October 3, 2023

We rely on our vision to interact with the world around us every day, and it can be unnerving when there is a change in how we see. Experiencing sudden foggy, blurred, or cloudy vision in one eye or both is not terribly uncommon, but there are several potential causes–some far more severe than others.

If you have sudden blurry eyes, firstly, it is vital to understand the underlying causes. Based on symptoms and risk factors, you can decide what to do about it and determine if you need to seek emergency medical help.

There are a few common and few rare causes that can cause foggy eyes. Many of them are not a reason to worry, but some can be serious conditions. In this blog, we will discuss five emergency and non-emergency causes of sudden blurry vision in one eye.

5 Emergency Conditions of Foggy Vision

  1. Stroke 

Foggy vision in one or both eyes can occur when a stroke affects the visual areas of the brain. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms given below:

  • Severe headache
  • Disorientation
  •  Difficulty in speaking or understanding speech
  • Imbalance or walking issues
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities, especially on one side
  1. Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition where the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, pulls away from its normal position. This can lead to vision loss or blindness if not promptly treated.

The symptoms of retinal detachment can include:

  • Flashes of Light (Sudden bursts of light, often seen in the peripheral vision).
  • Floaters (The perception of dark spots, specks, or cobweb-like shapes drifting in your field of vision).
  • Shadow or Curtain Effect
  • Blurred or Decreased Vision
  • Visual Distortion
  1. Brain Tumor

Brain tumors can put pressure on the visual processing areas of the brain and cause visual changes such as foggy and blurry vision (seeing double) or complete vision loss.

Vision changes are not usually the only signs of a brain tumor. People often have headaches, dizziness, and changes to their other senses (like speech).

Other signs of brain tumor include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble while speaking
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • coordination, and balance problems
  1. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a severe eye condition affecting diabetic people. It occurs when diabetes damages the blood vessels of the retina. Some of the signs of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision,
  • Dark spots or seeing floaters in your field of vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Poor night vision
  1. Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when the macula at the back of the eye begins to breakdown. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Central vision loss and distortion of images
  • Difficulty in reading and driving
  • Difficulty to recognize faces
  • Dark and blind spots in the field of vision
  • Appearance of curves or waves in straight lines

5 Non-Emergency Conditions of Foggy Vision

  1. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an eye condition characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin and clear tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. It can be caused by infections producing symptoms such as:

  • The sclera may take on a red or pink hue
  • Eye irritation or a burning sensation
  • Eyelids may become swollen
  • A feeling of grittiness in the eye
  • Increased tear production
  • Excessive eye drainage
  1. Other Eye Infections

Several different eye infections can result when bacteria, viruses, or fungi enter the eye. Any of these infections can cause foggy or blurry vision.

Common eye infections include:

  • Eye strain
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Eye injury
  • Decreased visual acuity
  • Difficulty in opening eye
  • Redness and swelling
  1. Retinal Migraine

A retinal migraine is a rare neurological condition that causes temporary visual disturbances or blindness in one eye for less than an hour and is often accompanied by migraine symptoms like headaches.

  1. Cataract

cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to a gradual decline in vision clarity. It generally develops in both eyes, it can occur at different rates. It can also result from factors like injury, medications, or medical conditions.

  • Experiencing discomfort from bright sunlight, bulbs, or headlights
  • Noticing halos around light sources
  • Difficulty seeing well in low-light conditions
  • Colors appear less vivid
  • Seeing two images of the same object
  1. Eye Strain

Eye strain, also known as asthenopia, is a condition caused by prolonged periods of focusing on digital screens, reading, or other close-up tasks. Common symptoms include:

  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eye dryness
  • Blurred vision and difficulty in focusing
  • Shoulder and neck pain

When to See a Healthcare Provider?

It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional whenever you experience vision problems. This encompasses foggy eyes in one or both eyes, as well as:

  • Challenges in perceiving objects in your peripheral vision.
  • Difficulty in night vision or reading difficulties.
  • A progressive decline in visual acuity.
  • Trouble distinguishing between colors.
  • Blurriness when attempting to focus on nearby or distant objects.
  • A history of diabetes or a family predisposition to the condition.
  • Eye itchiness or discharge.
  • Alterations in vision possibly associated with medication use (however, never discontinue or alter medication without consulting your healthcare provider).
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