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.
Treatment of open-angle glaucoma -- the most common form of the disease -- requires lowering the eye's pressure by increasing the drainage of aqueous humor or decreasing the production of the fluid. Medications can accomplish both of these goals. Surgery and laser treatments are directed at improving the eye's aqueous drainage.
If not diagnosed early, open-angle glaucoma may significantly damage vision and even cause blindness. That is why it's so important to have your eye doctor test you regularly...
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.