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Blurry Vision vs. Clear Vision

Having clear vision is something many people take for granted—until they develop vision problems. Blurry vision can be a minor inconvenience or a major concern depending on your specific circumstances. It can affect your work, your education, your ability to drive, or any number of other activities.

Blurry vision can be caused by many things, including everything from windy weather to eye disease. It’s important to take the steps necessary to maintain clear vision—your eyes are essential to your day-to-day life!

Through regular comprehensive eye exams and proper eye care, you can take the first steps toward maintaining clear vision!

What Can Cause Blurry Vision?

There are many different things that can cause blurry vision, ranging from diseases to injuries. Some of the most common causes of blurry vision include:

  • Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
  • Presbyopia (decreased ability to focus at near)
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Eye disease
  • Environmental factors (wind, smoke, mold)

Because there are so many different causes of blurry vision, it’s important to book an eye exam right away if you’re experiencing blurred vision.

It could be something as simple as needing a new prescription for glasses, but an eye exam allows your eye doctor to rule out anything more serious that could lead to permanent vision loss.

Refractive Errors and Blurry Vision

One of the most common causes of blurry vision is something called a “refractive error”. This is when light traveling through your eye does not focus properly.

There are three common kinds of refractive errors:

  • Myopia, also known as nearsightedness. This occurs when the eyeball grows longer than it is wide, or the cornea (front part of the eye) is too steep.
  • Hyperopia, or farsightedness, which is caused by the eye being shorter than it is wide or the cornea is flat (not curved enough).
  • Astigmatism, which occurs when the cornea is shaped more like an egg rather than a basketball, leading light to scatter over 2 focal points.

Alongside these common problems, there is another condition closely linked with age greater than 45 known as presbyopia.


Presbyopia occurs when the eye slowly begins to lose its ability to focus clearly at near, such as using a cell phone or reading a tablet. When you’re younger, your natural lens is (keep) and adaptable, making it simple to change shape and focus on objects at different distances.

As you age, though, this lens becomes less flexible as the proteins inside the lens start to harden. It becomes more rigid and has difficulty changing shape. This often leads to the development of presbyopia (difficulty focusing up close).

This condition primarily affects your central vision when trying to focus on nearby objects, which can make it difficult to do things like:

  • Reading a book
  • Focusing on small text on a screen
  • Seeing clear lines on pictures
  • Difficulty using computers
  • Seeing car dashboard
  • Problems with writing neatly or cleanly

Dry Eye and Blurry Vision

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common causes of blurry vision. Commonly feeling like a gritty or burning sensation on the surface of the eye, dry eye syndrome is most often caused by an issue with your natural tear production. Either the tears aren’t produced in enough volume to do their job, or they aren’t of high enough quality to keep your eye hydrated and moisturized.

This condition can also be caused by other eye conditions, making it essential to visit your eye doctor for a proper diagnosis. Eye problems like blepharitis, or even allergic conjunctivitis, can also lead to this burning feeling but require different forms of treatment. By visiting an eye care professional, you can receive proper treatment for your eye problems and begin restoring your vision. At OneEyCare, our eye doctors specialize in custom dry eye treatments.

Can Eye Disease Cause Blurry Vision?

There are some common eye conditions that can also lead to blurry vision: diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is a common condition that affects millions of Americans, and one of the potential symptoms is blurry vision. In fact, over 40% of people with diabetes develop blurry vision at some point due to diabetic retinopathy.

This is most often caused by persistently high blood sugar levels causing damage to the small blood vessels in the eye. A person with diabetes should visit their eye doctor regularly for a diabetic eye exam so that any potential complications can be caught during their early stages.


Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, often due to high pressure in the eye. There are different types of glaucoma, and they can often be symptomless until they’ve already begun damaging your eye. Angle closure glaucoma can present as intermittent blurry vision associated with headache. This makes it important to regularly schedule comprehensive eye exams so that you can catch glaucoma developing early—before it causes permanent vision loss.


Cataracts are a common age-related condition that causes the natural lens of the eye to become cloudy, which can cause blurry vision. Cataracts are very common in patients over the age of 60 and treatable with a quick 20-30 minute surgery. More than 68% of Americans over the age of 80 have developed cataracts or had cataract surgery performed.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

As you age, you may develop something called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is an eye condition that can blur the center of your vision due to a part of your eye called the macula wearing down as you get older.

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults, and the treatments available for AMD depend on both the type of AMD a person has and the progression of the condition.

Can Environmental Factors Cause Blurry Vision?

While medical conditions play a large part in the development of blurry vision, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to this as well. Some of the most common environmental culprits are:

  • Fires, smoke, and ash
  • Wind
  • Mold

Especially strong and dry winds, like the Santa Ana winds in Southern California can lead to blurriness.

It isn’t just the wind, though. In areas like California, where wildfires are a common occurrence, your vision may be affected by pollutants or contaminants in the air. Smoke, dust, and ash can severely affect your eyes, leading to blurry vision

If you notice that you’re only experiencing blurry vision in one area, like your bedroom or a home office, it may be something nearby causing your problems. If you’re noticing this, it may be beneficial to check out the room and see if there are any contaminants in the air, like chemical spillage, airborne dust from exposed drywall, or mold.

How to Maintain Clear Vision

There are many different steps you can take to ensure your eyes stay healthy. The best way to start is to practice proper eye hygiene at every opportunity. This includes washing your hands regularly, avoiding rubbing your eyes when possible, and avoiding touching your eyes when your hands are dirty.

If you wear contact lenses, it’s important that you practice proper hygiene at every chance. Ensure you’re using the right storage cases and cleaning solution and that you never handle them with dirty hands. By making sure your contacts are sterile every time you put them in, you can reduce the risk of contamination to your eyes.

Nutrition also plays a big part in keeping your vision clear. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help keep your eyes healthy and support your long-term vision health.

Keep Your Vision Clear

While there are steps you can take during your everyday life to maintain your clear vision, one of the most important things to do is to regularly schedule comprehensive eye exams.

When you regularly visit an eye doctor, they can detect and help you manage eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts. An eye doctor can also provide advice on how to maintain proper eye health and hygiene and can answer any questions you may have about your blurry vision.

Keeping your vision clear is essential, so it’s never a bad time to visit an eye doctor. Schedule an appointment with our specialists here at One EyeCare today so we can help keep your vision clear!