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Vision Loss

Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Key Points

  • The article details symptoms of vision loss such as blurry vision, eye strain, and headaches, emphasizing that sudden vision loss could be a sign of a medical emergency like a stroke.
  • It identifies the main causes of vision loss, which include aging, blood clots, migraines, glaucoma, seizures, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
  • The article highlights prevention measures like regular eye exams, reporting vision changes to a doctor, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and using protective eye gear.
  • Treatment options for vision loss vary based on the cause and may include medications, surgery, corrective lenses, vision aids, and occupational therapy.
  • The importance of regular eye exams for early diagnosis and treatment of vision loss is underscored throughout the article.

Possible Symptoms for Vision Loss

Vision loss can sometimes occur without warning, but in most cases, it develops gradually.[1] As your vision deteriorates, you may experience some of the following symptoms:[1][2]

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty focusing your eyes
  • Confusion or disorientation

Sudden or unexplained vision loss is a medical emergency. If you experience sudden changes in your vision, seek medical care right away. Prompt treatment can sometimes restore your vision, but delaying medical care may result in permanent vision loss.[3]

Keep in mind that vision changes are a common symptom of a stroke. If vision changes are accompanied by confusion, slurred speech, facial drooping, or balance problems, call 911 immediately.[4]

Top 9 Vision Loss Causes

1. Aging

Aging often causes a gradual loss of vision. You may notice that you need stronger reading glasses as time goes on and that seeing items close-up may become a challenge.[1] However, in most cases, these aging-related vision changes are not a cause for concern. Still, it's important to see a doctor to rule out a serious medical condition.

2. Blood clots

Blood clots can cut off blood flow to the brain or optic nerve. In some cases, this may cause sudden vision loss.[3] Blood clots can be treated, but speed is essential. If you suspect a blood clot, go to the hospital right away.

3. Migraines

People with migraine headaches often report vision changes before or during a migraine. These vision changes can include blind spots, flashing lights, or blurry vision.[2] Symptoms generally disappear once your migraine goes away. If you're having trouble managing your migraines, medication may help.

4. Retinal vasospasm

Retinal vasospasm is caused by tightening blood vessels in the retina. These spasms can cut off blood flow, causing temporary vision loss.[2] Medical treatment often improves blood flow to the retina and restores your vision.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when fluid builds up inside your eye. Over time, backed-up fluid can increase pressure within the eye and damage your optic nerve. Early diagnosis is essential for this condition, as glaucoma may not cause any symptoms until irreversible damage has already occurred.[5] Getting regular eye exams can help your doctor diagnose glaucoma in its early stages.

6. Seizures

Seizures can sometimes cause vision changes or temporary vision loss.[2] If you have a seizure disorder, tell your doctor if you experience any changes to your vision. Medication may help you manage your seizures and limit these side effects.

7. Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens inside your eye becomes clouded. This clouding is often a normal part of aging. Up to 70% of people in the United States may develop cataracts by age 80.[6] Cataracts can dramatically impair your vision, but surgery can help restore it.

8. Diabetic retinopathy

Many people with diabetes develop problems with their vision. If your blood sugar is not well controlled, you may be at high risk for vision complications. Diabetic retinopathy is progressive: over time, it may cause complete blindness. However, treatment can slow the disease's progression and protect your vision.[7]

9. Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration develops when the central part of the retina starts to deteriorate. The retina senses light and plays a key role in helping you see. If your retina deteriorates, you may experience severe and irreversible vision loss. There is no cure for macular degeneration, but treatment can help slow its progression.[8]

7 Ways to Prevent Vision Loss

1. Get regular eye exams

Regular eye exams are vital for protecting your vision. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing permanent vision loss.

2. Report vision changes to your doctor

Minor vision changes may suggest that you have a serious underlying condition. Don't ignore vision changes, especially if they are sudden or unexplained.

3. Don't smoke

Smoking is linked to many vision problems, including macular degeneration and cataracts. If you're a smoker, quitting can help protect your vision.[9]

4. Manage your blood pressure

High blood pressure increases your risk of vision loss and eye damage. Medication and lifestyle changes can help bring your blood pressure under control.

5. Manage your blood sugar

Having diabetes significantly increases your risk of vision problems.[7] Regular screenings can help check your blood sugar and diagnose diabetes early. If you have diabetes, treatment can help you manage your blood sugar.

6. Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses help protect your eyes against harmful UV rays. Exposure to UV rays is sometimes responsible for cataracts or cancerous growths. Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UBA rays.[9]

7. Use protective gear

Severe eye injuries may cause permanent vision loss or even complete blindness. Wearing protective gear helps prevent eye injuries and protect your sight.[9]

Possible Vision Loss Treatment Options

Treatment options may depend on which condition is causing your vision loss. Your eye doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

1. Medications

Prescription medications can treat many medical conditions linked to vision loss. Medication is particularly essential for treating high blood pressure and diabetes.[7] Dietary supplements may also provide your eyes with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

2. Surgery

If you have severely impaired vision, surgery may help. Surgery can replace clouded lenses in your eye, remove scar tissue, or drain away excess fluid.[5][6][8] Laser surgery is often an excellent option for people with vision problems.

3. Corrective lenses and vision aids

Corrective lenses can give your vision a boost and help you keep up with your daily activities. Your doctor may suggest prescription glasses, contact lenses, or other vision aids.

4. Occupational therapy

If your vision loss is permanent, your doctor may recommend occupational therapy. This type of treatment focuses on learning to adapt to your condition.

Your occupational therapist may suggest helpful workarounds for your home or workplace. Occupational therapists can also help you learn to use a cane or other tools designed for people with vision impairment.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Vision Loss Treatment

  • When did your vision loss begin?
  • What other symptoms are you experiencing?
  • When was your last eye exam?
  • Are you a current or past smoker?
  • Have you recently injured your eyes or suffered a blow to the head?
  • Does anyone else in your family have vision loss?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure?

Frequently asked questions

  • What are some symptoms of vision loss?

    Symptoms can include blurry vision, eye strain, headaches, difficulty focusing, confusion, and disorientation.
  • What could sudden vision loss indicate?

    Sudden vision loss is a medical emergency and could be a symptom of a stroke.
  • What are some common causes of vision loss?

    Common causes include aging, blood clots, migraines, retinal vasospasm, glaucoma, seizures, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
  • How can I prevent vision loss?

    Prevention measures include regular eye exams, reporting any vision changes to your doctor, not smoking, managing your blood pressure and blood sugar, wearing sunglasses, and using protective gear.
  • What are the treatment options for vision loss?

    Treatment options depend on the cause of the vision loss, but may include medications, surgery, corrective lenses and vision aids, and occupational therapy.
  • How important are regular eye exams in preventing vision loss?

    Regular eye exams are extremely important as they can help in early diagnosis and treatment of vision loss.
  • Can lifestyle changes help in preventing vision loss?

    Yes, lifestyle changes such as not smoking, managing blood pressure and blood sugar can help in preventing vision loss.
  • Is sudden vision loss always a sign of a stroke?

    No, while sudden vision loss can be a symptom of a stroke, it can also be caused by other conditions. It's always best to seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden vision loss.

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Related Health Concerns


Cataract Surgery

Color Blindness

Detached Retina

Double Vision

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Facial Tenderness



Itchy Eyes


Macular Degeneration


Strep Throat

Tooth Extraction

Tunnel Vision


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