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Blurring of Vision


The eye is a very complex organ, with many important parts. To work properly and provide normal vision, every part of the eye must be normal and healthy.

Blurring of vision can come about from any disturbance in the pathway of light from the front of the eye (cornea) to the back of the eye (retina) and optic nerve. An abnormality of any part of the eye can affect sight. Because the optic nerve is part of the brain, damage to it is often permanent and results in permanent vision loss.

A change in vision can be as simple as a need for glasses, but in some cases more complicated reasons for blurred vision can be present, and a complete eye examination may be necessary to determine the cause.


Visual problems can be caused by many different conditions which include:

  • Presbyopia – difficulty focusing on objects that are close. This problem often becomes noticeable in your early to mid 40s.
  • Cataract – cloudiness over the eye lens, causing poor nighttime vision, halos around lights, and sensitivity to glare. Cataracts are common in the elderly.
  • Glaucoma – increased pressure in the eye, which is most often chronic and painless. Vision will be normal at first, but over time you can develop poor night vision, blind spots, and loss of vision to either side. Glaucoma can also happen suddenly or acutely, which is a medical emergency.
  • Diabetic eye disease (Diabetic Retinopathy and/or Diabetic Macula Oedema)
  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD) – loss of central vision, blurred vision (especially while reading), distorted vision (straight lines will appear to be wavy), and colors that look faded. The most common cause of blindness in people over age 60.
  • Eye infection, inflammation, or injury
  • Floaters – tiny particles drifting inside the eye, which may be confused with retinal detachment.
  • Night blindness
  • Retinal detachment – symptoms include floaters, sparks or flashes of light in your vision, or a sensation of a shade or curtain hanging across part of your visual field.
  • Optic neuritis – inflammation of the optic nerve from infection or multiple sclerosis. You may have pain when you move your eye or touch it through the eyelid.
  • Stroke and TIA – symptoms usually visual field defects and it depends on site or area of the brain involved
  • Brain tumour – symptoms usually visual field defects and it depends on site or area of the brain involved
  • Bleeding into the eye
  • Temporal arteritis – inflammation of an artery in the brain that supplies blood to the optic nerve
  • Migraine headache – spots of light, halos, or zigzag patterns that appear before the start of the headache

When To Contact An Eye Doctor?

You need to see an eye doctor (opthalmologist) if you having any of the following symptoms:

  • You experience partial or complete blindness in one or both eyes, even if it is only temporary.
  • You experience sudden drop of vision.
  • You experience double vision, even if it is temporary as in certain cranial nerve palsies.
  • You have a sensation of a shade being pulled over your eyes or a curtain being drawn from the side, above, or below.
  • Blind spots, halos around lights, or areas of distorted vision appear suddenly.
  • You have sudden blurred vision with eye pain, especially if the eye is also red. A red, painful eye with blurred vision is a medical emergency.
  • Distortion of images or central blurring of vision.
  • Prolonged conjunctivitis (more than 2 weeks)
  • Difficulty seeing at night or when reading
  • Difficulty in differentiating colours
  • Diabetes or a family history of diabetes
  • Eye itching or discharge
  • Visual changes that seem related to medication (Do NOT stop or change a medication without talking to your doctor.)

What To Expect At Your Clinic Visit

Your eye doctor will:

  1. Check your vision,
  2. Measure your eye pressure
  3. Do complete eye examination including pupil dilatation
  4. Do a necessary test/procedure (visual field test, hess chart  refraction and etc) when necessary, depending on your symptoms and initial ocular findings

Treatments depend on the cause. Surgery will be recommended for some conditions.

REMINDER:  following dilatation of your pupil, your vision will be reduced temporary (4 to 5 hours). Not advisable to drive during this period.


A regular eye checkup from an eye specialist is important. It should be done once a year if you are above 40 year old. Some experts recommend annual eye exams starting at an earlier age.

How long you go between exams is based on how long you can wait before detecting an eye problem that has no symptoms. Your doctor will recommend earlier and more frequent exams if you have known eye problems or conditions that are known to cause eye problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

To prevent eye and vision problems you should:

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light.
  • Wear safety glasses when hammering, grinding, or using power tools.
  • If you need glasses or contact lenses, keep the prescription up to date.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep  an ideal BMI
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes
Last Reviewed : 23 August 2019
Writer : Dr. Rosniza bt. Ab. Razak
Accreditor : Dr. Hjh. Nor Fariza bt. Ngah
Reviewer : Dr. Rosniza bt. Ab. Razak