For many people, eye problems are one of the worst. You may wake up in the morning and your vision is blurry. You immediately have a bad feeling and are afraid of losing your sight. However, blurred vision can have many causes, some of which are completely harmless, so there is no reason to panic for the time being.
In this article, we explain what could be the reason for your blurry vision. We will also explain to you which warning signs you should see a doctor for and how he could treat you if necessary. Finally, we give you valuable tips on how you can promote your eye health yourself.
the essentials in brief
- Those affected report low resolution, loss of contrast and that objects at a certain distance appear foggy or blurred.
- Blurred vision is often related to an ametropia (near or farsightedness) and can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.(3)
- However, blurred vision can also be a symptom of serious eye diseases or neurological disorders. In these cases, you should urgently consult a doctor!
Background: What you should know about blurred vision
In this chapter we would like to explain to you why it could be that your vision is blurry. We also clarify whether blurred vision can be an indication of a cataract, the cataract.
What can cause blurred vision in the morning?
Sufferers often report blurred vision in the morning. Possible reasons for this are as follows:
- If blurred vision is coupled with nausea or dizziness, it could be because you got out of bed too quickly. This is your body's natural reaction to an unexpected situation, orthostatic hypotension .(2)
- Another possibility is that you have adopted an awkward sleeping position that has pinched the optic nerve. After you change your position, your vision shouldn't be blurry either.
- Blurred vision often indicates ametropia or astigmatism.(3) An eye test by an optician or an ophthalmologist can bring clarity.
What are the causes and possible diseases that can underlie blurred vision?
The causes of blurred vision are diverse. Also, some are harmless while others are extremely serious causes.
The harmless causes include migraine attacks, in which those affected also report flashes of light or flickering. Another cause can be acute hypoglycaemia, with many also becoming black before the eyes.(4) Overtiredness, stress and dry eyes continue this list.
Often, short-sightedness or far-sightedness is the cause.
Blurred vision is also common with age. In very many cases, the blurred vision comes from ametropia, i.e. short-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism, but also from a lot of screen time. One speaks of Computer Vision Syndrome.(1,3)
The causes just mentioned can usually be easily remedied with or without an ophthalmologist. However, you should pay more attention to the following serious causes:
|eye disease||for example glaucoma or cataracts, retinal detachment|
|optic neuritis||barterial or viral, often resulting from scarlet fever, influenza, measles and herpes(5)|
|vascular causes||For example, insufficient cerebral blood flow, vascular occlusions in the retina or vascular spasms in the case of toxemia during pregnancy(6)|
|space-occupying processes in the head||may be associated with eye or brain tumors, cerebral hemorrhage(7), abscesses, or vascular malformations|
|metabolic causes||relates to metabolic damage to the optic nerve caused by, for example, hyperthyroidism(8), vitamin A and B12 deficiencies or diabetes mellitus|
|poisoning-related causes||relates to optic nerve damage caused by poisoning, for example alcohol, tobacco, carbon monoxide or certain medications|
|stress||an increased concentration of the stress hormone puts a strain on the blood vessels in the eye and may cause them to burst|
|external violence||for example accidents|
|consequences of therapy||as residual damage after radiation, chemotherapy or meningitis|
|genetic causes||certain genetic metabolic disorders such as lipidosis or atrophy of the optic nerves|
Is blurred vision a sign of cataracts?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye lens, which means that those affected can no longer see clearly. Left untreated, cataracts lead to complete blindness. Therefore, every identified cataract patient should undergo surgery.(9)
The most common cause of blindness worldwide is cataracts.
Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide. However, one must consider here that those affected in developing countries in particular usually have no chance of an operation. Cataracts often appear after the age of 60, but there are also congenital forms.(9)
A clouding of the pupil is a clear indication of cataracts. If you notice them, be sure to see a doctor right away. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness! (Image source: Tobias Dahlberg / Pixabay)
Certain risk factors favor a cataract. For example, diabetes, hypersensitivity reactions, glaucoma attacks, in which the pressure inside the eye increases massively, or chronic inflammation of the iris.
Long-term eye injuries can also increase the risk, as can medical interventions on the vitreous, the eyeball or the retina. In addition, cortisone, UV radiation, radiation therapy and allopurinol promote cataracts.(9)
Typical symptoms of a cataract are as follows:
- Reduced visual acuity: Those affected only see blurry, sometimes even twice
- Myopia: A cataract can promote or trigger myopia
- Reduced contrast vision and changed perception of colors: Colors become increasingly pale and the sharpness of contrast between light and dark decreases
- Pupil discoloration: The pupil of the affected person becomes whitish-grey and cloudy; clear sign of a cataract
- Sensitivity to light: Those affected often feel dazzled by the scattering of light rays in the clouded lens
If you recognize one or more of these symptoms, please contact a doctor as soon as possible. For diagnosis, he examines the dilated pupil on a slit lamp and will advise you to have an operation if the case is confirmed.(9)
Treatment and prevention: What the doctor does and where you can and should take action yourself
Of course, not all eye diseases can be prevented or self-treated. Nevertheless, you can preventively consider a few factors and thus make a contribution to your eye health. Here we explain in which cases you need to see a doctor and give you tips on how you can possibly prevent blurred vision.
When should I see a doctor?
It is always difficult for the layperson to decide whether one should see a doctor or whether certain problems will resolve themselves. In general, it is better to see a doctor than to recognize serious illnesses too late. If you notice the following warning signs, you should definitely consult a doctor immediately:
- your eyesight changes all of a sudden
- your vision is extremely reduced, especially in one eye
- you have severe eye pain
- you have lost a certain area of your vision
- you notice black veils or spots in the field of vision or see everything twice
- you see flashes of light or rings around light sources
- the blurred vision is accompanied by other symptoms (headache or eye pain, nausea, vomiting).
- you suspect an HIV infection or another impairment of your immune system, for example through chemotherapy or immunosuppressants
If you notice any of these warning signs, please consult a doctor. For other symptoms, you should see a doctor if they last for days.
What could the doctor do?
The procedure for diagnosis and subsequent treatment differs from cause to cause, but also from doctor to doctor. So it's not possible to make blanket statements about what your doctor will do to treat your blurred vision. However, we still want to explain what you could possibly expect.
Describe the blurred vision in as much detail as possible.
First, the doctor will take a medical history. He will ask you about your state of health. It is important that you give him precise information about how long you have had the symptoms and whether they are accompanied by others. If possible, describe how 'blurred vision' manifests itself to you.
Depending on the suspicion of the cause, different procedures are used for diagnosis:
|Proceed||What is being done||suspicion of the cause|
|eye chart||the patient must read symbols on the board from a certain distance||Ametropia (near, farsightedness, astigmatism)|
|Scan||the ophthalmologist carefully scans the eyeball for high intraocular pressure||glaucoma|
|slit lamp examination||the ophthalmologist can see the front part of the eye||cataract|
|Eyescopy (ophthalmoscopy)||the ophthalmologist may examine the back of the eye||Retinal disease or eye tumor|
|blood test||Measuring blood pressure and blood sugar||diabetes|
|neurological examination||Assessment of nerve pathway function and condition||Multiple sclerosis and optic neuritis|
|Ultrasound examination (sonography)||Examination of the eye using ultrasound||Eye tumor, retinal detachment|
|X-ray examination (angiography)||Blood vessels are examined using X-rays||age-related macular degeneration|
|Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT)||Complex images of affected parts of the body are created in MRT or CT||Tumors, cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral aneurysm|
Subsequent treatment depends on the cause diagnosed. If you have ametropia, glasses or contact lenses help to compensate for the visual impairment. If desired, laser surgery is also often possible. If the eyelids are the cause of the blurred vision, tapes are used specifically for eyelids.
In the case of causes in the area of the retina or the optic nerve, action must be taken as quickly as possible. In the case of a retinal detachment, the retina is usually reattached with a laser treatment. In the case of infections of the eye or especially the optic nerve, antibiotic or antiviral medication can help. Eye drops often help with itchy eyes. Protecting your eyes, covering them and cooling them if necessary is recommended in any case.
If the doctor notices a clouding of the lens, he will immediately recommend cataract surgery to prevent complete blindness.(9) In the case of a clouding of the vitreous body, it is often necessary to wait until the clouding is absorbed after the cause has been corrected. However, if the opacity is already far advanced, the vitreous humor is removed in most cases to prevent infection of the retina.
Glaucoma patients who have increased pressure inside the eye are usually treated with medication to prevent or at least delay a possible worsening. In severe cases, there is occasionally a surgical procedure similar to that of a cataract.
Tips: Health-promoting measures for your eyes
Finally, we would like to give you a few valuable tips on how you can promote your eye health. As in so many cases, the be-all and end-all is a balanced diet that provides your eyes with all the nutrients they need.
Citrus fruits, green vegetables, beets, peppers, and carrots are especially good for your eyes.(10) Foods that can trigger migraine attacks, such as alcohol, chocolate, or coffee, should be avoided.(11)
Wear sunglasses with built-in UV protection in the summer. This is very important as the UV rays can cause damage to the retina. In winter, on the other hand, you should make sure you air the room regularly, because dry heating air promotes dry eyes.
Use sunglasses with UV protection. The UV rays, which are particularly strong in summer, can cause irreversible damage to your retina. (Image Source: alohamalakhov / Pixabay)
You probably know that smoking is unhealthy. The substances contained in cigarettes are also harmful to your eyes because they impair blood circulation in the retina and the optic nerve.(12) On the other hand, sufficient physical exercise ensures good blood circulation.
Wellness for your eyes means exercises such as eye circles or looking back and forth to loosen the muscles, massages by tapping the eye area lightly with two fingers or occasionally placing your hands over the eyes to relax.
If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, the right lighting, anti-glare filters, ergonomic computer monitor positioning, and regular breaks from work can all help improve viewing comfort.(1)
Sudden blurred vision is no reason to panic. There are many possible causes of this, some of which are quite harmless. Some of those affected were just wrong at night and pinched an optic nerve, while others are due to ametropia, which can be compensated for with contact lenses or glasses.
Nonetheless, blurred vision can also be an indication of a serious illness. If you notice one of the warning signs we have mentioned, you should urgently consult a doctor. As a rule, the damage can be prevented or at least minimized if diseases are detected early. If you are unsure, it is better to go to the doctor.
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