Blurry vision and dizziness often occur together because of the complex relationships between visual processing and other organ systems of the body. In addition to ailments of the eye, blurry vision and dizziness can be caused by systemic conditions, diseases of the nervous system, complications of cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions. Treatment for blurry vision and dizziness varies, depending on the underlying cause.
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Any problem with the eyes that causes blurry vision and distorted perception can lead to a feeling of dizziness. For example, people with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia -- age-related difficulty seeing near objects -- may occasionally experience bouts of dizziness along with blurry vision. Cataracts are another common eye ailment that can lead to blurry vision and mild dizziness. Even pregnancy-related eye changes can lead to periods of distorted vision and dizziness. Although some vision changes that can cause dizziness do not reflect a serious medical problem, it is important to have any change in vision evaluated by an eye doctor, especially if the change occurs suddenly.
Anything that decreases blood flow to the brain can lead to dizziness and blurry vision. When this develops suddenly, it typically feels as though fainting is about to occur. People with heart failure commonly experience these episodes, especially when getting up from sitting or lying down. A heart attack may trigger the same symptoms. Some types of heart valve or rhythm problems can lead to similar episodes. Severe dehydration due to overheating or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea can lead to low blood pressure with dizziness and blurry vision. Certain blood pressure and heart medications can also cause these symptoms.
Nervous System Conditions
Many conditions can affect the nerves and brain centers involved in vision, leading to blurred vision and dizziness. A head injury, stroke or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain cause sudden symptoms. Infections of the brain and surrounding tissues may also trigger these and other nervous system symptoms. Tumors and chronic brain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, often cause more subtle and transient symptoms.
Several other medical conditions that cause vision problems may lead to blurry vision and dizziness. People living with diabetes may experience these symptoms when their blood sugar levels are high. Severe anemia may lead to dizziness and blurred vision because of reduced oxygen delivery to the brain and low blood volume. Thyroid problems, adrenal gland disorders and severe kidney disease are among the many other medical conditions that sometimes cause blurred or distorted vision and dizziness.
See Your Doctor
Because blurry vision and dizziness can occur with a broad range of medical conditions, it is important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience a sudden change in vision with dizziness, especially if accompanied by other symptoms.
Reviewed by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.