Is Blurry and Cloudy Vision the Same Thing? - Smart Vision Labs

People who have difficulty seeing may describe their vision as appearing “blurry” or “cloudy.” Although these terms may seem to be interchangeable, in terms of eye health and assessing vision, they can be due to very different causes.

Blurry vs. Cloudy Vision

Blurry vision means the object the person is looking at appears to be out of focus. You might feel that squinting will make the object clearer. It is similar to how the image on a camera may look before adjusting the lenses or giving it a moment to focus on the subject.

Cloudy vision is when something appears to be in front of the eye, distorting the vision. It may seem like there is a film on your eyes and you feel almost as if you can blink or wipe it away. Looking through a smudged pair of glasses or out a window on a foggy morning are better analogies for cloudy vision.

Common Causes

While both of these vision problems can mean many things, the most common causes of each signal different issues.

Blurry vision tends to indicate the person has a refractive error. Vision works when light that is coming into your eyes gets directed onto the retina. To do this, your eyes change shape, depending on whether you are looking at something close up or far away. When this doesn’t happen, it is called a refractive error.

Nearsightedness and farsightedness are both refractive errors. If a person is farsighted, things near to them will appear blurry while the opposite is true for those with nearsightedness. There are other refractive errors as well. Astigmatism is when both near and far things are blurry. Presbyopia is like farsightedness but occurs when the eye loses its elasticity due to the natural aging process.

Blurry vision caused by refractive errors are corrected simply with prescription lenses. If you have no other known medical problems but are experiencing blurry vision, a vision exam is in order.

On the other hand, cloudy vision is most commonly caused due to cataracts forming. Cataracts form due to the body’s aging process. As cells from the lens of your eye die, they gather into spots. The eye makes new cells to replace the lost ones. These new cells grow over the areas of old cells, pushing the old cells together into the center of the lens. The result is a cataract.

Cataracts result in gradual vision loss so they may not be noticed right away. It eventually turns the person’s vision cloudy and yellowish. The only way to fix them is through surgery. Cataract surgery is both a common and routinely successful procedure. If you have other eye or health issues along with cataracts, you should discuss your options for treatment with your doctor as these may cause complications with the surgery.

Other Causes

Both blurry vision and cloudy vision are related to many other health issues as well. Blurry vision could be due to dry eye syndrome or irritation from wearing contact lenses too long. Certain medications have side effects of blurred vision.

Cataracts and cloudy vision can have multiple causes. There are some medications, namely types of steroids, which may cause cataracts to form. Cloudy vision can develop as a result of an injury to the cornea, the clear outside layer of the eye. Diabetes can also, less commonly, cause clouded vision.

Because so many issues related to blurry and cloudy vision are medical, it is important to get a vision exam and have a talk with your doctor. Both of these are necessary to keeping your vision in working order.
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