SUDDEN VISION LOSS
If you ever experience sudden blurring or loss of vision, call us or come in IMMEDIATELY! There are many things that could cause this, including vitreous or retinal detachment, sudden onset closed angle glaucoma, migraine, TIA, and stroke. A sudden floating mass of "spots or fibers" that interferes with your vision could simply be a sign of normal age-related changes in the jelly (vitreous) inside the eyeball. This normal age-related "vitreous degeneration" usually results in a "vitreous detachment" when people get in their 50's, and causes no serious problems. However, if flashes of light occur, this means the vitreous is peeling away from the retina, and this is when a person is at risk of a retinal hole or tear developing, which could result in a "retinal detachment". Call us if you experience a floating spot or flashes of light.
A retinal detachment is the result of fluid getting underneath the retina thru a hole or tear, causing it to peel off the inside of the eyeball. People describe their experience as a sudden blurring or loss of vision, a shadow or curtain waving across their vision, or a huge number of floating spots or fibers. It is critical to be seen by an eye doctor immediately, so that there is the best chance of re-attaching the retina before permanent vision loss occurs.
Sudden vision loss, accompanied by severe eye pain, may be symptoms of sudden onset closed angle glaucoma, where the fluid drainage in the eye is abruptly blocked, causing the eye pressure to spike rapidly. This can cause total permanent blindness within 24 hours unless treated.
Sometimes people experience sudden vision loss or disturbance as a result of a disruption in the blood flow in the brain, so it is important to distinguish between a migraine, a transient ischemic attack (or mini-stroke), and a stroke. All 3 share similar symptoms such as vision disturbances or loss, numbness, tingling, speech difficulties, and muscle weaknesses, depending on which area of the brain is affected.
The vision disturbance in migraines more often occurs as zigzag or fortress patterns, whereas with TIA and stroke it is more of a vision loss.
Migraine symptoms come on over the course of a few minutes or more, while TIA and stroke symptoms come on suddenly. Migraine symptoms last less than an hour, while TIA symptoms may last longer, up to 24 hours. Stroke symptoms may not ever disappear. Migraines usually begin at a younger age, while TIA and stroke occur more often in older people.
Sudden vision loss is an emergency. Time is of the essence in order to have the best ultimate visual outcome. Don't wait. Call and come in right away.