Vision loss signs: Two ‘sudden’ changes in the eyes known to precede permanent vision loss

Vision loss has several known causes, but old age is accountable for the majority of cases. Fortunately, steps can be taken to prevent the onset of blindness, but knowing the warning signs is critical. According to Harvard Health, the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes in the eyes could signal impending trouble.

Floaters are the medical term for the specks, threads or cobweb-like images that drift across the line of vision.

Flashes, on the other hand, are sparks or strands of light that flicker across the visual field, according to Harvard Health.

The health body adds: “Both are usually harmless. But they can be a warning sign of trouble in the eye, especially when they suddenly appear or become plentiful.”

Floaters are more common in people who are nearsighted, who have had cataract surgery or incurred a previous injury.

READ MORE: There is a ‘strong link’ between Viagra use and sudden sight loss

It is also a common occurrence in individuals with diabetes.

“Sometimes, new onset of floaters or flashes signals a condition that can lead to vision loss,” warns Harvard Health.

The health platform explains that the shrinking vitreous, which slowly shrinks with age, can tug on the retina and pull away from it.

This condition, referred to as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), is common and rarely impairs vision.


“This occurs when the macula – the area of the retina responsible for central vision – detaches,” notes Harvard Health.

Because the texture of the vitreous changes naturally as the body ages, people aged 60 and above have the greatest risk.

It should be noted that in 90 percent of cases, however, these changes are harmless and do not lead to damage to the retina.

Other known causes of posterior nitrous detachment include cataracts, eye surgery, diabetes, and near-sightedness.

How to prevent posterior vitreous detachmentUnfortunately, there is no way to prevent PVD that results from ageing, but reporting eye changes to an eye specialist can prevent further complications.

In fact, it is advisable to visit an eye care professional for an exam once in a while, regardless of whether you’ve experienced any changes to your vision.

Maintaining healthy sugar levels is important, as 90 percent of blindness caused by diabetes is preventable.

Eating diets rich in fruit and vegetables – particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens – can help keep the eyes healthy too, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

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