Blurred Vision: Causes, Prevention, and When to See Your Doctor

Blurred vision can occur as a result of over-strained eyes, but it can also be associated with serious health conditions. Our eyesight is essential to our well-being, so knowing the causes can help us find the best treatment. Read on to learn more.

9 minute read

Last Updated August 28, 2020

Blurred Vision - Heart Symptoms - 1MD

Blurred vision is a distorted vision. When you cannot see clearly and everything is out of focus, as if a filter has been applied, then you have blurry vision. 

A clear and sharp vision is essential for navigating the world and is necessary for work, driving, and other daily activities and responsibilities. Blurred vision can occur temporarily as a result of overstrained and tired eyes, but it can also be associated with more serious health conditions. 

What Causes Blurred Vision?

The most common causes of blurred vision include:

♦ Reflective errors such as near-sightedness or far-sightedness
♦ Corneal abrasions (scratches)
♦ Age-related macular degeneration
♦ Cataracts
♦ Astigmatism
♦ Chronic dry eye
♦ Optic neuritis
♦ Trauma or injury to the eye
♦ Strain form computers and electronics

The most dangerous reason for blurred vision is a stroke, so you need to seek immediate medical attention if you experience blurred vision along with these symptoms:

♦ Severe headache
♦ Difficulty speaking
♦ Facial drooping
♦ Loss of muscle control on one side of your body

Diseases Associated With Blurred Vision

Head injury: Any injury to the head is considered to be a medical emergency and can range from a bump or bruise to a traumatic injury. Head injuries can be open or closed, and treatment will depend on the location and severity of the injury. Concussions can interfere with vision, and damage or swelling near the optical nerves will also cause blurred vision.

Low blood sugar: Hypoglycemia is potentially dangerous, and is common among people with diabetes. While high blood sugar can cause swelling in the eye, low blood sugar causes blurred vision or double vision. This can be avoided by monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels.

Cataracts: This is a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and occurs with aging. As a result, vision becomes foggy and blurred like looking through a frosted window. Cataract surgery is the best treatment option to restore clear vision.

Macular degeneration: Blurred vision is one of the first symptoms of this eye disease. There is no cure, but there are treatment options such as medications and laser surgery available to help correct vision. 

Glaucoma: This is an eye disorder associated with increased pressure inside the eye. The first sign is blurred or double vision, and if left untreated, this can develop into peripheral vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops as well as surgical methods.

Hypertension: High blood pressure is known to damage your heart and blood vessels, but if left untreated, it can also damage your vision. High blood pressure damages the blood vessels to the retina at the back of the eye. As a result, your vision becomes blurred. Regulating blood pressure levels can prevent this from happening.

Stroke: Most strokes affect one side of the brain, but because nerves from each eye travel to the opposite side of the brain, both eyes can be impacted by a stroke. Blurred vision and even vision loss can occur depending on the severity of the stroke. 

Migraines: These severe headaches can interfere with the vision for a temporary time. Vision can become blurred during an episode, but typically only lasts for less than an hour. Blurred vision with migraines is rare and happens mostly in those who get more frequent attacks.

Brain aneurysm: This is a weak area in an artery in the brain that bulges and becomes filled with blood. It can be life-threatening if it bursts. When the artery swells, it can apply pressure to nerves near the eye causing blurred vision and reduced eye movement.

Diabetic retinopathy: Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause vision disturbances. Known as diabetic retinopathy, the light-sensitive blood vessels in the retina become affected. Blurred vision is the first symptom of diabetic retinopathy, and without treatment or controlled blood glucose levels, vision loss and blindness can occur.  

Diagnosis of Blurred Vision

Your doctor will initially take an inventory of your symptoms and will attempt to find out if anything makes your vision better or worse. They will also need to know your family history as related to eye health and conditions.

A physical examination of the eyes will also be done. This will include an eye chart, performing a refraction test, ophthalmoscopy, or slit lamp examination. Blood tests can also be done to determine if there is a bacterial infection in the blood causing an eye infection.

Blurred Vision Treatment

The treatment for blurred vision depends on the cause. For degenerative eye conditions or trauma to the eye, you may be given eye drops, medications, or surgeries to fix the issue. If there is an underlying condition causing the blurred vision, treatment will be focused on that condition, and your vision will improve as a result. 

In some cases, surgery may be needed, such as for cataracts or macular degeneration. Surgery may also be required to relieve swelling in the brain from an injury that is causing vision disturbances.

Natural Treatment for Blurred Vision

Eye conditions are the most common cause of blurred vision, but in some cases, the underlying cause can be related to your cardiovascular system. Low blood sugar, high blood pressure, and stroke can also affect your vision.

There are several natural ingredients you can try that will reduce the risk of these factors that can affect your heart and vision.

Low blood glucose: Blood glucose levels affect energy and heart health. Hypoglycemia can trigger heart palpitations, which can stress heart tissues and muscles. Naturally manage blood glucose levels with red yeast rice to prevent vision defects and damage to your heart.

High blood pressure: Hypertension is one of the leading causes of a heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help blood pressure levels, and so can natural supplements. Studies have shown that red yeast rice and berberine bark extract naturally lower blood pressure. In addition to this, taking capsicum extract promotes blood vessel dilation and enhances circulation.

Stroke: The risk of stroke increases with high cholesterol. Niacin, chromium, and pine bark extract are all proven to naturally lower cholesterol levels. In doing so, they reduce the risk of a stroke.

Preventing Blurred Vision

Some causes of blurred vision cannot be prevented, but by practicing general eye care, you can promote eye health and reduce the risk for many diseases that impact your vision. Some healthy tips for taking care of your eyes include:

♦ Eating a diet rich in eye-health nutrients such as lutein, an antioxidant found in leafy greens; omega-3 fatty acids found in fish; and vitamin A found in liver, sweet potatoes, and carrots. 
♦ Wearing sunglasses each time you go out into the sun
♦ Washing your hands before touching your eyes or putting in contact lenses
♦ Getting regular eye exams, especially if eye disease runs in your family
Giving up smoking

When to See Your Doctor

When your blurred vision is accompanied by other symptoms that do not get better with time, you need to speak with your doctor. Blurred vision can be caused by something minor and temporary, but it can also be a sign of a more serious health condition. 

The only way to treat the blurred vision, in this case, is to treat the underlying disease. Ignoring the blurred vision and leaving a disease untreated could result in a worsening of vision and more serious health problems. 

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