Impaired vision is a common consequence of ageing. Most people adapt to this condition by reading books closer or farther away, and normal visionary functions become increasingly tasking. With the advent of science and technology, there are provisions to cater for such age-induced conditions.
However, blurry vision is a different ball game. It is characterised by an abrupt worsening and blurring of the sight of people who have not had any changes in their vision before. In some cases, this sudden blurred vision is accompanied by dizziness and weakness.
A host of illnesses can cause such sudden blurry vision, and we examine some of them below:
1. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease in which the nervous system cells in the spinal cord and brain become damaged. However, MS can also affect and damage the optic nerves. These optic nerves connect the brain and the eyes and send signals for interpretation from the eyes to the brain. Impaired vision is one of the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Optic neuritis is the consequence of demyelination or inflammation of the optic nerve and causes the blurriness, pain in the movement of the eye and loss of colour of the eye. It is common among patients that the sudden blurry vision occurs only in the left eye. In other people, MS affects both eyes, but one eye at a time. However, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary among patients, and they may fade away over time or not.
It is typical that full or partial vision returns after a couple of days or weeks. Nevertheless, the absence of one or more of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis does not necessarily mean that the illness is gone. Patients that have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should endeavour to visit the hospital frequently to determine the severity of and manage the condition.
2. Brain Tumour
A tumour is an abnormal growth of cells in the body. Hence, brain tumours are abnormal cells or masses in the brain. Some are noncancerous, and others are. Just like other types, brain tumours can spread from other parts of the body to the brain or begin in the brain.
The effect that most brain tumours have on the brain is that the extra mass from the abnormal growth cells causes an increase in the pressure exerted in the skull. An increase in the weight of the head is also a consequence of this condition. Such an increase in the pressure exerted can cause several symptoms like dizziness and sudden blurred vision. Furthermore, other signs of brain tumours include seizure, vomiting and persistent headaches.
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Both cancerous brain tumours and benign (non-cancerous tumours) require surgery to remove from the brain. However, some brain tumours may be managed until surgery is necessary. This is, however, not advisable. It is recommended that you visit the doctor if you begin to notice some of the signs of brain tumours explained to start a treatment process or management of the tumour.
Diabetes is a medical condition in which the metabolism of the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or does not efficiently make use of it. This condition increases the body’s level of glucose. Diabetic patients usually need to use drugs or take injections to control the level of glucose in their body.
A specific condition that diabetic patients are susceptible to which also affects the eyes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the patient’s eyes and is caused by the low sugar level of the blood. This condition is the effect of the damage of the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the blood-sensitive tissue that senses light and is the location for the formation of images in the eye. The macular, in particular, is affected by the damaged blood vessels and it may swell up.
One common symptom of the swelling of the macular and diabetic retinopathy is a sudden loss of vision and dizziness. If not treated properly, it may also cause complete loss of vision in extreme cases. Patients who experience such symptoms, especially those who have diabetes should frequently visit the doctor for check-ups.
This is an attack on the brain. It is a complication that occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly cut off. A consequence of this is that there would be a limited supply of oxygen to the brain which causes damage to the brain cells. Any cell that is damaged in the brain will cause the abilities that were controlled by those cells to be lost.
When the brain cells that control sight are not being supplied with enough oxygen to survive, sudden blurred vision and dizziness may occur. Other symptoms include dizziness, double vision, and balance problems. The recovery of these cells is dependent on the time in which the supply has been cut off. If the shortage in the amount of oxygen takes too long, total damage of the cells that control sight may occur.
Recovery from stroke is not rampant among people who experience it, and a large percentage of these people end up with some disability. Even though stroke is common in the elderly, it can affect anybody. Frequent check-ups are advised to prevent this illness.
This is a medical condition where the pressure exerted in the eyeball increases and damage occurs to the optic nerves. This will lead to a sudden, irreversible or progressive loss of sight. Glaucoma is a silent illness as no one will notice its effects quickly.
Also check: Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatment
The first symptom of glaucoma is an abrupt or total blurred vision. This is because the optic nerves which communicate visionary information from the eye to the brain had begun to damage. Images will still be formed on the eye, and the eye keeps on functioning normally, but the brain has no medium of accepting and interpreting such information.
Glaucoma needs to be monitored in patients, and the first signs of blurred vision should be reported. Delay in treatment may lead to a total loss of sight. Surgery may be required in extreme cases, and it is not advisable to manage glaucoma.
6. Migraine Headaches
Migraines are intense and terrible headaches. They are accompanied by some symptoms and affect only one side of the patient’s head. Different conditions like lack of sleep, severe hunger and other illness can cause migraines.
On the onset of these migraines, blurred vision is a common symptom experienced by patients. People who suffer from this condition find that they are debilitated for weeks or days. Other symptoms like increased sensitivity to light and nausea can also occur before or after the episodes. A few drugs can be used in treating migraines. However, migraines are best countered by resolving the issue that caused them in the first place like sleeping more and eating enough at the right time.
Another condition that can cause a sudden loss of vision is hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a condition in which the body temperature becomes extremely high and is the opposite of hypothermia.
When the temperature of the body increases too much, the body attempts to resolve this issue by sweating and expelling heat from the temperature. When the body attempts to do this, the brain works more than usual. Overworking of the brain will then lead to a reduction in some functions carried out by it. Of such functions is the sense of sight. A sudden loss of vision is usually a consequence of the overworking of the brain.
Other symptoms of hyperthermia include exhaustion, nausea, excessive sweating, and muscle cramps. A couple of medical conditions can be used to treat hyperthermia when it is not as a result of other illness. For other cases, resting is the best means of treating hyperthermia.
Cataract is a condition where the eye lens becomes opaque or cloudy. A cataract will form slowly and painlessly. The lens is used to converge light rays from objects to the retina of the eye so that they can be interpreted by the brain. Most cases of cataracts are related to ageing.
When the lens becomes opaque or cloudy, the images are not formed correctly. Over time, a poor image formed by the lenses of the eye can cause blurred vision because the lens has been weakened. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes depending on the severity, and these losses of sight are usually hereditary.
Cataracts can be managed over time, but eventually, surgery may be required. Frequent visits to the doctor will help determine the severity of the cataract and how soon an operation is needed.
Vision Impairment Should be Taken Very Seriously
The sense of sight is very vital to the body. Vision impairment should be taken very seriously as there are very few scientific means to recover a total loss of sight. If a blurred vision or any other symptom of the illnesses discussed above is observed, it is advisable to take steps to manage or cure it.