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Blurry Vision in One Eye: Causes & Treatment

Blurry vision in one eye is usually a symptom of a larger issue to be diagnosed and treated. Ophthalmologists first look to see if there are issues with the macular or the optic nerve, two key systems in the eye. Medications, surgery and phototherapy are among treatments that doctors can deploy.

Causes of Blurry Vision

A number of eye conditions can cause blurry vision in one eye, including wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, angle-closure glaucoma, a detached retina and acute trauma.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration affects the macula, a part of the retina at the back of your eye that facilitates central vision. Left untreated, the condition keeps worsening with time and can cause blurred vision in one eye or both.

Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration

Among the symptoms you may experience when you have wet macular degeneration are:

  • Objects at the center of your visual field appear blurry 
  • Distorted images, such as straight lines appearing crooked 
  • Difficulty reading in dim light
  • Difficulty recognizing previously familiar faces 

Treatment of Wet Macular Degeneration

Doctors have a number of known successful treatments to halt the progression of wet macular degeneration, including those that destroy abnormal blood vessels growing on the macula. Among those are:

  • Medication
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photocoagulation

Medications

Prescription medications such as Bevacizumab (Avastin) and Ranibizumab (Lucentis) inhibit the function of growth signals responsible for generating new blood vessels in the body.

Photodynamic Therapy

With this treatment, your doctor administers a drug called verteporfin into a vein in your body, which circulates to blood vessels in your eye. A special laser is beamed onto the abnormal blood vessels to collapse them by activating the drug.

Photocoagulation

Targeting a high-energy laser onto the abnormal blood vessels can close them and stop blood leaks. Your vision is protected by preventing or slowing further macular degeneration.

Detached Retina

A retinal detachment is a vision-threatening condition wherein the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. It can occur in people who have had eye injury, eye surgery or retinal tear.

Symptoms of Detached Retina

Early outward signs of a detached retina include:

  • Suddenly seeing flashing lights, or so-called “stars”
  • Suddenly seeing many new floaters
  • Noticing a shadow in your side vision
  • Partial blurred vision

Treatment of Detached Retina

When you have a detached retina, you may see an ophthalmologist for surgical repair. Retinal surgery options include pneumatic retinopathy, vitrectomy and scleral buckle.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

An air bubble is put inside your eye to push the retina into place and allow it to heal.

Vitrectomy

Surgeon removes the vitreous (clear gel) lifting the retina away and replaces it with a gas bubble. This helps to push the retina into its normal position at the back of the eye for proper healing. 

Scleral Buckle

This procedure involves sewing a rubber band or soft plastic permanently to the outside of your eyeball. The resulting soft inward pressure pushes the retina against the back of the eye, helping it to heal.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when your eye does not drain fluid out of the front of the eye as it should. When drainage stops or slows down, fluid accumulates quickly and can cause sudden intense pressure on the optic nerve. 

Angle-closure glaucoma is when the iris prevents proper drainage of fluid in the eye, elevating optic nerve pressure to an unhealthy level.

Symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma does not have early signals of vision trouble and can cause blindness within no time. Its symptoms usually constitute a medical emergency, including:

  • Redness in the affected eye
  • Sharp eye pain 
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal issues 
  • Blurred vision

Treatment of Angle-Closed Glaucoma

To relieve eye pressure and prevent further damage on your optic nerve, your surgeon must re-establish normal drainage of fluid. The doctor can use a special laser and drugs to accomplish this.

Also, your doctor may assess the need to treat the other eye as a preventive measure, even if it doesn’t have abnormal pressure levels.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common long-term complication from diabetes and is also a leading cause of loss of vision. Because diabetes is on the rise in the western part of the world, an estimate 16 million people are expected to be dealing with retinopathy by the year 2050.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Eye microaneurysms
  • Eye hemorrhages
  • Intraretinal microvascular abnormalities

Treatment

Managing this condition depends on the level of severity and whether it is caused by Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is reversable in some cases. Type 1 diabetes is not.

Medicated eye drops can treat microbleeds, but doctors try to avoid laser treatments when the macula is involved. Otherwise, focal or grid laser-guided therapies come into play.

When to See Your Doctor

Besides during your regular eye checkups, you should see an eye doctor when you experience any vision changes. Symptoms like eye pain, floaters or cobwebs, and blurry vision usually warrant immediate medical attention.

References

  1. Blindness and Vision Impairment. (October 2021). World Health Organization.

  2. Detached Retina. (September 14, 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  3. Types of Glaucoma. (September 10, 2021). National Eye Institute.

  4. Glaucoma and Eye Pressure. (September 2021). National Eye Institute.

  5. Diabetic Retinopathy. (2021, August 29). StatPearls.

  6. Wet Macular Degeneration. (December 11, 2020). Mayo Clinic.

  7. Common Eye Disorders and Diseases. (June 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last Updated July 6, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.