Blurry or blurred vision is a fairly common complaint that isn’t typically a reason for concern. But what causes it, and what if you have blurry vision in only one eye? Should you be worried? Here we look at what causes blurry vision, and how to know if or when you should seek medical attention.


What causes blurry vision?

There are many causes of blurry vision, and although the majority are not alarming, it’s important to know that there are some potentially life-threatening conditions behind this symptom.

Usually blurred vision is caused by refractive errors, including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, or presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision).

Other times, it could be due to low blood sugar or the onset of diabetic retinopathy in diabetics, or to treatments for certain medical conditions (including eye drops or certain medications). It can even be caused by laser or other surgery for your eyes.

Some people wear contacts longer than they should, causing proteins and other buildup to cloud the lens and affect vision.

  • Some other common causes of blurry vision include:
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • High blood sugar
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine or other headache
  • Eye infections or conditions, such as infectious retinitis
  • Scarring or abrasions to the cornea
  • Injury to the eye
  • Stroke

You might find that everything in your entire field of vision is blurry, or you might notice that your blurred vision only affects a part of your vision, such as your peripheral vision.


When is blurry vision in one eye serious?

Most of the time, blurry vision is not serious, and is instead caused by eye strain or tiredness, or even too much sun exposure.

But there are instances when blurry vision can be a symptom of a serious eye problem, especially when it occurs in one eye or comes on suddenly. Here’s what to look for.

Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms that accompany your sudden blurry vision. These could be the symptoms of a stroke or an early sign of another health condition, such as multiple sclerosis:

  • Drooping of the muscles of the face
  • Loss of control of your muscles one one side of your body
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Double vision

Other medical emergencies that could cause you to experience sudden blurred vision include:

  • Macular hole (a hole in the central portion of your retina)
  • Transient ischemic attack (symptoms of an impending stroke)
  • Brain tumor (a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain)
  • Detached retina (when the retina separates from the layer of blood vessels that supply its oxygen and nutrients)
  • Glaucoma (a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve)
  • Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)

Again, seek immediate medical attention if the blurriness comes on suddenly and is accompanied by other vision problems, including double vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, halos, or dimness of vision.

If you’ve noticed that your vision has slowly worsened over time, make an appointment with your eye doctor.


What can be done about blurry vision?

If a refractive error is the culprit for your blurry vision, then getting a new vision prescription for eyeglasses or contacts will do the trick.

Whatever the underlying issue, your eye doctor or primary care doctor will be able to conduct the right tests and ask the right questions in order to diagnose the cause, and help you find a suitable treatment that will help you see clearly again.

Are you experiencing blurry vision in one or both eyes that has been slowly worsening over time? Call today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. We can help you identify the source of your blurry vision, and get you on the way to seeing clearly.

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