If you have a sudden onset of blurred vision, with no idea why it has occurred, you should see a doctor. While blurry vision may not mean much, especially if it is temporary, it can also signal a serious problem. For example, you may have dry eyes, a migraine, or the need for a new lens prescription, in which case you can schedule a doctor's appointment to get the issue checked out. The problem may also be caused by medications that you are taking, which usually means that you should ask your doctor for a different prescription or recommendation of another drug that you can take. Of course, in some cases, you may become completely or partially blind if you do not get medical treatment quickly, as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts often all start with blurry vision.
Some causes of blurred vision do not merit emergency medical treatment, though they should be mentioned to a doctor when possible. For instance, dry eyes can result in eyes that are itchy, red, irritated, and blurry, but eye drops can usually solve the issue until you can visit a doctor. If the vision problems have appeared gradually, you may benefit from a new contact or glasses prescription, as it is normal for vision to deteriorate slowly as you age. If you suddenly experience blurred vision, followed by a severe headache that is so extreme that you may feel nauseous, you might be having a migraine. You should let your doctor know about this issue, but in most cases, you can solve it temporarily by taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen.
There are medications that tend to cause blurry vision in some patients, in which case it is important to contact the doctor before discontinuing use. One common example of a drug that causes blurry vision in some patients is the contraceptive pill, though psychotropic drugs, such as depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens, also often cause this issue. If you are taking antidepressants, anti-hypertensive drugs, or heart medications, you may also experience blurred vision as one of the side effects. Since vision problems brought on by medications do not usually constitute an emergency, it is usually considered dangerous to stop taking the drugs before getting an alternative prescription from your doctor.
In certain cases, you are advised to go to the emergency room when faced with sudden blurred vision that comes with other symptoms, as you may go blind if you ignore the issue. For example, the signs of retinal detachment usually include flashes of light, floaters, blurry vision, and what looks like a shade of darkness that blocks out your peripheral vision. Ignoring these signs may lead to complete blindness, so emergency treatment is usually necessary.
Macular degeneration signs include blurred and distorted vision, wavy lines in your visual field, and eventual vision loss if you do not get treatment. Glaucoma is characterized by blind spots, blurriness, bad night vision, and loss of peripheral vision, while cataracts can cause cloudiness of the eye, bad vision at night, and halos.