Updated on  February 21, 2024
6 min read

What Causes Trouble Focusing Your Eyes?

7 sources cited
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Accommodative dysfunction is when people have trouble focusing on objects. It’s when your eyes can’t shift their focus from one object to another without experiencing blurry vision.

The condition is typically found in children or adults who have near work. Near-work is any activity that requires focusing on objects within 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 centimeters) or closer.

Visually demanding tasks often cause accommodative dysfunction. That includes activities like reading or looking at computer screens for a long time.

Trouble Focusing Eyes: Common Symptoms

You may also have blurry vision if you have trouble focusing your eyes. It can affect one or both eyes.

Other eye symptoms associated with eye-focusing problems include:

  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Double vision
  • Floating specks in front of your eyes (eye floaters)
Trouble Focusing Eyes

Alternatively, cloudy vision is when objects appear ‘milky’ and obscured. It’s similar to blurry vision. If you have blurry vision and are unsure of its cause, visit an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye examination.

Trouble Focusing Eyes: Common Causes

Eye-focusing problems can also be a symptom of other eye conditions. Here are some of them:

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are the main causes of eye-focusing problems and blurry vision. These include:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia (inability to focus on nearby objects due to aging)

They’re commonly treated with an eyeglasses or contacts prescription.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Spending long periods using a screen can tire your eyes. This tiredness can lead to a blurry field of vision. 

Using screens does not cause permanent damage to your eye health. However, it is a demanding visual system task that can lead to eye discomfort.

If you have an uncorrected vision issue, this can make screen use uncomfortable. It can also lead to:


Most people have astigmatism, but the condition varies between individuals. It occurs when the cornea has an abnormal curve. The more your cornea is formed like a rugby ball, the worse your vision will be.

Astigmatism is also caused by other factors, which include:

  • Abnormalities of the lens
  • Issues from a lens transplant
astigmatism sphere

Astigmatism treatments include laser refractive surgery. This adjusts the shape of the cornea. Patients can also opt for lens implants with an astigmatic correction.


Presbyopia is a common condition that makes seeing challenging at a typical reading distance. As we age, the lens loses its flexibility and cannot adjust its shape and focus.

Many people first notice presbyopia symptoms from 40 to 45 years, and the symptoms worsen between the ages of 45 and 65. From 65 years onwards, an individual’s presbyopia is unlikely to decline.

graphic showing normal eye and presbyopia

Presbyopia is treated with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Multifocals, bifocals, or half-glasses enable you to do close-up work and view distant objects. New laser and cataract surgery can also treat presbyopia.

From the ages of 45 up to 65, your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription is likely to change. Have an eye examination every two to three years to review your correction and eye health.

Corneal Abrasion

Your cornea is the transparent covering on the front of your eye. When it gets injured or scratched, you may develop corneal abrasion. Vision may become blurry, and it may feel like there is something in your eye.

Pink Eye

Otherwise known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is an infection of the outer lining of your eye. A virus typically causes it, but it can also result from the spread of bacteria or allergies.

High Blood Sugar

Extremely high blood sugar levels can cause the lens of your eye to swell, leading to blurred vision. People with diabetes are prone to experiencing this.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration 

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among older people. The condition can often lead to blurry vision and visual distortions that cause straight lines to appear wavy or broken.

Macular Degeneration


Blurred or cloudy vision may be warning signs of cataracts. It occurs when the lens in your eye develops cloudy patches. Glare and halos around lights at night may also be warning signs of cataracts.


If left untreated, cataracts can worsen and potentially lead to blindness. Cataract surgery replaces cataracts with artificial lenses, which typically restore lost vision. 

Serious Causes of Sudden Vision Changes

Some causes of sudden vision changes are medical emergencies. These must be treated immediately to prevent permanent vision loss or damage.


Blurry or lost vision in both eyes can occur when you experience a stroke. It affects the area of your brain that controls vision.

A stroke involving your eyes leads to blurred or lost vision in just one eye. You may also have other stroke symptoms, like weakness in one side of your body or the inability to speak.

Detached Retina 

A detached retina occurs when your retina detaches from the back of your eye. When this happens, you may see black spots or flashes of light. It’s often followed by blurred or absent vision. Without emergency treatment, permanent vision loss may occur. 


A head injury can lead to a concussion, which is often accompanied by visual changes like trouble focusing. It can also lead to other symptoms like:

  • Mood changes
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a stroke lasting less than 24 hours. One of its symptoms can be having blurred vision in one or both eyes. Although it’s considered a mini-stroke, it still requires medical attention.

Eye Infections

Blurry vision is a common symptom of an eye infection. Some eye infections that can cause eye-focusing problems include:

  • Keratitis. Inflamed cornea, which causes tearing, redness, irritation, and pain
  • Conjunctivitis. Infection caused by allergies, bacteria, or viruses
  • Orbital cellulitis. Infection caused by bacteria or fungus, leading to bulging eyes, fever, and difficulties with moving the eye
  • Uveitis. Swelling of the uvea caused by infections and viruses

Treatment For Sudden Blurry Vision 

Treatment for sudden blurry vision depends on the condition affecting your eyesight. Not all causes of sudden blurry vision require urgent medical treatment.

Call 911 if you think your sudden blurry vision means you have a stroke or a detached retina.

If you have unexplained sudden blurry vision, seek medical advice from a healthcare provider, ophthalmologist, or optometrist as soon as possible, even if it has passed.

Can You Prevent Accommodative Dysfunction?

Wearing glasses or contact lenses can help you reduce vision-focusing problems. However, the best way to prevent accommodative dysfunction is by getting regular eye examinations.

Regular eye exams can help you detect vision problems early, which helps your doctor prevent further issues. It can also detect underlying causes and serious eye conditions.

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Why Are You Having Trouble Focusing Your Eyes?
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Having trouble focusing your eyes can mean a lot of things. There are different symptoms and causes associated with this condition.

Eye-focusing problems (accommodative dysfunction) typically don’t require urgent medical attention. However, it can be a sign of a serious eye condition.

Knowing their symptoms and causes can help determine whether your condition is serious. It can also help determine whether you need immediate medical attention.

Updated on  February 21, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on  February 21, 2024
  1. Accommodative dysfunction.” American Optometric Association.

  2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” National Eye Institute (NEI), 2021.

  3. Focusing Problems.” College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

  4. Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020. 

  5. Retinal Detachment.” National Eye Institute (NEI), 2022.

  6. Stroke.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022.

  7. Warning signs of a serious eye problem.” Harvard Health Publishing.

The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.