A sudden deterioration in vision can be a sign of an underlying problem or just a temporary reaction. Vision changes are never normal. However, its severity depends on many factors.
In many cases, this is a temporary reaction and any problems will quickly resolve themselves. However, if you start arguing about whether it's important enough to see your doctor right away or wait, it's best to be careful.
This is especially true if vision changes happen suddenly, when everything becomes clear and easy to see one minute, and the next you have a hard time seeing details.
Blurred vision is something that cannot be corrected with glasses or other corrective lenses. This is a symptom where you find that you cannot see things as clearly as possible and objects appear somewhat blurry in one or both eyes .
Also, keep in mind that you may be dealing with milky or blurry vision, which is actually different from blurry vision. This can make it look like you are looking through the fog. One reason for this may be cataracts, in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, but the cataract occurs gradually, rather than suddenly.
Blurred vision can be due to a variety of conditions. Some of them are relatively minor, while others are really very serious.
Common problems that cause sudden blurred vision.
These conditions can cause sudden blurred vision:
- Bleeding in the eye (hyphema) : When it enters the eye, blood can pool between the clear surface (cornea) and the colored part of the eye (iris). If there is an injury to the iris or pupil, it can cause blurred vision, as well as sensitivity to light and pain .
- Corneal abrasion : When the surface of the cornea is scraped like a fingernail, vision can suddenly become blurry. The eyes may also become red, sore, and sensitive to light .
- Dry eyes : tear film helps keep eyes moist. If this three-layer coating breaks down and the tears are insufficient or of poor quality, the result can be a burning or gritty sensation and blurred vision .
- Eyestrain – This happens when you look at the computer for too long. Eye muscle fatigue can cause sudden loss of distance vision. Other symptoms that can accompany eyestrain include headaches, dry eyes, and even neck and muscle pain .
- Infection (conjunctivitis) : This condition, also known as viral conjunctivitis (pink eye), bacterial or allergic conjunctivitis, can cause inflammation of the tissues, which can sometimes cause blurred vision. Usually the eyelids are also swollen, the eye is red, mucus comes out, and you may have some sensitivity to light .
- Pregnancy : Fluctuations in hormones can cause blurred vision associated with dry eyes. Preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet, can also occur. Up to 50% of pregnant people can have blurred vision, flashes of light, blind spots, double vision, and even blindness .
Common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and even age-related reading problems associated with presbyopia can gradually cause blurry images. The good news is that they can usually be treated with glasses or contact lenses.
Serious causes of sudden blurred vision
While there are many reasons for sudden blurred vision, keep in mind that some of them require immediate attention and should be taken seriously:
- Uveitis : Sometimes autoimmune diseases like lupus or Crohn's disease can cause blurred vision due to uveitis. In this case, the middle layer of the eye becomes inflamed. The eyes may also be red, sensitive to light, and painful.
- Retinal detachment : When part of the retina is detached from the back of the eye, nerve cells stop working properly, and as a result, vision can suddenly become blurry. Also look for flashing lights, floating objects, persistent shadows, or sudden loss of side vision.
- Macular hole : The macular hole provides a clear central vision to see the details. When there is a tear in this tissue, vision can become blurry. The vitreous humor of the eye can leak through the opening into the macular layer of the retina, causing distorted vision.
- Macular degeneration : In this condition, the sharp central vision needed to see fine details may become blurry, distorted, or absent as the macular condition worsens. As it becomes more severe, it can affect reading, driving, and even the ability to see people's faces.
- Optic neuritis : In a condition like multiple sclerosis , the immune system can attack the optic nerve and cause optic neuritis. In addition to blurred vision, vision can become cloudy, colors will fade, and pain can occur at the back of the eye socket and when the eyes move.
- Giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis) : inflammation of the blood vessels near the temples. In addition to vision problems, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, jaw pain, and scalp pain can occur. This can lead to total blindness, damage to blood vessels, or even a stroke. Immediate medical attention is required.
- Stroke : If this happens, the brain does not get enough oxygen and vision, and other bodily functions can be affected. In addition to blurred vision, photosensitivity, double vision, and even vision loss can occur. It requires immediate treatment.
- Uncontrolled diabetes – When blood sugar is high, the lens attracts water, causing swelling and blurred vision. High sugar levels can weaken the blood vessels and damage the retina. Weak blood vessels can bleed, grow new weak blood vessels, or even lead to retinal detachment, with the risk of permanent vision loss.
When to call your healthcare provider
If you suspect that you are dealing with an injury, retinal detachment, or other serious medical condition, feel free to call your healthcare provider or an ambulance. Be aware that blurred vision can indicate a life-threatening stroke that requires urgent attention.
In most cases, blurred vision can be safely treated outside of the emergency room. A 2017 study shows that about one in four of those who went to the emergency room for eye problems had minor problems, such as conjunctivitis, swollen eyelids, or eyelid bumps .
Treat sudden blurred vision
The decision about what to do about blurred vision depends on the cause. Some conditions can be treated with eye drops, while others may require oral medications, drug injections into the eye, laser treatments, or surgery. Some may need a referral to another specialist to treat an underlying medical condition.
Sometimes surgery may be required if you are facing one of the following conditions:
- Detached retina
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Trauma, damage
- Macular degeneration
- Macular hole
- Temporal arteritis
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Fortunately, in many cases, sudden blurred vision is actually related to something insignificant. However, of course, this should be discussed with your healthcare provider.