When it comes to your body's response to exercise, there are some physical symptoms you should never ignore. If you're experiencing blurred vision while working out or immediately after you've finished, it could be a red flag that something more serious is going on.
Blurred Vision While Working Out
If you're dealing with blurry vision during or after exercise, your first step is to consider any underlying medical or health issue that may be to blame. In some cases, it could be a red flag for something more serious like a stroke, aneurysm or diabetes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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In fact, hypotension, or low blood pressure, is one condition that can cause you to have blurry vision. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines low blood pressure as a pressure that is lower than 90/60 mm HG. This can happen as a sudden drop in pressure, although for some people, low blood pressure is a chronic condition. In regards to exercise, the American Heart Association says being dehydrated can cause your blood pressure to drop.
Depending on the severity, your doctor may recommend medications to raise your blood pressure or lifestyle modifications, such as drinking more fluids and eating salty foods.
You may want to work with a registered dietitian to design a diet that addresses low blood pressure and its effect on exercise.
Issues With Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is another possible culprit that can cause your vision to blur. When you're hyperglycemic, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal or higher than your target level set by your doctor. And when this happens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can experience symptoms such as blurred vision.
If you have blurred vision along with other symptoms like extreme thirst, tiredness and the need to urinate more often, talk to your doctor immediately. These could indicate that you're at risk of developing diabetes.
Exercising with too high of blood sugar levels can be dangerous, according to Harvard Health Publishing, which defines too high as over 250. Make sure to monitor your level prior to physical activity and time your workouts to start about 30 minutes after a meal, as long as your blood sugar levels are normal.
And if you already have a diabetes diagnosis, you could be dealing with a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which causes vision loss and blindness, according to the National Eye Institute. One of the main symptoms of this condition is blurry vision, so make sure to let your doctor know if you're experiencing blurred vision while working out.
Read more: 10 Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar After Exercise
Other Causes of Blurred Vision
If you have blurry vision in one eye after working out, it could be a sign of a condition called optic neuritis. This happens when the nerve fibers that carry images from the retina to the brain become inflamed, which causes them to not function properly, according to the Kellogg Eye Center at Michigan Medicine.
When you're hot or tired, optic neuritis symptoms such as blurriness in your eyes can get worse, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This is often triggered by exercise or taking a hot bath. If an ophthalmologist determines you have optic neuritis, they may recommend corticosteroids, a medicine used to treat this condition.
Finally, it's important to see a doctor if you're experiencing blurry vision after workout sessions because you may be dealing with a condition called diplopia or double vision. Diplopia can cause you to see two images when you look at a single object. Although it's generally temporary, the Cleveland Clinic says it's not something to ignore since it could be related to something more serious like a problem with the brain or the nerves and muscles in your eyes.
In order to minimize or prevent blurry vision from happening, you should work with your doctor to treat the cause of blurred vision while working out.
- Michigan Medicine Kellog Eye Center: "Optic Neuritis"
- American Academy of Ophthalmology: "What Is Optic Neuritis?"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Seeing Double? Get Your Vision Checked Promptly"
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Low Blood Pressure"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Manage Blood Sugar"
- National Eye Institute: "Diabetic Retinopathy"
- American Heart Association: "Low Blood Pressure"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Vision Problems"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Importance of Exercise When You Have Diabetes"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.