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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Recognize Retinal Problems and Seek Immediate Care

Source: Mayo Clinic:

If you experience sudden vision changes -- many floaters or specks, flashing lights, blurred or wavy vision, a dark spot in the middle of your vision, or a sudden vision loss -- seek emergency medical care.

The symptoms could indicate a potentially serious retinal disorder. Seeking immediate care could save your vision, according to the January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

Symptoms could indicate:

  • Age-related macular degeneration: This chronic disease occurs when macular tissue deteriorates with age. The result can be blurred central vision and possibly a blind spot in your central field of view.
  • Retinal detachment: Although painless, signs of retinal detachment include sudden flashes of light followed by what appear to be spots, specks, hairs or strings -- also called floaters.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: This serious complication of diabetes is marked by swelling of the retina and damage to the retinal blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy can cause sudden vision loss, retinal tears or detachment.
  • Retinal artery occlusion: Blockage of an artery serving the retina may occur due to an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or the autoimmune disorder giant cell arteritis. Lost vision results as retinal tissue dies in the area served by the blocked artery.

If you suspect a retinal problem, contact your eye care provider immediately. Time wasted could be vision lost.

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