We rely on our vision to interact with the world every day, and it can be unnerving when there’s a change in how we see. Experiencing sudden blurry vision in one eye isn’t terribly uncommon, but there are a number of potential causes—some far more serious than others.

If you have sudden blurry vision in one eye, first, it’s important to understand the potential causes. Based on risk factors and other symptoms, you can then decide what to do about it, and determine if you need to seek emergency medical attention. 

We’ll look at emergency scenarios first. While these are far less common causes of sudden blurry vision, they are the biggest reasons for concern.

If your blurred vision is accompanied by these factors, don’t hesitate to seek medical help immediately! 

Emergencies

Some causes of blurred vision are eye problems that need to be addressed with urgency. These include:

  • Brain tumor
  • Optic neuritis (optic nerve inflammation)
  • Detached retina
  • Macular hole (a hole in the central part of the retina)
  • Angle closure glaucoma (blocked drainage system in the eye, leading to increased pressure, pain, redness, etc.)
  • Wet macular degeneration (when abnormal blood vessels grow, causing blood and other fluid to leak into the center area of the retina, known as the macula)

These conditions are likely accompanied by varying degrees of nausea, pain, discomfort, and other sight-related issues like double vision, floaters (black flecks), halos, and so on.

If blurred vision is accompanied by drooping muscles in the face, loss of control in one side of your body, difficulty speaking, and/or severe headache, it could also be a sign of stroke or early symptoms of a serious health condition. In each of these instances, it is critical to seek immediate medical attention for diagnosis and treatment.

 As a general rule, if sudden blurry vision in one eye is accompanied by pain, nausea, other visual anomalies, impaired balance, or difficulty moving, call 911 and seek emergency services right away.

Non-Emergencies

Non-emergency causes for sudden blurry vision are still disconcerting. Even if they don’t require immediate action or emergency treatment, the discomfort and impairment are worth addressing as soon as possible. 

The possible causes that aren’t life threatening or extremely debilitating are numerous, but some of the most common include:

  • Cataracts (usually a slower onset)
  • Migraine
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Eye infection
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Complications with medicine (typically affects both eyes)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Dry macular degeneration (much more common than wet macular degeneration, where drusen buildup leads to vision blurring)
  • Overly dry eyes

In addition to these potential problems, the most common causes of blurred vision are known as “refractive errors.” These refractive errors consist of a variety of conditions that affect how the eye bends light, and include astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, age-related vision deterioration, and anisometropia (unequal refraction), among others.

For these non-emergency conditions, the first step is making an appointment with an optometrist for diagnosis and treatment options. 

Treatment

Treatment options for sudden blurry vision in one eye, as well as blurred vision in both eyes, slowly deteriorating eyesight, and other problems seeing clearly are as numerous as the potential causes.

That’s why it’s so important to see an optometrist for diagnosis. Once they are able to identify the root of the issue, the options for treatment come into focus. For some people, the solution may be as simple as prescription glasses or new contact lenses. In other situations, treatment may involve medication, antibiotics, or eyedrops.

Other more serious conditions can lead to eye surgery like LASIK and other methods of correcting refractive errors by reshaping or repairing the cornea. Cataract surgery is quite common, and involves replacing clouded lenses with artificial ones.

In non-emergent scenarios where blurred vision is caused by a condition not directly related to the eye (like diabetes, extremely high blood sugar, or migraines), it’s still important to visit an optometrist to rule out potential causes. They will  also be able to guide you toward other treatment options that fall under other medical disciplines. 

Lifestyle choices can also be a contributing factor to vision problems, and consultation with medical experts will help you identify dietary, environmental, and personal health factors that are contributing to the onset of your blurry vision. 

Speed is Important

As we have covered here, there are numerous reasons your vision might be blurry. Even if just one eye is affected, the potential causes are broad. 

However, if changes in your vision are extremely sudden or worsening rapidly, this is cause for special concern. Age-related macular degeneration, refractive errors, and even vision problems caused by illness are often gradual. If blurred vision happens suddenly, it’s a good idea to seek professional attention as soon as possible. 

Not only will immediate attention help you get closer to relief (and being able to see clearly again), it can also be the path to identifying underlying issues that might threaten more than your vision. 
If you or a loved one is experiencing sudden blurry vision in one eye, contact TrueEye immediately to set up an appointment! Our expert staff will get you in as soon as possible, and proceed with necessary eye exams, diagnosis, and treatment to help you get your sight back.