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How's Your Eyesight?

Use this tool to see what your vision would be if you had one of these 12 common conditions. Select mild, moderate, or severe to watch the image change.

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
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Age-related Macular Degeneration: Mild

You may be diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) before you have any symptoms. AMD affects the part of the eye that controls central vision. It causes a dim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision. Most people have "dry" AMD, which usually develops gradually.

  • Get regular eye exams to see if your AMD is getting worse.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Your eye doctor may recommend you take fish oil and a specific supplement with high doses of some vitamins and minerals.
  • Your doctor may recommend checking your vision periodically with an Amsler Grid – special graph paper with a center viewing mark.
  • A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish may reduce the risk of AMD getting worse.
  • Read more about AMD.

Age-related Macular Degeneration: Moderate

If you're over 60 and constantly see a dim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision, it could be a sign of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects the part of the eye in charge of central vision. Most people have "dry" AMD, which usually develops gradually. With moderate AMD, you may have a small blurry spot or no symptoms at all.

  • Get regular eye exams to see if your AMD is getting worse.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Your eye doctor may recommend you take fish oil and a specific supplement with high doses of some vitamins and minerals.
  • A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish may reduce the risk of AMD getting worse.
  • Read more about AMD.

Age-related Macular Degeneration: Severe

Very blurry vision after age 60 can be a sign of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects the part of the eye that provides central vision. With severe AMD, a blurry spot in the middle of your vision gets bigger and darker over time. "Dry" AMD usually develops gradually, while "wet" AMD can get worse fast. With more serious "wet" AMD, you may have a blind spot and straight lines may look wavy.

  • See your doctor immediately if you notice vision change.
  • Your eye doctor may recommend you take fish oil, a specific supplement with high doses of some vitamins and minerals, and injections to reduce the risk of AMD getting worse.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Read more about AMD.

Astigmatism: Mild

Your vision may be just a little bit blurry or a little bit distorted, whether things are close or far away. That could be because you have mild astigmatism. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, an irregular curve of the eye that can affect your vision that frequently occurs with nearsightedness or farsightedness. With mild astigmatism, you may notice little or no change at all in what you see.

  • You may need eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision — or you may not need anything.
  • Astigmatism can get worse over time, so it's important to get regular comprehensive eye exams.
  • Read more about astigmatism

Astigmatism: Moderate

Sometimes do you notice that the things you see are a little blurry or distorted? You might also find yourself having to squint to see clearly, which could cause headaches and eye strain sometimes. Moderate astigmatism could be to blame. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, an irregular curve of the eye that can affect how you see up close and far away.

  • Wearing glasses or contact lenses made specifically for people with astigmatism will correct your vision.
  • For many people, laser surgery can correct astigmatism.
  • Get regular eye exams. Astigmatism can worsen over time.
  • Read more about astigmatism

Astigmatism: Severe

If you have to squint to try to make everything — far away and up close -- look clear, there's a chance you have severe astigmatism. When you don't squint, things may look blurry and distorted. And you may end up with headaches and eyestrain. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, an irregular curve of the eye that can affect your vision.

  • Wearing glasses or contact lenses made specifically for people with astigmatism will correct your vision.
  • For many people, laser surgery can correct astigmatism.
  • Get regular eye exams. Astigmatism can worsen over time.
  • Read more about astigmatism

Cataracts: Mild

Your eye doctor may spot mild cataracts before you ever notice a change in your vision, because they develop slowly. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's natural lens that can cause hazy vision. They can make you see a glare or a halo effect around lights. Most Americans over 65 have cataracts.

  • Eyeglasses, anti-glare sunglasses, brighter lighting, or magnifying lenses may be all you need for a while.
  • When blurred vision affects everyday tasks like reading or driving, you can have cataract surgery to fix the problem.
  • Read more about cataracts.

Cataracts: Moderate

If you feel as if you're seeing life through a dirty car windshield, you may have a cataract. By age 65, most Americans do. With this clouding of the eye's lens, you may also see a glare or a halo effect around lights. A moderate cataract can interfere with driving, reading, and other daily activities.

Cataracts: Severe

Cataracts slowly get worse over time. In severe cases, you may have trouble telling colors apart or not be able to count your fingers up close. When you feel like you're always looking through a dirty car windshield -- your vision is blurry and there may be a brownish tint to everything -- you may have a severe cataract.

Color Blindness

If you were picking through a box of crayons, you might be stumped by the colors. With a mild case of color blindness, you might have trouble telling the difference between reds and greens but be able to see other colors. That's the most common form of color blindness. In severe cases, however, everything looks gray. Men are much more likely than women to be born color blind.

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, there is a good chance you'll have diabetic retinopathy. Almost half of people with diabetes have this eye condition. It happens when small blood vessels in the eye are damaged. Untreated, it can cause blurriness and eventually even blindness. Early on, there may be no symptoms, so it's very important to have regular eye exams.

  • Get yearly eye exams. See your doctor immediately for any vision change.
  • Control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol to prevent vision loss.
  • You may need laser treatment, injections, or surgery to preserve vision and reduce risk of severe vision loss.
  • Read more about diabetic retinopathy.

Farsightedness: Mild

If things close-up seem a little blurry -- maybe you have to squint to read something -- you may be farsighted. Sometimes farsightedness can be confused with presbyopia, where your eye lens loses flexibility. But farsightedness (what your eye doctor calls hyperopia) happens when your eye has problems bending light as it enters your eye. You may not notice any symptoms or may have mild eyestrain as you approach 40.

Farsightedness: Moderate

When you read, work on the computer, or do close-up work -- like crafts or DIY projects -- you may find yourself getting headaches, eyestrain, or aching and burning eyes. That could be because you are moderately farsighted. Farsightedness (hyperopia) makes things up close seem blurry, while faraway objects are usually clearer. Sometimes it's confused with presbyopia, which happens as you age and makes it hard to see things up close.

  • Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses all the time or for some activities can bring things into focus.
  • Surgery can correct farsightedness.
  • Read more about farsightedness.

Farsightedness: Severe

You may not be able to read or do up-close work because your near vision is too blurry. There's also a good chance that things may be blurry when they are far away. That could be because you are severely farsighted. You also might get eyestrain, headaches, and aching or burning eyes. Farsightedness (hyperopia) makes things up close seem blurry, and in severe cases far-away objects are out of focus, too.

Floaters: Mild

Every once in a while, you might notice floaters — specks or squiggly lines that drift around your field of vision. Most people have floaters, especially as they get older. Mild floaters are harmless and fade over time or become less noticeable.

  • You don't need any treatment for mild floaters.
  • If you suddenly see more or different floaters, especially with light flashes or shadows in your side vision, see your eye doctor immediately. You may have a tear in your retina or a detached retina, which is an emergency.
  • Read more about floaters.

Floaters: Moderate

Most people have floaters — specks or squiggly lines that drift around your field of vision, especially as you age. They might be more obvious when you look at something bright or white. They're usually harmless and fade with time.

  • You don't need any treatment for moderate floaters.
  • If you suddenly see more or different floaters, especially with light flashes or shadows in your side vision, see your eye doctor immediately. You may have a tear in your retina or a detached retina, which is an emergency.
  • Read more about floaters.

Floaters: Severe

When you suddenly notice a change in the kind or number of floaters -- specks or squiggly lines that drift around your field of vision -- it's time to see your eye doctor. Most people have floaters, especially as they get older. They're often harmless. But they can be serious, especially when you have them along with flashes of light or shadows in your vision.

Glaucoma: Mild

You may not know it if you have mild glaucoma because your vision may be normal. Glaucoma is damage to your eye's optic nerve that gets worse over time. It usually starts in people over 40. Early treatment can slow or prevent vision loss or blindness

  • An eye exam every 1 to 2 years is important to find glaucoma early.
  • Prescription eye drops are usually the first treatment.
  • Laser treatments and surgery are used if eye drops don't control glaucoma.
  • Read more about glaucoma.

Glaucoma: Moderate

Glaucoma is damage to your eye's optic nerve that gets worse over time. At first, your vision could still seem normal to you, but glaucoma could be causing a gradual loss of peripheral vision. You might not notice, but your eye doctor could detect glaucoma. It's very important to catch glaucoma early, to slow down or stop any loss of vision.

  • An eye exam every 1 to 2 years is important to find glaucoma early.
  • Prescription eye drops are usually the first treatment.
  • Laser treatments and surgery are used if eye drops don't control glaucoma.
  • Read more about glaucoma.

Glaucoma: Severe

In the severe stage of glaucoma, you may have serious loss of vision. First your peripheral vision is lost, then your central vision. Eventually you could lose your sight altogether. Once that happens, there's no treatment to bring it back. That's why it's so important to find and treat glaucoma early to slow down or stop any loss of vision.

  • Prescription eye drops are usually the first treatment.
  • Laser treatments and surgery are used if eye drops don't control glaucoma.
  • Read more about glaucoma.

Migraines

Some people know that a migraine is about to hit because they see about 10 to 30 minutes of flashing lights, floating zigzag lines, or shimmering spots or stars first. You may see an aura whether your migraine is mild or severe. In some cases, mild migraines with visual aura may have little or no pain. But most migraine headaches with aura are very painful.

  • There's no treatment for visual symptoms.
  • If your headache is severe and you haven't felt this bad before, tell your doctor immediately.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers may help with mild migraine pain.
  • Prescription medications help prevent migraines or treat them when they hit.
  • Botox injections may make migraines less severe and frequent.
  • It helps to avoid migraine triggers — like sleep deprivation, dehydration, certain foods, and stress.
  • Read more about migraines.

Nearsightedness: Mild

Do you have to squint or strain a little to see street signs or watch movies, but can see everything up close just fine? You may be mildly nearsighted. With nearsightedness (myopia), your eyes have problems focusing on things that are far away, but your close-up vision is good.

  • You may need to wear glasses or contact lenses for some activities, like driving.
  • Laser procedures can correct nearsightedness.
  • Read more about nearsightedness.

Nearsightedness: Moderate

Do you have problems watching movies or reading highway signs because everything is blurry? If you can't play sports because everything on the field or the court is fuzzy, you may be moderately nearsighted. With nearsightedness (myopia), your eyes have problems focusing on things that are far away, but things up close are fine.

  • You need to wear glasses or contact lenses for all distant activities, such as sports or driving.
  • Laser procedures can correct nearsightedness. Implantable lenses may be an option for some people.
  • Read more about nearsightedness.

Nearsightedness: Severe

Do you have to hold books or magazines really close to read? Is everything else really blurry? If you have a really hard time seeing things that are farther than six inches away, you may be severely nearsighted. With nearsightedness (myopia), your eyes have problems focusing on things that are far away, and only things up close are easy to see.

  • You need to wear glasses or contact lenses all the time.
  • Laser procedures can correct nearsightedness. If your nearsightedness is too severe for a laser procedure, implantable lenses may be an option.
  • Read more about nearsightedness.

Presbyopia: Mild

Do you find you need to hold menus and papers at arm's length to read them? That's a sign of presbyopia, which usually starts in your 40s. It happens because the lens in your eye loses flexibility and makes it hard to see up close. With mild presbyopia, you may have trouble doing close work in indirect light.

  • You may need non-prescription reading glasses for close work, especially in poor light.
  • If you already wear glasses or contact lenses for distance, you may need bifocal glasses or monovision or multifocal contact lenses.
  • Read more about presbyopia.

Presbyopia: Moderate

Even if your eyesight has always been good, chances are you'll have some degree of presbyopia as you get older. As the lens in your eye thickens and becomes less flexible, things get blurry close up and you find yourself holding papers or books at arm's length to read them. It may be hard to see what's on your computer screen. You may need to squint to see large print even in bright light.

  • You'll need nonprescription reading glasses, or prescription bifocals, trifocals, or contact lenses for close work.
  • Laser eye surgery or lens implants may help with presbyopia.
  • Read more about presbyopia.

Presbyopia: Severe

It happens to almost all of us — as we age, our eyes have a harder time focusing on close-up objects. It starts in your 40s and gradually gets worse over the next 20-30 years. In severe cases, even holding books and papers at arm's length isn't enough to help you see them better. You may not be able to see numbers on your phone or read the gauges in your car.

  • You'll need nonprescription reading glasses, or prescription bifocals, trifocals, or contact lenses for close work.
  • Laser eye surgery or lens implants can help correct presbyopia
  • Read more about presbyopia.

Retinal Detachment

If you suddenly have more or bigger floaters (specks or squiggly lines in your field of vision), shadows in your vision, or light flashes, you may have a detached retina. Retinal detachment is an emergency. It means the retina -- the part of your eye that sends visual messages to the brain -- is pulled or lifted out of place. If it's not treated right away, you could permanently lose your vision.