A sudden loss of vision doesn’t necessarily mean total blindness. It can occur in one eye or both eyes, and the loss of sight can be partial or total.
With total vision loss, the sight in the affected eye (or eyes) is lost completely, so that nothing can be seen with the affected eye. With partial vision loss, some sight may remain in the affected eye.
Sudden vision loss can also include a sudden loss of peripheral vision, sudden loss of central vision, or even a sudden blurring of your vision. The sudden appearance of spots within your field of vision could also a symptom of a more serious condition.
Sudden blindness may only last a short time, such as a few seconds, minutes or hours. However, it could potentially be permanent, especially if not treated quickly.
Sudden loss of vision can occur for a number of reasons. Many underlying problems are very serious, and could potentially be sight-threatening or even life-threatening. It’s therefore essential to seek medical help as soon as possible if you experience any sudden loss of sight.
Damage to the retina
The retina is the focusing surface at the back of your eye. Any damage to your retina, such as a detached retina or artery occlusion, is a possible cause of sudden blindness.
A detached retina can cause total loss of vision in the affected eye, or it may only result in partial vision loss, making it seem as if a curtain is blocking part of your vision.
The macula is the central focusing area of the retina at the back of your eye. When a macular problem occurs, it results in a loss of your central vision, while your peripheral or ‘side’ vision remains.
Some eye conditions can cause blood to leak into the vitreous ‘gel’ within the eye. This is known as a vitreous haemorrhage. If this occurs, it can block the light which enters the eye, causing sudden blurred vision if it is not as dense, or the sudden appearance of spots within your vision.
Serious medical conditions
There are some serious medical conditions that can cause sudden blindness, such as a stroke or brain tumour. While these causes are quite rare, it is nonetheless important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you experience sudden blindness or any sudden loss of vision, you need to see an eye specialist straight away. Treatment will depend on the cause, but in most cases the earlier you are treated, the better your chance of a good outcome.
If you or anyone else suffers a sudden loss of vision, call us at the Eye Institute immediately on 0800 393 527.