AMD is the most common cause of vision loss over 65 years. It can present as blurring and/or distortion of central vision. Two forms exist: The “dry” form were there is wearing of the macula, and the “wet” form where there is bleeding. The “wet” form can be treated by medicines given into the vitreous jelly of the eyeball.
Patients with diabetes can develop changes in their retina. Although these changes can result in blurring of vision, it can also go unnoticed until the disease is quite advanced. Complications of diabetic retinopathy can be serious, and include retinal detachment or bleeding. For this reason, all patients with diabetes should be checked regularly by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
The retina has its own blood supply. If these vessels are blocked, it can lead to loss of vision. Retinal vascular occlusions can present as blurring and/or distortion of vision.
CSC is a condition where there is a build-up of fluid underneath the retina, often at the macula. It frequently occurs in young to middle aged males. Steroids are a risk factor. It can present with blurring and/or distortion of vision, and the sensation that images look smaller in the affected eye.
Many conditions can cause inflammation in the eye. Some of these are related to medical illnesses affecting the rest of the body, and some are caused by infections. Eye inflammation can cause redness, pain, sensitivity to light, “floaters” and blurring and/or distortion of vision.
Patients who are very short-sighted (myopic) have a high incidence of many retinal diseases, including: retinal tears and detachment, macula hole and choroidal neovascularisation.
The most common tumour originating from the eye is a naevus (“freckle”) within the choroid. Similar to freckles found on the skin, these spots in the eye need to be monitored as there is a small possibility of them developing into melanomas. Melanomas in the eye may not cause any symptoms. In other cases melanomas can cause “flashes” and blurring and/or distortion of vision.
Some retinal diseases have a genetic basis. These are often rare and include retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt disease. Symptoms vary depending on the disease but may include blurring and/or distortion of vision, colour vision impairment, poor peripheral vision and reduced night vision or slow dark adaptation.
Retinal tears can be associated with “flashes” and “floaters” or hazy vision. In addition to these symptoms, a retinal detachment can also cause blurring of peripheral vision (like a “curtain” or “shadow”), which untreated can progress to blurring of the entire vision. Any new onset of “flashes” or “floaters” or a “curtain” in the vision requires urgent examination by an ophthalmologist. Both retinal tears and detachment are normally painless Individuals who are very shortsighted or who have had cataract surgery are at an increased risk of retinal tears or detachments.
An epiretinal membrane is a scar tissue that lies on the surface of the retina. This can cause the retina to wrinkle or swell, resulting in blurring and/or distortion of central vision.
A macula hole occurs when there is a defect in the retina at the macula. This can cause a black spot in the central vision, with blurring and distortion.
If there is bleeding in the vitreous this can cause the vision to be hazy. Common causes include a retinal tear or detachment, diabetes or a vascular occlusion.