Diagnosis | Visual disorders


In case of acute, sudden visual disturbances, you should go to the emergency room or a doctor on call. If the visual disturbances have existed for a longer period of time or are worsening insidiously, you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible. The doctor treating you will ask you about the course of the disease and the exact symptoms. Depending on the possible cause, which the attending physician considers probable, further examinations will be carried out. These may include an ophthalmological examination, a blood test, a neurological examination or a CT/MRI.

Accompanying symptoms of visual disorders

Depending on the cause of the visual disturbances, very different accompanying symptoms can occur. Accompanying visual symptoms can be, for example, altered colour or contrast perception, visual field failures, or double images. Flashes of light or blind spots can also occur.

In addition, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or pain can also occur in combination with visual disturbances. A “flickering before the eye” often occurs as part of an aura in migraine. An aura often precedes the severe headache of a migraine attack.

However, it is also possible without headaches. Not every migraine starts with an aura. A distinction is therefore made between migraines with and without an aura. Vision problems can also be accompanied by dizziness. Examples of visual disturbances in combination with dizziness can be fainting, high or low blood pressure, hypoglycaemia or even a stroke.

Unilateral visual disturbances

Vision problems can also occur on one side. They can occur suddenly or insidiously. Examples of the cause of unilateral visual disorders can be astigmatism, cataracts or multiple sclerosis. A sudden unilateral loss of vision that causes no pain may indicate an obstruction of the vessel that supplies the retina (so-called central artery occlusion).

Therapy of visual disorders

The treatment of visual disorders depends on the underlying cause. If the visual disturbances occur in the context of migraine, there is no therapeutic option to treat them. Often the visual performance normalises itself again within a short time.

If headaches and nausea occur during a migraine attack, painkillers and anti-nausea drugs can be taken. If the visual disturbances occur due to low or high blood pressure, the visual disturbance often returns to normal on its own once the blood pressure is back to normal. It may be necessary to take medication to adjust the blood pressure.

If visual disturbances occur due to low blood sugar, you should take glucose or fruit juices to raise blood sugar again. The visual disturbances usually normalize themselves. If you have long-sightedness, short-sightedness or astigmatism, you should wear glasses to improve your vision.

How long do vision problems last?

How long vision problems last depends on the cause. Some vision problems normalize by themselves, while others require treatment until they improve. If there is farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, glasses must be worn for a long time. Alternatively, there is often the possibility of laser treatment.