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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11353
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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What could cause blurry vision in one eye?

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I woke up with very blurry vision in my right eye. What can this mean?

Are you able to read with your right eye if you close you left one? How about see across the room? Is there any pain or discomfort? How does your eye look in the mirror?

When I woke up, and logged onto my computer, my vision was blurry. I notice when I close my right eye I can see fine, but the vision in the right eye is really blurry. I've never had any problems with my eyes before, and am trying to find out how to proceed.

There's no pain and yes, I can see if I close the right eye. It looks normal, maybe a bit watery and dry.

Dr. Rick:
Okay. So you noticed blurry vision with both eyes open, then closed one at a time and noted that it was only your right eye that was affected. Is this correct?

Yes, that's correct.

Dr. Rick:
Okay. By blurry vision, do you mean you are seeing double with both eyes open? Blurry can mean different things to different people and I'm just trying to better understand what you mean.

Also, do you wear contacts, have any medical problems or take any medicine?

It's not really doubled, but letters do look double when I just use the right one. It's sort of as if letters are soft when both eyes are open, not clear.

I don't wear contacts, and have no medical problems that I am aware of. I take aspirin if I have a headache.

Dr. Rick:
Okay. Well, in an eye that looks normal in the mirror, has no pain or discharge and has the sudden appearance of blurry vision after getting up in the morning the most common cause if a combination of anterior segment/tear film issues such as dry eyes, allergies and blepharitis.

When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctual occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical (non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.

Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.

The best treatment for this condition is daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.

Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.

Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.

Does this make sense to you?

So, should I wait and see if it improves, or schedule an eye exam? What do you think. I'm worried because I am a photographer and I spend a ton of time staring at the computer editing when I'm not staring through a viewfinder.

Dr. Rick:
In your case, since even a little bit of blurry vision can seriously affect your work I think it would be reasonable to see an ophthalmologist for a full eye exam just to make sure.

The good news? I think that, in the long run, everything will be OK and this problem with blurriness that has suddenly come up can be effectively addressed.

Yes, it makes perfect sense. I'll try the baby shampoo today. Thank you.

Dr. Rick:
My pleasure.

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