Five Retina Symptoms That Indicate a Need for Treatment
Many people experience vision impairment in their life. Whether it be dizziness, near- or far-sightedness, or even blindness, changes in visual health are common, especially as we age. Some visual symptoms we experience are found in the retina – a light-sensitive membrane that lines the back of the eye. The retina is essential for sight, as it receives, organizes, and communicates information to the brain.
There are many kinds of retinal diseases, but they often have similar symptoms. Some of these conditions can lead to permanent vision loss, especially if left untreated. Here’s what to look out for to stay ahead of your visual health:
1. Flashes of Light
Flashing lights can indicate a problem with your retina as well as a myriad of other eye conditions, including migraines and head injuries. This sensation is sometimes called “seeing stars.” If this symptom is not something that normally happens or you're noticing a sudden increase in this sensation, you should call a doctor; it may be a result of a torn retina.
Looking like small flecks and clouds moving in your sightline, floaters are actually tiny collections of cells in the jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye, known as the vitreous. Floaters appear in many shapes, such as little dots, squiggly lines, clouds, or spiderwebs. They often accompany light flashes and are fairly common. However, a sudden burst of new and unusual floaters can sometimes be a sign of retinal detachment, which is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
3. Distorted Vision
Distorted vision can mean many different things. Some people experience double vision, which is when the distinction between objects becomes less sharp, producing a duplicate image. Two separate images can overlap and appear moving, which can be confusing and hard to work through. Most people who have retina issues experience these types of visual distortions:
- Double vision
- Linear objects and lines appearing crooked
4. Difficulty Focusing
Sometimes, things can look darker than they usually do. Difficulty focusing can not only affect your vision, but also your sense of balance. The lack of contrast between images can make it hard to differentiate what you are actually seeing, and you can easily become disoriented.
5. Blind Spots
Although the retina is a light-sensitive tissue consisting of photoreceptors, a tiny portion of it has no photoreceptors at all. This area is known as “the blind spot,” and is completely natural. However, if you notice your blind spot is larger than normal or it feels like something is blocking your vision, this could be cause for concern. If you have a sudden blind spot in your central vision, then you should contact a retina specialist right away.
When to See a Doctor
Even if these symptoms seem unspecific or unserious, it’s best to see an eye doctor for at least a regular check-up and report any vision changes that you’re experiencing. Sometimes retina problems are left unchecked longer than they should be, which only delays patients from getting the proper care they need. If any of these symptoms occur suddenly or increase over a short period of time, you should contact your eye doctor immediately. For advanced retinal care in Northern California, contact Retinal Consultants Medical Group.