Floaters in your field of vision. Floaters are thick
strands or clumps of solid vitreous gel that develop as the gel ages and breaks
down. Floaters often appear as dark specks, globs, strings, or dots. Floaters
may also be caused by loose blood or pigment from tears in the retina.
Flashes of light or sparks when you move your eyes or
head. These are easier to see against a dark background. The brief flashes
occur when the vitreous gel tugs on the retina (vitreous traction). These
flashes usually appear at the edge of your visual field.
Having floaters or flashes does not always mean that
you are about to have a retinal detachment, but you should not ignore these
symptoms. Call your doctor to discuss whether you need to have an eye exam.
Nearly everyone has eye pain or sore eyes at some point. Eye pain sometimes gets better on its own, but it can also be a sign of something more serious.
Your eye doctor can figure out what's going on and find the right treatment for you.
If you have new or sudden flashes or floaters, darkness
over part of your visual field, or a new loss of vision that does not go away,
call your eye doctor or regular doctor right away. Floaters and
flashes may be warning signs of retinal detachment. A sudden shower of what
appear to be hundreds or thousands of little black dots across the field of
vision is a distinctive sign of blood and/or pigment in the vitreous gel and
may indicate a retinal detachment. This requires immediate medical
In rare cases, a retinal detachment can occur without warning. The first signs
A shadow or curtain effect across part of your
visual field that does not go away. Because detachments usually affect
peripheral (side) vision first, you may not notice a problem until the
detachment has gotten bigger.
New or sudden vision loss. Vision
loss caused by retinal detachment tends to get worse over time. Sudden vision loss is a medical emergency.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this