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Halos: I’m seeing a bright circle surrounding a light source

Light is essential for our vision. It bounces off objects and enters your eyes, which in turn allows us to see. However, in some cases, it’s the source of vision problems, like halos. Halos are bright circles that surround a source of light, such as a headlight. This can be uncomfortable and disabling.

Woman surrering from halos

There are many reasons as to why you could be suffering from “halo vision”, including:


Typically, the lens located at the front of your eye is clear, meaning light can pass through it easily. However, when you have cataracts, this clouds the lenses and blurs your vision. This is because it affects the way your eye takes in the light. Halos around lights are a common symptom of cataracts.

Common eye conditions

Your retina is the thin lining located in the back of your eye. The retina plays a crucial role in your ability to see. If lights cannot focus on it, then you may begin to experience halos around lights. There are many common eye conditions that can cause this, including:

  • Farsightedness (difficulty seeing objects nearby due to the natural shape of your eyeball)
  • Presbyopia (difficulty seeing nearby objects due to ageing)
  • Nearsightedness (difficulty seeing objects far away, can often be worse at nighttime)
  • Astigmatism (blurred vision caused by the irregular shape of the cornea)

Eye procedures

Seeing halos around lights could be the result of eye procedures such as radial keratotomy and laser procedures like PRK and LASIK, among others. However, more modern forms of LASIK are less inclined to cause these issues.


Sometimes our surroundings can cause us to see halos around lights and these typically disappear on their own after a period of time. For example, if you look at a clear flat surface on a sunny day, such as the beach, or you face the sunset when you drive, you may see spots, halos or glare. Camera flashes can also cause “flash blindness”, which leave temporary images in your vision. These fade away on their own.

When to see your optician

If the halos are causing difficulties in day-to-day tasks, or you are experiencing additional symptoms alongside them, then it’s best to gain a proper diagnosis from an local optician. In most cases seeing halos around lights isn’t a sign of anything detrimental, but it’s always better to be safe when it comes to your vision.

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