What Causes Bad Eyesight? Key Factors To Look Out For

At some point in our lives, many of us will experience gradual changes (or in some cases, a sudden decline) in our vision. Here at Optical Revolution, we play a key part in helping our customers to acknowledge and manage these differences, and we’re proactive when it comes to understanding the causes behind them. We’re going to explore a few of the main culprits of declining vision, as well as outlining some of the most effective natural remedies for relieving and managing these changes.

What causes bad eyesight?

There are a few main causes of bad eyesight, and they can impact people of all ages. We’ve rounded up some common culprits below:

Age-related eyesight decline

As we grow older, the lenses in our eyes become less flexible, affecting our ability to focus. Old age also increases the likelihood that we have of developing eyesight health issues, including presbyopia, glaucoma, dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts

Screen time & blue light strain

As a population, we’re spending longer than ever behind screens. Our generation also experienced the consequences of the Covid pandemic, with 1 in 3 adults reporting eyesight decline during this period as a result of increased screen time. Spending extensive hours in front of screens, like computers or smartphones, can strain the eyes and impact vision.

Health conditions

Diseases like diabetes or hypertension can have an effect on eyesight and symptoms often manifest over time. Our innovative 3D OCT eye exam is able to identify indicators of some of these conditions up to eight years earlier than other eye tests, empowering our customers with advanced awareness of their vision health.


Direct trauma to the eye or head can also result in sudden vision changes, and this often requires urgent attention from a primary healthcare provider. Scratches, foreign bodies within the eye and direct trauma all warrant medical attention, and while they can impact the long-term quality of your vision, they can often be treated and managed effectively by professionals.

Is declining eyesight always caused by old age?

As outlined above, old age can increase the chances of developing health conditions that can lead to a gradual or even sudden decline in vision. However, eyesight deterioration isn’t a normal part of the ageing process. Poor vision can be hereditary, passed on between generations, a result of general health conditions, or impacted by lifestyle – and people of all ages can be susceptible to any of these factors. 

What could cause a sudden decline in vision?

Some kinds of vision loss happen gradually, at a pace that doesn’t have a direct impact on your day-to-day eyesight. However, other causes of bad eyesight can have a rapid onset, and they often need to be assessed quickly to determine the cause. We’ve explored some of the most likely causes of a sudden change in vision, outlining some of the symptoms associated with each condition.

Why is my eyesight getting worse

Acute glaucoma

Sudden eyesight decline as a result of acute glaucoma only happens occasionally, but it’s certainly worthwhile having an awareness of the symptoms that it can cause. Signs such as intense, sudden eye pain, headaches, red/tender eyes, seeing rings around lights and blurred vision are all associated with acute glaucoma.

Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis refers to inflammation of the arteries around the temples, and it’s a serious medical condition that can be indicated by a sudden decline in vision – either one, or both eyes can be affected. It can also trigger pain around the temples, the side of the head, or on the scalp, and headaches are also commonly experienced in cases of temporal arteritis.

Retinal detachment

A detached retina happens when the retinal tissue at the back of your eye becomes loose. It needs to be treated quickly to preserve vision, as in some cases, it can lead to permanent sight loss. It is often signalled by experiencing changes to your eyesight such as a dark curtain or shadow over your vision, or seeing ‘floaters’ (small particles) in your eye.


This condition involves inflammation of the cornea – the clear, dome shaped tissue that covers the front of the eye. The onset of keratitis can often be indicated by sudden blurred or decreased vision, excessive tears or discharge from the eye, general eye pain, and sensitivity to light. In most cases, only one eye is affected, but some patients experience keratitis in both eyes.

Any experience of a sudden decline in vision should be addressed swiftly to avoid any permanent damage.

Lifestyle changes that can improve overall eyesight health

It might sound surprising, but there are a few ways that we can actively treat and manage eyesight problems naturally. Some of the most common natural remedies that have been shown to offer relief and noticeable benefits include:

Eating a balanced diet

Eating foods rich in vitamin A, C, and E, as well as minerals like copper and zinc, can help maintain good eye health.

Limit screen time

Taking regular breaks when using digital devices can reduce strain. While it’s a part of many of our daily routines, there’s still an opportunity to take breaks from the screen, or to invest in blue light coating for your designer prescription glasses – this is a protective layer that can be added to lenses, designed to lessen the strain on your eyes over prolonged periods of screen exposure.

Invest in sunglasses with sufficient UV protection

While exposure to sunlight offers up a range of benefits for our bodies, including increased vitamin D production, it can have some lasting consequences on our vision over time. We protect our skin from the rays by using SPF, and we can take care of our eyes by wearing sunglasses. The lenses that you choose need to have a high UV rating – we’d suggest looking for UV400 as a guideline. Cheap sunglasses are often produced without any UV protection at all, so you won’t benefit from wearing them at all.

Eye exercises

There are a few simple exercises that have been shown to help strengthen the eye muscles, keeping them stronger to avoid some of the causes of declining vision:

  • Palming – rub your hands together to warm them up. With your eyes closed, place your palm over each cheekbone, and cup your hand over each eye. Breathe deeply for five minutes.
  • Blinking – conscious blinking motions have been shown to encourage stimulation of the oil glands, and this helps to keep the surface of the eyes moist – which in turn, alleviates feelings of gritiness or tiredness as a result of overworking the eye muscles. Try closing the eyes for 2 seconds, then opening them, and repeating this action a few times.
  • Figure eight – Tracking an object or following a ‘path’ with our eyes can be an effective way to re-engage the muscles that we rely on for our vision. Pick a point on the wall in front of you, and trace a figure eight with your eyes. Repeat four times before changing direction.


We’re always encouraging our patients to be proactive when it comes to eyesight health, and we are committed to helping you to understand your eye health with solutions that are tailored to your needs, such as our 3D OCT eye exam. Even if you haven’t experienced any sudden vision changes or symptoms, you should still commit to regular checks. You can book an appointment at your local opticians practice online in a few simple steps, or contact us for further information.  If you need access to emergency eye care, get in touch with your GP or emergency healthcare provider.

What causes bad eyesight: FAQs


Is sudden vision loss always a sign of a serious eye condition?

Sudden vision loss should be taken seriously, but it doesn’t always indicate a severe eye condition. It could be related to a temporary issue, such as a migraine or the side effect of a medicine. It’s essential to rule out serious conditions that could be causing a decline in eyesight, and to determine the appropriate course of action.

How can I improve my eyesight and avoid glasses?

While having the right glasses for your prescription can provide an effective solution to vision problems, if you’re keen on avoiding them, there are a selection of options that you could consider:

Contact lenses – These offer a glasses-free solution and are available for various vision issues.
Laser eye surgery – Procedures like LASIK can correct specific vision problems, negating the need for corrective lenses.
Prevention – Incorporating eye-friendly habits early on can help delay the onset of many vision problems.

How does genetics influence the development of poor eyesight?

Genetics play a significant role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to vision problems. If parents or close relatives have certain eye conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism, there’s an increased likelihood of these conditions being passed down to the next generation.

Can poor eyesight improve itself?

While some minor vision issues can self-resolve, especially those related to temporary eye strain or dryness, many vision problems will not improve without intervention. We encourage all of our customers to stay on top of their eye health by booking regular check-ups.

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