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Causes of blurred vision and when to contact a doctor 

27 November 2023

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom. However, it does not always represent a hazard; sometimes vision is blurred due to fatigue and sometimes due to eye problems or non-ocular diseases (1). We will review the possible causes of blurred vision, how it can occur in menopause, and when to be concerned. 

Causes of blurred vision 

The term describes a reduction in visual clarity. This means that the person no longer sees clearly, so they may have trouble identifying objects or reading. This can affect only one eye, but commonly people complain of blurred vision in both eyes. The intensity of the symptom can vary; it may get worse over time or appear in some situations and disappear in others. For example, in dry eye syndrome, vision improves with blinking, but in cataracts, it gets worse and worse (1)

causes-of-blurred-vision

Some common causes of blurred vision are (1,2): 

  • Refractive errors. Astigmatism (visual distortion due to corneal deformation), hyperopia (difficulty seeing near objects), myopia (unclear vision of distant objects), and presbyopia (age-related difficulty in focusing up close). 
  • Prolonged use of contact lenses. 
  • Visual fatigue due to excessive use of screens or unsuitable lenses. 
  • Dry eye syndrome. 
  • Eye infections. 
  • Injuries or blows to or near the eyes. 
  • Various eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma
  • General medical conditions. Hypertension or diabetes can increase the risk of visual complications. 
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). 
  • Diseases affecting the optic nerve. 
  • Migraines and severe headaches. 
  • Laser eye surgery may cause temporary blurring of vision. 

Visual problems in menopause 

Blurred vision is one of the symptoms of menopause. Hormonal changes during menopause may increase the risk of eye disease. 

Initially, it has been found that perimenopause and menopause increase the risk of dry eyes. This can cause itching, inflammation, sensitivity to light, and problems seeing well. Also, dry eye does not usually improve with hormone replacement therapy (3,4). In addition, menopausal women experience increased pressure within the eye that can lead to within the eye that can lead to ocular nerve damage and future blindness from glaucoma (5). 

On the other hand, it is important to consider the advanced age of women during menopause —with the exception of early menopause. As years progress, there is an increased risk of cataracts (6)

Causes of blurred vision: symptoms and when to consult a doctor 

This visual problem may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, for example (1, 2, 6)

  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects. 
  • Headaches. 
  • Eye irritation or a feeling of having grit in the eye. 
  • Eyelid heaviness. 
  • Increased tearing. 
  • Sensitivity to light. 
  • Seeing flies or flashes of light. 

However, we recommend that you see an emergency doctor if you have any of these warning signs (2,6)

  • Pain in one or both eyes. 
  • Partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes. 
  • Severe headache that does not get better with nothing. 
  • Nausea or vomiting. 
  • Sensation of numbness on one side of the body. 
  • Inability to move an arm or leg, or weakness in one half of the body. 
  • Confusion. 
  • Difficulty speaking. 

Certain serious diseases such as retinal detachment, stroke, or heart attack may be one of the causes of blurred vision with one or more of the warning signs and symptoms mentioned above. These require immediate medical treatment. 

How to take care of your visual health in menopause? 

Here are some recommendations for taking care of your eye health during the menopause (1,2,6)

  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses when you are outdoors. 
  • Wear safety goggles if you are going to do any activity where there is a risk of particles (glass, plastic, wood, etc.) entering your eye. 
  • Keep your contact lenses or glasses with up-to-date formulas. 
  • Eat foods that benefit the health of your eyes such as vegetables, 
  • fruits, and fatty fish. 
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Take care of your blood pressure and cholesterol. 
  • Control your blood sugar. 
  • Take regular breaks if you work in front of screens for long periods of time. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. 
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes or contact lenses. 
  • Ask your doctor if you need to use artificial tears or take omega-3 and vitamin A supplements. 
  • Lastly, get regular eye exams. 

To sum up, the causes of blurred vision can vary throughout life, even during menopause, and can suggest disease. It is therefore essential to be aware of changes in vision and consult a specialist when necessary.

Bibliographical references 

1. Cleveland Clinic. Blurred vision [Internet]. 2022 October 04 [Cited 2023 Nov 

05.] Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24262- 

blurred-vision 

2. MedLine Plus. Vision Problems [Internet]. 2022 August 22 [Cited 2023 Nov 

05.] Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003029.htm 

3. Garcia-Alfaro P, Garcia S, Rodriguez I, Vergés C. Dry eye disease 

symptoms and quality of life in perimenopausal and postmenopausal 

women. Climacteric. [Internet]. 2021 Jun [Cited 2023 Nov 05.] 24(3):261- 

266. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33283560/ 

4. Dang A, Nayeni M, Mather R, Malvankar-Mehta MS. Hormone replacement 

therapy for dry eye disease patients: systematic review and meta-analysis. 

Can J Ophthalmol. [Internet]. 2020 February [Cited 2023 Nov 05.] 55(1):3- 

11. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31712035/ 

5. Douglass A, Dattilo M, Feola AJ. Evidence for Menopause as a Sex-Specific 

Risk Factor for Glaucoma. Cell Mol Neurobiol. [Internet]. 2023 January 

[Cited 2023 Nov 05.] 43(1):79-97. Available from:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9250947/ 

6. NHS. Age-related cataracts [Internet]. 2022 December 22 [Cited 2023 Nov 

05.] Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003029.htm 

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