Blurred vision can be scary. It’s a minor inconvenience after a long day staring at the computer or having fun at the beach. When it persists after a good night’s sleep, it can be serious. What are the common causes of blurred vision, what are its treatments, and, most importantly, what are the best ways to prevent it?
Blurry Vision Danger Signs
First a warning. If your blurry vision is accompanied by a severe headache, along with loss of muscle control––usually on one side of the body––along with difficulty speaking, you need to seek immediate medical assistance. Vision loss, double, or blurred vision along with these symptoms is a warning sign for a stroke.
Nearly as troubling, untreated diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy––a leading cause of blindness. Unfortunately, during the early stages, most people don’t have symptoms. It’s only when the blood vessels in the back of your eye start leaking into the vitreous that you’ll notice the problem. This damage to the retina might cause you to see floaters or streaks shaped like cobwebs across the field of vision. If you consistently suffer from high blood sugar, you are at risk. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes type 1 or 2, then speak to your doctor about blurred vision. In the United States, more than two in five diabetic patients have diabetic retinopathy. During an exam, your doctor will use drops to dilate your pupils and check for any eye conditions. Controlling your diabetes is the best way to prevent retinopathy. It’s not the only risk to your eyes––if you are diabetic, your chance of getting open-angle glaucoma doubles while you have up to five times the likelihood of developing cataracts.
Seeing More Clearly
Fortunately, there are more benign causes that are often to blame for blurred vision. As you may have guessed, your eyesight could be to blame. Refractive errors are when your eyes are unable to focus clearly and the outside world becomes blurry. The most common are nearsightedness (myopia), where you can’t clearly see objects that are far away from you, and farsightedness (hyperopia), which is where you can’t see anything nearby very well. The other two common refractive errors are astigmatism and presbyopia. Ignoring these conditions can lead to more than just headaches and blurry vision. If you’re having trouble driving on a crowded freeway or shopping in a store filled with breakables, then blurred vision means you are not only a risk to yourself but to others as well. Across the planet, some 153 million people have vision issues due to uncorrected refractive errors according to the World Health Organization.
Certain foods can help your eyesight such as Vitamin A, found in liver, eggs and milk, and deficiency of this vitamin is the primary cause of blindness in children. If you’re vegan, most multivitamins contain the vital vitamin. Other essential eye vitamins include C (found in bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits) and E (most common in almonds and sunflower seeds). Peanuts and peanut butter provide eye health and immunity-boosting zinc. Fish like canned light tuna, salmon, and sardines, which are loaded with omega-3s, can help your eyesight as can foods like spinach, pistachios, and egg yolks which are the best source of carotenoid antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin. These are your eyes’ natural sunblock. Of course wearing shades (notably sunglasses which provide broad-spectrum protection) is still important.
If you are experiencing vision loss, don’t ignore it. The many causes of blurred vision include some real health risks, but chances are an easy fix will let you see the world through clear eyes.
Written by John Bankston