The earliest symptoms of a retinal detachment are often flashes and floaters.
What are floaters?
Floaters are a common phenomenon, often described as small spots, hairs, or cobwebs, which float in the vision field. Floaters can appear at any age, but are more prominent as one gets older. They are usually the result of a change within the vitreous gel in the back of the eye. Floaters may be more noticeable in certain lighting conditions, such as a clear, sunny sky, a white wall, or a snow covered field. Floaters do not disappear, but they often move out of the line of sight and become less noticeable over time.
Floaters may be accompanied by a flickering of light or brief flashing off to the side or centrally. The flashing lights often last for days to weeks. This could either be a posterior vitreous detachment, a retinal tear, or could lead to a retinal detachment. The earliest symptoms of a retinal detachment are often flashes and floaters. These symptoms are then followed by a curtain or veil of darkness, which starts in the peripheral vision and advances to involve more of the central vision.
If patients have a new onset of flashes and floaters they should be evaluated. If the retinal detachment is caught early and treated with laser or surgery, most of the vision can be spared.
Learn more about the symptoms floaters, posterior vitreous detachment, retinal tears, and retinal detachments and the treatments, which are available through office. Contact us today.