Have you ever noticed that you start off the day with crisp, clear vision, but as the day goes on it gets a little blurry? You feel like a camera struggling to focus, and attempt to blink and look away to ‘reset’ your eyes. This is a common experience of many, but fortunately is not a serious issue for the most part.
Fluctuating vision has different effects on people. Some start their day with perfect vision and it progressively gets weaker throughout the day. Others have it the opposite way. And then there are those that have entirely good vision days and bad vision days. If you can relate to this, you should go to your optometrist to have your eyes checked before it turns into something more serious, which it can.
Those experiencing fluctuating vision most likely have a type of chronic eye condition. Here are some of the most common contributing factors that cause a change in vision:
1. Dry Eyes: Dry eye is a condition that develops when someone is unable to produce and maintain enough nourishing tears to lubricate the front of the eye. Your eyes might feel scratchy, irritated, or even watery, leading to blurred vision that changes with blinking.
2. Lack of sleep and excessive screentime: We need to give our eyes a break, and the best time to do so is when we sleep. A minimum of 6 hours of sleep is required to revitalize our eyes, as lack of sleep will reduce the secretion of tears and cause itchy, dry, blurry vision. It is also important to minimize screentime and take many breaks from digital devices. When we stare at a screen, our eyes become dry and our focusing muscles become strained.
3. Eye-Brain Coordination Difficulties: Our brain and two eyes work together so that we can see things in focus without having double vision. If you feel that you are struggling to focus at distance or up close, this may be a result from coordination issues between the nervous system and our eye focusing muscles. This can lead to headache and eyestrain, especially after work and towards the end of the day.
4. Diabetes: Those that are diabetic are aware that changes in blood sugar levels can have very serious consequences. One being vision. Diabetes damages the lining of blood vessels, especially the tiny vessels of the eye. When the blood sugar level is not under control, you may experience a change in vision. Diabetes Canada recommends that all those with diabetes should have an eye exam yearly - in Ontario, this is covered by OHIP.
5. Drugs: Many medications (e.g. allergy pills) have side effects, including dry eye which can lead to blurry vision. We are not usually conscious of the fact that when we take prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, that they can have a visual side effect, but unfortunately it can be serious, so be careful.
If you feel that something is not right, or that your vision fluctuates throughout the day, please see your optometrist to rule out any potential problems.
Written by: Sandy Aziz
Photo Credit: Devin Avery