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Blurred Vision in One Eye – Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary
IN THIS ARTICLE:

When an individual has vision that is blurred only in one eye, it can be caused by a number of various problems. It can be something as simple and harmless as discharge from crying or having discharge in that one eye. Or it could be something more serious for instance brain damage involving one of the optic nerves. But in the majority of cases, blurred vision in one eye or both eyes, is because of refractive error meaning that the individual needs correction with contact lenses or glasses.


In extremely rare cases, blurred vision in only one eye might be an indication of some disorder in the central nervous system or the brain, for instance a brain tumor that might be pressing on one of the optic nerves.

Blurred Vision in One Eye Causes

As mentioned above blurred vision in only one eye can be caused by numerous underlying diseases or conditions. Optic neuritis which is inflammation of the optic nerve can cause blurred vision that in the beginning starts in only one eye. This type of blurred vision can also be a symptom of disorders occurring in the central nervous system or brain, such as migraine headaches or a tumor pressing on the optic nerve. Trauma to the eye is another cause that can affect only one eye, either from an injury to the eye itself or from delayed effects such as formation of a cataract.

Additionally, conditions that are system wide such as diabetes can cause retinal or cataract conditions that might lead to blurred vision. There are also some medications that might have blurred vision as a side effect but normally that would affect both eyes.

Common Causes

Common cause of vision blurring in one eye include:

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  • Macular degeneration – age-related – is a disorder that creates loss of vision in the macula which is the area of the retina responsible for seeing detail in the central vision
  • Cataracts – loss of transparency or clouding in the lens of the eye
  • Diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and blindness – vision complications of diabetes
  • Dry eyes
  • Migraines
  • Myopia – nearsightedness; not able to focus on distant objects
  • Need for corrective lenses
  • Presbyopia – age-related farsightedness or inability to focus on objects that are near
  • Uveitis and iritis – inflammation of eye structures

Serious Causes

Life-threatening or serious causes of blurred vision in one eye include:

  • Brain tumor
  • Eye trauma
  • Glaucoma – disorder causing damage to the optic nerve, as result of pressure in the eye that is increased
  • Optic neuritis – inflammation of the optic nerve
  • Retinal detachment – detachment of the layer in the eye that is light-sensing from the blood vessels which provides the eye nutrients and oxygen
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack – temporary symptoms that are stroke-like that might be a sign or warning of an stroke that is impending

Blurred Vision in One Eye Treatment

If the blurring in the one eye does not get better in a few days or if it continues to worsen, it is time to make a visit to your eye care professional. He/she will check the eye to see if the problem is with one of the structures of the eye.

If the eye is fine, the blurring could be associated with a systemic disease or condition and you will probably be referred to your primary care physician to determine if there is an underlying problem.

Once the reason for the blurring is determined, it is vital that you follow any treatment plan that either your eye specialist or your primary care physician detail for you. This will protect you from the risk of any possible complications such as:

  • Brain damage
  • Loss of vision or blindness in either one or both eyes
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection
  • Unconsciousness and coma

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