How To Fix Starburst Vision: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Fix Starburst Vision: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever driven at night and struggled to see the road because of rays of light radiating from streetlights, car headlights, and traffic signals? Or maybe you’ve noticed starburst patterns and streaks around lights when you’re inside too. This visual phenomenon is known as starburst vision, and it can make normal activities like driving incredibly difficult and dangerous.

The good news is that there are solutions for improving starburst vision. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn what causes those pesky starbursts, how eye doctors test for underlying conditions, and both medical and surgical treatment options to get your vision back to normal. Buckle up and get ready to see clearly again!

What Exactly Is Starburst Vision?

Starburst vision refers to seeing rays or streaks of light shooting out from a central light source. You know those cartoons when a character gets hurt and sees stars circling around their head? It’s kind of like that, except rather than stars you see bright beams radiating from lamps, car headlights, or other lights.

Some key differences between starbursts and halos:

  • Halos – Circular rings or haze surrounding light sources
  • Starbursts – Distinct beams or rays emitting from lights

Starbursts mainly cause issues when you’re driving at night. As each headlight and streetlamp radiates thin rays of light across your field of vision, it can be incredibly distracting and make it much harder to see the road, cars, pedestrians, and road signs.

This star-shaped glare seriously inhibits your ability to drive safely in low light. And in some cases, it can even completely obscure your vision which puts you and others at risk.

Clearly it’s critical to get this visual disturbance checked out and corrected. But before we get into treatments, we need to understand what causes starbursts in the first place.

What’s Behind Starburst Vision?

There are a number of eye conditions that can cause you to see streaks and rays beaming out from lights. The main culprits can be divided into age-related causes and those stemming from medical or surgical interventions.

Age-Related Factors Causing Starbursts

As we get older, our eyes gradually change and lose some of their youthful functionality. Common age-related eye diseases and disorders that can cause starburst vision include:

Cataracts – Cloudiness or opacities that develop in the lens of your eye. The natural crystalline lens in our eyes can become progressively clouded over as the proteins start to clump together. Cataracts make it harder to see and cause vision problems like halos, glare, light sensitivity, and yes – starbursts.

Astigmatism – Results from an irregularly curved cornea or lens that prevents light from properly focusing on the retina. Instead of a clear point of focus, light scatters causing distortion and starbursts.

Glaucoma – Raised pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve over time if left untreated. The nerve damage leads to blind spots and vision loss.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment – The vitreous gel that fills the eye separates from the retina as we age. As it shrinks and pulls away, clumps can develop which cast shadows and cause visual disturbances when light enters around them.

Floaters are also common after posterior vitreous detachment and can make starburst symptoms much worse by casting hundreds of tiny shadows across your field of view.

Glasses, contacts, medication, and surgery can all help correct some of these age-related causes of starbursts which we’ll discuss shortly. First let’s go over some medical and surgical interventions that may actually initiate starburst vision in the first place.

Medical & Surgical Causes

In an effort to correct vision problems like nearsightedness and cataracts, certain procedures can unfortunately have starbursts as a side effect:

LASIK Eye Surgery – Designed to reduce dependency on glasses or contacts by reshaping your cornea with lasers. While LASIK successfully corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness in most patients, starbursts are a common temporary side effect as your eyes heal post-operation.

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) – As an alternative to basic artificial lenses that are implanted during cataract surgery, multifocal IOLs aim to restore vision at multiple distances. But much like progressive or bifocal glasses, they also produce starbursts and glare due to simultaneous near and distance focusing powers.

Keratoconus – This disorder causes your cornea to gradually thin and take on a cone-like shape. The irregular cornea prevents light rays from properly focusing leading to double or distorted vision. Advanced keratoconus can form starbursts around light sources.

Fuchs’ Dystrophy – Over time, cells in the innermost corneal layer start to die off faster than they regenerate leading to swelling, blurred vision, and eventually starbursts.

For these surgical and medical conditions, starbursts may gradually develop over time. Catching them early allows for medication treatments and less invasive intervention methods in some cases.

Can Wearing Biofinity Multifocal Contact Lenses Cause Starburst Vision and How Can It Be Fixed?

Starburst vision caused by Biofinity multifocal fitting explained. Starburst vision can occur if the lenses are not correctly fitted. To fix this issue, consult an eye care professional for a new fitting. Properly fitted lenses can ensure clear vision and minimize the risk of starburst effects.

Testing & Diagnosis

If you weren’t born with vision problems and you suddenly start noticing starbursts or other visual disturbances interfering with your daily activities, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist right away.

An eye doctor can run diagnostic tests to get to the root cause of what’s disrupting light entering your eye and causing those pesky rays projecting from bright light sources. Testing areas will likely include:

Refractive errors – Checking if you simply need an updated glasses prescription to properly focus light again.

Lens & cornea – Detailed imaging of the shape and integrity of your eye structures and angle mapping to rule out developing astigmatism or keratoconus for example.

Glaucoma -Test eye pressure and check optic nerve damage which can indicate glaucoma.

Retina health – Pinpoint vitreous detachments, floaters, retinal holes, etc causing visual interference.

Diagnostic tests coupled with an in-depth medical history will allow your ophthalmologist to pinpoint what’s triggering starbursts specifically for your situation. Once the underlying cause has been determined, we can move on to evaluating treatment options based on the diagnosis.

Clearing Up Starbursts

When it comes to remedying starburst vision, both surgical and nonsurgical routes should be explored with your doctor. We’ll provide an overview of common treatment options based on whether age-related factors or medical conditions are causing your starbursts.

Nonsurgical Treatments

For some sources behind starburst vision like refractive errors, early-stage cataracts, and mild cases of glaucoma, vision correction solutions or medications may suffice:

Updated Prescriptions – As you age, your vision prescription needs tweaking to keep pace with changes to your eyes’ focusing powers. Getting fitted with a slightly different strength of glasses or contacts often reduces starbursts.

Cataract Eye Drops – In early stages, over-the-counter antioxidant eye drops claim to break up small clumps in mild cataracts restoring clarity and reducing related glare and starbursts.

Glaucoma Medications – Prescription eye drops, oral medication, or laser treatments lower internal eye pressure before optic nerve damage and vision loss occur from glaucoma.

When nonsurgical options no longer provide adequate relief from debilitating starburst symptoms, surgical alternatives must be weighed.

Surgical Treatments

For moderate to advanced cases of cataracts, refractive surgery complications, and floaters causing prolific starbursts, minimally invasive and outpatient procedures provide definitive solutions:

Cataract Surgery – Removing cloudy natural lenses and replacing them with synthetic intraocular lenses (IOLs) permanently eliminates cataract-related glare and starbursts. If multifocal IOL risks concern you, flexible monovision IOLs are also an option.

Corneal Surgery – Reshapes the cornea with lasers or inserts corneal ring segments to regularize its surface which helps light focus correctly onto the retina again. Especially beneficial for keratoconus and irregular astigmatism causing starbursts.

Vitrectomy for Floaters – Using micro surgical instruments, ophthalmologists remove vitreous gel from inside the eye and replace it with clear saline solution. By eliminating accumulated vitreous debris and floaters that cast shadows, symptoms from posterior vitreous detachment like starbursts can be significantly reduced.

In Closing

In summary, determining the specific factor causing light rays around bright light sources allows selection of appropriate treatment options to substantially improve distracting, potentially dangerous starburst vision. Whether an updated prescription, cataract surgery, or corneal treatment does the trick – solutions exist for minimizing starbursts and keeping you safely on the road!

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