.
Blocked drainage canals in your eye cause angle-closure glaucoma, the less common type. This closure leads to a sudden increase in intraocular pressure and demands immediate medical attention to prevent vision loss.
After age 60, your risk of damage to the macula is higher. The macula, located in the center of your retina, helps you to see fine details and objects that are directly before your eyes. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by a blurring or loss of your central vision, which can complicate many everyday tasks – such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving. There is no foolproof treatment for early age-related macular degeneration, although according to the National Eye Institute, high doses of eye health supplements can slow the damage during intermediate and late-stage AMD. We will inspect your eyes thoroughly for the signs of macular degeneration during a comprehensive eye exam at Hopewell-Lambertville Eye Associates.
Diabetes & High Blood Sugar
Blurry vision can be a sign of ocular problems caused by diabetes. Undetected or uncontrolled diabetes (type 1, type 2, or any type) puts you at a very high risk of diabetic retinopathy. In this eye disease, damaged blood vessels leak, or unhealthy and abnormal blood vessels grow and bleed in the back of your eye. Laser surgery and/or injections can help prevent blindness due to diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes, keeping blood sugars well controlled and visiting your eye doctor for regular eye exams can prevent this eye disease and the related vision complications.
Way before you experience any long-term eye problems from diabetes, high blood sugar can cause short-lived blurry vision. Why does this happen? Because very high blood glucose can lead to inflammation of the eye’s lens. As this swelling transforms the shape of the eye, it affects focus temporarily (for a few hours to a few days).
Hypertension or a Stroke
Just like high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke, it can also cause vein occlusion in the eye, which is like a mini stroke. This condition is painless, yet it often blurs vision in just one eye. Treatment involves clot-busting medication that must be taken immediately. Even if you receive urgent eye care, you may still lose some degree of eyesight.
When Blurry Vision Requires Emergency Eye Care
The vast majority of problems to blame for blurry vision are not immediately sight-threatening. So when do you need to rush to an eye doctor for emergency eye care?
- When your vision changes suddenly and doesn’t improve after you blink your eyes
- When eyesight is lost in a specific part of your field of vision
- When you have pain in your eye
Your compassionate eye doctors at Hopewell-Lambertville Eye Associates are highly experienced and qualified in performing advanced eye exams to diagnose the root of your blurry vision. We strive to help our patients enjoy sharp eyesight for as long as possible. Don’t put your eyes at risk; if you experience blurry vision, contact our eye care professionals immediately for assistance.