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Visual Disturbances : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention

Visual Disturbances

Abnormalities of eyesight are medically termed as visual disturbances. There are different types of visual disturbances and are caused by different disorders and conditions. Some of them are temporary and respond well to various treatment options, while some are permanent. Know the symptoms of visual disturbances, causes and treatment.

The vision disturbances are usually associated with neurological disorders which often include moving or blurred vision, double vision, reduced visual fields, reduced visual acuity and total or partial loss of vision. Symptoms of visual disturbances may be related to other conditions like neurological disorders, muscular disorders, trauma, cancer, vascular disorder and more. Moreover, diabetes and hypothyroidism can also contribute to visual disturbances in some patients. In some patients, symptoms of visual disturbances arise from congenital conditions and this is mainly hereditary.

The normal eyesight has 20/20 vision, which means people with normal eyesight can see letters at 20 feet distance. When there is interference in the normal eyesight, then the condition is referred as Visual Disturbances. Some of the Visual Disturbances are temporary and it can treat with medical intervention, while some of permanent and can’t be treated medically.

Visual Disturbances

Symptoms of Visual Disturbances

The most common symptoms of visual disturbances include:

  • Diplopia or double vision
  • Colorblindness
  • Partial and Total Blindness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Halos
  • Pain in Eyes

Causes of Visual Disturbances

The symptoms of visual disturbances occur due to the following causes. These causes of visual disturbances can be related to independent conditions or may be a part of other medical conditions.

  • Visual Disturbance Caused Due to Diplopia – Also called as double vision, diplopia is the condition where the patient sees dual images of one single object. There are two different types of diplopia: binocular and monocular. If only one eye is affected with diplopia then it is medically termed as monocular and when both the eyes have the issue then it is referred as binocular. There are a variety of factors causing diplopia. Some of the common causes of visual disturbances of this type include hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, injury to cornea, weakness of eye muscles and neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis. Double vision can also occur during brain cancer, stroke and aneurysm arteries.
  • Blurred Vision – Blurred vision is one of the commonest symptoms of visual disturbances. If the person sees objects and things around to be hazy or dull, then the condition is referred as blurred vision. Cataract is the most common cause of blurred vision in people. There are also other factors that are responsible for causing blurred vision including abrasion to cornea, migraine headache, retinal disease, eye infection and refractory error.
  • Partial or Total Blindness – Blindness is one of the other most common symptoms of visual disturbances. In partial blindness, the patients are able to see light and some degree of what is around them, while in total blindness the patients are unable to see anything around them. People with vision worse than 20/200 are legally termed as blind. Partial blindness can be corrected with contact lenses, glasses and surgery. Some of the causes of blindness include: diabetes, glaucoma, stroke, advanced age, cataract, retinal degeneration and injury to eye.
  • Colorblindness – Patients suffering from colorblindness are unable to see colors in the way that people with normal eyesight can see. Such patients are unable to make any differentiation between certain colors which normal eyes can do. Many people with colorblindness are partially colorblind. It is rare to find people with total colorblindness. People who are totally colorblind can see only shades of gray. Some of the causes of colorblindness are Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, glaucoma, advanced age, side effects after exposure to toxic chemical and fertilizers and optic neuritis.
  • Halos – It is an eye condition where circles appear around the light. It can also be a symptom of visual disturbances and other eye conditions. It is commonly seen due to corneal damage, migraine and glaucoma.
  • Pain in Eyes – Pain in your eyes can lead to discomfort in eyes and may also increase the scratchy feeling or soreness in eyes. Many people commonly experience the symptoms of visual disturbances. Eyelid injury, stye and chalazion, incorrect contact lenses, foreign body in eyes, conjunctivitis, and infection in eyes are some of the common factors which may lead to pain in eyes in conjunction with Visual Disturbances.

Treatment for Visual Disturbances

The treatments for visual disturbances basically depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Some of the conditions are temporary and never require any treatments as they resolve on their own when the underlying cause is treated. So, the first step to treat visual disturbances in patients is to identify the underlying cause. Once the cause is known, treatment for visual disturbances and its causes can be planned.

For instance, blurred vision is mainly caused by headache and can be resolved easily with the use of drugs to alleviate headache. Similarly, if the symptoms of visual disturbances are a result of complications of any other condition like diabetes or blood pressure, the same needs to be treated first. For independent eye related problems, advanced investigations are planned and the necessary treatment can be given. Visual disturbances can also be resolved by wearing suitable glasses, and contact lenses. Depending on the severity of visual disturbances, doctors may treat the cause with medications and if necessary with surgical procedures, as appropriate.

Prevention of Visual Disturbances

It is necessary for patients to undergo regular checkups from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. You are required to check your eyes regularly at least once in every 12 months after the age of 55. The healthcare provider will prescribe you earlier and frequent exams if they have found any possible eye problems or symptoms of visual disturbances. A regular eye-check is all the more important if you have high blood pressure, diabetes frequent headaches or nerve problems.

It is ideal to wear sunglasses when you go out to protect the eyes from sunrays, dust and other pollutants. Industrial workers are required to wear safety glasses while grinding, hammering, or using power tools. It is also necessary to keep check on your blood pressure and diabetes to prevent your eyes from damages. People having allergies, dry eyes and autoimmune disorders also need to have regular eye checks and protect eyes, as advised.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Double Vision (Diplopia). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15427-double-vision-diplopia
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Blurred Vision. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/symptoms/blurred-vision
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Blindness. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blindness/symptoms-causes/syc-20354787
  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). What Is Color Blindness? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-color-blindness
  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Halos. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/symptoms/halos
  6. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Eye Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/symptoms/eye-pain
  7. National Eye Institute. (2021). Facts About Floaters. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/floaters

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 22, 2023

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