Posted on: 2 April 2015
Floaters, the dark specks and lines that drift across your vision, are usually harmless. What you see as floaters are actually the shadows cast by small pieces of debris inside the gel-like filling inside your eye. Sometimes, these shadows aren't harmless. They can be a warning sign of these three serious eye conditions.
Your retina is a structure in the back of your eye that senses light and transmits images to your brain. It's very important to your vision, but it can get injured. Sometimes, the retina can tear along the edge, and partially separate from the back of your eye.
A tear on your retina sounds like it would be painful, but this injury is actually painless. The only symptom that people usually notice is the sudden appearance of more floaters in their vision.
If you see your optometrist right away, this condition can be treated. Your torn retina can be repaired with laser surgery, or sometimes by cryopexy, a method that freezes your torn retina back in place. If left untreated, retinal tears will get worse, and eventually, the retina will fully detach from the back of the eye.
Retinal detachment means that your retina is completely detached from the back of your eye. This can happen if you had a retinal tear that went untreated, but it can also happen suddenly due to old age, infection, or getting punched in the eye.
One of the main signs of retinal detachment is the appearance of floaters in your vision, though your vision may also look blurry or shadowy. If the retina detaches suddenly, you will immediately become blind in the affected eye.
Retinal detachment is treated with surgery. About 40% of people will regain full vision after this surgery, while the other 60% won't get all of their vision back, and may even remain blind.
Vitreous hemorrhage means that you are bleeding inside your eye. This can be caused by abnormal blood vessels in your eye that are prone to leaking blood, or normal vessels can be damaged by trauma.
The early stages of the hemorrhage are easy to miss. You will notice some more floaters in your vision, and won't be in any pain. Later, as more blood accumulates, your vision may take on a red hue. If the hemorrhage continues to go untreated, your vision will blur, and eventually, you won't be able to see at all.
To treat this hemorrhage, the vitreous (the gel-like filling inside your eye) may need to be removed in a procedure called a vitrectomy. There are also some experimental treatments that involve injecting medications into the affected eye.
If you notice more floaters than normal, you need to see an optometrist, like Trevis Diane Dr or others, right away. Your new floaters could be a sign of any of these very serious conditions.Share