Change in vision
Change in vision is a common complaint that can range from a simple refractive change to a more serious ocular diseases that could cause anatomical and physiological changes. A vision change comprises of any alteration in your ability to see normally, including blurred vision, cloudy vision, double vision, seeing spots in your vision, or loss of vision, and may occur in one or both eyes. While vision changes can affect anyone, they are more common in older people who are more likely to have chronic conditions that affect their vision. Vision changes may affect your ability to focus on objects at a specific distance or at every distance.
Frequently, changes in vision happen regularly over the course of time as your eyeglass prescription changes. Vision changes that are the result of a refractive error such as myopia (nearsightedness) or presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) can be easily corrected by the eyeglasses or contact lenses. Vision changes can also be caused by cataracts, the gradual loss of transparency in the lens, but can also be easily corrected through surgery.
Additional causes of vision changes include: age-related macular degeneration, corneal edema, diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes, eye infections, eye injury, macular edema, migraines, retinal detachment, and uveitis. As there are numerous causes for changes in vision, it is important to visit your eye care professional if you notice a change in your vision in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Vision changes are common in children. As the child grows, their eyes grow and change as well, which could mean continuous changes in their eyesight and prescription. Nearsightedness is common as early as age 6, worsens around age 11 to 13, and can continue to deteriorate until the late teens or early 20’s. Farsightedness can in fact improve as your child grows, and you might notice your child’s vision improving as they grow into their teen years. If you notice that your child’s eyesight is changing, it is usually not a cause for concern, but it is important to take your child in for yearly appointments to have an eye doctor evaluate their eyes.
As you age, vision changes become more common. When you reach middle age your eyes’ lenses begin to harden, causing refractive changes. If you notice that you are having trouble seeing objects close up or reading, visit your eye doctor so they can evaluate your eyesight and prescribe you reading glasses.
If you suffer from diabetes, you may notice temporary changes in your vision that generally occur from fluctuating blood sugar levels. The longer these blood sugars remain uncontrolled the more detrimental it can be for one’s vision. These visual changes can be temporary or permanently; but are dependent on the state of the retina. However, most of the time, diabetic patients’ vision will be unaffected but have signs of diabetic eye issues. This is why it is important for all diabetic patients to get routine eye checkups by an optometrists so early detection can take place before it is too late.
Similarly, dry eyes, can cause temporary changes in vision as well. Individuals who suffer from a poor ocular surface will experience these fluctuations and change in vision. Without treatment, these temporary changes can lead to a permanent change if scarring arises from the disease lingering. Another cause for temporary vision loss is hormonal changes during pregnancy. You may need a different prescription during a pregnancy, but your eyes should return to your normal prescription after you have given birth or stopped breastfeeding.
If you experience sudden vision changes accompanied by severe eye pain, headache, loss of coordination, loss of consciousness, sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, garbled or slurred speech, then seek medical care immediately, even if symptoms are temporary. These symptoms could be sign of a stroke or other serious condition.
While often vision changes are not dangerous, in some cases they could be caused by vision- or life-threatening conditions. If you experience a change in your vision, contact your health care provider for a prompt diagnosis and treatment to ensure you do not experience lasting or avoidable damage to your vision. Your optometrist can help you wade through the variety of potential causes and help pinpoint the reasons for your changes in vision.