Signs & Symptoms of Bad Eyesight

Updated April 17, 2017

Bad eyesight can affect adults and children for a variety of reasons including medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, stroke), medications such as antihistamines or injury to the eye. More commonly, age or eye stress result in vision changes, making it more difficult to perform everyday activities such as reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods. Common signs and symptoms of these types of vision problems include eyestrain, headache, blurred vision, squinting and trouble seeing from short or long distances. Regular eye exams can diagnose vision problems, and your eye doctor can recommend treatment options.


Eyestrain occurs when the eyes are focused on one thing for a prolonged period, such as when reading, driving or using a computer. Symptoms of eyestrain vary with the individual but may include a feeling of tiredness, soreness, burning, itching, watering or dryness. Eyestrain may lead to other vision problems such as headaches and blurred vision, but it can usually be improved with rest, eye exercises or prescription eyeglasses.


Vision-related headaches generally result from eyestrain, usually caused by reading or looking at a computer screen for long periods without breaks, especially if you have a distance-related vision condition such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Headaches that occur while wearing prescription eyeglasses may signal the need for an updated eyeglass prescription. Schedule an appointment with your regular doctor or an eye doctor to determine if vision problems are causing or worsening your headaches.

Blurred Vision

Nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism may cause blurry vision when looking at something up close or far away. Eyestrain or tiredness may also cause blurred vision. Seek immediate medical attention for blurred vision that occurs suddenly or is persistent as this may be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Vision Problems In Children

A child may not notice changes in his vision or he might be afraid of speaking up about them. Observe your child for signs of vision problems including sitting very close to the television; holding books, handheld games or other objects very close to his face; or difficulty seeing the blackboard or other school materials, which may result in answering or copying incorrectly. Schedule regular eye exams to monitor and resolve changes in your child's vision.

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About the Author

Kelly Smith has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes for various websites, specializing in health and literature. Smith is a certified pharmacy technician with more than five years of professional experience. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in multimedia communications from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.