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Why is my vision dimming?

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Savoring the vivid colors of a rainbow or the deep yellows, reds and oranges of a sunset is one of life’s true pleasures. If these colors seem muted and the world around you seems dimmer, it could be a sign that you have a sight-threatening eye condition. 

Common causes of dimming vision include:

Macular Degeneration

There are two main types of macular degeneration — dry and wet. If you begin to notice a slow fading or blurring of your vision, dry macular degeneration may be to blame. In dry macular degeneration, small lipid deposits known as drusen form under the macula, eventually leading to vision loss. In wet macular degeneration, the more serious form of MD, abnormal blood vessels leak blood or fluid into the macula. Wet MD can cause sudden changes to your vision and requires urgent eye care. 

Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis occurs when the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information to your brain from your retina (the light-sensing layer at the back of your eye), becomes inflamed. This causes a gradual dimming of vision, as the optic nerve struggles to send visual information to the brain. This is usually a temporary condition, with vision returning to normal within 6 months. However, your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive analysis of your optic nerve to determine the best way to manage and treat the condition. 


Glaucoma occurs when inner-eye pressure becomes dangerously high, potentially damaging the optic nerve. By the time symptoms like dim vision become noticeable, the patient may have already suffered permanent vision loss. 

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye, known as the retina, becomes detached from the underlying structures and blood vessels that nourish it. The dislocation hinders the retina’s ability to detect light and send signals to the brain, causing a shadow-like effect to slowly spread across your vision.


A cataract occurs when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to harden, blocking light from passing through the lens and causing vision to become cloudy. This results in images suddenly appearing dim, blurry or less colorful.

If you notice your vision becoming dimmer and less vibrant, it could be an eye emergency that requires immediate treatment to prevent vision loss and even blindness. Our eye doctors in and will thoroughly examine your eyes and assess your vision. Once they have diagnosed the problem, our doctors will discuss the best course of treatment, based on your specific condition and health. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment could include medication, therapeutic procedures or surgery.

At New Era Eyecare, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-830-3977 or book an appointment online to see one of our Clifton eye doctors.

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Are there non eye-related reasons that could cause my vision to dim?

Depending on where in the brain it’s located, a brain tumor can also cause noticeable dimming of your sight. Other ways you may be affected include changes in smell or hearing, seizures and muscle twitches or paralysis in parts of your body. Sudden (rather than gradual) dimming of vision may also indicate a stroke. If you suspect you’re experiencing a stroke, immediately go to the nearest emergency room.

Can my vision dim in only one eye?

Yes. Most of the conditions discussed above tend to affect only one eye at a time, or one eye more severely than the other. This can result in dimming in only one eye, or different levels of dimming in each eye.