Why is my vision blurred?

What is blurred vision?

Fleeting blurred vision is a common experience and can happen when we first wake up. However, if your vision doesn’t come into focus and rubbing your eyes doesn’t help, your blurred vision might be caused by an underlying condition.

Blurred vision occurs when your eyes can’t properly process light signals, preventing you from detecting the finer details of any object you’re looking at, regardless of the distance. 

Blurred vision can be experienced in one or both eyes.

What causes blurred vision?

A number of different conditions can cause blurred vision. Some can be treated with contact lenses, glasses and/or surgery. Common causes include:

  • Astigmatism — caused by the front surface of your eye (cornea) being misshapen 
  • Eye strain — caused by looking at something, such as a digital screen, for prolonged periods 
  • Hyperopia (long-sightedness) — where close objects look blurry 
  • Myopia (short-sightedness) — where objects far away look blurry 
  • Presbyopia — loss of your near sight due to the lenses inside your eyes hardening 
  • Wearing your contact lenses for too long 

Blurred vision also can be a symptom of other eye diseases, such as dry eye syndrome, floaters or glaucoma, or other conditions, such as hypoglycaemia or migraines

How can you protect your vision?

In some cases, you can’t prevent blurred vision from developing. However, there are steps you can take to maintain good eye health and reduce your risk of blurred vision, including: 

  • Eating foods that are rich in nutrients that are good for your eyes 
  • Keeping up to date with your eye examinations 
  • Making sure your hands and brushes are clean when applying eye makeup
  • Throwing out old makeup 
  • Washing your hands before putting in or taking out your contact lenses 
  • Wearing UV protection sunglasses when out in the sun
  • Wearing protective goggles when operating heavy machinery or performing DIY

Treatment options for blurred vision

To treat blurred vision, you’ll need to visit an optician, who can help diagnose the cause. They will carry out an eye test and in some cases, a digital eye scan. They may also need to refer you to an ophthalmologist (a doctor specialising in treating the eyes) for further investigations and/or blood tests.

Refractive errors (problems with the way your eyes focus light) can be treated with contact lenses, glasses or surgery such as LASEK or LASIK. 

If you have glaucoma, you will be offered special eye drops as your main glaucoma treatment. If the eye drops aren’t effective, you may be offered surgery.

When to seek immediate help for blurred vision

It’s important to monitor your blurred vision and if you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention as you may be having a stroke:

  • Facial drooping 
  • Loss of muscle control 
  • Loss of speech 
  • Pain in the eye/s 
  • Severe headache
  • Vision loss

Mild blurred vision that comes and goes can be a sign of tiredness, but if your blurred vision is continuous, gets worse or suddenly comes on this may be a sign of something more serious. Make an appointment with your optician to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Cloudy vision

Blurred vision is often confused with ‘cloudy vision’. Cloudy vision can be caused by cataracts that affect the lens of the eye, making it seem as though you’re looking through a foggy or cloudy window. 

Cataracts are treated with surgery, where your natural lens is replaced with a clear plastic one. In some cases, the capsule that holds the lens can thicken over time after cataract surgery — this prevents light from passing through and also causes cloudy vision. It can be quickly and painlessly corrected using a specialised laser treatment called a YAG capsulotomy.

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.