Top 3 reasons why you are seeing a shadow on letters

Why am I seeing shadows on letters?

Our vision is central to our day-to-day lives, when we experience difficulties it can disrupt how we do things. Shadows on letters could be an indication of a variety of symptoms.

seeing shadows on letters

What causes shadows on letters when reading?

Below are some of the most common conditions that could result in shadows in your vision.


Astigmatism is a condition with the eyes that is the result of a refractive complication where objects at different distances appear to have a distorted or blurred look.

It’s usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Instead of your cornea being shaped like a tennis ball, it has more of a rugby ball feel to it. Items may appear stretched or streaked, with unequally blurred borders and elongated shapes.

Additional symptoms of seeing shadows on letter may include:

  • eye strain
  • headaches
  • squinting
  • issues with reading.

Read: how your optician can test for astigmatism

Macular degeneration

This is a condition characterised by changes in the eye’s macula which result in the gradual loss of central vision.

The cause of macular degeneration is unknown, but it could be related to genetic predisposition, smoking, and several other risk factors.

Additional symptoms of macular degeneration may include your central vision becoming distorted or blurry, or even shadowy before you experience vision loss.

Double vision

Also known as diplopia. When you suffer from double vision it means when you open your eyes, you don’t see a clear image as you normally should, rather it appears double or blurred which means there is a problem with the systems in the eye.

Other symptoms that accompany double vision include:

  • Misalignment of one or both of your eyes (a “cross-eyed” or “wandering eye” appearance)
  • A headache
  • Pain around your eyes, like the eyebrows or temples
  • Nausea
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Pain when you move your eye
  • Weakness in your eyes or eye in general.

It’s important you make an eye appointment as soon as possible if you suffer from any of these additional symptoms.

In order to find the correct treatment for double vision, the specific route of the cause needs to be established and this can only be achieved via a professional Optician and a thorough check-up.

Learn more about seeing in double vision

shadow letters
Other causes of shadows in your vision

If you are noticing dark spots, flecks or floaters in your vision then take a look at this article on shadows in vision that explain eye floaters in more detail and what to do about them.

When to get help

If you are regularly seeing shadows behind objects and text and your symptoms regarding your vision persist, worsen or you suffer from additional symptoms, it’s imperative to make an appointment with an Optometrist to allow them to examine you and diagnose your condition properly.

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