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What is Cloudy Eye?

The appearance of cloudy eyes is a sign of visual acuity loss or a dimming of visual perception that can affect one or both eyes.

One of the first things we notice when we look at a person is their eyes. When a person’s eyes seem cloudy or lacking in color, it may make you wonder what causes the cloudiness and whether it affects their vision.

How Do You Get a Cloudy Eye?

There are many different conditions that may cause the eyes to have white spots or a cloudy appearance.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are caused when tears evaporate too quickly, leaving the eyes dry. This can occur when the tear ducts are unable to produce enough tears or if the tears being produced are thick in consistency. The cloudiness from dry eyes is generally temporary, and may improve with fluttering your eyelashes or using eye drops.

Corneal Swelling

A healthy cornea is a clear film that allows light to travel to the retina. Swelling of the cornea can result in cloudy eye appearance and white, spotty vision. This condition can result from wearing improperly fitted contacts, eye infection, corneal abrasion, or certain hereditary conditions.


Cataracts are most often seen in the elderly because it is a gradual clouding of the eye that progresses over time. They are also visible when the lens of the eye is damaged due to trauma or surgery.


This is an inflammatory condition that affects the conjunctiva, which is the clear layer that protects the whites of the eyes. Swelling can trigger tear ducts to release a discharge to protect the eye’s surface. The discharge can be yellow or green in color and may make the eye appear cloudy.

Cloudy Eye Symptoms

The appearance of cloudy eyes or cloudy vision is generally a symptom itself. However, signs of cloudy eyes can range from spotty vision or seeing floaters to loss of color pigmentation and total vision loss.

Cloudy vision may be accompanied by symptoms such as

  • Seeing glares or halos, double vision
  • Sensitivity to light and decreased night time vision
  • Dryness or redness of the eyes
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Abnormal tear production or discharge

Cloudy Eye Diagnosis

Your eye doctor will start by asking a few questions about your eye health. These questions may include how long you have noticed the eye cloudiness, whether it is persistent or comes and goes, and if it affects one or both eyes. He or she will also ask what medications you are taking.

Next, your doctor will proceed with a physical examination of your eyes, which typically includes the use of a lighted scope to gain a better understanding of how the cloudiness is affecting your sight.

Once the exam is finished, the doctor will determine if further testing is needed, such as a CAT scan to look into the interior of the eye.

Cloudy Eye Treatment

Treatment for cloudy eyes depends greatly on the underlying cause and its severity. Blinking rapidly or using eye drops or artificial tears may help if dry eye is causing temporary cloudiness. However, surgical measures may be needed if eye clouding is a sign of a more severe conditions such as cataracts. 

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