Blurry Central Vision

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: December 2023

Many people experience blurry central vision as they get older. Your central vision allows you to see things directly in front of your eyes. If your central vision becomes blurry, it can be difficult to do everyday tasks like reading or driving. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a possible cause of blurry central vision.1

What causes blurry central vision?

The part of the eye that allows you to see is called the retina. The center of the retina, which is responsible for central vision, is called the macula. If your macula gets damaged, your central vision can become blurry.1,2

At first, you may not notice any changes in your vision, but as the damage becomes worse, your vision will start to become blurry. Over time, this can lead to dark spots in the center of your vision and loss of vision.1,2

What is age-related macular degeneration?

AMD is damage to the macula that happens because of aging. It is the most common reason for vision loss in older people. People with AMD may still be able to see using their side (peripheral) vision. But their central vision is blurry or lost. There are 2 types of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD.1-4

Dry AMD is the most common. About 80 percent of people with AMD have dry AMD. Dry AMD causes the macula to get thinner over a period of several years.1,2

Wet AMD causes vision loss at a faster rate. With wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina and damage the macula.1,2

Treatments for age-related macular degeneration

Depending on the type of AMD and damage to the macula, different treatment options are available.

Two drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat dry AMD with geographic atrophy (GA). GA can cause severe central vision loss. These drugs can slow down the damage to the macula. In some cases, certain vitamins and minerals also can slow down the damage caused by dry AMD in early stages.1,2

Treatments for wet AMD try to reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. In 1 type of treatment, drugs called anti-VEGF are injected into the eye. Another treatment involves using lasers to close the blood vessels and stop them from growing.1,2

There is also a surgical option for people with severe AMD. This procedure replaces 1 of the natural lenses with a device called an implantable miniature telescope (IMT). The IMT magnifies images before they reach the macula. Since the images are bigger, they can reach the healthy parts of the macula. As a result, blurry spots look smaller.5

IMT surgery affects depth perception and can cause tunnel vision. It can take some time for the eyes to adjust after the surgery.5

Adjusting to blurry vision caused by AMD

Blurry central vision can be distressing at first, but there are some ways to adjust to it. Depending on how much your vision is affected, you can use adaptive tools to help you see better and do everyday activities. Examples include:6

  • Using a magnifying glass for reading
  • Using a computer program or mobile app to either read or enlarge the text on a screen
  • Using brighter lights at home and at work

You can also ask your doctor about vision rehabilitation. This includes working with a specialist who can help you come up with ways to deal with vision loss. The specialist can introduce you to different tools and how to use them to make it easier to live with vision loss.6

Having blurry vision can be a sign of a serious problem, such as AMD or other eye-related illnesses. Your doctor will run tests to find out the cause of your blurry vision. They can also suggest possible treatments and ways to cope with blurry vision.4

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