Case 1 – Blurry Vision

You are seeing Mrs. Woods, a 74 year old woman, in your ambulatory clinic today. She states that her vision has become blurry. Take a focused history of this complaint and perform the relevant physical examination.


  • Onset and duration of blurry vision
  • Progression of blurry vision
  • Foreign body sensation, or history of foreign body in affected eye
  • Awareness of a red eye (none)
  • Visual field defects
  • Change in acuity
  • Double vision
  • Eye pain
  • Pain with eye movement
  • Presence of flashes and floaters
  • Photophobia
  • Excessive or poor lacrimation
  • Association with any extra-ocular symptoms: rashes, arthritis, urethritis
  • Change in colour vision
  • Distinguish between blurred vision vs. metamorphopsia (distorted vision)
  • Use of corrective lenses
  • Exposure to environmental irritants
  • History of diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, and stroke (risk factors for CRVO, CRAO)
  • History of cataract removal
  • Past ocular disease, including trauma
  • Smoking and alcohol history
  • Medications and allergies
  • Family history of eye diseases, e.g. glaucoma, retinal detachment
  • Inquires if patient is driving since onset of vision changes
  • Effect on daily living

Physical Examination


  • Comments on absence of ptosis
  • Comments on appearance of lid, eyelashes, lacrimal glands
  • Comments on appearance of conjunctiva and sclera


  • Asks patient about prescription for corrective lenses before beginning examination
  • Checks visual acuity using Snellen Chart at 14 inches or 20 feet
  • Assesses pupillary response to light
  • Assesses pupillary accommodation
  • Assesses for RAPD/Marcus Gunn pupils
  • Assesses visual fields by confrontation
  • Performs fundoscopy and comments on findings, specifically the disc-to-cup ratio
  • States that color vision testing should be performed
  • States that a slit lamp examination should be performed


  • Comments on absence of nystagmus
  • Assesses all six cardinal movements of the extraocular muscles
  • Asks patients about diplopia in all directions of gaze
Case 1 – Blurry Vision