Blurred vision is typically resolved with corrective lenses, but there are certain things that can cause a transient decline in visual acuity. Certain medications such as aspirin, antihistamines, and beta blockers can cause a temporary decline in vision, as can certain medical disorders and infections. Here are three bacterial and viral infections that may heighten your risk for vision problems and what you can do about them:
Bacterial, viral, and fungal sinus infections can cause a temporary decline in vision. The symptoms of a sinus infection include nasal congestion, sneezing, thick mucus production, and itchy, watery eyes, which can affect your vision.
A sinus infection can also lead to inflammation of your tear glands, and when this happens, it may affect the quantity and quality of your tears. Your eyes need constant lubrication to function properly, and when your eyes do not have adequate tear production, corneal abrasions can develop, which may cause blurred or distorted vision.
If your doctor determines that your sinus infection is bacterial in nature, you will be prescribed a course of oral antibiotics to clear the infection. Once resolved, your vision should return to normal. If you have a viral sinus infection, antibiotics will be of little use in treating your sinus infection.
A dental abscess, or tooth infection, can cause toothache, headache, gum inflammation, bleeding, and a bad taste in the mouth. Severely infected teeth can also lead to temporary vision problems and eye pain.
If a dental abscess spreads, it can affect one of your cranial nerves known as the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is inflamed because of infection or trauma, vision can be affected. While infection-related blurred vision often resolves once the infection has been cleared, eye problems may persist indefinitely. If your doctor suspects that your diminished visual acuity is caused by optic nerve inflammation, you may be referred to a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Another infection that can cause dim vision, eye sensitivity, itching, and watering, is conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Causes of conjunctivitis include bacterial and viral infections and allergic reactions. Blurred vision from pink eye is often accompanied by a condition known as photophobia, which means light sensitivity.
This condition can cause eye pain when you look at bright lights or the sun. To ease light sensitivity during a bout of conjunctivitis, wear sunglasses when going outdoors, and try to avoid medications that list photosensitivity as one of the side effects.
Pink eye usually resolves on its own. However, antimicrobial eye drops are often prescribed. In addition to eye drops, your doctor may advise you to gently clean your eyes with a soft washcloth and warm water.
If you develop an infection that has affected your vision, see your eye doctor. While your eyesight will probably revert back to normal once your infection goes away, it may linger for months or perhaps longer.
If this happens, your eye doctor may recommend that you consider vision therapy, a series of eye exercises that may help restore optimal vision. Vision therapy is often prescribed for children who have an ocular condition known as amblyopia, or lazy eye. To get more information, contact a vision therapy specialist in your area.
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