When vision suddenly becomes blurred in one eye, or in both, it’s important to find out why as soon as possible. And in some cases, seeing an eye doctor should be immediate to avoid serious eye problems, according to Australian behavioural optometrist Jacqueline Gattegno of Smart Vision Optometry. She says that although there are a number of reasons why eyes might suddenly blur in the blink of an eye, and clear almost straightaway, there are others that appear just as quickly, which won’t clear at all, and these are the ones which need immediate attention.
Outside Injury to the Cornea
According to Gattegno, injury to one or both eyes can cause a great amount of damage to eyes and vision, whether it’s caused by objects, abrasions and scratches, or chemical burns. The cornea, the outer lens which controls the light entering the eye and provides about three quarters of the eye’s focusing power, is very vulnerable to almost anything that enters the eye. These invaders can take the form of small pieces of sand or dust blown into the eyes by the wind, chips that fly off materials while working, or by accidentally touching the eyes when applying cosmetics with a finger, eyebrow pencil or other item.
Symptoms include sudden blurring, red eyes, tearing, and sensitivity to light. And while the many which only slightly affect the outer layer of the cornea may heal in less than three days, the injury can turn into a serious matter if the damage has gone deeper and given rise to erosion and scarring or an infection develops.
Chemical burns are caused by liquid or powdered chemicals which enter the eyes at work or at home, where they are found in cleaning materials, nail polish removers, vinegar and any other items which contain either acids, alkalies, or strong irritants. Alkalies like ammonia, potassium, lime and magnesium hydroxides, found in fertilisers, drain and oven cleaners and plaster or cement are considered the worst.
If the burn goes too far into the eye and caused a large amount of damage, the impact on the eyes can lead to long term pain, scarring, glaucoma, and even blindness. Even slight damage can result in pain and discomfort, and continue to blur the vision for some time.
Damage Within the Eyes
According to Gattegno, sudden blurring can also be the result of damage within the eye itself, like when the retina at the back of the eye tears or becomes detached. This is the tissue which receives the messages carried to it by rays of the sun about what we see, for forwarding to the brain for processing. When firmly attached and nourished by attached blood vessels below it, the retina is able to function as both collector and forwarder of these messages, but when it is detached, blurry vision is the outcome. Other symptoms of a torn or detached retina include sudden flashes of light, speckles that seem to float through the picture that’s being seen, or dark shadows which creep into the eyes from the edges.
Breakdowns in blood supply caused by this detachment or by clots in the blood vessels, Gattegno reports, can severely impact on sight and vision, resulting in blurred vision and difficulty with coordination. They can also cause strokes in the brain, which also impacts on the eyes.
For more information on eye injuries and impairments, and how they can be treated, or to make an appointment for a regular eye check, visit the Smart Vision website: Optometrists Sydney: Optometry Services For Children and Adults | Smart Vision; for specific information about Myopia treatment and prevention visit Myopia Prevention: Solutions, Control And Treatment In Sydney; and for detailed information about Myopia Treatment visit Orthokeratology In Sydney: The Non Surgical Alternative.
To book an appointment for a thorough eye check-up, click here or Call the Bondi clinic on (02) 9365 5047 or the Mosman clinic on (02) 9969 1600.