Blurred vision can be caused by a number of eye conditions or by an underlying disease, such as diabetes. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about, but if you develop blurred vision suddenly you should see your doctor immediately so they can check that it’s nothing serious.
What is blurred vision?
If you have blurred vision, the things you see will not look sharp and clear. You may experience blurred vision in both eyes or just in one eye, depending on what is causing it. Sometimes everything you look at will be blurry, while sometimes just part of your field of vision will be blurred.
You can also have other symptoms along with blurred vision, including headaches, sensitivity to light, or red, irritated eyes.
What causes blurred vision?
Blurred vision can be caused by eye conditions, including:
- difficulty focusing your eyesight, such as with near-sightedness or far-sightedness
- astigmatism (when the surface of the eye isn’t curved properly)
- presbyopia (when your eyes find it harder to focus as you age)
- dry eye syndrome
- damage to the cornea
- age-related macular degeneration
- an eye infection
- problems with the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy
- an injury to the eye
Blurred vision can also be a symptom of another medical condition, such as:
- head injury
- low blood sugar
- pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) if you are pregnant
- psoriasis (a skin condition that sometimes can also affect the eyes)
- multiple sclerosis
- brain tumour
- Parkinson’s disease
Sometimes, blurred vision can be a side effect of medicines that you may be taking.
Blurred vision treatment
The cause of your blurred vision will be diagnosed using various eye tests and a physical examination of your eyes. If an underlying medical cause is suspected, you may also have a blood test.
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.
Blurred vision self-care
If your blurred vision is affecting your life, technology and tools are available to help you cope. Vision Australia offers a range of services and advice to people who are vision-impaired. You can call them on 1300 84 74 66.
How to prevent blurred vision
It's very important to look after your eyes, so have regular eye check-ups every two years with a registered practitioner such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses and a hat; protect them from injury by using safety glasses, especially if you do hazardous work.
Having a healthy lifestyle and giving up smoking will also safeguard your eyes.
It is especially important to look after your eyes if you have diabetes. Do this by controlling your blood glucose levels, making sure you have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. See your doctor straight away if you notice any vision problems to prevent them from getting worse.
When to seek help for blurred vision
Seek medical help urgently if you suddenly develop blurred vision along with:
- weakness or numbness in one arm
- a drooping face
- loss of balance
- slurred speech
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Last reviewed: July 2018