There are many causes of blurred vision. In fact, well over 600 diseases, conditions and other precursors may exist which result in changes in visual acuity so that things look fuzzy or blurry. Some of these causes can be immediately diagnosed; for instance, swimming in chemically treated water may blur the vision for an hour or two afterwards. What is important is that people not view chronic or constant blurred vision as benign. Though it may signify very easy conditions to treat, it can also be a sign of serious ones that require swift medical attention.
Some of the more common causes of blurred vision include normal aging that may cause a loss of elasticity in the eyes or weakening of the eye muscles. Conditions like far or near-sightedness can also make things that look near or far away blurry, respectively. These things are usually easily treated with eye exercises, eye surgery or corrective lenses or glasses.
Sometimes blurred vision suggests much more serious conditions. It can be a sign that cataracts are present or that macular degeneration is occurring, which is a major cause of blindness especially in the elderly. Glaucoma can also have blurred or impaired vision as a symptom.
Occasionally, blurred vision will be the result of things like dry eyes, and it can also be a temporary symptom of eye infections. Things like pink eye, hay fever, and even allergic reactions to substances might make things look blurry. Certainly chemical exposure of many types may result in changes to vision, and even when these chemicals are relatively safe, it still may be worth a doctor’s visit to make sure that all chemical matter is cleared from the eyes.
A number of prescription medications have blurry vision as a potential side effect. These are too many to list. The best way to determine if vision changes might be the result of medications taken is to check with a pharmacist or doctor about medicine side effects. Certain over the counter medications (OTC meds), when taken in overdose can also have this effect. Aspirin overdose is just one example of an overdosed med that can cause blurred vision. There are also street drugs that can change visual acuity, including Ecstasy.
Injuries to the eyes are another clear cause, but so are injuries to the head and neck. Up to 30% of people who suffer whiplash may have blurred vision afterward. Naturally, any trauma that directly affects one or both eyes may change vision too.
Given the potential serious diseases that blurred vision can indicate, it’s presence, unless it goes away almost immediately, always suggests that people schedule a vision exam. Undergoing a vision exam can help rule out or rule in common causes. More importantly, if the cause is more serious, doctors can start treatment for conditions that could permanently alter sight.