Blurred Vision: From Harmless to Critical
If your vision seems blurry, out of focus or hazy, you are experiencing blurred vision, a condition that can be benign or serious depending on its cause.
Usually, blurred vision is caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia, all which are innocuous and correctable conditions, but blurred vision can be sight-threatening and occasionally be caused by something much more serious, including eye diseases or neurological disorders.
An eye doctor can measure the extent of your blurred vision and can diagnose whether the problem is serious or harmless with an eye exam, which is why it is important to maintain regular visits with your eye doctor.
Innocuous Blurred Vision
Myopia, or nearsightedness, can appear in one or both eyes depending on your eyesight. It is the most common refractive error and causes distant objects to become blurry. It can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and some surgeries such as LASIK and PRK.
Hyperopia, otherwise known as farsightedness is when you strain your eyes to see close-up objects although distant objects seem clear. This can also be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK and/or PRK surgeries.
If you are experiencing blurred vision at all distances, you may have an astigmatism, which is usually the result of a misshapen cornea, the film at the front of the eye.
If you have astigmatism, light rays do not come to a single focus point due to the improper shape of your cornea, which results in blurred vision regardless of distance. Similar to nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism can be corrected with refractive surgery, contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Consult your doctor on what prescription or surgical option is right for you if you are experiencing these kinds of blurred vision.
The last common condition to mention for blurred vision is presbyopia. Individuals that begin to experience difficulty viewing up-close objects when they are over 40 may be experiencing presbyopia. This condition is an age-related condition that occurs naturally. Symptoms of presbyopia are the same as hyperopia, (farsightedness; eye-strain up-close). However, it is due to a hardening of the lens inside the eye, rather than a defect of the overall shape of the eye. Almost everyone over the age of 45 experiences presbyopia and use reading glasses or multifocal lenses. There are also surgeries available such as monovision LASIK and conductive keratoplasty for some patients.
Blurred Vision You Should Be Concerned About
Cataracts cause blurred vision or cloudy vision and at times glares and night “halos.” If you experience these vision symptoms you may have a cataract. If a cataract is not removed, they can result in blindness by clouding the eye to the point of loss of sight. Cataract surgery has been very successful in putting in place artificial lenses to correct the cloudiness.
If you experience blurry vision that seems to have a tunnel vision or loss of peripheral vision effect, than you may have glaucoma. Symptoms of glaucoma include blurred vision accompanied by a narrowing of the field of view. This narrowing is gradual. If you do not see your doctor regarding this condition and seek treatment, the narrowing will continue into eventual blindness and the vision loss will be permanent.
Age-related macular degeneration involves a distortion in vision (for example, a straight line may appear broken or wavy). This is accompanied by blurred vision. This condition is a typical cause of blindness amongst older patients.
If you have diabetes, you may develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that is sight damaging and unexplained in its mechanisms.
Consult Your Doctor
If you think you are experiencing blurred vision and are not sure of the cause, you should consult your doctor. Depending on your age, family history, and medical history you may have different conditions that your doctor can recommend treatment for. Schedule a visit with Dr. Ghosheh of Laser for Eyes if you are concerned about your vision or other eye conditions that may be affecting you; you can also take a look at Dr. Ghosheh’s medical blog for further information and articles regarding sight-related conditions.