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Vision Changes

Vision changes may indicate a serious problem with the tissue that lines the back of the eyeball (retina), optic nerve, or blood vessels in the eye. See a picture of the retina . Evaluation by a health professional is needed for sudden vision changes, such as:

  • Flashes of light (photopsia). Photopsia is brief but recurrent streaks, sparks, or flickers of light, particularly when you move your eyes or head. The flashes of light may be easier to see when you look toward a dark background. The brief flashes may occur with retinal detachment.
  • Floaters, which are shadows or dark objects that float across your visual field. Sudden development of floaters may be a sign of a retinal tear.
  • A dark curtain or veil across part of your visual field. This may occur with retinal detachment.
  • Partial or complete vision loss in one or both eyes. This may occur with retinal detachment.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised November 2, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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