One day after class, I was walking to my car when I realized I could not see clearly. It was surreal, honestly, because nothing else seemed wrong, just all of a sudden my vision blurred. I tried to refocus my eyes by rubbing them, blinking repeatedly, looking slowly at different objects, but nothing worked. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then, just as soon as it came, it went away. The experience of blurred vision, as I can personally attest, is unsettling, not to mention inconvenient (I couldn’t exactly drive home in that condition, now could I?). Understanding the cause of blurry vision, as well as some solutions to the problem would have helped me. And so, today I’m going to run down some of the causes of and solutions for blurred vision.
What Causes Blurred Vision?
In the grand scheme of things, blurred vision can come from a bevy of serious disorders. For example, diabetes, cataracts, and migraines all list blurred vision as a possible symptom. And, of course, eyeglass users know that blurred vision can be a persistent condition when corrective lenses are not properly applied. If you have trouble seeing, regularly, up close it’s called hyperopia, or farsightedness. For those who have trouble seeing from afar it’s called myopia, or nearsightedness. For generalized blurriness the cause is often astigmatism.
If you read that list and started to freak out a little, don’t worry, unless you have several of the other symptoms associated with those conditions, they probably aren’t the cause of your blurred vision. In the short term, the question of blurred vision boils down to environmental factors. For example, the day my vision blurred after class, I traced the source back to a long stint in front of my computer. Two continuous four-hour blocks to be exact. For most people today blurred vision comes from excessive use of technology. If not a symptom of a larger medical issue like those listed above, your blurry eyes likely traces back to your screens.
Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain (DES) is a set of symptoms, including blurry vision, which follow from extended consecutive use of digital screens. Along with blurred vision most experience headaches, and many experience some combination of eye pain, neck pain, and fatigue. Essentially, you may find yourself, after spending a long time in front of screens, experiencing blurred vision and headache. The cause of digital eye strain is largely the blue light emitted by your digital device screens, in conjunction with the constant imperceptible flicker. These combined factors, themselves, cause strain. Add to this the fact that you can’t help but blink less and open your eyes wider when you use your devices. Put all of this together, and you have a recipe for eye trouble.
How to Prevent Blurred Vision
Perhaps you found this blog because you wanted to know the cause of your blurred vision. Hopefully, the information so far has helped you figure that much out. Now we offer some solutions to the common digital cause of blurred vision. Once your eyes become blurry, don’t worry. Give it some time and they’ll go back to normal (if they do not, call your eye doctor). To prevent them from becoming blurry to begin with, try the following.
- 20-20-20 Rule: Anyone can do this, and everyone should. Any time you plan to use digital screens for an extended period of time make sure to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 or more seconds every 20 minutes. This practice prevents eye strain and blurred vision by breaking your focus on screens regularly.
- Digital Fast: If you frequently experience blurred vision, taking the opportunity to step away from technology for 24 or more hours allows you to reset. Not everyone can afford, or want, to do this, but those who can really should.
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Maintaining productivity while preventing further eye damage is tough. Luckily, computer glasses that block blue light offer a workable solution. These glasses help your eyes relax and blocks the blue light that leads to DES. You can stay on your device longer without feeling the negative effects.
As someone who has experienced it, believe me, I know that blurred vision can be upsetting. The solutions mentioned in this post offer some easy things you can do every day to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you’re serious about protecting your eyes now, and for the future, learn more today about blue light blocking glasses.