Blurred Text

I am getting really frustrated by problems with blurred reading. At first I only viewed it as a problem with close reading, But for some time now I have used a 50 inch flat screen TV as a monitor and I sit about four feet or more away (as right now) , yet the text is very blurry and washed out and I have to really peer at it to see it. What I dont understand is that my performance on a sight chart isnt that bad whenever they test me - almost get the bottom line with one eye and almost the second to bottom with the other. I wonder if that could be because I only need to focus on single letters at a time. Also, if the blurred text is more than arms length and in fact a few feet from me then does that not put it beyond the realm of being a problem of long-sightedness? The other thing that I dont understand is that I am not particularly aware of any problem watching say a TV program or film on the television. I dont then notice bluriness. Does this make sense to anyone?

Yes it does make sense. Naturally, if you’ve not yet seen an optician yet, you really need to see one. If there is cause for concern, you’d be referred. I have had optic neuritis and also observed similar things. Able to read the bottom line in the effected eye yet blurred edges, colour is always washed out, mainly red. Glasses will not improve the blurring in optic neuritis and it will be blurred far or close to the best of my knowledge. You could find a glasses prescription solves your problems. You don’t mention any pain. Whilst I think you can suffer optic neuritis without pain on movement, I think it’s rare to be without pain. There are a number of optic conditions it could be that weren’t related to neuritis? I’d get down for an eye check, you could well be worrying over a simple set of reading glasses. If it were to be optic neuritis - that is not necessarily anything to get too distressed over either. I have had one case of Optic Neuritis to date and nothing else to worry about. I’m no expert in any of it, but the wonder “what is it” is often worse than the reality in my experience to date. M

Just a guess Bob, but it could be that your brain can’t compensate as well with full text as it can with single letters. Have you tried reading something very familiar vs something unfamiliar? (Everything else kept constant.) Maybe your address versus some random text typed onto the screen by someone else? It’d be worth trying different font colours, backgrounds and contrasts to narrow down potential contributing factors. Karen x

The first thing to do, Bob, is to check if you have diplopia/double vision. This can be temporary (i.e. an offshoot of optic neuritis), or a permanent development. First you make yourself a target:

Use Powerpoint (or similar) to print a black line about 1/2 inch wide and 5-6 inches long in the centre of a sheet of A4.
Stick this up at about 5-6 feet away, in a good light, with the line horizontal.
Now look at the line and see if you have a second image above or below the line.
Repeat this with the line vertical and check for an image to the right or left.

The idea of this is so that the “feature detectors” in your eyes have good contrast to work with, and no colour issues (see Karen’s post above). If you do not see a second image, you can repeat this with colours (start with red, then green, then blue). If you still do not see a second image, then it is a fair bet that you do not have diplopia.

What you are getting might be an artifact of the very large screen, either on its own, or due to a phenomena called Mach “Bands”. What you need to do is to try connecting a normal 17"-22" monitor, and seeing if you get the same effect. I would be guessing that the bigger screen has less contrast, and that does not help at all.

What you might also find is that you have a problem if you look at something close, and then look up at the big monitor - this is due to the eye/brain combination having to accomodate the change in viewing distance.

So, see what you can check for yourself, and then you have some facts to present to an optician or GP as a start.


Hi Mr Bob, I also get double-vision and blurring but do not have ON.

What Geoff says about having to accomodate change of viewing distance makes sense. I often watch tv with subtitles as also have a hearing problem (tinnitus and mild hearing loss), and at first the subtitles look blurred but after a while it settles down.

I also agree with Geoff that the big monitor makes it worse. I have 22" tv which I think makes it easier. I also find watching tv with subtitles on my laptop easier.

For reading book, Kindle is a great help as you can change the font size and the spacing, making the text much easier to read (there are other e-books available… lol…)

I think, with the eye test at optician, you are only concentrating on the chart and can focus on the strongest image… even though there are ‘ghost’ images… and therefore do ok. I do too. There are no other distractions.

With tv there is much more going on and you are trying to concentrate on the action and the subtitles which are moving on very quickly. A hell of a lot for the poor MS brain to cope with!

Heat and fatigue both make my vision worse. Sometimes, when very blurry, I lie with my eyes closed and listen to radio. Helps a lot.

Hope this helps,

Pat x

Sorry, havent been able to get on here for a few days - have to fight with my two boys to get onto the computer. Thanks guys for the helpful suggestions. I will steadily work though them and see if they throw any light on the matter. The other thing I could have mentioned is that the problem gets much worse later in the day and also tomorrow I am at Moorfields for a CT scan as the consultant 3 weeks ago thought from an MRI there could be some retrobulbar swelling in the left eye, as it is a few millimetres forward on the other eye. A bit annoyed because this MRI I was told was going to be an Occular MRI when in fact it was simply a brain MRI with fat suppression - WOT! trying to say I’m fat huh? and the consultant said an occular would have been more useful.