Moderate changes in vision are normal as you age. Your eye lenses may lose their elasticity due to a condition called presbyopia. But even presbyopia isn’t usually sudden. It might start with near vision issues in your 40s and worsen over the next several years.
So, should you worry if you have sudden vision changes? Here’s what you need to know.
What causes sudden vision changes?
Many environmental factors can contribute to your vision. One of the primary ones we see at For Eyes is computer use. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), you can develop computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, by spending too much time on the computer or another digital device. More eye issues can occur the longer you use the electronic devices, with the primary symptoms being an insufficient tear flow, blurry vision, and tension in the eyes.
While you might experience sudden vision changes from using screens for too long, symptoms often subside after you’ve rested your eyes for a bit. If they don’t go away, make sure to check with an eye doctor so that you can see if you have any undetected refractive errors (e.g., astigmatism, hyperopia, or myopia) and need prescription lenses to alleviate your eye discomfort.
Another cause of sudden blurry vision is focusing on one task for a long period. If road signs become unclear after concentrating on visuals up close for several hours, you might think you’re nearsighted. However, the blurry vision could happen since you overexerted your near vision, preventing you from adjusting to other fields of view.
When should you be concerned about sudden vision changes?
While your environment can cause temporary, sudden vision changes, there are times when it’s best to see an eye doctor. If you experience any cloudy spots in the eye or ocular pain, you should see an optometrist right away, as these symptoms could signify an eye disease.
The AOA also recommends calling your eye doctor if your vision often changes with no warning signs. This may indicate diabetes or high blood pressure, which can affect your retinal blood vessels and eyesight in the long term if left untreated.
Noticing random floaters may also be a cause for concern. It’s okay if you see them here and there, but if they start increasing or if any light flashes accompany them, retinal detachment may be imminent.
Also, take notice of any issues with your peripheral vision (or side vision). This can indicate glaucoma, and if you’re already experiencing symptoms, you may be far into the condition, as it can progress for a while before symptoms become obvious.
You should also report any jagged lines in your immediate field of view to your optometrist. This sudden vision change may be a sign of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can contribute to complete vision loss down the line.
Summary: What can give you abrupt changes in eyesight?
In general, sudden vision changes are nothing to worry about. They may signify that your eyes need a break from what you’re working on, or you may have a mild refractive error, which makes it harder to do one task for too long.
However, if you’re experiencing any eye pain, along with sudden blurry vision, sudden cloudy vision, or cloudy vision in one eye or both eyes, please reach out to an optometrist as soon as possible. These symptoms may be signs of eye diseases or other serious eye problems, which can lead to blindness.
Our optical team is here for you and all your visual needs. Feel free to contact us at any time if you need assistance.
Click here to find a For Eyes store near you.