Why Is My Vision Blurry?

Do you often find yourself blinking, squinting, or rubbing your eyes to gain a clearer view? If you have blurry vision, you might chalk it up to age or needing new glasses. But it can be a sign of other health problems, too.

Often, treatment for these conditions will clear up your blurred vision. Remember, though, that sudden changes to your eyesight aren't normal, so if they happen, see your doctor right away.

Could It Be Diabetes?

The condition raises your risk for an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your retina, the part of your eye that senses light. That can lead to swelling in a part of the retina called the macula, new and unwanted blood vessels growing in the eye, and bleeding inside the eye.

Along with blurry vision, diabetic eye disease may also cause:

  • “Floating” spots in your field of vision
  • Permanent loss of vision

Early treatment is the best way to ward off permanent damage. So protect your eyes from diabetes by getting them checked at least once a year.

Could It Be a Stroke?

One of the key signs that you're having a stroke is a sudden, painless change in eyesight. You might have blurry or double vision.

Call 911 right away if you have either of these changes and other stroke warning signs, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Face drooping
  • Loss of balance
  • Slurred speech or other problems speaking clearly
  • Weakness or numbness in one arm

Could It Be Preeclampsia?

If you're pregnant, you shouldn't take blurry vision lightly. It could be a sign of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition marked by very high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Preeclampsia occurs in women who have never had high blood pressure before and generally occurs late in pregnancy, generally after 20 weeks. It can have serious, life-threatening effects on you and your baby.

Preeclampsia may not cause any symptoms, but blurry vision and other sight changes such as seeing flashing lights or spots could be clues that you have it.

Be sure to contact your doctor if you notice these as well as other possible signs:

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Could It Be a Migraine?

A migraine is more than a horrible headache. There are a host of other symptoms that you might have with the pain, including blurry vision and sensitivity to light. You may feel these signs even before a migraine starts, and they may last until it's over.

More dramatic changes to your eyesight during a migraine are called an aura. They can include:

  • Loss of part or all of your vision for a little while
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • Seeing wavy lines or spots

To solve these problems, you'll need to work with your doctor to treat your migraines and keep them from starting.

Could It Be Psoriasis?

You may know this condition from these symptoms:

But psoriasis can affect your eyes, too. It can cause a condition called uveitis, when inflammation leads to swelling that causes blurred vision, pain, redness, and sensitivity to light.

Treatments can get rid of uveitis, but the type you need will depend on which part of your eye is affected.

Could It Be Multiple Sclerosis?

Blurry vision is often one of the earliest symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The disease causes inflammation along the nerve that connects your eyes to your brain, called the optic nerve. That causes a condition called optic neuritis, which can give you blurry sight, loss of color vision, and pain when you move your eyes. It often happens in just one eye.

Besides blurry vision, MS also causes:

  • Trouble with balance
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling very tired
  • Numbness
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Optic neuritis doesn't necessarily mean you have MS, so talk to your doctor about what's causing it. The problem often goes away on its own, but your doctor can give you some medications to help you heal faster.

Could It Be a Brain Tumor?

Scary, but true: A tumor in any part of your brain can make pressure build inside your skull. That can cause many symptoms, including blurred vision.

Other signs of a possible brain tumor are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache that won't go away
  • Nausea
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If your doctor thinks you might have a brain tumor, she'll use different tests to check how well your brain and spinal cord work, as well as imaging tests to see inside your head.

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Could It Be Parkinson's Disease?

Blurry vision is not the first sign of this nerve disease. But as it gets worse, it can affect sight. That's because the condition may change how your eyes move. As your sight seems less sharp, you may strain your eyes because they have to work harder to focus.

Parkinson's disease affects much more than the eyes. It also causes:

  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Stiffness in your body
  • Tremors that affect the hands, arms, legs, and face
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on January 21, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Optometric Association: “Adult Vision: 41 to 60 Years of Age.”

National Eye Institute: “Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease,” “Facts About Uveitis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Psoriasis.”

American Migraine Foundation: “Visual Aura: What it Is and Isn't.”

American Cancer Society: “Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults.”

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: “Visual Problems,” “MS Overview,” “What are the Symptoms of MS?”

Parkinson's Disease Foundation: “Vision Changes,” “What is Parkinson's Disease?”

Preeclampsia Foundation: “About Preeclampsia,” “Signs & Symptoms.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Treatment Guide: Stroke Care Cerebrovascular Center.”

American Stroke Association: “Spot a Stroke.”

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