You might think you would notice if something bad were happening to your eyes, but that isn’t always true. Whereas injuries and diseases in other parts of the body often trigger pain and other obvious symptoms, conditions of the eye can begin with very subtle warning signs.
If you notice any of the following three symptoms, you should take them very seriously and visit an ophthalmologist right away. They can be a sign of retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
“Floaters”. Floaters, or specks that seem to “float” around in your vision, are common in many people. But if you notice a sudden increase in this visual disturbance, you should seek an eye exam just to be safe. They can be an early warning sign of impending retinal detachment, but in other cases can indicate diabetes and some other medical conditions.
Light flashes. Flashes or streaks of light in your visual field often indicate that the retina is being stimulated by something. The gel in your eye could be separating, or the retina itself might have a tear. In some people who suffer from migraines, flashes of light can occur along with headaches. But there’s no way to know what is causing those flashes of light without visiting an eye care professional for a full exam, and you want to rule out the possibility of a tear in your retina.
A shadow or “curtain” across part of your vision. Whereas floaters and light flashes can be early warning signs, a shadow or “curtain” over part of your visual field can indicate that your retina has already begun to detach. It won’t go away on its own, and will possibly grow larger over time. To avoid losing more of your vision, you should seek care immediately.
Any time the above symptoms are present, proceed to an ophthalmologist right away. Retinal detachment can often be corrected when it is promptly diagnosed and treated.