Sudden Loss Of Vision Specialist

Retina & Macular Disease Specialists

Ophthalmologists & Retina and Macular Disease Specialists located in Arlington, VA

Even if your eyesight returns after a sudden loss of vision, please protect your eyes and schedule a comprehensive eye examination. Dr. Jeevan Mathura and Dr. Lindsay Smithen can determine the reason behind your sudden loss of vision and begin treatment to help prevent future complications. If you have any concerns about your vision, call their practice, Retina & Macular Disease Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, or book an appointment online for an eye exam.

Sudden Loss of Vision

Retina & Macular Disease Specialists

What is the definition of sudden loss of vision?

Loss of vision is considered sudden when it develops in a few minutes to a few days. Sudden loss of vision may occur in one or both eyes. It also doesn’t have to mean total blindness. Sudden loss of vision can be partial, total, or seem more like blurry vision. It could last for a few minutes, hours, or become permanent.

What causes sudden vision loss?

Three of the primary causes of sudden loss of vision are:

Clouding of normally transparent eye structures

When light passes through your eye, it travels through the cornea, the lens, and the vitreous, which is the gel-like fluid that fills the center of your eye. All three areas must be transparent or light will be blocked and you’ll lose vision.

Retinal abnormalities

The retina is the delicate layer of tissue at the back of your eye that contains millions of photoreceptor cells essential for vision. The cells collect light that enters the eye, convert the image into nerve impulses, then send the message to the brain so that you can see the image.

Neurologic damage

Damage to any of the nerves in your eye can affect vision, but the optic nerve is especially vital because it connects the retina to the brain.

What eye conditions lead to sudden loss of vision?

These are the most common causes of sudden vision loss:

  • Retinal artery occlusion: Blockage of a major artery in the retina
  • Ischemic optic neuropathy: Blockage of an artery to the optic nerve
  • Retinal vein occlusion: Blockage of a major vein in the retina
  • Vitreous hemorrhage: Blood in the vitreous
  • Eye injury

These are just a few examples of the many other possible causes of sudden vision loss. Some of them develop for years without causing symptoms, only to suddenly cause vision loss:

Conditions causing clouded structures:

  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Corneal edema
  • Corneal infections

Retinal abnormalities:

  • Detached retina
  • Macular degeneration
  • Blocked retinal blood vessels

Neurologic problems:

  • Optic neuritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Optic neuropathy

Your doctor at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists performs a comprehensive eye exam that includes standard tests and a dilated exam to get a close look at your retina and other internal structures. After the underlying cause of your vision loss is determined, your doctor develops a treatment plan that addresses your health needs.