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By Aimee Rodrigues; reviewed by Brian Chou, OD
What is blurry vision?
Blurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight, making objects appear out of focus and hazy. The primary causes of blurred vision are refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism — or presbyopia. Blurry vision can also be a symptom of more serious problems.
These problems may include a potentially sight-threatening eye disease or neurological disorder. Blurred vision can affect both eyes, but some people experience blurry vision in one eye only.
Cloudy vision obscures objects and causes vision to appear “milky.” It is similar to blurry vision and is sometimes indistinguishable. Cloudy vision is usually a symptom of specific conditions such as cataracts.
Blurry vision: Causes and treatment
There are several refractive errors and other minor issues that can cause blurry vision.
To determine why you have blurry vision and what is causing it, see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Some of the more common causes of blurry vision include the following:
Symptoms of myopia (nearsightedness) include squinting, eye strain, headaches and blurry vision in one or both eyes. Myopia is the most common refractive error and causes objects in the distance to appear blurred.
Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common ways to correct nearsightedness. Corneal reshaping and refractive surgery such as LASIK and PRK are also common means of correction.
Watch this video on what causes blurry vision and how we can correct it:
If you have hyperopia (farsightedness), distant objects may remain clear but your eyes can’t focus properly on close-up objects. Or trying to focus causes unusual eye strain and fatigue. In cases of severe farsightedness, even distant objects may appear blurred.
Like myopia, hyperopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive eye surgery.
Blurred vision at all distances often is a symptom of astigmatism. A type of refractive error, astigmatism usually is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.
With astigmatism, light rays fail to come to a single focus point on the retina to produce clear vision. This is true regardless of how far away the viewed object is from your eyes.
Astigmatism can also be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
If you’re over 40, it’s likely you are starting to notice blurry vision up close — reading a text message, a restaurant menu, food label or other small print. Chances are, this is due to the onset of presbyopia, a normal age-related vision problem.
The symptoms of presbyopia are the same as those caused by hyperopia (blurry near vision; eye strain when reading). But presbyopia is an age-related loss of ability to focus on near objects due to hardening of the lens inside the eye.
Common treatments for presbyopia include progressive lenses, bifocals and reading glasses. There also are presbyopia surgery options. These include corneal inlays, monovision LASIK and conductive keratoplasty.
Eyeglasses can be enhanced with anti-reflective coating and photochromic lenses. This helps to correct refractive errors and presbyopia, clarity and comfort. Ask your eye care professional for details.
Someone with normal vision would see crisp edges and vibrant colors in this scene.
A Jack Russell terrier, viewed by someone who has blurry vision
To someone who has cataracts, this scene could appear blurry, cloudy and/or slightly yellowed.
Chronic dry eyes
Dry eye syndrome can affect your eyes in numerous ways, including causing variable blurry vision. Artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) can help. But sometimes more advanced cases of dry eye may require a prescription medication. Your eye care professional may also recommend punctal plugs to keep your eyes comfortable, healthy and seeing well.
Blurry vision may occur during pregnancy and sometimes is accompanied by double vision (diplopia). Hormonal changes can alter the shape and thickness of your cornea, causing your vision to blur. Dry eyes also are common in pregnant women and can cause blurred vision.
You should always report any vision disturbances during pregnancy to your doctor. While blurry vision is not always serious, in some cases it could be an indicator of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.
Ocular migraines or migraine headaches
While generally harmless and temporary, blurred vision, flickering light, halos or zigzag patterns are all common symptoms prior to the start of an ocular migraine or migraine headache.
Vision can be blurred by temporary spots or floaters drifting in your field of vision. Floaters typically appear when the eye’s gel-like vitreous begins to liquify with age. This causes microscopic bits of tissue within the vitreous to float freely inside the eye, casting shadows on the retina.
If you see a sudden shower of floaters, this could signal a torn or detached retina and you should see an eye doctor immediately.
Blurry vision after LASIK
Your vision may be blurry or hazy immediately after LASIK or any other type of refractive surgery. The clarity of your eyesight typically will improve within a few days, but it may take more time for your vision to stabilize completely.
Eye drops and medication
Certain eye drops can cause irritation and blurry vision when used repeatedly. This is especially true with eye drops containing preservatives.
Also, some medications such as allergy pills can cause side effects of dry eyes and blurred vision. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can advise you whether any of your medications might cause blurry vision.
Over-wearing contact lenses
Never wear disposable contact lenses (or indeed any type of contacts) for longer than your doctor prescribes. This will cause proteins and other debris in your tear film to build up on the lenses. This can cause blurry vision and increase your risk of eye infections.
Roughly one in several hundred have blurry vision in one or both eyes due to bulging of the cornea. This eye disease classically progresses during adolescence into the 20s.
Corneal cross-linking can slow or halt progressive distortion. However, vision rehabilitation generally requires specialized rigid contact lenses, including scleral lenses.
Blurry vision can be a symptom of serious eye problems
Blurry vision and cloudy vision can also both be symptoms of a serious eye problem, especially if they occur suddenly. Some of these serious eye problems may include:
Eye conditions and diseases
If you have sudden blurry vision in one eye and are over age 60, it’s possible you have developed a macular hole in the central zone of your retina.
Sudden blurry vision also may be a symptom of a detached retina, eye herpes or optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve).
Certain eye conditions and diseases can cause permanent loss of vision. It’s vital to see an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you experience sudden blurry vision.
Vision changes such as blurred vision or cloudy vision, as well as glare and halos around lights at night may be symptoms of cataracts.
If left untreated, cataracts can eventually worsen and obstruct vision to the point of blindness. Cataract surgery involves the replacement of cataracts with artificial lenses. And it is very successful in restoring lost vision.
Blurry vision or "tunnel vision" may be symptoms of advanced glaucoma. Without treatment, vision loss will continue, and permanent blindness may result.
Age-related macular degeneration
Blurry vision and visual distortions causing straight lines to appear wavy or broken could be symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of blindness among older people.
If you have diabetes, unexplained blurred vision may be due to the onset of diabetic retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is a sight-threatening disease that damages the retina of the eye.
Cardiovascular disease and other systemic diseases
Blurred vision, often in conjunction with double vision, can be a symptom of an underlying health emergency such as a stroke or brain hemorrhage. It also can be an early sign of multiple sclerosis. If you have sudden blurry vision or double vision, see an eye doctor immediately.
When to see an eye doctor for blurry vision
If you have mild blurry vision that comes and goes, this could mean simply tiredness, eye strain or over-exposure to sunlight.
It could also mean your vision prescription needs to be updated. Or it could mean you’ve developed a refractive error and are in need of vision correction. If your blurry vision lingers and doesn’t improve with rest, time away from screens and getting out of the sun for a while, it’s time to see an eye doctor.
Sudden or continuing changes in vision such as blurriness, double vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, halos or dimness of vision could be signs of a serious eye disease or other health problem.
If you have sudden changes to your vision, including blurry vision, you should always see an eye doctor near you immediately.
Page published on Monday, March 4, 2019
Medically reviewed on Sunday, April 25, 2021
The treatment of your blurred vision will depend on the cause. It might include eye drops, laser surgery or medicines. If you have blurred vision, you may need to wear glasses or contact lenses.Can your eyes recover from blurry vision? ›
Most people will experience blurred vision at some point during their lifetime. In many cases, it will be temporary and will resolve itself without the need for any significant treatment. However, some people will need assistance to restore the clarity of their sight.What is the root cause of blurry vision? ›
Blurry vision can result from a problem with how your ocular system focuses light into the back of your eye. Focusing problems are classified as refractive errors. This includes common conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Blurred vision is the primary symptom of these errors.What causes blurred vision that comes and goes? ›
A patient may have blurred vision that comes and goes, or any number of other vision irregularities. Fluctuating vision may be a sign of diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), which are chronic conditions that can damage the blood vessels in the retina.What fluid behind the eye causes blurry vision? ›
Macular edema happens when blood vessels leak into a part of the retina called the macula. This makes the macula swell, causing blurry vision.Can I get my eyesight back to normal? ›
Luckily, even though minor changes are a normal part of aging, many vision impairments are preventable and treatable. Some age-related vision changes can be corrected with surgery, glasses or contacts. You can also keep your eyesight sharp by taking care of your health before serious problems begin.How can I fix my blurry vision naturally? ›
- Rest and recovery. Human eyes are sensitive and need rest just like the rest of your body, so make sure you're getting enough decent sleep. ...
- Lubricate the eyes. ...
- Improve air quality. ...
- Stop smoking. ...
- Avoid allergens. ...
- Take omega-3 fatty acids. ...
- Protect your eyes. ...
- Take vitamin A.
How long does blurred vision last? Unfortunately, there isn't a single answer for how long blurred vision lasts. Some people experience sudden blurred vision in both eyes or sudden blurred vision in one eye. Others can experience blurred vision for longer periods of time and even for weeks.Can dehydration cause blurred vision? ›
Eye strain such as tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches and double vision can also be caused by dehydration and result when the eye is not properly lubricated. Drinking plenty of water will help flush out salt in the body and properly hydrate your eyes to help reduce eyestrain.What condition causes blurred vision? ›
Blurred vision (refractive errors)
Nearsightedness (called myopia) is when you can see clearly up close but blurry in the distance. Farsightedness (called hyperopia) is when you can see clearly in the distance but blurry up close.
When we are severely stressed and anxious, high levels of adrenaline in the body can cause pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision. People with long-term anxiety can suffer from eye strain throughout the day on a regular basis.Does high blood pressure cause blurry vision? ›
When subjected to the long-term effects of high blood pressure, the following conditions can develop: Blood vessel damage (retinopathy): A lack of blood flow to the retina leads to blurred vision or the complete loss of sight.How do I know if my blurred vision is serious? ›
You should call 911 or your local emergency services and get immediate medical attention if your blurred vision comes on suddenly and you have any of these symptoms: severe headache. difficulty speaking. loss of muscle control on one side of your body.Is sudden blurred vision a stroke? ›
Blurred vision or partial/complete vision loss may be signs that you are having a stroke. Sudden vision changes could also have other causes. If you have a sudden change in your vision, you should see a doctor and have it checked out.When should you go to the ER for blurred vision? ›
“It's concerning if blurry vision doesn't go away on its own and is accompanied by a persistent or worsening headache, slurred speech, vomiting, or seizures. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.”Why is one eye blurry? ›
Common causes of blurry vision in one eye include refractive errors, infections, migraine, and cataracts. Most causes of blurry vision are not serious. However, it is important to consult a doctor about sudden or persistent blurry vision, as it could be a symptom of a condition that requires treatment.What vitamin is best for eyesight? ›
Vitamin A (and beta carotene)
Vitamin A is absolutely essential for vision, Johnson says. A deficiency can cause night blindness, particularly among older individuals, and if it progresses, permanent blindness can result. Beta carotene is thought to be important because it's a precursor of vitamin A.
Vitamin D is also critical for eye health. From improving tear function to reducing the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma, vitamin D has a positive effect on eyesight in many ways.What is the best fruit to improve eyesight? ›
|Foods Rich in Antioxidants for Eye Health||Antioxidants Related to Eye Health|
|Red berries, kiwi, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and juices made from guava, grapefruit, and orange.||Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)|
If your dry eye symptoms become severe enough, your tear film may not be able to wash away particles that could land on your cornea. Without the tear film, these particles like dust and dirt can damage your cornea and cause scarring that could permanently affect your vision.
While 80% of visual impairment can be prevented or cured, there remains 20% of cases for which there is currently no way of curing. A range of conditions exists where those who develop them are faced with a gradual loss of vision until their impairment is so severe that they are effectively blind.Does drinking water help your vision? ›
You know that drinking enough water is important for your overall health and well-being. But did you know that your eyes depend on proper hydration to function properly? Not drinking enough water each day can lead to eye strain, dry eyes and blurred vision.Can low electrolytes cause blurred vision? ›
The combination of low blood pressure and an electrolyte imbalance due to dehydration can cause a headache, blurry vision, muscle weakness, and fatigue that may signal an impending fainting spell.Is it good to drink a lot of water for your eyes? ›
Keeping your body hydrated is essential for your good health, but hydration is equally important for your eyes. Without adequate moisture, your eyes become dry and uncomfortable. Understanding how hydration problems occur can help you prevent dry eye, one of the most common types of eye problems. What do tears do?What does diabetes blurred vision look like? ›
Blurry or wavy vision in the center of your field of vision. Floaters. Noticing colors appear faded or washed out.Can health anxiety cause blurry vision? ›
When you become anxious, your body undergoes a series of both mental and physical changes in order to protect you from potential danger. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include changes in your heart rate, breathing, and even vision. This includes, in some cases, developing blurred vision.How do you get rid of blurred vision from anxiety? ›
You can't control your vision. If blurry vision occurs, you simply need to wait for your anxiety to calm down in order for your vision to return to normal or take special care to reduce secondary issues that may be leading to the symptom, like eye strain.Can lack of sleep cause blurry vision? ›
You may experience eye twitches or spasms when you have not had enough sleep. Your eyes may even be more sensitive to light, or you may have blurry vision. Sleep deprivation could lead to serious eye problems, such as glaucoma, over time.Can kidney problems cause blurred vision? ›
Diabetes and high blood pressure aren't only the leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD). They're also the leading causes of eye disease and loss of vision. If your renal disease is a result of either condition your vision may be at risk.What blood pressure medications can cause blurred vision? ›
- Alpha-blockers (for high blood pressure and enlarged prostate): Alfuzosin (Uroxatral and generic) and tamsulosin (Flomax and generic) ...
- Antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin (Cipro and generic)
Symptoms of low blood pressure may include: Blurry vision. Confusion. Dizziness.What is an eye stroke? ›
What is an Eye Stroke? An eye stroke, or anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, is a dangerous and potentially debilitating condition that occurs from a lack of sufficient blood flow to the tissues located in the front part of the optic nerve.Can a mini-stroke cause blurred vision? ›
The symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes and TIAs, but a TIA can occasionally cause different symptoms that typically appear suddenly (usually over a few seconds). Other signs and symptoms may include: complete paralysis of one side of the body. sudden vision loss, blurred vision or double vision.What are the warning signs 7 days before a stroke? ›
- Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body.
- Trouble speaking or understanding.
- Problems with vision, such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes.
- Dizziness or problems with balance or coordination.
- Problems with movement or walking.
- Fainting or seizure.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if any of these signs of stroke appear: Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg; Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; Trouble seeing in one or both eyes; Trouble walking, dizziness, or problems with balance; severe headache with no known cause.How long does blurry vision last? ›
How long does blurred vision last? Unfortunately, there isn't a single answer for how long blurred vision lasts. Some people experience sudden blurred vision in both eyes or sudden blurred vision in one eye. Others can experience blurred vision for longer periods of time and even for weeks.How do you fix eye focusing problems? ›
Correcting hyperopia through wearing glasses or contact lenses can improve reading ability and concentration through increased comfort and clarity of vision. Distance vision may also be improved. Laser surgery can correct some cases of hyperopia.How can I make my vision 20 20 again? ›
How can you improve your vision to 20/20? In 2020 the American Optometric Association declared it was the “Year of the Eye Exam.” The simple answer is that eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery can correct your vision to 20/20.How do you refocus your eyes? ›
Hold your thumb 10 inches from your face and focus on it for 15 seconds. Alternatively, you can hold a near object with a letter on it to better engage your focusing system. After fifteen seconds, shift your gaze to a target 20 feet (6 meters) away, and again, hold your focus for 15 seconds. Return to your thumb.When should I go to the doctor for blurred vision? ›
Go to a hospital right away if you have blurry vision and any of these warning signs: Your blurry vision started suddenly. Severe loss of vision, especially in just one eye, even if the symptoms started slowly. Eye pain (with or without moving your eyes)
When we are severely stressed and anxious, high levels of adrenaline in the body can cause pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision. People with long-term anxiety can suffer from eye strain throughout the day on a regular basis.Why does my eye feel weird and blurry? ›
Common causes of blurry vision in one eye include refractive errors, infections, migraine, and cataracts. Most causes of blurry vision are not serious. However, it is important to consult a doctor about sudden or persistent blurry vision, as it could be a symptom of a condition that requires treatment.How do I stop my vision from blurry from anxiety? ›
You can't control your vision. If blurry vision occurs, you simply need to wait for your anxiety to calm down in order for your vision to return to normal or take special care to reduce secondary issues that may be leading to the symptom, like eye strain.Which vitamin is good for eyes? ›
Vitamin A and vision make potent allies. Carrots contain lots of beta carotene and Vitamin A, which can contribute to your eyes' health and may provide a fantastic source of eye vitamins for macular degeneration and cataracts. Good sources of Vitamin A and rhodopsin are also abundant in carrots.What's the water trick for eyesight? ›
Cold Water Therapy:
Keep some cold water in the mouth and at the same time, splash some cold water in your eyes. What this does is as there is p[pressure in your mouth closed with water, your eyes absorb most of the moisture from cold water and feel relaxed.