Read below about blurry vision, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your blurry vision from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Blurry Vision Symptoms

Love at first sight. This may be an abstract concept to some, and even more likely so if one is experiencing any trouble with their eyes, such as blurry vision.

As the eyes are among the most complex organs in our bodies, it's only fair to concede that they may be in control of one of the most complex of our emotions. However, if you happen to be experiencing blurry vision, what else in your life may not be clear? Let's go over symptoms of this condition as well as any associated issues.

Blurry vision may be noticed as a solitary symptom, or might arise in combination with:

Blurry Vision Causes Overview

Most cases of blurry vision are caused by disorders of refraction (how the eye focuses light), and these can be treated by getting a good eye exam and making sure your glasses and contact lenses are of the appropriate prescription for you.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, results in blurred distance vision.

Myopia can be caused by:

  • genetics
  • lots of reading
  • some medications
  • diabetes
  • trauma
  • cataracts
  • infection/inflammation

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, results in blurred near vision.

Hyperopia can be caused by:

  • trauma
  • inflammatory disorders
  • some medications
  • macular degeneration

Most of the time being far or near sighted isn't due to a particular cause, it just needs to be diagnosed and corrected. It is important to have regular eye exams starting at school age for kids (age 5 or 6) and then every few years as you get older. If you wear glasses or contacts, you need exams every year to make sure your prescription is right and your corrective lenses are working appropriately.

There is another type of refractive error that leads to issues at any distance called astigmatism. Astigmatism is usually genetic, but might also be caused by an eye injury or eye surgery.

With aging, the lens of your eye loses accommodating power (this is termed presbyopia). Presbyopia is not considered to be a refraction error, though it causes symptoms similar to those of farsightedness - the ability to focus on near objects is lost.

In older adults and sometimes in people who aren't all that old, blurry vision is due to cataracts or clouding of the lens of the eye. This can be due to damage from the sun and radiation, as well as genetic causes. This is a key reason to keep up with routine eye exams, especially after the age of 65, as this can be readily treated with surgery.

In diabetics, there can be damage to the retina, called diabetic retinopathy, that can result in a loss of vision. For this reason, it is key that diabetics get routine eyecare.

Other causes of blurry vision include:

  • brain tumors
  • myasthenia gravis – usually associated with double vision
  • incorrect eyeglass/contact lens prescription
  • cranial nerve disease or damage

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Blurry Vision

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced blurry vision. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Age - Related Macular Degeneration

    Age-related macular degeneration is a disease of the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for seeing objects clearly. It is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.

    Lifelong

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vision changes, blurry vision, difficulty transitioning from bright to dim environments, visual distortions, altered color perception
    Symptoms that always occur with age-related macular degeneration:
    vision changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Cataract

    A cataract is clouding of the eye's lens that leads to decreased vision. It typically develops slowly over time.

    Resolves with surgery to remove the cataract

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vision changes, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, double vision, altered color perception
    Symptoms that always occur with cataract:
    vision changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Recurrent Migraine

    Migraines are headaches of moderate to severe intensity, which happen when blood vessels in the brain swell up. They are episodic and thus can recur often. Most migraine sufferers experience increased sensitivity to sounds and/or lights and become nauseous and vomit.

    Migraine symptoms may resolve within a day or two, but the condition can come and go for a year or more. If any particular episode is unusually severe or does not respond to your customary treatments, you may want to see a doctor urgently.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, history of headaches, fatigue, nausea, mild headache
    Symptoms that always occur with recurrent migraine:
    headache, history of headaches
    Symptoms that never occur with recurrent migraine:
    fever, headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) Needing Imaging

    Mild traumatic brain injury requiring imaging is defined as being fairly responsive after an injury to the head but with enough warning signs that a imaging study of the inside of the skull such as a CT scan needs to be taken.

    Mild traumatic brain injuries have good outcomes if seen early enough by doctors. Delay can be dangerous.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, frequent mood swings
    Symptoms that always occur with concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) needing imaging:
    head or face injury
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

    Blurry Vision Checker

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  5. 5.Diabetic Retinopathy

    Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes progressive vision impairment.

    Outcome is dependant on severity of disease.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    blurry vision, eye pain, difficulty transitioning from bright to dim environments, floating spots in vision, loss of vision
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Hypertensive Crisis

    A hypertensive crisis occurs with when there is a severe increase in blood pressure. In some cases, this causes damage to the organs.

    Recovery is dependent on severity of illness and treatment type.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea or vomiting, chest pain, being severely ill, dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with hypertensive crisis:
    chest pain that is worse when breathing
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  7. 7.Acute Close - Angle Glaucoma

    Acute, close-angle glaucoma is caused by a rapid or sudden increase in pressure within the eye that occasionally results in permanent blindness.

    If treated promptly, permanent vision loss can be avoided. Laser therapy or surgical therapy are frequently used treatments

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea or vomiting, vision changes, being severely ill, eye pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Post - Concussion Syndrome

    Postconcussion syndrome is a condition that happens after a mild brain injury. Symptoms can include headache, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty with concentrating and sleep disturbances.

    Typically, your symptoms will dissolve over the course of a few weeks and most people are back to normal in 3 months. If symptoms persist longer, your doctor might suggest medicines or other treatments.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, anxiety, mild or moderate headache, depressed mood
    Symptoms that never occur with post-concussion syndrome:
    severe headache
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.New Onset of Type 1 Diabetes

    Type 1 Diabetes starts when the body attacks cells of the pancreas that normally make insulin. Insulin helps the body manage the level of sugar in the blood. Once these cells are destroyed, injections of insulin are needed to keep blood sugar levels safe.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, vomiting, general abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

Blurry Vision Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate medical care if you have blurry vision and:

Blurry vision is most often treated with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery (lasik). Having sharp vision – both near and far – is crucial to everyday functioning, and failing to treat refractive errors can result in vision loss. Like other senses, vision contributes to our interpretation of our environment. Vision allows us to enjoy the world's beauty, which may, indeed, be in the "eye of the beholder."

FAQs About Blurry Vision

Here are some frequently asked questions about blurry vision.

Can high blood sugar cause blurred vision?

Yes, over time high blood sugar can alter the amount of water retained by the lens of your eye changing its shape and blurring your vision. Depending on how long the process has occurred, changes to the lens can be permanent. High blood sugar can also cause blurry vision, and is caused by diabetes, which can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the retina damaging your vision. Less commonly, an acute diabetic attack with extremely high sugars can cause neurologic changes including blurred vision.

Will allergies cause blurry vision?

Generally no, but if allergies cause you to have increased formation of tears or heavily irritated eyes then yes, those symptoms can lead to blurry vision. Vision changes should be taken seriously and prolonged blurry vision should elicit medical evaluation.

Can diabetes lead to blurred vision?

Yes. It can lead to blurred vision through two mechanisms. Non-permanent damage can occur when the high blood sugar in the blood causes more fluid to flow into the lens of the main. More permanent damage to the small vessels of the eye can cause irreversible changes in vision. The threat of irreversible vision damage

Why do I have blurry vision when I'm tired?

You may have eye strain from reading or staring at a backlit screen. Blurry vision may come from the muscles of the eye tiring out and becoming unable to focus. You may need glasses or contact lenses, or you may need to close your eyes for a period of time to rest. It is recommended that if your work involves screen time that lasts for at least 10 minutes every hour, take some time to focus on something farther away wherever you're working to give your eyes some rest.

Can blurry vision be caused by a lack of sleep?

Generally no, but lack of sleep and eye fatigue are commonly associated and eye fatigue can cause blurry vision, especially in those without an adequate prescription for their eyes. As the body becomes sleepier, it becomes more difficult to focus the lens of the eye and the result is blurry vision or vision that takes a longer time to focus.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Blurry Vision

  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Does light bother your eyes more than usual?
  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our blurry vision symptom checker to find out more.

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Blurry Vision Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced blurry vision have also experienced:

    • 9% Headache
    • 5% Dizziness
    • 5% Nausea
  • People who have experienced blurry vision had symptoms persist for:

    • 38% Less Than a Day
    • 27% Over a Month
    • 19% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced blurry vision were most often matched with:

    • 33% Age - Related Macular Degeneration
    • 33% Cataract
    • 33% Recurrent Migraine
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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