Sudden loss of sight can be a symptom of a serious medical condition and must be treated as quickly as possible.
If you experience sudden blindness you need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment could help save your sight.
Sudden blindness symptoms
A sudden loss of vision does not necessarily mean total blindness. Sudden blindness 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 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 be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Sudden blindness may only last a short time such as a few seconds or hours; however, it could potentially be permanent, especially if not treated quickly.
Causes of sudden vision loss
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 is therefore important 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 macular hole, is a possible cause of sudden blindness.
A detached retina can cause a 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 hole 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, 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.
Treatment for sudden blindness
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 of your sudden blindness, but in most cases of sudden blindness the earlier you are treated the better your chance of a good outcome.