Blurry vision is when your eyesight feels like it’s out of focus, making it difficult to see fine detail. You may need to squint to see more clearly.
Your eyesight may get blurry as you get older or due to certain health conditions. You might also experience blurry vision when you wake up in the morning or after staring at a screen, like a computer or tablet, for long periods of time.
While there are several natural ways you can protect and even improve blurry vision without needing to wear glasses or receive medical treatment, this ultimately depends on what the underlying cause is.
If you’re experiencing blurry vision that’s getting worse over time, it may be a good idea to see a professional for an eye evaluation.
Some causes of blurry vision can be treated naturally using home remedies or simple lifestyle changes. These include:
Blurry vision, especially in the morning when you wake up, can be caused by having dry eyes. Sleeping with a fan blowing at night or living in a dry climate can make this worse.
Sleeping with your contact lenses in or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time without blinking can also cause dry eyes and blurry vision.
Allergies can make your eyes itchy and irritated, resulting in blurry vision. An eye allergy may also be called allergic conjunctivitis. Other symptoms of allergies can include runny nose, nasal congestion, or sneezing.
Eye strain due to prolonged screen use
Eye strain can occur after looking and focusing on something for a long time without interruption, such as your computer, cell phone, or tablet. It’s sometimes referred to as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.
Your cornea is the clear coating in the front of your eye. A corneal abrasion occurs when the cornea is scratched or injured.
Fingernails, tree branches, and makeup brushes are common causes of corneal abrasions. In addition to blurry vision, it might feel like there’s something in your eye.
If the corneal abrasion is small, it’ll likely heal on its own in a day or two, but larger abrasions may require medical treatment.
Excessively cold temperatures can cause the blood vessels in the eyes to constrict, making the vision blurry. Cold air is also drier than warmer air, and dry eyes can also cause blurry vision.
Other causes of blurry vision will likely require medical treatment and natural or home remedies are unlikely to help. These include:
Refractive errors are common eye problems. They include:
- hyperopia (farsightedness)
- myopia (nearsightedness)
- astigmatism (fuzzy or distorted vision)
- presbyopia (loss of the ability to focus on things that are close), which can occur naturally as you age
Refractive errors often need to be corrected with eyeglasses, contacts, but surgery may be an option in some cases.
Also called pink eye, conjunctivitis is an infection of the outer wall of the eye. Conjunctivitis can lead to itchy eyes, eye pain, as well as blurry vision.
The infection is usually caused by a virus but can also be caused by bacteria or allergies. When caused by bacteria, you may need to use antibiotic eye drops to help treat the infection.
There are many eye diseases that can cause blurry vision, including:
- age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- damage to the optic nerve
- dry eye syndrome
- detached retina (this is a medical emergency)
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder associated with having high blood sugar, but it can also affect the eyes. One complication of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy (DR), which also happens to be a leading cause of blindness in American adults.
If left untreated, a thyroid disease known as Graves’ disease can cause eye symptoms, including blurry or double vision.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can affect the entire body, including the small blood vessels of the eyes.
High blood pressure may cause the blood vessels in the retina to narrow, restricting blood flow and causing swelling. Over time, this can damage the blood vessels and lead to vision problems. This is called hypertensive retinopathy (HR).
Depending on the cause of your blurry vision, these natural treatments and lifestyle changes might help you see more clearly:
Rest and recovery
Human eyes are sensitive and need rest just like the rest of your body, so make sure you’re getting enough decent sleep. If you sit at a computer for long periods of the day, take breaks about every 20 minutes using the 20-20-20 rule.
To perform the 20-20-20 rule, simply shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
Lubricate the eyes
If blurry vision is caused by dry eyes, you may be able to improve the blurriness simply by blinking a few times or using a warm compress to gently massage the eyelids. This can stimulate the meibomian, or oil, glands in the eyelid.
You can also purchase artificial tears over the counter at a local drug store or online. These work by keeping the eyes lubricated to prevent dry eyes caused by straining.
Improve air quality
If you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier to prevent dry eyes. Avoid having air blowing directly at your face, especially at night.
Smoking can contribute to many eye diseases, including AMD, cataracts, and optic nerve damage. Cigarette smoke can also further irritate dry eyes.
To prevent and treat allergies, avoid whatever causes your allergy.
For example, if you’re allergic to dust, make sure to clean your bedroom frequently to avoid the buildup of dust that can affect your eyes while you sleep.
If your allergies are outdoor allergies, close the windows and use an air conditioning system that can filter out allergens.
If these strategies don’t work, you can also ask your doctor about antihistamine eye drops. Some are available over the counter (OTC), and others require a prescription.
Take omega-3 fatty acids
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids had some positive effects on people with dry eye symptoms. However, more research is needed to confirm these results.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in supplements, but you can also get your omega-3s by increasing your intake of:
- fatty fish
- flax seed
Talk with a medical professional before taking omega-3 supplements. This is because they can increase bleeding risk.
Protect your eyes
One way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses when outside in the sun. Choose sunglasses that block out both UVA and UVB light.
Sunglasses can also be helpful in cold, dry weather or when snow on the ground is reflecting the sun into your eyes. Another benefit is that they block the wind from irritating the eyes.
Take vitamin A
A diet low in foods that contain vitamin A can lead to dry eye and other vision problems, including blurry vision.
Vitamin A is found in two forms:
- retinol and retinyl esters, which are in animal products, such as dairy, liver and fish
- provitamin A carotenoids, which are found in plant-based foods, such as:
- sweet potatoes
- red peppers
- butternut squash
While vitamin A may lower the risk of developing AMD and other eye problems, any supplement should be used with caution.
Vitamin A is fat-soluble. This means that it’s stored in your body and can accumulate to unhealthy levels over time. Taking too much vitamin A can result in toxicity and serious side effects.
Clean your contact lenses
If you wear contact lenses, be sure to wash your hands and clean the lenses properly. You can disinfect contact lenses following the instructions provided. Don’t wear your contact lenses to bed — this can be dangerous.
You may have heard about eye exercises to help maintain optimal vision, such as rolling the eyes back and forth. However, there’s little credible scientific evidence suggesting that eye exercises can improve blurry vision.
For eye health, a well-rounded diet high in fruits and veggies is recommended over supplements. These vitamins can be found in leafy greens and other colorful fruits and vegetables, like:
- sweet potatoes
- bell peppers
Don’t rely on vitamin supplements for adequate nutrition. See a doctor or nutritionist if you’re unsure how to achieve a balanced diet.
You don’t need to see a doctor if the blurriness goes away easily after blinking or trying other home remedies. However, if you notice that your vision is gradually getting more and more blurry and the blurriness persists, visit an eye care specialist for an evaluation.
You should call 911 or seek emergency medical care if your eyes suddenly become blurry and you experience any of these symptoms:
- severe headache
- problems speaking
- loss of muscle control on one side of your body
- facial drooping
This could be a sign of a stroke.
You should also seek medical treatment if blurry vision occurs following a head injury, as this can be a sign of a concussion.
While there are some natural ways you can protect and even improve blurry vision without glasses or medical treatment, this largely depends on the cause of the blurriness. Blurry vision can be a result of refractive error or certain diseases that require medical treatment.
If blurry vision is caused by dry eyes, allergies, or eye strain from prolonged screen use, natural remedies and lifestyle changes may help. If blurry vision persists, or you have other symptoms or any pain with your blurry vision, see a doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.