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What Causes Blurry Vision Migraine

When To Call Your Doctor

Double vision always requires a doctors evaluation to determine the cause. Double vision is a symptom of something abnormal going on within your eye, brain, or nervous system. The problem needs a complete evaluation in order to uncover the cause.

In many cases, the extra image you see in your field of vision is the result of a treatable condition. But any sudden changes in your vision require immediate medical attention.

Some conditions need urgent medical care in order to prevent permanent vision loss or life-threatening complications.

Sudden Blurry Vision And Headaches

Experiencing a headache along with blurred vision can be quite frightening, especially if it is the first time this has happened without warning. Blurry vision may develop in one or both of the eyes and for some people, vision becomes dim, cloudy, or even distorted by colors and shapes that make it difficult to see.

One particular condition that is associated with the sudden onset of a throbbing or pulsing headache along with blurred vision is a migraine. However, some people experience visual disturbances such as blind spots, flashes, wavy lines, or blurry vision before the headache starts. This warning sign is known as an aura. Migraines are also linked to an extreme sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, vomiting, or vertigo. Frequent migraines that affect vision and the ability to perform daily activities should be treated by a medical professional. 

Another potential cause of headache and sudden blurry vision is a specific type of high blood pressure known as pseudotumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension, a condition where cerebrospinal fluid accumulates around the brain and gradually increases pressure. The increase in pressure leads to headaches in the back of the head that tend to worsen at night or upon wakening. Lightheadedness, ringing in the ears, nausea, and vision problems may develop as well. Visual issues include blurred vision, flashes of light, or brief periods of blindness.

Causes Of Wavy Vision

Although there are many different conditions that may cause visual disturbances which could be described as wavy, the two conditions where wavy lines is a distinct symptom are macular degeneration and ocular migraines.  Visual disturbances are usually constant and worsen over time in macular degeneration but it is episodic meaning that it comes and goes in ocular migraines. These two conditions have been discussed in detail below but there may be other causes of visual disturbances.

What Is Migraine Aura Without Pain

Migraine aura without pain includes changes in vision or changes in the other senses and speech but no head pain. Symptoms gradually build over 5 to 20 minutes and then go away after about 1 hour. The lack of head pain sets it apart from other types of migraine with aura. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.1

Did You Know That Headaches And Blurred Vision Could Indicate You Have A Undiagnosed Eye Condition

When blurred vision and a headache are experienced at the same time it can be frightening, especially the first time it happens.

Blurred vision can affect one or both eyes. It can cause vision to be cloudy, dim, or even peppered with shapes and colors, making it difficult to see.

If a headache occurs with or causes blurred vision, it may be due to an underlying condition or medical emergency.

Contact an eye doctor near you if you experience blurred vision and a headache at the same time, as it can be a sign of a serious condition.

How Is Blurred Vision Treated

When blurred vision is the result of a decrease in blood sugar, treatments include consuming foods high in fast-acting sugars. This includes juice and candies. You can also take glucose tablets that will increase your blood sugar quickly.

Other treatments for blurred vision can depend on the condition thats causing your symptoms. They can include eye drops, laser surgeries, or medications to control the underlying conditions.

While its not always possible to prevent some causes of blurred vision, taking steps to care for your eyes can help prevent lifestyle-related causes.

Here are some tips for healthy vision:

  • Always wear sunglasses that provide broad-spectrum protection when youre going out in the sun.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Kaleidoscope vision can be disturbing, especially if it catches you at a bad time. Try to see it as a helpful indicator that a painful migraine may be on the horizonone you can head off at the pass with medication before it ruins your day. If the changes in your vision are a recent phenomenon, speak with your doctor about whats going on to make sure those zigzagging sparkles are nothing more than a nuisance.

Up next, try these home remedies for migraines.

What Are The Preventive Treatments For Migraine

Many patients with isolated visual migraines, without severe headaches, have relatively infrequent episodes that do not require specific preventive treatments. If a patient is aware of the particular triggers that seem to bring on an episode, then those triggers can be avoided.

In patients where the pattern of migraines includes frequent, severe headaches, it is very reasonable to consider additional preventive treatments. The main goal for any of these strategies is to reduce the overall frequency and severity of the headaches. None of the preventive treatments is a magic bullet that is 100% effective. For example, it would be considered successful if a preventive treatment helped reduce the number of severe headaches from 8 per month to 2-4 per month.

There are numerous medications that can be used as a preventive treatment for migraine. One medication that is used commonly, particularly because it has no side effects, is vitamin B2 . Approximately 100mg of riboflavin daily is thought to improve migraine headaches . One common side effect of riboflavin is that the urine turns bright yellow. Other herbal medications used to reduce migraine headaches include petasites and feverfew.

Common Causes Of Blurred Vision In One Eye

There are many common causes of blurry vision in one eye. Blurred vision in one eye may indicate disorders in the brain or central nervous systems, like headaches or optic neuritis.

Some common causes of blurred vision in one eye include:

Refractive errors

Refractive errors include astigmatism, nearsightedness , and farsightedness . These are some of the most common eye problems that cause blurred vision in one eye.

Corneal abrasion

Corneal abrasion refers to trauma to the eye. This can occur through injury from a foreign object.

Retinal detachment

If your retina tears from the back of your eye it will lose its nerve and blood supply. You’ll see black flecks followed by blurred or absent vision.

Medications

Some medicines can lead to blurred vision in one eye. However, they would usually affect both eyes.

Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to cataract or retinal conditions that result in blurred vision.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes a loss of vision in the macula. This is the part of the retina responsible for noticing detail in the central vision.

Cataracts

Cataracts is the loss of transparency or clouding in the lens of the eye.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes can lead to blurry sight issues.

Migraines

Conditions that occur in the brain, like migraines, can lead to the blurriness of the eyes.

Presbyopia

Conjunctivitis 

Eye strain

Preeclampsia

Giant cell arteritis

Keratitis

Psoriasis 

Uveitis 

What Causes Fuzzy Head And Blurry Vision

Youre driving down the road and you need to squint to see the signs. Then you realize you have a fuzzy head, blurred vision, and even feel a bit woozy. It may even make you feel somewhat scared. There are a number of reasons why this may be happening. This article will explain some of the causes and what you can do about it.

How Is The Visual System Involved

Your bodys visual system is involved in your migraine attacks in different ways. You are probably aware of the visual auras that can come before an attack, but what you might not know yet is that they also consist of categories: positive, negative, and distorted visual symptoms.

Cortical spreading depression is currently believed to be the function that underlies it. “Even in migraine without aura, vision is not totally excluded given that one of the major criteria for the diagnosis of migraine is photophobia.” 

For example, in persistent visual aura, many migraine patients refer to symptoms as visual snow and television static. 

In retinal migraine one-sided decreased vision or complete visual loss occurs. 

Ophthalmoplegic migraine symptoms are characterized by “palsy of one among the three ocular motor nerves.” 

If You Are Experiencing Blurred Vision Let Us Help You

At St. Hope, we serve many patients living with a myriad of medical conditions. We believe that treating people with compassion is as important as the medicine they receive. We foster a trusting patient/medical provider relationship to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable and receives the care they deserve.

Visual Disturbances Can Occur In Both Eyes

Migraine-related visual symptoms are usually seen in BOTH eyes. Sometimes this is hard to determine, as the symptoms may occur only on ONE SIDE of the visual field. Covering one eye, and then the other, helps to figure out whether the symptoms come from the brain , or the eye .* The visual symptoms of migraine fall under three general categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms and altered/distorted vision.

Can Migraines Cause Blurred Vision

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” sang Johnny Nash back in the day, and many migraine patients will no doubt agree with him. That’s especially true for sufferers who experience visual disturbances during an attack. While a classic migraine accompanied by lights and patterns is usually a regular migraine with aura, many patients also develop other visual symptoms before, during or after an attack. These headaches are known as retinal, ophthalmic or ocular migraines, depending on the specific type and location of the symptoms.

Also Check: Glaucoma Symptoms And Treatment

The first symptom of glaucoma is an abrupt or total blurred vision. This is because the optic nerves which communicate visionary information from the eye to the brain had begun to damage. Images will still be formed on the eye, and the eye keeps on functioning normally, but the brain has no medium of accepting and interpreting such information.

Glaucoma needs to be monitored in patients, and the first signs of blurred vision should be reported. Delay in treatment may lead to a total loss of sight. Surgery may be required in extreme cases, and it is not advisable to manage glaucoma.

What Causes Ocular Migraines

Theyre thought to originate in a similar way as migraine headaches, by irregular electrical activity in the brain. Genetics play a role in who experiences migraines, and theyre also more common in women. Potential triggers include certain MSG-containing foods, harsh light, stress and changes in weather.

Although the root cause is the same, it is not known why some people experience migraine pain after visual disturbances and others dont or why the same person might experience both on different occasions.

It is quite common that as women get older, they might have fewer headaches and less pain but more of these auras, Dr. Estemalik says.

Why Do Vision Changes Happen With Migraine

Doctors have a few ideas of what may cause vision changes during a migraine attack. Changes to electrical charges in the cortex of the brain may be the cause. Retinal migraine may be caused by the same electrical changes in the eye. Lack of blood flow to certain areas of the brain or eye may be the problem.2

More research is needed to find out what causes the visual changes that come with migraine.

Light Sensitivity And Photophobia

Does light make you cringe even when you are not experiencing blurred vision and headache?

If you get migraines, which you must do or you wouldnt be here, you may have developed sensitivity to light. This is called photophobia.

“Conservative estimates suggest that 80 to 90% of migraine patients are affected by light sensitivity, making it among the most common symptoms of the headache disorder. It is also one of the distinguishing criteria for diagnosing migraine.”

This can also be one of your triggers.

Glare from computer screen, sunlight, any brightness or exposure to certain types of light can trigger an attack.

Aura and light sensitivity can often get confused. But they are different. One can lead to the pain phase, or not, and one triggers the pain phase. Do you know which is which? It can be hard to tell.

Another way to distinguish the difference could be to say that light sensitivity can impact anyone causing blurred vision and headache, even if you get migraine without aura. 

The visual aura you get from just light exposure may or may not manifest for you as pain or a painful sensitivity. It may just present as irritating. But its also a sign that the migraine phases have started. So when exposure to light actually initiates the migraine episode, it can lead to the next phase of a migraine which is a visual aura.

So – an aura leads to the pain phase, and light sensitivity can be a trigger for you.

Now this is important the experts stress not to avoid light.

Could It Be Preeclampsia

If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t take blurry vision lightly. It could be a sign of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition marked by very high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Preeclampsia occurs in women who have never had high blood pressure before and generally occurs late in pregnancy, generally after 20 weeks. It can have serious, life-threatening effects on you and your baby.

Preeclampsia may not cause any symptoms, but blurry vision and other sight changes such as seeing flashing lights or spots could be clues that you have it.

Be sure to contact your doctor if you notice these as well as other possible signs:

  • Anxiety, shortness of breath, a racing heart, or confusion

Learn more about how to lower your preeclampsia risk.

New Or Severe Headache Without Trauma

Some emergency conditions marked by headache and blurry vision can also occur without trauma. If you feel you have any of the following conditions, seek immediate medical help.

Closed-angle glaucoma

In closed-angle glaucoma, pressure in the eye builds up because fluid in the front part of the eye does not drain as it should. This is considered a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

If not treated, the pressure inside your eye can build to the point that it damages your optic nerve, which could result in permanent vision loss.

Closed-angle glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma. Unlike the more common open-angle glaucoma, this type of glaucoma develops quickly, and its symptoms are obvious.

It is called closed-angle glaucoma because the angle between the iris and the cornea is either closed or very narrow. This most often occurs in older adults, especially those with smaller eyes.

Closed-angle glaucoma affects women about twice as often as men. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include:

  • blurred or hazy vision
  • red, flushed skin
  • loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide poisoning is treated with oxygen, either through a mask or placement in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Be sure to have a functioning CO detector installed in your home.

Herpes zoster ophthalmicus

  • infection

Early symptoms of herpes zoster opthalmicus may include:

  • headache
  • low fever
  • flu-like symptoms

Meningitis and encephalitis

Stroke

What Causes An Ocular Migraine

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of ocular migraines, but research suggests that structural abnormalities of the visual cortex could play a role.

Another possible trigger of ocular migraines is visual dysfunction. There are several types of visual dysfunction that can trigger migraines, but a common one is binocular visual dysfunction . A binocular vision problem refers to a misalignment of the eyes.

Ordinarily, our brain receives an image from each eye and unifies those images to make one clear picture. This can only occur efficiently when the eyes are properly aligned. With BVD, the eyes and brain struggle to form a clear and unified image, which can cause the eyes to become overworked and strained. This high amount of ocular stress can produce painful physical symptoms, like a migraine with aura.

Reducing the amount of stress your eyes endure can lessen the frequency or intensity of migraines, visual auras, and their debilitating symptoms.

Blurred Vision Associated With Head Or Body Movements

Patients that develop an injury to their inner, or vestibular system, can develop blurred vision.  The vestibular system is critical in maintaining balance, but particularly of the eyes when the head moves.  A reflex, called the vestibulo-ocular reflex, or VOR, is designed to dampen head movement as fine as reading a book to as significant as being ona bouncing boat in a choppy sea.  When the VOR becomes dysfunction, a phenomenon occurs called oscillopsia. 

In laymans terms, think of an oscillating fan and trying to see the fan blades moving.  This is the same phenomenon people experience with oscillopsia and a VOR weakness. 

Patients will often go to their optometrist or an ophthalmologist thinking that there is something wrong with their eyes.  The oscillopsia can make you feel dizziness symptoms like nausea and a sense of being off balance.  The actual origin comes from the dysfunction of the inner ears not being able to keep up with the movement of your leading to to strange sensation.

The grest thing about most forms of oscillopsia is that it is treatable by the physical therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.  The therapist can objectively measure the VOR dysfunction using a special test called a Dynamic Visual Acuity test or DVA.  With the information from the DVA, the therapist can prescribe specific exercises to help the brain recognize the oscillopsia and stabilize your vision.

Anxiety And Blurred Vision

States of extreme tension and stress can also be the cause of blurred vision.  In some cases, this is the result of prolonged exposure to a highly stressful state, and the blurred vision results due to constriction to circulation as well as a response to the high levels of hormones that are present during stress.  Breathing exercises and relaxation can frequently aid in alleviating the problem, and will also present as good coping mechanisms for anxiety.

What Does Kaleidoscope Vision Look Like

Your kaleidoscope vision is unique to you, says Dr. Lystad. It often looks like zigzags, sparkling or colorful shapes or black and white images, she says. And they tend to movethey may start in the middle and move out to the side, or start at the side and move in towards the middle. We call it marching. Some people see sparkling spots while others see scattering movements.

Interestingly, while the shapes and colors of kaleidoscope vision differ from one person to another, they are always identical for that individual, says Dr. Lystad. So if the patterns or colors of your kaleidoscope vision change, you should mention this to your doctor.

Emergency Care For Blurred Vision On The Central Coast

Its common to experience blurred vision when you cant see fine or focused details in the form of nearsightedness or farsightedness. Seek medical care, however, if you experience a quick change in vision, such as a sudden loss of sharp vision. Blurred vision is a symptom of a wide range of conditions, and it can begin suddenly or gradually over time. Your Dignity Health Central Coast doctor knows that these conditions can range from serious to mild, and will work with you to pinpoint whats causing your sudden blurred vision on the Central Coast of California. Seek immediate medical care for sudden blurred vision even if your blurred vision is temporary since such vision changes can signal a serious underlying medical condition.

 

When To See A Doctor

While an ocular migraine will ruin your dinner plans, its usually not a lasting threat to your health. But if your kaleidoscope vision is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, its possible that theres something more significant going on, and you should be off to the doctor, pronto.

  • dizziness/loss of equilibrium

Visual Disturbance Of Migraine Is Short

The visual disturbances of migraine generally last less than an hour, most commonly 10-30 minutes. Sometimes they only last seconds. They may or may not be associated with a headache, and some individuals only experience the visual symptoms without headaches. The visual symptoms usually start before the headache but may occur during the headache.

To complicate the issue, migraine may change throughout life. The character of the headache may change, and the visual symptoms may change. The most common pattern is for the headaches to become less severe or even go away, with episodes of visual aura persisting. Some people only experience migraine-related visual symptoms, often without headache, starting at age 50 or later.

Kaleidoscope Vision And Strokes

The symptoms of migraines and strokes can be similar. You may feel some weakness on one side of your body, for example. But kaleidoscope vision is almost exclusively correlated with migraines, so if youre experiencing this type of aura its less likely youre having a stroke, says Dr. Lystad.

Still, people who have strokes may lose some of their vision or see zigzag lights and checkerboard images. They may even see things like an imaginary bird flying by or a little animal running through their line of vision right after the stroke. This is not the same as what happens with a migraine, says Dr. Lystad. In this case, its the brain filling in images in an area where youve lost vision due to the stroke.

If you experience kaleidoscope vision or any other migraine symptoms for the first time, or if the visual patterns differ from what usually occurs, its best to see your doctor to ensure that it is a migraine and not something more serious.

Related: Spot the Signs of Digital Eye Strainand Find Relief Fast 

The 10 Most Common Causes Of Blurry Vision

Blurry vision can be caused by many different factors. And not everyone experiences it in the same way: some people may only experience blurry vision around the edges, while others feel like their entire field of vision is blurred. To make matters worse, the symptoms can be accompanied by headaches or dizziness.

Some of the most common reasons for blurred vision include:

1. Head Injury

A significant number of people whove suffered from a traumatic brain injury report issues with their eyesight, including blurred vision. This is due to the close relationship between the brain and the eyes. Sometimes, it takes a while to discover a problem. However, when the patient attempts to read, they will notice blurred text. Or they may be able to read fine, but text becomes blurry when shifting focus. Its also possible to experience intermittent blurs.

On occasion, vision will return to normal once swelling and inflammation go down. However, its crucial to see a doctor for a vision test after a traumatic brain injury to make sure the eyes and brain are working properly and avoid permanent vision impairment.

2. Trauma to the Eyes

There are several ways an eye can suffer trauma: it can be struck by a hard object, scratched by foreign objects such as sand, wood, metal or glass, or irritated by chemicals.

3. Migraines

4. Abrasion to the Cornea

5. Cataracts

6. Macular Degeneration

7. Retinal Detachment

8. Diabetes

9. Stroke

Blood Sugar Spike: What To Do

Its important to know the symptoms of hyperglycemia. If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, perform a finger stick to check your level.

Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.

You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful only to use this method while closely following the recommendation of your doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .

What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines

The exact cause of an ocular migraine can be difficult to pinpoint. But it’s believed they occur for the same things that cause migraine headaches.

Migraine headaches have a genetic basis, and some studies say that up to 70% of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine.

According to the World Health Organization , migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.

Studies have shown changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras . But exactly why this happens remains unclear.

Common migraine “triggers” that can cause a person to have a migraine attack include:

  • Certain foods

  • Caffeinated drinks

  • MSG

  • Artificial sweeteners

Stress and lack of sleep also can trigger an ocular migraine or visual migraine.