Beyond Eyestrain: 5 Serious Causes of Sudden Blurry Vision

As you read this introduction word for word with clear vision, how would you feel if that clarity goes away, with your vision becoming more blurry with each blink of an eye? Everything was fine, and then suddenly, you can no longer read the rest of this article. Instead of seeing detailed letters, a cloud over your vision has seemingly blocked your sight.


What Causes Sudden Blurriness in Vision?

In most cases, your vision going blurry could mean your visual system is fatigued. You may have been looking at a screen for hours, so naturally, your eyes would be tired. However, a sudden case of blurry vision could also indicate a serious health problem requiring immediate medical attention. Some of these health issues are as follows:


1. Stroke

A stroke occurs due to disruptions in the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Aside from causing sudden blurry vision in one or both eyes, symptoms of a stroke include abrupt cases of the following:

  • Numbness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Trouble speaking, difficulty understanding speech, or general confusion
  • Lightheadedness, lack of coordination, or loss of balance

If you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, call an ambulance immediately.


Is a stroke treatable?

The appropriate treatment will depend on what caused the stroke and which part of the brain it affected. It is rare for this condition to affect both sides of the brain, but when it happens, it can cause blindness. There is no treatment for vision loss.


2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This eye disease affects the retina, blurring your central vision. AMD ensues from damage to the macula – the delicate part of the eye ensuring sharp, straight-ahead vision. It is part of the retina or the light-sensitive tissue behind the eye.

The risk for AMD increases with age. As per the American Optometric Association, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision impairment in adults over 50 years old. It can affect one or both eyes.


Is AMD treatable?

There is no treatment for this aggressive eye disease, but visual aids can help reduce its effect on your life. Magnifiers. For example, low-vision optical lenses and magnifiers may help you see and broaden your vision.

If the disease advances, an eye doctor may recommend anti-VEGF medications. They involve injections into the eye to stop your vision from declining further. Laser treatments can also help delay disease progression.

Certain lifestyle choices may also prevent AMD. Read about them here.


3. Macular Hole

Small tears or breaks in the macula characterize this rare eye condition. It affects 7.8 out of 100,000 people in the US (all ages) each year. Moreover, about 1 in 10 of those with a macular hole in one eye will develop a macular hole in the other.

Unlike AMD, which commonly arises due to aging, macular holes can stem from other causes. A severe injury to the eye, having myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), and experiencing retinal detachment can contribute to macular hole development.

If you have macular holes in your eyes, you may notice vision distortion or blurriness when looking straight ahead. Lines may appear wavy or bowed, and you may have difficulty reading small print. Over time, you may begin seeing a small black patch or dot-like mark in the center of your vision.


Are macular holes treatable?

Although some macular holes can heal on their own, in most cases, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy is necessary to address macular holes.


4. Retinal Detachment

A detached retina can cause sudden blurry vision. It occurs when the retina pulls away from its normal position and the blood vessels that provide it with oxygen and nutrients. Aging and injury to the eye are its main causes.

Symptoms of retinal detachment appear quickly. They often include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Light flashes in one or both eyes
  • Seeing gray or black specks (floaters)
  • Seeing an empty circle in the center of your vision
  • Seeing a shadow or a “curtain coming down” over your vision
  • Any sudden changes to your peripheral vision


Is a detached retina treatable?

Immediate treatment – often through laser surgery (photocoagulation) or freezing (cryopexy) – is necessary to prevent permanent vision impairment from a detached retina.

You can learn more about the different treatments for retinal detachment here.


5. Optic Neuritis

The optic nerve and its millions of nerve fibers are responsible for transferring visual messages from your retina to your brain. Optic nerve inflammation can cause unexpected vision distortion or blurriness, along with the following symptoms:

Optic nerve inflammation typically arises as a complication of other health conditions, including but not limited to Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, and herpes.


Is optic neuritis treatable?

Optic nerve inflammation usually resolves by itself in around four to 12 weeks. If symptoms worsen, an ophthalmologist may prescribe synthetic corticosteroids to hasten recovery.

Explore further details concerning optic neuritis on this page.


The Bottom Line

Not all instances of sudden vision distortion or blurriness require immediate medical attention. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing sudden vision changes or unusual symptoms – especially if they happen for the first time – do not hesitate to contact emergency services or visit a nearby healthcare facility as soon as possible, even if the episode passes.

Get Your Eyes Checked in Arizona by Retinal Specialists

Ensure the lasting health of your eyes by scheduling an annual or as-needed eye checkup in Sun City, AZ. Regular assessments are invaluable in preventing, detecting, and treating eye problems, preserving your vision and overall quality of life. Our practice is home to some of the best ophthalmologists in Arizona and the United States, and our team members dedicate themselves to providing comprehensive vision care tailored to unique patient needs. Prioritize your ocular health today for a clearer, brighter tomorrow. Dial 623-474-3937 now to schedule your eye appointment.

NOTICE TO USERS is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on