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Visual disturbances interfere with normal sight. The various types of visual disturbances may be caused by several conditions and disorders. Some are temporary and can be relieved with treatment. However, some can be permanent.
The most common visual disturbances include:
Diplopia is also called double vision. If you’re seeing two objects when you should be seeing one, you’re experiencing diplopia. This visual disturbance can be a symptom of a serious health problem. It’s important to see your doctor when symptoms begin.
There are two types of diplopia: monocular and binocular.
Double vision can be a result of miscommunication in your brain. You experience double vision because your brain can’t overlay the two images that your eyes see.
Partial blindness means you can see light as well as some degree of what’s around you. Total blindness refers to a condition when you can no longer see light. People with vision worse than 20/200 are considered legally blind. Some cases may be corrected with:
In many cases, people with partial or complete blindness can’t restore their sight.
Individuals who are colorblind can’t see colors in the same way that individuals with normal eyes can. Most people with poor color vision are only partially colorblind. They lack the ability to differentiate between specific shades of certain colors. Total colorblindness is rare. People who are completely colorblind see only shades of gray.
Blurred vision may be the result of changing eyesight or a symptom of another condition. Eyes that no longer align properly can’t receive and read visual messages. Corrective or contact lenses can fix most of cases of blurry vision. If your blurry vision is caused by another condition, it may require additional treatment. If you notice blurry vision that happens over a short amount of time, you should see a doctor as this may be an eye emergency.
Halos appear as circles of light around objects. They can be a sign of multiple different eye conditions and should be evaluated by an eye doctor.
Pain or discomfort in your eye can vary depending on the underlying condition. It may feel like a scratching sensation when you open and shut your eyelid. A continuous throbbing that isn’t relieved by closing your eye is another type of pain
Visual disturbances can be caused by several conditions.
Causes of double vision include:
Sudden onset of diplopia may be caused by a stroke, migraine headache, aneurysm, or a brain tumor.
Blindness has many causes. The most common ones include:
Colorblindness is more common in men than in women. The most common form is red-green color deficiency. Common causes for poor color vision or colorblindness include:
Causes of blurred vision can include one or more of the following:
Halos can be caused by any of the following:
There are many causes of eye pain, and a few of them are listed here:
Eye pain should be evaluated by a doctor, as some causes can result in irreversible damage to the eyes.
Anyone can experience a visual disturbance at any time. Several conditions put you at an increased risk for one or more of the most common visual disturbances. These conditions include:
If any of the visual disturbances begins suddenly and unexpectedly, see a doctor as soon as possible. Although the visual disturbance may be the result of a minor problem, vision disturbances can be the first symptom of other serious conditions, such as:
Your doctor will likely perform several diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your visual disturbance. These tests might include:
Imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan, may also be used to confirm a problem or further investigate a suspected condition.
The first step in treating a visual disturbance is figuring out the underlying problem that is causing it. Once you and your doctor have discovered the issue, you can develop a plan for treatment. In some cases, the disturbance will go away naturally. For example, blurry vision caused by a headache will usually resolve when the headache recedes. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent future headaches. They may choose to prescribe medicine that you can take when a headache that causes visual complications begins.
There are several common treatments for visual disturbances.
Written by: Kimberly Holland
Medically reviewed on: Oct 25, 2016: University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine
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