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Emergency Care for Blurred Vision

It’s common to experience blurred vision — when you can’t see fine or focused details — in the form of nearsightedness or farsightedness. Seek medical care, however, if you experience a quick change in vision, such as a sudden loss of sharp vision.

Blurred vision is a symptom of a wide range of conditions, and it can begin suddenly or gradually over time. Your Dignity Health St. John's doctor knows that these conditions can range from serious to mild, and will work with you to pinpoint what’s causing your sudden blurred vision .

Seek immediate medical care for sudden blurred vision — even if your blurred vision is temporary — since such vision changes can signal a serious underlying medical condition.


Diagnosing Sudden Blurred Vision at Dignity Health St. John's

Your doctor will ask you questions and listen to your experiences, whether it’s blurred vision and headaches or other symptoms. Specific symptoms occurring with blurred vision can help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Blurred vision that starts suddenly also may be accompanied by:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Headache, perhaps a severe one
  • Feeling weak on just one side of your body or face
  • Double vision
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Dilated pupil
  • Pain that is moderate to severe
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Problems understanding speech or speaking
  • Light sensitivity
  • Having a sensation of a foreign body stuck in your eye
  • Feeling or hearing pulsations
  • Stiff neck

These symptoms may be signs of a serious condition, and one that is possibly life threatening. Your Dignity Health Central Coast doctor practices with a philosophy of care, dignity, and respect, and will help determine the causes for these symptoms.


Blurred Vision Causes

If you wear glasses to correct farsightedness or nearsightedness, your typical blurred vision is caused by a refractive error. This type of blurred vision is common and not considered a medical emergency.

Blurred vision can be caused by serious conditions. They include:

  • Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIAs)
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Chemical injury
  • Tumors of the optic nerve, orbit, and brain
  • Optic nerve inflammation
  • Injury to your eye or the area surrounding your eye
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Elevated spinal fluid pressure 
  • Inflammation in the brain, which can be caused by infection
  • Inflamed blood vessel around the temple
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma that can lead to permanent vision loss within hours

The type of personalized treatment plan your Dignity Health St. John's doctor develops for you will depend on your underlying medical cause. For certain causes, you may need to see an eye surgeon, or ophthalmologist, for emergency care.

Find a Doctor following your emergency room visit to work a doctor who focuses on your physical, mental, and spiritual needs.

Trusted Dignity Health doctors can help you diagnose the cause behind your sudden blurred vision.