Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Several different conditions can cause blurred vision and dizziness, and some are more serious than others. Simple dehydration or deficiencies in certain essential vitamins and minerals are some of the easiest to solve, whereas low blood pressure, migraine headaches, and the medical condition fibromyalgia often take a more aggressive approach. People who have suffered concussions or other head injuries may also experience these symptoms as a side effect of the trauma, and both blurred vision and dizziness are common in pregnancy.
The human body is made mostly of water, which makes staying hydrated really important to proper functioning of many different organs, including the brain. People who are extremely dehydrated may experience blurred vision and dizziness as fluids leach out of the brain. This causes different processing centers to stop handling information as efficiently. It’s often possible for people to reverse this by sitting down and slowly drinking water, juice, or an electrolyte-rich beverage. Things will typically return to normal in about an hour or so, depending on the severity of the dehydration; if things don’t get better, though, or if they get worse, doctors usually recommend that people come in for an evaluation.
Water isn’t the only thing that the body needs for optimal functioning, and people sometimes experience dizziness and vision problems if their diets are deficient in certain key nutrients. Vitamin B-12 and folate are two of the most common, but iron levels are also very important. Deficiencies usually have to be chronic — that is, they have to have been going on for a long time in order to start causing damage — and the effects can be serious. In most cases, blurred vision is a sign that things in the brain are beginning to shut down in response to poor nutrition. It can take a long time to repair this, but in most cases a full recovery is possible with the right regimen of nutrients and a properly balanced diet.
Symptoms that are only temporary or that seem to come and go may be the result of low blood pressure. When blood does not circulate through the body properly, the brain and heart typically receive blood more slowly than needed. The effects are often most pronounced when people stand up suddenly or start a vigorous exercise routine. Many people with low blood pressure who have fainted report feeling dizzy and having their vision go blurry minutes before they pass out.
Certain medications might also cause these symptoms, usually as a side effect. Beta blockers, which are commonly prescribed for glaucoma, high blood pressure, and various heart conditions, are frequent culprits here, but contraceptives and fertility drugs may also be to blame. Symptoms typically go away as the body gets used to the drug, but if not, a change in dosing or prescription can help alleviate the problem.
Migraines are usually described as really strong, often completely debilitating headaches that can last for days. People who suffer from these sometimes report getting blurred vision immediately before the headache comes on, almost as a precursor or warning; many people also feel dizzy during the height of an episode or spell.
Brain injuries are another explanation for these symptoms. Concussions, which are basically “brain bruises” that happen when the brain rattles against the hard surface of the skull, are usually among the least serious. In these cases, vision problems and dizziness may happen shortly after the bruising happens but typically go away as the brain heals itself. More serious trauma or lasting damage can cause symptoms that are much more permanent. Most experts recommend that anyone experiencing double or blurred vision along with dizziness after experiencing a head injury seek immediate treatment to rule out serious problems, or else treat them promptly if present. Some issues like brain bleeding can often be corrected if caught early on, but can lead to permanent disability if left unchecked.
Fibromyalgia, a nervous system disorder, can cause a range of problems but blurred vision and dizziness are often some of the most common. These symptoms rarely occur in isolation, however, and are almost always accompanied by extreme pain and tenderness in the joints. Not all fybromyalgia medications are effective at treating all symptoms, but in most cases it’s fairly easy to get balance and vision issues under control. A lot depends on the severity of the condition and the nature of the individual patient’s attacks.
People who are diabetic often experience these symptoms together when their blood sugar is out of balance. Diabetes is a condition characterized by excessively high blood sugar. Too much sugar in the blood can cause a range of problems, but dizziness and blurred vision are on the list. Diabetics who regulate their insulin levels and keep their disease in check are often able to avoid these symptoms almost entirely.
Women who are pregnant may also experience these symptoms, particularly in the first trimester. Building a baby is a lot of work, and the body’s circulatory system goes through many of changes to support the growing life. Many women experience temporary drops in blood pressure in the early weeks and months of gestation, and many say that vision and dizziness issues were one of the first signs that they were expecting. In most cases, these will subside as the baby grows and the woman’s body adjusts.
@ladyjane - Although you should consult with your physician about your condition, it sounds to me as though you experience occasional vertigo symptoms.
Vertigo is not the same as motion sickness where you feel like your equilibrium is off balance from repetitive motion. Vertigo feels like the room in spinning when your standing still.
Vertigo often exists from inner ear or brain disorders like an ear infection or a lack of blood to the lower brain. Ringing in the ear, severe headaches and sudden change in position can all contribute to sudden feelings of dizziness.
Sometimes for no apparent reason I get feelings of dizziness that causes extreme perspiration and occasional nausea. I don't drink alcohol or take any medications so I know it's not from that.
And I've been tested for diabetes and that came back negative. It doesn't happen very often and usually only lasts a few minutes but it's really strange and any insight on this condition would be most helpful.
I'm not an expert but I used to work for an Ophthalmologist. Blurred vision from diabetes is one of the first signs of eye problems relating to the disease. Often times sudden blurred vision occurs from diabetes due from the impact of high levels of blood sugar.
Fluids are being pulled from the tissues of the eyes that may cause temporary blurred vision. This is not a concern that you may need new glasses but if left untreated, it could eventually cause cataracts, glaucoma, or retinopathy.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!