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Most cases of retinal detachment begin when the vitreous gel that fills the center of the eye shrinks and separates from the retina (called posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD). Symptoms of PVD include:
Floaters in your field of vision. Floaters are thick strands or clumps of solid vitreous gel that develop as the gel ages and breaks down. Floaters often appear as dark specks, globs, strings, or dots. Floaters may also be caused by loose blood or pigment from retina tears.
Flashes of light or sparks when you move your eyes or head. These are easier to see against a dark background. The brief flashes occur when the vitreous gel tugs on the retina (vitreous traction). These flashes usually appear at the edge of your visual field.
Although an occasional floater is normal, floaters and flashes may be warning signs of retinal detachment. A sudden shower of what appear to be hundreds or thousands of little black dots across the field of vision is a distinctive sign of blood and/or pigment in the vitreous gel and may indicate a retinal detachment. This requires immediate medical attention.